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How To Make Your First Ant Farm 
 
by Wendelynn Gunderson June 27, 2005

An ant farm in a jar is an easy summer science project for younger children. This simple ant jar uses materials you'll have at home and will provide hours of interesting fun for the kids.

Do you have a future entomologist in your family? An entomologist is a scientist who specializes in insects. Ants fascinate kids and a small ant colony is easily made and maintained by young children.  This project is ideal for kindergarteners and early primary grade students.  With parental help, a four year old will be able to manage this as well.  An ant jar is a good home schooling science project.  Students will learn about ants environmental requirements, food needs and of course, will be able to observe the colony behavior in a controlled way. Simple as is may be, this ant jar provides training in observation that helps develop a questioning mind.  

Making the Ant Jar

You will need:

  • 1 quart or larger clear glass jar
  • 1 8 – 10 inch pie plate
  • 1 2 inch deep pan, larger than the pie pan, to hold water
  • Soil
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Water
  • Ants

 Directions: Fill the both the jar and the pie plate about two-thirds full with soil. Set the jar into the bowl of soil.  Settle the jar into the soil so that it is level and stable.  Place the pie plate into the larger pan and add at least 1 inch of water to the pan.  The water acts as a moat to keep your ants from escaping.  If you use a quart jar, you can substitute a soup bowl for the pie plate and a 10 inch pie plate for the water pan.

Don’t cover the jar.  Ants are curious and active creatures who will appreciate being able to wander over the top of the jar and into the surrounding dirt. They may crawl over the edge of the pie plate, but when they hit the moat, they will turn back to the soil mound. Ants won’t cross water, so you don’t have to be concerned about an ant invasion in your kitchen!  Your child will probably enjoy watching the ants test the water with their antennae, rather like how we dip a toe into the pool to test the water temperature.

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