Pond Dipping — Maplewood Nature Center’s Guide and Kit

What is pond dipping, you ask? Basically, it is exactly what it sounds like. Dip into a pond to see what interesting pond life you can find. Maplewood Nature Center had a kit to teach you all about it and it all comes in a backpack ready to explore.

8/5/20 update: Unfortunately, Maplewood Nature Center has been slated to close by the end of the current programming. You will not be able to get this deal from them again. For your convenience, we have added links to Amazon at the bottom of this article.

Maplewood Nature Center’s Guide on How to Pond Dip 

To help families explore ponds this summer, Maplewood Nature Center has created a kit and how to guide. The kit provides everything you need to follow the instructions on the video below:

  1. Fill your water holding dish with pond water. 
  2. Put your net in the water, swish back and forth to collect creatures or scrape underneath a lily pad.
  3. Even if you don’t see anything, turn your net inside out into the water dish. You will likely find some tiny swimming creatures.
  4. This is where you can use your magnifying box to scoop up the tiny creatures and view them magnified.
  5. Compare your finds to your key to see if you can learn what you have found.
  6. Repeat as many times as you want.
  7. Photograph your finds and share on Facebook @MaplewoodNatureCenter.
  8. Put everything back where you found it when you are done.

Safety Advice: Always keep one hand and two knees on the ground when scooping to give yourself more balance so you don’t fall in. Parents should supervise this activity.

If you can’t get out to Maplewood Nature Center, pick another pond with a sturdy dock.

The video below has more tips and conservation advice.

Create Your Own Pond Exploration Kit:

We have linked to Amazon items for this kit. While this is convenient, I can’t match the price that Maplewood Nature Center was offering. If I were making my own kit, I would start with Axtman and/or a pet store to search for better local prices. If you do order through Amazon, Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on items purchased through our links:

  1. A Pond Net. If you have a small fish net left from the last time you had goldfish, it would be a little smaller, but could probably work.
  2. A Water Holding Dish (This could be a butter dish. You don’t need to buy something special.)
  3. A Small Magnifying Boxes – This is actually pretty cool and not a bad price on Amazon.

Free Downloads from the DNR. If you can print these in color, they’ll be more fun.

  1. Young Naturalists – Life In A Jar. This guide will give you some more information and pictures of creatures you might find.
  2. The DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood Guide will help you find ponds  and lakes with fishing docks.
  3. Young Naturalists – Spring to Life. This guide is specific to spring pond life.

Find More Ideas Like This In Our Big List of Nature Activities: 65+ Fun Nature Play Ideas for Kids

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