Toddler-Appropriate Scientific Observations: Duck Edition


Practice our observation skills as we feed and learn about ducks


  • bread

  • bottled water

  • pens

  • Duck observation list (pdf, PowerPoint)


  1. Grab duck observation list and a pen

  2. Go to your local lake

  3. Feed the ducks

  4. Complete Observation Checklist

  5. Paint ducks based on our observations.


You know when the weather outside is absolutely dreadful for days on end, and then, for no reason that a non-meteorologist can explain, a gorgeous day just throws itself in the mix? Those days where your only thought is, "I need to be outside today." You know those days I'm talking about. They usually sneak in during the spring or fall. Well this Fun-Size Friday was one of those days, and we were not about to waste it.

When planning activities where a majority of the participants are toddlers, you have to have a very simple approach. The average age of our children is two, so we needed an activity that appealed to the two-year old frame of mind. With these two goals combined, we came up with duck observations. We live close to a lake frequently inhabited by ducks and geese, so we grabbed some bread and took a trip to find some.

We were in luck. We found three ducks and zero geese. If you've ever fed a goose, you know why this is lucky. Geese can be a little intimidating for small children, well and adults. They want that food and they're going to get that food. You have to admire their tenacity. But a child just sees a bird the same size as themselves running toward them and they freak. So we were excited that the geese were gone. We were also blessed to only encounter three ducks, so we weren't overwhelmed.

We gave the kids an observation checklist and assisted them as they became participants in scientific observations. They had to identify the color of the duck, the type of mouth, the type of feet, the habitat, etcetera.

It was very easy and the kids had a blast. What isn't shown in the video is what we did after the observations. We took the kids home and had them recreate a painting of the ducks using their observation checklist as a reference. For instance, we asked what color the ducks were. We then used that color of paint to paint our ducks. They live in the water, so we painted water around our ducks.

Such a simple task that promotes hands-on learning and creativity. So grab your kids, a bag of feed, our observation checklist, and head out to your local lake or pond and explore LIFE!

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