Educator Resources

Frogs and Toads of Missouri

Spring Peeper

(Pseudacris crucifer)

Breeding Call:

This frog makes very high-pitched "peep, peep, peep" calls.

Peak Calling: February - April

Southern Leopard Frog

(Lithobates sphenacephalus )

Breeding Call:

They make a chuckling sound or a sound similar to rubbing a balloon.

Peak Calling: February - April

Boreal Chorus Frog

(Pseudacris maculata)

Breeding Call:

This call sounds like a fingernail scraping the teeth on a comb.

Peak Calling: February - April

Eastern American Toad

(Anaxyrus americanus americanus)

Breeding Call:

This toad has a long trill - lasting up to 30 seconds!

Peak Calling: March - May

Blanchard's Cricket Frog

(Acris blanchardi)

Breeding Call:

This call sounds like two marbles hitting each other.

Peak Calling: April - July

Gray Treefrog

(Hyla versicolor)

Breeding Call:

This frog has a short bird-like trill that is often heard in residential areas.

Peak Calling: April - July

American Bullfrog

(Lithobates catesbianus)

Breeding Call:

Bullfrogs have a call that sounds like a short low-pitched "moo".

Peak Calling: May - September

Green Frog

(Lithobates clamitans)

Breeding Call:

This call sounds like someone is plucking a single note on a banjo.

Peak Calling: March - May

Frog Chorus Game

Listen to the chorus of frogs below! How do frogs find their mates with so many other frogs calling?

Play this game and see if your students can find their fellow "frogs".

*These instructions are for a group of 20 students, but group sizes and materials can easily be adjusted for smaller or larger groups.

In this game, students will be divided into different species (groups) of frogs. Each group will have a unique noise that they will make with a shaker to attract a mate. In each group, there will be male and female frogs. Male frogs will have shakers (containers filled with a small object) to help them call for a mate. The female frogs will be blindfolded and must listen for the sound of their group's shaker noise. Female frogs can't mate with just any species of frog, so it's important that they find the right call!


  • 15 small empty containers (film canisters, spice containers, water bottles, etc.)

  • 5 different types of small objects (coins, rice, rocks, beads, etc.)

  • 5 blindfolds

Getting Started:

  1. Partially fill 3 containers with the same small object, and label these containers with a color. Repeat until you have 5 groups of containers.

      • Example: The red containers will have beads. The green containers will all have rice.

  2. Divide your students into 5 groups. Each group will be assigned a color, which represents their species.

  3. Have your students shake their group's containers (shakers) to hear the noise it makes. This will be their "frog call".

  4. Each group will need to choose one person to be blindfolded. The blindfolded student will need to remember what their group's shaker sounds like.

How to Play:

  1. Students with shakers will be the male frogs, calling for a mate. Blindfolded students will be the female frogs listening for their mate.

  2. Have the blindfolded students stand in the middle of the group, and the rest of the students will make a circle around them. Students with shakers will stay in one spot for the entire round.

  3. The "male frogs" will start shaking their shakers, and the blindfolded students will carefully walk towards the sound of their group's shaker.

  4. Once a blindfolded student thinks they have found their "mate", they should say their group's color. The "male frog" should tell them "yes" or "no". If the answer is "no", they will continue to search for their group. If the answer is "yes", they can remove their blindfold.

  5. The round is over once the "female frogs" have found their "mates".

  6. Ask the students if it was hard or easy to find their group. Besides removing their blindfolds, how could they change their calls to make it easier to find each other? How do they think frogs overcome this challenge and find their mates?

Alternative Rounds:

  • Try doing a round with each group calling at different times. For example, the blue group calls for the first minute, and the red group calls for the second minute. This mimics how different species call at different times of the year. Ask the students if it was easier to find their "mates" when less groups were calling at the same time.

  • Different frog species produce calls at different pitches which helps separate their call from other species. Have one group stomp on the ground or tap a desk to produce a lower pitch than their shakers. You can also have another group whistle or tap a musical triangle to produce a higher pitch than their shakers. Ask the students if it was easier to focus on and find their "mates" when their group had a call with a significantly different pitch.

All animals have evolved different life-history strategies based on what helped their ancestors to survive and successfully reproduce. In Missouri, frogs and toads start calling as early as February and as late as September. The Wood Frog's strategy is to breed very early in the year (February or March), while the Green Frog and Bullfrog will call as late as September. Several frog species breed at the same time as Spring Peepers, but these small frogs produce a very loud, high-pitched call that can be easily distinguished from other calls. Next time you're out on a spring or summer night, try counting all of the species of frogs and toads you hear calling.

For a PDF version of this game, please click here.


Does your class want to help scientists identify frogs and toads?

FrogWatch is a great way to introduce students to local frog and toad species, and teach them the importance of community science programs! Teachers can become a FrogWatch volunteer and include their students in collecting data.

Examples of Ways You Can Include Your Students:

  • Teachers can pick a site to monitor and record the frogs and toads they hear. Then the class can listen to the recording and identify the species together.

  • Teachers can listen for frogs and toads and report the species they heard to their class. Then the class can make a chart to keep track of the species the teacher heard each month.

  • Students can listen for frogs and toads near their home and then bring a recording to the teacher to verify the species that were heard.

To learn more about how to become a FrogWatch volunteer, click here to view the FrogWatch Volunteer page. To watch a virtual training, visit the Presentations & Handouts page.