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Ant Small World: The Different Roles of Ants

We have been enjoying learning about ants and their different roles. J loved her play dough ant life cycle that allowed her to reinforce all the concepts she was exposed to on the Magic School Bus and both kids enjoyed their Dot Marker Race: Dot the Ant Body Parts. Today I decided to create a simple Ant small world that would help her learn the different roles of ants for her to play with in quiet time.

I honestly wanted to use mini plastic ants for this activity, but I was so afraid that it would seem too realistic for J. She still has nightmares about bugs, so I figured I would go with paper ants. The next thing I had to figure out was how to make the paper ants stand on their own. Luckily I found my stash of kinetic sand.

What You Need

Please note that affiliate links are used below for your convenience.

 Neenah Exact Index Card Stock, 8.5 x 11 Inch, 90 lb, White, 250 Sheets (40311) HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Instant Ink Kinetic Sand 2 pound Brown


  • ant roles pack (at the end of the post)

Ant small world showing the different roles of ants

First, grab your tray and place a layer of kinetic sand down. You want it to be thick enough to hold your ant cards.

Next, print the ants from the ant pack and stick them in the sand.

Talk about the different roles that the ants play. You can read on below for a few pointers.

I love when a simple activity can help a child understand a concept. This simple ant small world allowed my daughter to learn the different roles of ants.

Different Roles of Ants

Queen: The queen is usually the largest ant and is the one who lays all the ant eggs. Because she lays all the ant eggs, she is their mommy. She can live up to 30 years!!

Drone: The drones are the male ants in the colony. They have wings almost as large as the queen’s.

Soldiers: The soldiers are female ants that have bigger heads that the worker ants. They tend to do most of the heavy lifting and protect the colony even though they spend most of their time working with the workers.

Workers: These are the ants we see most often, and they are generally the smallest sized ants in the colony. They are female and make up most of the colony. They can live up to 3 years.