Bug Unit #1 - Ants

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bug Unit #1 - Ants

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We are starting our hands on bug unit this week studying ants. This unit includes lots of hands on exploration and play based science learning for toddler, preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade.
Ant Unit - this is such a fun hands on but unit for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade including not only fun bug crafts and ant art activities, but ant science experiments and so much more!

Bug Unit - Science Fun for Preschoolers

For our latest Science Unit we used Janice Van Cleave’s Play and Find Out about Bugs. It has fun, creative, interesting, and educational ideas for kids 3-7 years old to explore BUGS. It was the perfect way to have some Science fun with all three of my kiddos Tinker Bell (2), Minnie (4), and Goofy (7). First up….. ANTS!

The Lifecycle of Ants for Kids

The Lifecycle of Ants for KidsThe Lifecycle of Ants for Kids

Fingerprint Ant Hill Craft for Kids

We learned about an ant’s life cycle in the book Ant Cities and then the kids got to interact with the different stages with the Ant Life Cycle Stages. It really helped them to visualize & understand the stages. We put them in order and then Tinker Bell (almost 2) got to play with them.
Ant Hill Craft for Preschoolersclose up of ant hill illustration for kids

Ant Habitat - Indoor Science Observation for Kids

We drew an ant hill and the tunnels inside. Then we made fingerprint ants going up the hill and inside the ant. we added ants in the different lifecycle stages, the larger queen ant, and labeled them. (My kids tell me this was their favorite part).
Indoor Ant Farm - Exploring habitats with kidsIndoor Ant Farm - Exploring habitats with kids
We put ants in our ant farm and observed them building tunnels – so cool!

Simple Spoon Ants Craft for Kids

Simple Spoon Ant Craft for Kids
painting  our ant craft
We made spoon ants (an idea that has been around since I was a kid. This post at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational) reminded me of it and we decided to make our own! We painting spoons black and then wrapping pipe cleaners around the spoons to make legs & antennae. We added some googly eyes and WHALA – we have our own, super cute ANTS!

How Do Ants Walk for Kids

Science Experiment for Kids - How does an Ant Walk
We did a simple experiment to learn how an ant walks. We put 6 legs (toothpicks) in Play Dough to see how ants balance. Then we tried pulling out different toothpicks until we found the maximum number of toothpicks we could pull out and have the ant still balance. You can pull out 3 toothpicks (the middle on one side along with the front & back on the other row). That is how an ant balances when they walk. They pull up those legs, balance, move forward, and repeat on the opposite legs.

Ants on a Log Science Snack for Kids

Ants on a Log Snack for Kids
We had the classic Ants on a Log (with a twist). I didn’t have any raisins on hand so I used some mini chocolate chips we had laying around – YUM!

Ants Fieldtrip - GIANT bugs at the Zoo

Ant Fieldtrip for KidsAnt Fieldtrip for Kids
Earlier (in one of our many travels this year) we got a chance to see GIANT Bugs at a zoo. There were GIANT bugs, information, a HUGE ant farm, chances to interact with actual bugs, and even a chance to eat bugs! Yep, the kids ate a bug – they said it tasted like cereal!

NOTE: If you live in or near St. Paul, Minnesota make sure you pop over the the Children's Museum so your kids can crawl inside an HUGE ant hill replica. It is amazingly FUN!

Ants Movie Night for Kids - Disney's A Bug's Life

And we finished up our unit by watching Disney’s  A Bug’s Life movie. Such a fun movie! This was actually at our local park district and included interacting with actual bugs during intermission!

FREE Ant / Bug Printables 

Measuring-Bugs-Square65 Our unit was focused on Science, but you could easily do a whole week theme using one of these great Tot/Preschool Packs here.


  1. Nice unit. We did a similar ant project http://www.brennaphillips.com/the-ants-go-marching Always goes well w the ants go marching song. LOL

  2. I have nominated you for an award. Check it out:

    Be blessed,
    Julie @ Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

  3. What a wonderful unit! I love all the fun ways you studied ants. I would love for you to link this post to Read.Explore.Learn tomorrow.

  4. Fun study!!!I remember making ants like that with the Beavers when I was a Scouts Canada leader in the eighties! That really takes me back.

    I don't think you're infringing any copyright IMO, because I've seen that craft in many places over the years, and you cited your source.

  5. Oooooh I love those spoon creatures - so genius! I remember doing them in bible day camp when I was little (let's just say to this mama in her mid-thirties that was a lifetime ago but I remember them fondly). I think there might even be a book out there too about all the spoon creatures you can make, I remember doing all kinds of creatures; butterflies, bugs, etc.

    xx melissa @ mamamiss

  6. We have that ant farm and just ordered our ants. :) Great unit!

  7. The spoon ants caught my eye. Good post. Thanks!