Disappearing Ants

Young children enjoy learning about how things work. They love experimenting with the physical properties of objects to understand how they function.

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By participating in activities that foster this experimentation, your little ones are learning important critical thinking and observation skills.

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These activities not only promote their inherent curiosity about the things around them but foster the pure joy of cause and effect.

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For this activity, we experimented with food coloring to create disappearing ants! Using eye droppers, students dropped red food coloring onto a white piece of paper.

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These papers were spotted with ants drawn with white crayons. As they dropped their dye, they saw “red” ants mysteriously appear!

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Queen Ant Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way for preschoolers to develop hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills. They also provide an engaging introduction to the critical thinking skills necessary for elementary school learning.

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For this particular activity, we discussed the differences between a queen ant and a worker ant. We then reviewed the colors and anatomy of an ant. Lastly, we constructed our own ants using pre-made puzzle pieces.

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While working on these puzzles, your little ones were directed to recognize the colors they saw, and later learned that they sum of parts make up a whole – a concept that will foster math skills later on.

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Ant Colony – Group Project

Focused learning and cooperative play are the hallmarks of small group activities.

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The preschool classroom is the perfect place to learn the give and take of working together with other students. When paired with engaging projects, cooperative learning stimulates cognitive growth and promotes prosocial behavior.

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For this activity, we used a few materials to create an ant colony. Before starting, we talked about what an any colony was. We then read the book Ant Cities, by Arthur Dorros.

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In this book, we learned that ants create networks of tunnels. These tunnels enable them to live  and support their colony.

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Using boxes, toy ants, and cardboard tubes, we created the tunnels we saw in the book. With our friends, we pretended to be “worker ants”, working together to create a home!

Ants on a Log

When children participate in the kitchen, they are learning important life skills.

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With specific direction, they can create tasty dishes, and enjoy the sense of autonomy that is fostered as a result.

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These kinds of activities provide endless opportunities for building self-esteem and increasing vocabulary!

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For this particular activity, we created a traditional snack called Ants on a Log.

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With the assistance of a picture diagram, your little ones learned how to combine raisons, peanut butter, and celery to create their very own snack!

 

Ants in the Grass

Several species of ants commonly inhabit home lawns and ornamental plantings of trees and shrubs.

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Using tweezers, plastic ants, and plastic grass, we practiced our fine motor skills by looking for these interesting critters.

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Before we began this activity, we talked about what kinds of ants live in urban areas. Your little one learned that a wide variety of ants owe their existence to large urban areas like Los Angeles and New York City.

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Some ants they learned about included carpenter ants, pavement ants, acrobat ants, little black ants, and fire ants. 

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This activity encouraged fine motor development, the application of new subject matter, and hand-eye coordination.

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Ant Life Cycle

Ants undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through a sequence of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. An ant’s life begins as an egg. Ant eggs are soft, oval, and tiny – about the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

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Not all eggs are destined to become adults – some are eaten by nest mates for extra nourishment. An egg hatches into a worm-shaped larva with no eyes or legs. Larvae are eating machines that rely on adults to provide a constant supply of food. As a result, they grow rapidly, molting between sizes.

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When a larva is large enough, it metamorphoses into a pupa. This is a stage of rest and reorganization. Pupae look more like adults, but their legs and antennae are folded against their bodies. They start out whitish and gradually become darker. The pupae of some species spin a cocoon for protection, while others remain uncovered, or naked. Finally, the pupa emerges as an adult.

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Young adults are often lighter in color, but darken as they age. The process of development from egg to adult can take from several weeks to months, depending on the species and the environment. For this activity, we talked about the ant life cycle and the different ants within the colony. Using pre-made cutouts, students completed the life cycle by placing them into kinetic sand: starting with the queen, moving on to a larva, continuing to a pupa, and finishing with a worker ant!

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Ant Manipulatives

Though most preschoolers are unable to yet read, there are several activities they can partake in that promote literacy.
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One of these activities is recognizing letters and working with manipulatives. To encourage focus, and promote an experience that will foster their pre-reading skills, your little one placed “ants” onto a bingo dauber card (to which an A was attached).
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Activities involving manipulatives are an ideal means to introduce your little one to essential literacy and prewriting skills. They provide a fun, hand-on experience that your budding reader is sure to relate to.
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