Creating a frog-friendly habitat: design

Time Allocation: 40 minutes*

Activity Level: Moderate, Complex


Before constructing a frog-friendly habitat, young learners will be required to create a design or a plan. Learners will apply prior learning and information gathered during the research phase to identify the things to include in their habitat design. Having a sound understanding of the frog’s specific survival needs is essential to designing the frog-friendly habitat. The habitat will be created with both living and non-living elements. The design must be fit for purpose.

*The time allocated is to create a cross section design of the frog-friendly habitat, providing the research phase has been undertaken prior to commencing.


  • Frog guide for specific identification and background information (digital or print version) or research materials, e.g. books, pamphlets, devices internet access and those resources suggested in the Reference list.
  • Printable activity sheet
  • Pencils
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Instructions

    STEP 1

    Selecting a site for the frog-friendly habitat.

    Choose an area:

    • that receives part shade and part sun during the day
    • is away from existing large trees; this will avoid falling leaves entering the pond and tree root interference
    • away from houses as frogs can be noisy!
    • where rainwater naturally pools. Explore the direction that water flows in the schoolyard or yard, preferably after it has rained. The ideal location for the pond may be where runoff naturally accumulates.

    Surrounded by vegetation, logs or rocks so the frogs can hide from predators.  

    Near a compost heap or flower garden if there is one, so there are insects nearby.

    STEP 2

    Now that you have selected a suitable location, it’s time to map out the site.

    Draw a simple map of your site.

    Indicate the position, size and shape of the selected frog habitat site.

    Using a measuring tape, measure the area so you know how much space you have for the pond or bog.

    Show existing nearby structures, houses, seats, compost bins.

    Map existing vegetation, logs or rocks and indicate where water pools naturally after rain, if you have that information.

    STEP 3

    Considerations when designing a frog-friendly habitat:

    • design a shallow pond with sloping sides so the frogs can easily enter and exit the pond
    • if using a container, include a ramp in the design using logs, rocks, sand or gravel to lessen the gradient so the frogs can climb in and out easily
    • decide whether to have an ‘overflow’ pond area for excess rainwater. The overflow pond is built below the height of the main pond and allows for water to move to the smaller pond in case of heavy rain
    • select appropriate indigenous aquatic plants for your pond. Some might float while others might grow tall out of the water
    • if your site is lacking native vegetation you will need to plant grasses, plants, ground cover and/or shrubs of different heights around the pond to provide hiding spots from predators and shelter from wind. Plants will also attract insects to your pond.

    Creating a rock pile or log pile adjacent to the pond will provide shelter and shade.

    STEP 4

    Draw a labelled cross section of your frog-friendly habitat design (refer to activity sheet).

    Include in your design:

    • the name of the frog species the habitat is being designed for
    • label the building materials required, e.g. UV resistant plastic liner, prefabricated pond, bathtub
    • label the selected indigenous plants you will use in and/or out of the water and where they will be placed
    • include the approximate dimensions of the frog habitat
    • identify the different zones in the habitat: damp, shallow water, deep water.

    Extension Activity

    Create a prototype of the frog habitat design using modelling clay, sand, thick plastic, water and materials to create artificial plants, grasses and shrubs. This will provide a 3D model as a point of reference and a wonderful visual for the learners.

    Refer to your local frog and habitat experts to help you understand more about the habitat and frogs in your local area. Contact your local Landcare group by searching the National Landcare Directory to help find experts who are skilled in designing natural habitats and can share valuable knowledge, such as working closely with councils.