Did you know that amphibians are the only vertebrates capable of breathing through their skin? It’s true! In this blog post, we’ll share a variety of engaging resources for a lesson or unit study focused on frogs and amphibians. We’ve pulled together a range of books, crafts, printables, and hands-on activities perfect for students interested in learning more about amphibians. So – let’s dive in together and learn more about these unique little creatures!
What are Amphibians?
Amphibians – a group including frogs, toads, and salamanders – are cold-blooded animals that can live both in water and on land. These animals are often mistaken for reptiles, but unlike scaly-skinned reptiles, amphibians have smooth and moist skin. One important thing that sets amphibians apart is their ability to breathe through their skin! Most amphibians go through a unique life cycle called metamorphosis, starting as eggs, then transforming into tadpoles, and finally becoming adults.
Amphibians can be found in a variety of habitats around the world. Some prefer freshwater wetland environments such as ponds, lakes, and streams. Others inhabit moist forests or jungles. You might even spot amphibians in your own backyard, especially if there are puddles or small bodies of water nearby. These versatile creatures often have special adaptations to survive in their specific habitats, whether it’s webbed feet for swimming or camouflage to blend in with their surroundings.
Unfortunately, amphibians face numerous environmental threats that put their survival at risk. Habitat loss due to deforestation and pollution is a significant concern. Pesticides and chemicals can harm amphibians directly or contaminate their water sources. Conservation efforts, such as protecting habitats and raising awareness about the importance of these animals, are crucial in ensuring the survival of these remarkable creatures for generations to come.
Check out these frog and toad calls recorded from a single area at various times in the year!
Amphibians: Fun Facts for Kids
- The smallest frog in the world, the Paedophryne amauensis, is tinier than a paperclip!
- Some frogs freeze solid during winter and thaw back to life when spring arrives.
- The glass frog has translucent skin, allowing you to see its heart beating and food digesting.
- The male Darwin’s frog keeps eggs inside his throat until they hatch.
- The Sonoran Desert toad survives in the desert by burrowing deep underground and remaining there for several months at a time!
- The blue poison dart frog is one of the most poisonous animals on Earth.
- Some species of tree frogs have suction-like toe pads that allow them to stick to surfaces.
- The Axolotl, a type of salamander, has the superpower to regrow some of its lost body parts.
- Some frogs have amazing jumping abilities and can leap over 20 times their body length.
- The Chinese giant salamander is one of the world’s largest amphibians. It can grow to be more than 5 feet in length and can weigh 130 pounds!
- The African bullfrog can swallow prey larger than its own body, like small birds or mice.
Unit Study Resources: Frogs and Amphibians
Once, one of our students brought in a tadpole she had discovered while enjoying a day at the pond with her Meemaw (grandmother). To support this discovery, we spent the whole afternoon observing the little creature and talking about all kinds of froggy things! We also pulled out our frog life cycle cards and models and learned about how tadpoles grow into frogs.
Here are some resources to add to your shelves if someone brings in a tadpole to your class! (some affiliate links included below)
Curriculum Resources for a Unit Study on Amphibians
- Frogs/Amphibians Preschool Pack | Trillium Montessori Shop
Be sure to check out these frog themed printables for your shelves. This pack includes the following frog themed activities:
- Sort by Color
- Sort by Size
- The Question Game
- Following Multi-Step Directions
- Shadow Matching
- Category Sorting
- Prepositions Game
- Cutting Exercises
- 0-10 Number Cards
- 0-10 Counting Clip Cards
Books and Materials about Amphibians
- About Amphibians nonfiction picture book by Catherine Sill and John Sill – lovely, realistic, full-color illustrations and simple facts about amphibians.
- Tropical Frogs Memory Match Game – the pieces are frog-shaped!
- Life Cycle Board from Mirus Toys – This board has multiple uses. Select the “frog” option to support your amphibian unit study, then add additional wooden tokens to expand your collection over time.
- Frog life cycle models (Amazon) – I love that these are very simple but still realistic models.
- Frog life cycle puzzle (Amazon) – a very simple, self-correcting puzzle with realistic illustrations. This would appeal to the younger students in a primary class – especially students new to school or who have just moved up from a toddler environment.
- Parts of a frog puzzle (Amazon)
- Frog life cycle stamps (Etsy) – stamps can be a great way to help children illustrate their own work when they are not quite confident with their writing/drawing skills. To add even more interest, try including a colored ink pad with a stamp set like this.
Amphibian Art & Craft Activities
- Salamander Collage | Create a paper mosaic art project in the style of Antoni Gaudí. So many opportunities for fine motor practice here! Scaffold this for younger students by providing salamander outlines pre-drawn on cardboard, or consider introducing the artist and technique and then offering this as a process-art activity.
- Splatter Paint Frogs (or toads) | First, cut these shapes out of green cardstock in advance (or ask a parent volunteer to do this!), then invite each child to decorate one using a variety of art materials. This could also be set up as an individual activity on a tray.
- Frog Symmetry Drawing | Fold these in half and use with a light table – great tracing practice. Don’t have a light table? You can also fold the paper in half and tape to a sunny window for a similar effect.
- Suction Cup Tree Frogs | This project is so fun to display in a window! The post also includes a tip for avoiding frustration when cutting out the frogs’ feet.
Amphibian Unit Study Resources from Around the Web
- Montessori Inspired Amphibian Activities | Every Star is Different (with free printables) Renae often makes free printables to go along with her units and this one is no different! Check out her free printable pack which includes frog life cycle cards, who am I? cards, amphibians around the world cards, and more. This set is a must-have!
- Frogs and Amphibians | Just Montessori – Just Montessori was one of my first sources of inspiration for doing unit studies. This post will give you some ideas on how to introduce this unit to your students and some basics to put out on your shelves.
- Nature-Based Frog Activities | Check out the fascinating frog facts and background information about frog tongues and frog saliva!
- Montessori Inspired Frog Activities | Pinay Homeschooler – Jae always comes up with fun activities for her units! This post has lots of great pictures and inspiration. I really like the frog sink and float activity and the frog color matching work with the color tablets.
- Montessori Inspired Frog Activities | Living Montessori Now – Deb has collected a lot of activities here. You’ll find ideas for counting, matching, nomenclature, life cycles, and more.
- 5 Montessori Inspired Frog Activities | Mama’s Happy Hive – Vanessa has some great photos and ideas for a frog study that would be appropriate for your younger preschoolers: frog observation, puzzles, sensory bins, and more.
- Amphibians 3 Part Cards | Homeschool Den (Free)
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Seemi holds a Master's degree in education, and an AMS Early Childhood credential. She has twenty years of experience in Montessori as a teacher, school administrator, and school owner. Seemi is the founder of TrilliumMontessori.org.