Friday, September 2, 2011

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Experiment With Ants

Late summer ants may bug you, but they are a great research topic for your preschooler!  Watch some outside for a few minutes and talk about what your child notices.  Particularly good times to observe them are mornings and evenings when the weather is conducive to their hunt for food.  Ask your preschooler if he thinks they like sweet things like honey or salty things like crackers better.  Let him set up tiny bait stations (one with a drop of honey and the other with some fine cracker crumbs) near each other and watch to see which the ants prefer.  Feel free to try other foods too!  Let him draw a picture showing what you learned!  If you're feeling ambitious, use the internet to find out what type of ants you saw!

Note: Different ant species have different food preferences.  Some like sweet, some like salty, some like protein, some like fats, and many like a combination. 

** There are more than 10,000 different species of ants!
** An ant can carry something three times heavier than itself!
** Ants can "talk" to each other with pheromones and other chemicals...they can "smell" messages with their antennae!

Safety note:  Some ants bite and sting.  Use caution when observing any animal, including ants. 

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