Lake and River Activities

What's In There?

What's in there? helps kids think objectively about the plants and animals that live in local streams and lakes. This lake and river activity is a fun way to awaken kids to these miniature ecosystems, and for kids to find out what life forms live in them.

What You'll Need:

  • Sand shovel and pail
  • Mesh or cheesecloth
  • Rubber flip-flop shoes

The next time you and your child head for the wilderness, bring the supplies listed above and adventurous minds. Wearing rubber flip-flops for safety (just in case something sharp is in the murky water), wade a few inches into the water with your child.

Dig just an inch or so into the dirt or gravel at the bottom of the water and fill the bucket halfway, including a little lake or river water in the mix. Now wade back to the edge.

Help your kids scoop about a cupful of the dirt and water onto their piece of mesh or cheesecloth, allowing the water to sift through. Ask your kids what they see. Maybe they won't see anything right away -- but maybe a tiny watery world they never knew existed will slowly appear. They'll have to dig in to find out.

Kids can explore their prospects and see if they pan out with the activity on the next page.

For more outdoor activities for kids: