Observing ants in our light-up ant farm has been the highlight of our nature studies so far. We have had so much fun with our ant farm set-up. To continue our ant learning, I came up with a couple hands-on activities plus an ant nature journal perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
Whenever I can, I try to pair my children’s observations of the outside world with hands-on activities and quality literature. Over the years we’ve accumulated various plastic animals. I finally found a good use for them. 🙂
I like to use those plastic creatures that you can get in Toobs or the Dollar store for classifying activities, sorting activities, and just plan old imagination activities. We had learned that ants are insects and have 6 legs. So I dumped various types of plastic animals in our sensory bin along with two plastic nets and let my girls play.
The two girls were starting to argue over who gets which animals when my 5yr. old made a suggestion. She told her little sister that she could have all the animals that don’t have 6 legs. [I have a spider sorting mat that could be used with this sensory box]
And she would get all the animals that had 6 legs. I was impressed that she decided to sort all the animals this way without being told. I also had to grin because I also knew that she knew this would give her more animals. 🙂
I also had a bag of plastic ants and an ant information flashcard. We used the big ants to go over the parts of an ant: head, thorax, abdomen, antenna, mandible, and legs. We sang a little song to the tune of “The Farmer and the Dell” to remember the 3 main parts of an ant.
I just love using paper bag books as nature journals! It is just the right size for little preschool hands. They also can be customized in so many different ways that no one book will look alike. Our book has ant observation pages, a song page, a cut-and-paste label-it page, and more. Since my posts tend to get photo-heavy, I uploaded the ant journal photos in a slide show. (If you are reading this post in a reader or email, it might not show up. Here’s the direct link to the ant journal pictures.)
You can get these ant printables and more in the Nature Printables for Toddlers and Preschooler’s ebook.