Exploring Ants with Preschoolers

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It’s a new month which means a new theme of learning from Experience Early Learning. This month is all about bugs! I have to admit, I used to hate those creepy crawlies, but after this past year of Exploring Nature with Children and trying to show my kids how to love and enjoy the great outdoors, I have found more respect for bugs. (still not a fan of wasps and cockroaches though)

I always try to start our day with some books. I ordered The Big Book of Bugs by Yoval Zommer and I am so glad I did! This book covers so much and the pictures and text is perfect for young kids. I love all her books!

We also read The Aesop Fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, and talked about how the ant worked so hard while the grasshopper lazed about. It reminded me of the Scripture I had read just the other morning, Proverbs 6: 6-8 . I read the children this Scripture and we discussed obedience, hard work, and laziness.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;

    consider its ways and be wise!

It has no commander,

    no overseer or ruler,

yet it stores its provisions in summer

    and gathers its food at harvest.

After our discussion, we ventured outdoors in search of ants. We found some whose home was destroyed the day before by my toddler son. They had rebuilt it and we could see the ants moving grains of dirt out and using it to build their anthill. All that tunnel dirt has to go somewhere! The kids stood an observed for quite some time before we searched for more in the front yard. We had quite a few anthills to observe.

After exploring and playing outside, it was time to build anthills in our Invitation to Create. Having already observed ants in nature really helped the kids to create their masterpieces. EEL sent us paper cones, cardstock and sand for the kids to create Anthills with, all I had to add was paint, glue, scissors, and a brush.

I love how our friend who did school with us this day explained his work. “All this is dirt (right side), and here are the ants (left side) and look in my anthill. (I look). That’s the queen! She’s laying the eggs in the anthill while all the workers are outside.” His work is the right side picture below.

We went back outside and the kids were building in the sandbox. When I came out, they kept referring to me as “Queen” so I kept referring to them as “Worker Ant.” I love it when the learning takes on it’s own!

Our friend left shortly after that, so we continued our Ant day the following day with just my daughter (5) and son (2). Their daddy actually got to have the day off and tried to nap on the floor while the kids played Anthill Math.

EEL sent us these black little chips, a spinner, anthill cones, and ants on a number log (not pictured). The kids spun the number, placed that amount of ants (black chips) into their hill. This was great for one-to-one correspondence. I asked which hill had more ants which was pretty easy for my 5 year old to answer, so we added the 2 hills together to challenge her a bit. My son is obsessed with that spinner!

We are looking forward to our learning adventures this month and I hope you find some inspiration to play and learn with your littles!

If you want to see what our bug month was like 3 years ago when my girl was 2, check out these posts:

Crazy Caterpillar Crafts

Slug Slime

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