Pond Dipping!

kids pond dipping family

We love going pond dipping and have done it many times in the past.  We often go along to reserves or organised events as it’s great to have experts on hand to identify things.  I actually volunteer myself now at said events, and love to pass on what knowledge I have with kids.  A fantastic feeling!

What is pond dipping?  Well, put simply, it’s where you get a net, dip it in the pond and use it to see what life is there.  From small fishes to water bugs you’ll be surprised at what is living in ponds!

How to do pond dipping

Wondering how to pond dip?  Well this is what you need to do:

You need:

a net

a tray or washing up bowl to empty your catch in to

an ID book or sheet (this is a good website to look at)

possibly a smaller container or shallow bowl and a plastic spoon

some hand sanitiser for afterwards!

pond dip bird fair celebrity birdfair
At BirdFair last year we even got to Pond Dip along side Nick Baker!


If you’re looking to buy a pond dipping kit or build your own check my guide out here.


  • You need to have some pond water in your tray/bowl so that anything you catch can swim around so first of all add some water to that.  If you have a shallow bowl put some water in that and keep to one side.
  • Get your net and swish it round the water in a figure of eight movement.  It’s ok to get in among weeds, but try not to disturb any mud at the bottom.
  • Once you’ve swished take the net out and empty it all into the tray.  Do this as soon as possible as the creatures need the water to live!
  • Get looking!  See if you can see anything moving around and if you find anything you can use the spoon to transfer it to a smaller container to look better at it (the tray can fill up with weeds and muddy water sometimes)
  • Identify it!  See if you can identify what you have found.
  • Keep dipping, until you have had enough!
  • Make sure at the end you empty the trays back in the water gently so the animals can get back to where they need to be.

And lastly make sure you wash your hand afterwards!  Common sense I know 🙂

ramshorn snail pond dip
We found a large ramshorn snail!


I wrote more about pond life for kids here if you want more ideas of activities you can do.

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