Having heard about the tadpoles Ioan and Finny saw earlier this week, Cian is fascinated with the life cycle of a frog. Today, he wanted to learn about frogspawn.


  • Frog life cycle figurines
  • Hydrated clear water beads
  • Dehydrated dark water beads
  • Bowl
  • Rocks
  • Fish tank plants

Setting up the pond

Cics came down to breakfast and caught me sorting some water beads in to colours. These are the same ones we’ve had for years. We just dry them out in between use and rehydrate them when we want to play with them.

NB. I know that Cian won’t put these in his mouth, so we’re safe to use these. If you need a taste safe option, you can use tapioca.

Cian asked if he could take over sorting them into colours for me. This was really fiddly, so great for developing fine motor skills. I can always tell when he’s concentrating hard as he sighs a lot.

While we left the clear water beads to soak in a bowl of water, Cici set up the bowl he was using as a pond. He started off by fetching the rock basket.

He stacked the rocks up on one side of the bowl to make some land.

Then, Cics added some fish tank plants that he keeps in his dinosaur box.

He added water to his pond.

Cian knew that the forgspawn is meant to stick together, so he wasn’t happy when he poured the clear water beads into the water and the ‘eggs’ all spread out. He asked for a white bowl to put them in, to camouflage with his ‘pond’

Frog laying the frogspawn

Cici showed me how the frog would lay her eggs.

He showed me the teeny tiny dot inside the frogspawn.

As always, Cics chose to match his play up with a non fiction book on frogs.

Tadpoles growing inside frogspawn

Cian compared the size of his ‘tadpoles’ now. Normally a tadpole would take two weeks to hatch, but his water beads had grown in a few hours!


Now that the baby tadpoles were grown, they were leaving the frogspawn and ready to swim in the pond.

Mummy frog had come back to visit her growing tadpoles. Cian played quietly for hours with the tadpole swimming around the pond and the frog jumping in and out of the water.

Mummy and tadpole

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.