Overview: Bright sunny days and warm weather send most of us outside. Whether you are engaging in an outdoor sport, enjoying a day at the pool, or relaxing with a picnic lunch at your favorite park, you have probably encountered one of the most social insects around...the ant. But don't be bugged by this little intruder, instead, seize the opportunity to teach your little ones about their magnificence using these fun ant activities.
Recommended Grade Level(s): Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First
The best way to teach children about ants is to let them observe their behavior in their natural environment. This can be done outdoors during periods of warm weather. When observing ants outdoors, provide magnifying glasses and nature journals for recording investigations. A device for taking photographs can also be a useful documenting tool. Be sure to communicate that the intent is to observe and record and not to disturb things found in nature. In addition, children need to be aware that some ants can bite or sting. Once you have found some ants to observe, guide students as they evaluate what they see. Ask questions and draw their attention to what the ants are doing--Are they working together? Are they involved in a specific job like gathering food? Here is a lesson on Ant Behavior to use for a more in-depth study.
Foster an Ant Farm
Want to explore what ants really do underground? Investing in an ant farm will help you do just that. Ant farms, when done properly, can provide the perfect viewing area for you and your students to investigate ant behavior and to observe their anatomy up close. Here is a lesson that teaches the anatomy of an ant to use as a supplement to your ant farm. Ant farms, such as ones from Uncle Milton, can be purchased online and shipped right to your door--that even includes the ants!
You can't learn about ants without incorporating them into some fun art activities!
Break out the musical instruments and get marching like ants with these songs about ants!
Here are our picks for some entertaining (and informative) stories about ants. You also don't want to miss our Life Cycle of an Ant lesson plan complete with sequencing cards, a teaching diagram, and a student reader.
Writing Activities About Ants
Writing about a topic can be a great way to solidify concepts taught, assess what has been learned, or simply engage students in a wonderful world of fantasy. The following are writing activities that focus on the topic of ants.
Ants love sweets! One of their favorite things to eat is a sugary liquid produced by aphids called 'honeydew'. Serve up some melon or a special snack sampler that features the same sweet fruits ants would enjoy eating--mangoes, oranges, watermelon, etc. Here are some more ideas for creating bug snacks.