Things are a changin’. You don’t have to look far to see. If you have little ones – they will love the opportunity to witness metamorphosis. If you are studying nature, or insects, or habitats – these subjects allow (beg) for such creative diversions.
Presently we are studying habitats and have taken on one such diversion ourselves. We have collected a few tadpoles and have been observing them over the following days and weeks as they grow and start the wonderful process we call metamorphosis. Since I have been known to be a fish killer, I generally try and stay away from such ventures that involve water and a fish tank. However; taking care of the tadpoles has turned out to be relatively easy and great fun – and , for the record all four of them are still alive.
Another opportunity to observe metamorphosis is one that can literally crawl right before your eyes. This time of year in our home town, there are many furry little creatures that like to crawl all over various patios and assorted lawn furniture as they desperately try to find their way to the nearest foliage. I’m not exactly sure what they are, but they’re everywhere. If you wish to raise caterpillars then I suggest you carefully research the species you find. Caterpillars are picky eaters and will often only eat foliage from the host plant appropriate to the species. For more information try www.buterflyschool.org.
Should you choose one of these creative diversions, allow the children to actively participate as much as they can. Pick tasks that are developmentally appropriate, set magnifying glasses close by, and encourage them to observe and record as much as possible. Most kids are keen to include illustrations or labeled diagrams. My daughters have chosen to record their observations journal style, adding the periodic diagram. Our tadpole observations have also spurred interests in library books about tadpoles, frogs, habitats and ecosystems.