Is there anything more exciting for a preschooler than ants? Probably not! These little creatures are fascinating and can provide hours of entertainment for kids. An incident with my sons (almost 3.5 and 5) led me to create this mini-unit with loads of ant activities for preschoolers!
So, if you’re looking for some fun activities to keep your preschoolers entertained, look no further! Below are some great ideas that will have your little ones excited to learn about these tiny creatures.
Ant Facts for Kids
Did you know that ants are one of the most common insects in the world? Ants are fascinating creatures, and there is a lot to learn about them. Here are some fun facts about ants that kids will love:
- There are more than 12,000 species of ants
- Ants can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Ants are hardworking insects that live in colonies. Each colony can have tens of thousands of ants, and they all work together to collect food and build their nests.
- Some ant species can even farm other insects to grow their food.
- Ants can lift objects that are up to 100 times their body weight
- Some ant species build underground tunnels that can stretch for miles
- Ant colonies have a complex social structure, with different types of ants working together to care for the young, build the nest, and collect food
- Ants communicate with each other by releasing chemicals called pheromones
- Ants have two-way communication, meaning they can send and receive messages
- An ant’s brain is only about the size of a pinhead, but it can navigate its way back to its nest from great distances
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 didn’t respond 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 stomp on the little creatures. I explained that every (well almost 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.
After the conversation, I gathered resources to create a mini-unit on Ants for my sweet preschool-aged boys, hoping that if we learn more about these creatures, we won’t have to “hate them” (as my 4-year-old proclaimed on our walk back to our home).
CHILDREN’S 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 are 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 became captivated by 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 tiny insects.
National Geographic Readers: Ants are 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 of 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.
Ant Learning Resources
- Geosafari Ant Factory
- 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 are great for Practical Life, Sensorial, and Math activities.
- Fantastic 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: Snacks must include my childhood favorite, “Ants on a Log.” Simple for your children to prepare and be healthy! Celery, peanut butter, and raisins (the ants!) are on top. Delicious.
- Observation: An excellent 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!