What Do Ants Eat?
Here's a big way to study small insects.
- Grades: PreK–K
- chart paper
- magnifying glasses
- small paper plates
On the top of a sheet of chart paper, write the question What do we think ants eat? Read the question to children, and then engage them in a discussion about ants. Encourage them to think about the different types of foods that they might eat. Do they eat outdoor plants? Are they attracted to sweet or sour foods, such as honey, chocolate, or lemon? Record their responses. Explain that they will get to choose a few different food items to place outside to see what foods ants will or will not eat.
In the morning, put the different food items on small paper plates and place them in an outdoor area away from children's play. Take the group outdoors later in the day to see if the ants have come. If they don't come the first day, the class can check the food the following morning.
Give everyone magnifying glasses to observe the ants, and use a camera to document their study. Engage children in discussions as they are observing the ants, pointing out how the ants look, how they move, and how they work together to transport food.
Conclude the activity by helping children summarize what they learned about ants. What foods did the ants eat? Which foods were not appealing to the ants? What else did they learn about them? What other insects were attracted to the foods that they set out? Create a wall display to show the learning process of the ant study.
Remember: Discuss safety rules with children before they observe the ants. Remind them not to touch or step on the ants. Be sensitive to any children who may be afraid of bugs.
Egg-Carton Insects: Send home this art activity that families can do with their children. Have them share a book about insects with their child and discuss the different segments of an insect's body. Then have them give their child art supplies to make an insect.
Curriculum Connection: Cooking
Ants on a Plant: Here's a healthy snack that children can make by themselves. Spread peanut butter, cream cheese, or whipped cottage cheese on pieces of celery. Give children raisins (ants) and demonstrate how to line them up along their celery plant like marching ants. Now enjoy this tasty treat!