Making an “ant farm” for your children is an excellent way to hold their attention for hours and is a good educational tool as well. They can teach children the importance of an ecosystem as well as responsibility in caring for a creature that relies on them for food and water. “Ant farms” are both easy to make and inexpensive. They are a good pet for children that live in apartments or a home with limited space. They are perfect for kids that are allergic to dogs and cats. Best of all these pets don’t have to be house trained!
To make an “ant farm” you will need:
1 Large Glass Jar, Fish Bowl or Tank
smaller jar or tube
Start by placing the smaller jar or tube inside the larger glass container. Using a small jar will encourage the ants to build their tunnels on the outside of the jar where your child can see them instead of tunneling in the middle.
Next find an ant pile and using a shovel carefully dig enough ants and dirt to fill your jar within 2-3 inches from the top. Pack the dirt firmly. You can use other dirt to fill your jar but it is easy to use just transplant the anthill into it’s new home. If you are using red ants or other varieties that can bite keep your child a safe distance away from this part of the project.
Capture as many ants as you can including a ant that looks larger than the others and a queen ant which may have wings. You might also scoop up little white eggs and larvae.
If ants are not readily available in your area craft and hobby stores can generally give you information on where to mail order them. They are generally very inexpensive and travel well.
Ants like to eat small bread crumbs, or bread dipped in sugar water or with a drop of honey. They can also eat tiny bits of fruit and vegetables but don’t feed them to much or their tank can get cluttered before they can remove it to their underground storage space.
To water your new pets, let your child drop a water-soaked cotton ball into the jar. Most of the liquid ants need they can get from their food but it is a good idea to add a new wet cotton ball every few days as needed.
Your ants probably will not be able to climb up the glass walls of the jar but if there is a chance the jar could be knocked over it is safer to include a top with holes punched for adequate air supply. The added darkness can also trick ants into feeling they are underground.
Your new ants will immediately become busy working on their new home. Discourage kids from moving the jar: this could settle the dirt and cave in the ants’ tunnels. To have more fun with your ants, you can add minuture trees or tiny farmhouses found at hobby stores.Your new ants