Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a is for ant

After our aquarium visit, we turned our focus to looking at ants. It was a very busy & full day!


My mom is a retired preschool teacher and is super crafty. I've inherited her love of early childhood education, but not her artistic talent. For Jonathan's second birthday she made him a set of alphabet puppets using Evan-Moor's Alphabet Puppets book. 

This week, we pulled out the first puppet "Andy the ant" as well as the three picture cards that represent the short a sound. I had Andy the ant introduce the lowercase a letter to Jonathan and then gave Jonathan his own mini puppet to play with. He enjoyed the interaction, having the puppet say "hello, Mama". But that was the extent of his puppet playing.

Sign Language

We learned the sign for ant.


One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor Pinczes

This is a math story about one hundred ants headed to a picnic. They keep trying different formations of 100 (4 lines of 25, 5 lines of 20, 10 lines of 10, etc.) It's a cute story with engaging rhyme, but it was a little over Jonathan's head. I think this would be great for a preschool unit though, so we'll remember it for next time!

Ants by Cheryl Coughlan

Ants is part of a series of nonfiction books on insects. I chose it because it is a very simple and informative book. There are only a couple of words on each page describing different facts about ants (color, anatomy, ant colonies) and it has real life pictures of ants.  Jonathan paid attention to the story, but never asked to reread. That was fine with me, because I think ants are kind of gross! 

We did not read this book, but if I were to do this unit again, I would be sure to include this book. We sang the song a lot and Jonathan loved it (see music below), so I would definitely try to have a book to go along with the song. This series by Ann Owen covers classic children's songs-- so this one seems like it would be a great choice for next time. 

Find these books in your local library:


We used a lot of great resources from the site Confessions of a Homeschooler for our study of ants. There are tons of resources on Erica's site and I know we'll use even more whenever we revisit our ant lesson. 

First, we did the Ant Number Match Up from COAH. Jonathan had no problem matching the ants by color and naming the numbers on each one. He didn't quite get the point of counting the dots. He's started to show some interest in counting, but hasn't quite made the connection. The pieces were smaller, and I think if they were a bit larger he may have noticed the dots more. It was still a great activity-- and we'll hold on to it for next time!

We also did the Ant Size Sort, which he did fairly well with, but it didn't hold his attention long. 


I found a lot of great songs for ants. Here are some of our favorites:

Jonathan had so much fun with this song. Not only did in reinforce counting, but it was good exercise as we marched around the house. For added fun, I pulled out some cymbals and had him crash them on the "boom, boom, boom" part (when sissy wasn't sleeping). 

Ants in My Pants from Pizza Pizzazz by Peter and Ellen Allard

We checked this CD out from our local library. This was a fun song to just dance along to and follow along with the movements. 

We really like CDs from Kimbo Educational. We borrowed this one from our library. This was another great action song to dance along with and practice some gross motor skills (marching, hopping, etc.). Perfect for a cold winter day!

There's one song I'd love to add to this list, but we don't own and our library system doesn't have a copy. It's "Go to the Ant" by Judy Rogers, from the CD of the same name. I heard this song years ago when my cousin was raising her girls.  It's a song based on the verse from Proverbs 6. The message of the song is about being responsible and doing your work well. 

There is a coloring book to go along with the song. You can download 2 free sample pages from Judy Rogers' website.

Here's the song in concert (poor audio quality):

Library Links


We watched a Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that episode that features Ants (available in Netflix instant play.) We also noticed that there is an ant on Word World.


We attempted to make ants using red ink to make fingerprints, but that activity wasn't very interesting for Jonathan right now.

But what was a big hit this week was his Do-A-Dot markers. We used the "A is for Ant" printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler and he had fun filling in the dots. We ended up doing lots of do-a-dot pages this week. :) 


We didn't get to do any games this time around, but next time I think I will try to find the kids game Ants in the Pants. We can work on some motor skills and hopefully get some giggles in at the same time. Plus, it fits right in with the song from Pizza Pizzazz!


We ate some raisins for our snack that day. We haven't eaten much raisins since they're a choking hazard, but he seemed to do pretty well with them. Next time I think I'll do ants on a log: a piece of celery, some peanut butter or cream cheese, and then line up some raisins to look like ants. 

Whew! It seems like a lot writing all this out, but it really didn't take up much time. Some of the activities (like the music) carried over throughout the week. It was a great kick off to our "a" week!

Web Resources 

A is for Ant @ Confessions of a Homeschooler  (lots of great printables here!)
A is for Ant @ First School
Ant Craft @ Muck Monsters
Counting Ants Game @ Muck Monsters

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