In response to COVID-19, Barnacles & Bees has cancelled our Free Family Nature Play Classes for the remainder of 2020. Our Nature Immersion Program is currently in session with reduced capacity.
Hello Learning Community!
Exciting news! Barnacles and Bees has been approved for a PPP grant and we are up and running with all your favorite people, so please don't hesitate to email any questions as they come up!
And now for some ants. I don't know about you, but I have a love hate relationship with ants. I hate when they scurry into my house (where we live in West Bremerton is basically an ant hill) but I love how they pull by little ones into observing nature because it is neat to follow them and find out where they go in such a hurry. Small, common creatures are so accessible and this week we are looking at one of the smallest, and most common: The Ant.
Ants are insects which are part of the Animal Kingdom. The Family of ants makes up 8,000 species!! The black garden ant? It is one of the most common species in Europe and North America. They are very social creatures and goodness their colonies (families) are big.
What are the ant's role within their colony?
1. Queen Ant: She is larger than the other ants, and her role in the colony is to lay eggs.
2. Worker Ants: These are most of the ants, they are daughters of the Queen ant, they CANNOT lay eggs and are sterile. Work? They collect food, take care of eggs, larvae, they defend the nest, and are in charge of making the nest larger. Whew!
3. Male Ants: During warmer months, the Queen lays eggs that hatch into male ants, and new queen ants. They both have wings and only live a few months. Their job is to fly off and mate. The queens will find new sites, and the males don't live long
Also, for more information I found this really cool link, if you want to know more about how ants survive the rain, Paisley was wondering if their colonies just fill up with water. Well your questions are answered here.
1. Ant Farm
Go online and purchase an ant farm from our local Bug Museum. You will NOT regret it. I won't say "endless amounts of entertainment" but definitely will engage your little in observation and asking questions about behavior. The blue gel one, actually glows in the dark.
2. Films about ants
Humans have always been fascinated by ants. There are a few movies out. A Bug’s Life (1998, rated G: General Audiences), is one of team’s favorites :) Now watching movies is a great way to learn and open conversation about a theme with your children. Cyrielle likes to take 15 min after the movie and review a couple of facts and jot down her kids' response. What is the title of the movie? When was the movie made? Who are the main characters? What type of bugs are they? What is the movie about? Anything that will spark a conversation and a learning experience.
3. Play Dough
We (and especially I) have been finding it relaxing to create insects with play dough and then using something from outside to add elements for the ant. For the ant, I found it helpful to skewer the playdough on a toothpick - head, thorax (neck), and abdomen.
Body parts facts:
* Ant Antennae : They touch AND smell with them
* Mandibles : These are used for so many things since ants don't have forearms to help them do things. So these powerful mandibles: biting, crushing, cutting, digging, fighting, and hunting.
1- Ant Hunt:
Take with you three different vessels for collecting an ant inside and see if you can find
- An ant mound on the pavement or in the forest
- A trail of ants
- An ant carrying a piece of food (or being food, I actually saw a Northern Flicker eating some!)
Bring them home (backyard) and note the differences between the ants.
2- Using mandibles
Find some leftover cardboard and draw the outline of 2 mandibles for your kiddos, hand over some scissors, and with you present, have them cut out the shapes. With the pieces, challenge your kiddo to pick up objects with them. Share that ants use these parts of their body to pick up heavy objects and use them to pass food into their mouth.
Extra fun (not Ant related): Create a Volcano from By the Shore, Nancy Blakey
- With a shovel dig a hole in the sand*, and set a bottle inside
- Build a mountain shape covering over the bottle, cover it with bright white shells to be dyed by the lava, if you like
- Take the lid off and add 3 TB baking soda and 1 tsp of liquid dish soap with funnel
- Then finally, add 1/2 cup vinegar with red food coloring
- Stand back and watch
* it doesn't have to be sand but it is nice for packing and showing off the color you use
I hope you are all doing great, and enjoying the beautiful weather out there
Our team cares about you and misses being with you in person