An incident with my sons (almost 3.5 and 5) led me to create this Preschool Unit on Ants.
Ant Activities for Preschoolers
My sons turned over a rock. Then, copious amounts of ants scurried out from their home. My sons reacted in a way that didn't surprise me, but they didn't react well. The ants, obviously surprised to see the light of day and my sons, crawled all over their feet and legs.
My sons became angry at the ants. My 3 year old claimed that the “ant made a hole in his leg”. So, his protective older brother began to stomped on the little creatures. I explained that every (well most every) critter has a place on the earth for good reason, that the earth (and therefore we) need the critters. So we need to find a way to co-exist with the ants. I explained the reason why the ants reacted the way they did and why the ants may have “made a hole” in my son's leg.
“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” ― Chief Seattle
After the conversation, I gathered resources to create a mini unit on Ants for my sweet preschool aged boys, hoping that if we learn a bit more about these creatures, we won't have to “hate them” (as my 4 year old proclaimed on our walk back to our home).
BOOKS ABOUT ANTS
March with the Ants is a perfect book to introduce ants to your classroom or children. The illustrations are beautiful. The words read like a story even though the books is largely non-fiction describing lifecycle, environment and body parts. My boys (ages 3 and 4.5) had a lot of questions as we read through this book.
I was pleasantly surprised by Army Ant Parade. The illustrations and content drew my sons into the narrative. Reading the book took a great deal of time because I was bombarded with loads of questions about the ants, their swarm and the ecosystem within which these ants live. My sons clearly became captivated with the ants, rather than afraid or creeped out by them, which was my goal in teaching them a bit more about the amazing qualities of these small insects.
National Geographic Readers: Ants is a must have for your home or classroom. What I love most about these books are the real images and the simple layout. National Geographic does a fantastic job not overstimulating the child.
The Ants Go Marching (Classic Books With Holes) is one of my favorite songs to sing with my children. They giggle, participate in rhyming and counting, and move their bodies! I love Childs Play's Classic Books with Holes. The illustrations are fun, and the kids love to follow along.
- Parts of an Ant Worksheet from California Academy of Sciences
- Parts of an Ant 3 Part Cards Printable (Language & Zoology)
- Types of Ants 3 Part Cards FREE Printable to Subscribers (Language & Zoology)
- Facts about Ants from Pest World for Kids
- Minis Ants great for Practical Life, Sensroial and Math activities.
- Wonderful Post on Ants from Deborah at Teach Preschool. This post includes a link to one of my all time favorite children's songs, There's an Ant Crawling on the Floor. Trust me, children love this song.
- Eating: Snack must include my childhood favorite, “Ants on a Log”. Simple for your children to prepare and healthy! Celery, peanut butter and raisins (the ants!) on top. Delicious.
- Observation: A great tool for observing the talent of ants is the Uncle Milton Ant Farm. My boys loved watching the ants work away.
- Family Members: Discuss the members of the colony and their roles. The Queen, the workers, the males and others like the Soldier Army Ants.
That is a good start. Let me know your ideas!