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Allowing children to keep ants can be fun for everyone and can spark your kids' interest in science. Kids will love feeding the ants and watching their activities.

Make your own 'ant farm' with help from an adult.

What You'll Need:

  • Jam jar (plastic if possible)
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Water
  • Sand
  • Spoon
  • Pan or large bowl
  • Small block of wood
  • Cloth or clong film
  • Rubber band
  • Ants
  • Bits of bread
  • Instructions:

1. Clean and dry the jam jar.

2. Measure the jar from the base to just below the shoulder and cut a long strip of cardboard that wide.

3. Bend the strip of cardboard into a cylinder the same size as the mouth of the jar. Staple or tape the ends together and put the cylinder into the jar.

4. Add water to sand until it is just barely moist. Spoon the sand into the space between the cylinder and the jar.

5. Set a block of wood in the middle of a larger container (pan, large bowl, etc) and place the jar on top of it. Fill the pan with water. This forms a moat that will foil any ants that try to escape.

6. Cover the top of the jar with several layers of cloth held in place with a rubber band. Cling film with tiny holes will work too.

7. Catch some ants outdoors and put them on top of the sand of your ant farm. You should only put in ants from the same colony, so try to catch all of your ants around the same location.

Generally speaking, an ant colony cannot reproduce without a queen (she usually lives underground and can be hard to catch), so your ants will be worker ants. Often the ants you find on the surface are the foragers and the more elderly members of the colony. They will naturally die in a matter of months, but at the end of the day you should consider releasing them back to the colony once you've finished looking at them.

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