Yes, it's LEAP YEAR! What better reason to think about frogs and toads.
I value these amphibians for all they do for us:
Eating lots of insects like mosquitoes and flies that would otherwise become pests.
Being food for lots of animals, such as birds, snakes, foxes, and some fish like pike and bass. (Okay--not an angle the frogs and toads might want to consider but valuable all the same.)
Plus frogs and toads are just plain cool. Like the fact that they have a sticky tongue attached to the inside front of their mouth and it rolls out in less than a second to snag a bug. Or that to swallow their eyes sink to push food down their throats.
Here are some more fun facts about frogs and toads:
A group of frogs is called an army. A group of toads is called a knot or a nest.
Only male frogs croak. They may also whistle or bark. In some kinds of toads both the males and females make noise.
Some toads play dead or puff up to look bigger, if threatened by a predator.
Toads have special glands on the back of their heads. If the toad is stressed, these give off poison that can kill a predator that bites it. It won't cause warts on people but it's best to not touch toads or wash well if you do.
No matter how many times you kiss either a frog or a toad, though,
it won't turn into a prince.
And here are some fun frog and toad activities to enjoy in honor of 2016 being LEAP YEAR.
Hopping Off The Page
Compare the toads in each of these two book. To do this, first read these books.
Fiction: Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (Harper Collins, 1972)
Faction (fictional story where all the facts are true): Toad Weather by Sandra Markle (Peachtree Publishing, 2015)
1. What is one way the toads in these two books are different?
2. What is one way the toads in these two books are alike?
3. What time of day does the fiction story take place? How about the faction story?
4. Look at the pictures of toads in each book. What's one way the toads look alike? What's one way they look different?
Say It In A Poem
Create a cinquain (say sin-cane) about a frog or toad. This is a kind of poetry first created by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey about 100 years ago.
This kind of poem is just 5 lines long. It usually tells a short story about something and follows this format--2,4,6,8.2. That means
The first line has just 2 syllables (pronounced beats)
The second line has 4 syllables.
The third line has 6 syllables.
The fourth line has 8 syllables.
The fifth line has just 2 syllables again.
What's more there's a flow to the short story shared in a cinquain. It goes like this:
Line 1 = Name the subject
Line 2 = Describe it
Line 3 = Show some action
Line 4 = Share some feeling about it
Line 5 = Give a quick conclusion
Green and hungry.
Sees a fly and snags it.
What a master garden insect
BONUS Fold A Hopper
Visit this website and follow the directions to fold a paper frog. Then push on the frog to make it hop off a starting line. Measure how far it hops.
Try your paper hopper on 3 different kinds of surfaces, such as carpeting, wood and tile. On which does your frog hop the farthest? How much farther is the longest hop than the shortest?
And one more--take this photo and saying as a story starter.
Okay--because LEAP YEAR has one extra day--here's one more thing to do on this longer-than-usual-month. Read THE CASE OF THE VANISHING GOLDEN FROGS aloud.
Did science detectives solve this mystery?
Did they save the frogs?