Pond dipping

Beneath the surface of the water, there's an unseen world of amazing wildlife ready to be discovered. Get dipping!

Pond dipping is something we can all do and it's loads of fun! There are all sorts of interesting creatures living in even the smallest of ponds.

What's lurking in the depths of a pond near you? Maybe a mysterious alien-like dragonfly nymph, or a great diving beetle perhaps! 

Set off on an expedition to your garden pond, or visit one of our reserves and take part in an organised pond dip!

You'll be amazed at the amount of different things you'll find sharing a home in the water.

Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Take a look at your progress and go for gold!


Did you know Dragonflies have been around on earth for around 300 million years and some of the early species may have been the size of seagulls!


people have completed this activity

What you will need

  • A net (you can learn how to make your own one here!)
  • A tray to put the creatures you find in
  • Spoons to look at minibeasts more closely
  • Our Activity sheet (download in: English, Cymraeg, Bilingual) or a pond guide
  • Camera or pens and paper

Welsh/English bilingual resources are also now available for our family Wild Challenge activities/ Adnoddau dwyieithog rŵan ar gael ar gyfer gweithgareddau Sialens Wyllt

Step by step

  1. Approach the water quietly and move slowly. This will give you the best chance to see the wildlife, not only in the water, but also by the water's edge.
  2. Once you’re at the water’s edge, look into the water first. This will give you a moment to see what it is you may catch, how it moves and where it hides!
  3. An adult should fill the tray with pond water.
  4. When you are safely set up and ready, slowly lower your net into the water. To keep the water flowing through the net, move it gently in a figure of eight motion. 
  5. After a few loops gently lift it out, and place inside out in the water in your tray. The catch is then ready to be observed.
  6. Use the pond ID sheet to find out what animals you've caught.
  7. Keep safe around water. Always have an adult present and be very careful as the edge of a pond can be slippery.
  8. When you've finished dipping, carefully pour the content of your tray back into the pond and give the tray and net a gentle rinse. If you're planning to use your net in a different pond, get a grown-up to soak it in fresh, hot water to avoid transferring any nasties from pond to pond.
  9. Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or a piece of writing talking about your experience to help earn your award.
Looking for pondlife

Completing the activity

Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of what you saw or your family on the look out! Alternatively, draw or paint what you saw or upload a piece of writing talking about your experience.

Watch some pond explorers

Pond dipping in the garden

A family spend the afternoon pond dipping.

Family pond dipping video screenshot

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