Connecting With Nature: Explore a Pond

Explore a pond via The Risky Kids
Oftentimes as parents we feel like in order to make nature a part of our children’s lives we must make time for some grand expedition. We feel we must pack up the car and the gear, travel to the park or the nature preserve or the trails, and make an entire day of it. And while that is all well and good (and should be done now and then, according to the Nature Connection Pyramid), we can all make nature exploration a part of our lives without much time, effort or money. I’m so inspired by the practicality of the Nature Connection Pyramid, and its potential to encourage families to make nature a part of their everyday lives in many different ways. As I’m inspired, I’ll be sharing ways in which we’ve incorporated the suggestions of the Nature Connection Pyramid into our lives.

nature connection pyramid

This past week was our Spring Break, and we spent most of it close to home, giving the kids ample opportunities for unstructured outdoor play. Eli ran free with his neighborhood friends and cousins, taking advantage of warm weather and freed from the constraints of an earlier bedtime. Elena and a friend planned their own picnic, baking a cake, shopping for supplies, and exploring a waterfall.


We also carved out a morning to do some nature exploring near our neighborhood. I noticed on a run the other week that the neighborhood behind ours has a wooded area with a pond. We set off on bikes, filling a backpack with some empty jars and a magnifying glass.

Exploring a pond

I was hoping we might find tadpoles, but it appears to be too early in the season for them. We’ll definitely check back often in the next few weeks in hopes of catching some.

Tadpoles or no tadpoles, there was still plenty to explore. There was mucky mud to squish our boots in, bright green moss to feel, and logs to balance on.

Boy and pond

Eli was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see any signs of life in the water, but I encouraged him to fill a jar with water anyways. We took it home with us and had a look with the magnifying glass.

Studying pond water

Have you ever looked at pond water up close? I thought we might see something, but I was wholly unprepared for the variety of tiny life contained in a jar of pond water! We saw teeny-tiny water bugs, some kind of beetle, a small crustracean-like critter (called a scud) scavenging the muck on the bottom, and several worm-like creatures. It was fascinating (and an excellent reminder to be thankful for clean water to drink)!

I hope you’ll make some time this week to do some nature exploring close to home! In the meantime, what are some of your favorite ways to explore nature with your kids?

This post is also included in the No Such Thing As Bad Weather Outdoor Play Party Roundup. Visit for some great ideas!



  1. Great photos, such a delight to look at. I took my class pond dipping last week but think we’ll bring the magnifying glasses next time too. Just wondering, I co-host an outdoor play party over on my blog & would love you to link this post up.