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If you’ve been following along, you know that my kids and I completed an ant unit and I am sharing a number of activities we did to learn about ants as part of that unit.
In reading about ants, we learned that different kinds of ants like different kinds of foods, including seeds, insects, and aphid honeydew. However, the ants in our ant farm simply ate the gel that was part of their habitat, so their eating habits were not all that interesting. Therefore, we decided to set up a science activity to learn what the ants in our backyard like to eat.
Note: For more resources, printables and activities related to ants and other insects, please see my insects unit study page.
We decided to place several different types of food onto a tray. (We used these plastic paint palettes to separate the different foods.)
The foods that we placed on our tray included:
- small crumbs of bread
- shredded cheese
- small chunks of walnut
- an orange, which is not pictured below as it was added right before we headed back inside and I forgot to snap a picture (oops!)
After we placed the tray of food in our backyard, we waited around a little while to see if any ants would come along.
Eventually, we got one lone ant to come check out the food. She wasn’t too interested in the walnuts.
But she did stop for a while to check out the honey.
Even though nothing really exciting happened right away, the kids, especially QBoy, kept staring and staring at the tray. Eventually I had to drag him inside with the promise that we would return in an hour or two to check on the food.
And when we went back out a while later, we were not disappointed with what we saw! The ants were all over the honey and the orange, and to a lesser extent, the raisins. The ants pretty much ignored the walnuts, bread, and cheese.
We used this activity to spark a discussion of why the ants were attracted the the honey, orange, and raisins but not the other foods. (Hint: It has to do with the sugar content of the foods!)
More Ant learning resources
More ant posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Ant Printables Pack
- Ant Do-a-Dot Printables
- Ant 3-Part Cards
- Ant anatomy activity and printable
- Learning about ant habitats
- Books about ants