Pond dipping or sampling from another area of water is a great way to see what is living under the surface. Even urban water courses are often teaming with life. If you don’t have access to an area of water a puddle after a long spell of rain can hold life. Take a look at our short film and guide below to get started.

You will need:

  • a small net or container, such as a bucket or jug
  • a flat tray, preferably white so you can easily see what’s inside
  • a spoon
  • a magnifying glass (optional)
  • An adult to help


  1. Head outside to your pond, river or stream. Place your tray nearby and then head to the water’s edge. Make sure you have sturdy footing when standing by the water’s edge and only pond dip in places where you can easily reach the shallows without placing yourself at danger of falling in.
  2. Half fill your flat tray with water. This will act as a temporary home to any creatures you find.
  3. With your net or container, scoop through the water just above the pond floor.
  4. Empty the net or jug into your flat tray. If using a net, you might need to turn it inside out so you can wash out what you have scooped up.
  5. With a spoon, slowly search through the tray for signs of life.
  6. If you find something, take a good look. You can photograph or sketch any interesting creatures.
  7. When you have finished, gently pour the water and all the creatures you found back into the pond.

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