Find out what ants’ favorite foods are and observe them at work.
What You Need
- Paper plate
What You Do
- Plan Your Menu
Use the marker to divide the plate into six sections. Set it outside on a warm day, in a spot where you’ve seen ants. Then put a different food in each section of the plate.
- Sit Back and Watch
It will take the ants a while to find their picnic. But how long? Keep checking back until they do. Once the ants have discovered their good luck, start watching what they do.
- Talk About What You See
What foods are the ants’ favorites? How do you know? Are they eating the food now or just carrying it away? If they’re eating it, describe how they do it. What do they do with food that’s hard to handle?
- Learn More
- Make an obstacle course. Ants leave drops of scent as a roadmap to tell each other how to find the food. That’s why they travel in a line. What happens if that scent trail is disturbed? Put an object over the path. What do the ants do? Wipe away a bit of the trail with your hand. What do the ants do now?
- Visit their home. Follow the ants from the food to their mound. Have your child imagine what lies below their front door.
- Watch the ants at work. A magnifying glass will give you a closer look, but do not hurt the ants by aiming sunlight through the glass onto them. Ask your child: How do the workers carry food back home? Can you find the soldier ants guarding the trail and the opening to their mound? How do they look different? How do these differences help them with their jobs? (Soldier ants are bigger and have bigger jaws. They are built to be good fighters.)