Chances are your child will demand to know how to pond dip on a day when it is the last thing you have planned. Kids are like that I find. The last thing I expected to do on Mother’s Day was relearn how to pond dip, but it turned out to be the perfect activity for the most beautiful day, as I explained over on Becky’s blog A Beautiful Space.
L had been asking me to go pond dipping for ages, so I lazily reached for my phone and started hunting for organised ‘how to pond dip’ type events. There weren’t any and she wanted to do it then and there. I decided we would have to make it up as we went along, the lost art of pond dipping, how hard could it be?
We have nets, but they were stowed away in our caravan, so instead we tied string round a couple of jam jars. This has its limits, but was a good gentle introduction without spending any money. Next time we will definitely take nets, they are safer, less messy, and more likely to get better results.
However, we managed to get some tiny wriggly insects in the jam jars, which were fun to watch, but better still, because we were starting to take notice of our surroundings, we spotted the frogs at the bottom of the pond.
How to pond dip
1. Find a pond
We went to Holme Pit in Colwick, Nottingham – it isn’t fishing season, so I thought it would be a good time. The fishing platforms are perfect. Always ask if it is okay to pond dip in a private pond.
2. The next thing to get right is balance
Stand sideways on to the pond, not facing forwards, with legs evenly planted. That way you can’t fall in. Smaller children can lie down.
3. Fill your container
A shallow tray or big tuppaware container is perfect, lighter colours mean you can see what is in there. Always half fill the container with water ready for your creatures.
4. Move your net in a figure of eight
This is the best way to get the most pond life, which is why jam jars have their limits!
5. Empty the net into the container
Turn the net inside out very gently, use a spoon or a magnifying glass to get a closer look. The Woodland Trust have printable sheets to help you recognise and tick off your finds. Or take photos to look at later.
6. Always put things back where you found them
Children should always be accompanied by an adult, cuts should be covered with a plaster, hands washed afterwards. Never go in to rescue something you have lost, ponds can be deeper than they look.