Ponds are beautiful spaces teeming with life! Ponds are small area of still fresh water, that flows from a stream or from an underground water source. Ponds are home to wonderful plants that provide food and shelter for lots of animals, and that help to clean the water and the area as well. One of the most beautiful plants that grows in ponds is a water lily. Many water lilies growing together can create quite a beautiful scene, as the lily pads are circular in shape with a small triangle cut out, and an absolutely stunning flower.

This can be used in multiple ways. Try a classic game of “sink-or-float” which is a fantastic STEM activity that invites children to make predictions about what will sink or float. Or, easily transform this into a numeral recognition activity!

Set up Time: 10 minutes


Collect different plastic lids from a variety of containers, and spray paint them green. When using spray paint, always do this away from children and give the materials plenty of time to dry. Collected lids as your material leads to better problem solving skills, as they will be different shapes and weights.

Alternatively, you can cut out lily pad shapes out of craft foam. This material works better for numeral recognition activities, as it is easier to write on the craft foam.

Add stones, other plants, grass, flower petals, as well as plastic frogs, turtles, snakes, insects. Invite children to see what floats on top of their lily pads.


  • Plastic animals
  • Collected lids
  • Green spray paint
  • Foam sheets (optional)

Learning Through Play

Cognitive: Problem Solving – Sink-or-float is a great way to invite children to naturally think like a scientist. They can make predictions based on visual observations, or by closing their eyes and feeling the weight of an object. Educators can introduce the concepts of weight, size, and density, which can be very abstract, but more concrete once children are able to experiment with different objects.

Language: Vocabulary – This is a great way to learn about the different animals that live in pond eco-systems. For younger children who are still developing language, you can practice making the sound effects of the different animals (ribbit, sssssss, buzz, gulp), while with the older children you can focus on describing the animals (turtle, frog, snake, dragonfly) or the pond environment (slimy, shallow, ripple, splash).

School Readiness: Numeral Recognition – Easily turn this into a math activity by seeing how many frogs you can fit on a lily pad. If working with numeral recognition, you can add numerals to a lily pad and invite children to add the corresponding number of frogs, turtles, or other pond animals to the the lily pad. Be sure to make it silly by engaging in lots of pretend play, as we can always try to “hide” the math concept behind something more fun. For example, you can pretend to be a bullfrog and say the numbers in a deep voice, while another child imitates perhaps a more high pitched tree frog. You can search on Youtube for some great examples of frog sounds!

See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun sensory activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.