We just finished reading (rowing, if you're a FIAR person) Make Way for Ducklings, and who should greet us first, but Mrs. Mallard:
Mr. Mallard, as in the book, was apparently down-river, checking things out. At least that answer was acceptable to Little Man. There were no ducklings, but there was one fat snapping turtle in the water. Neither child made the connection from the book (Mrs. Mallard refused to nest where there might be foxes in the woods or turtles in the water) and I'm sure I should be disappointed at that, but...
Next we hiked the trails down to the river and collected water to see if there were any tiny creatures in it.
It was quite full, actually. We saw Mayfly larva, Waterboatmen, Crayfish, Minnows, and a whole host of other miniscule, fast-swimming little creatures.
These little magnifiers were so cool AND easy to use. I'm determined to find some.
Catching unwilling specimens for observation was fascinating to Little Man. So there you go - next time you need to occupy your toddler, how about a pan of river water and a plastic spoon?
And finally, a little swim. In his sneakers. Water shoes? We don't need no stinkin' water shoes.