Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Friday: Follow an Ant Trail

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.

One thing we never have trouble finding in our backyard is an ant trail. And though it’s sometimes challenging to find a beginning and end to the trail, there’s usually something worth watching in between.

Last week before heading off to Yosemite, we spotted something exciting going on along an ant trail just outside our back door. A dead bee had re-routed the usual path the ants were taking.

We decided to get closer and have a look. With magnifying glasses in hand, we could see a ton of activity. Not only could we see the ants marching around and on top of the bee, but they also slowly managed to flip the bee over.

While we watched, we tried to figure out what the ants might be doing and why. We talked, asked questions, even made predictions about what they might do next.

One great thing about ants is that they don’t scurry too much when little hands and eyes are nearby. Which meant the explorers could watch for a while, go play, then come back and see if anything new was going on.

What I loved most about the ants and their adventures with the dead bee was just how much learning, wonder and entertainment we found in just a tiny amount of space.

Take-Home Tips
  • Bring along some helpful tools. A magnifying glass helps little ones get a close-up view of ant activity.
  • Ask questions. As we watched the ants go about their business, I was asking the explorers all kinds of things. What are the ants doing? Are they taking the bee somewhere? Eating it? Where do you think this trail leads? 
More Ideas for Summer Outdoor Fun
And if you live in the Los Angeles area, come celebrate the annual Lotus Festival held at historic Echo Park. There will be dancing, music, art, authentic Asian cuisine and more. This is a great chance to enjoy this spot before it closes for a two-year restoration project. Sat. & Sun., July 9-10, noon to 8 p.m.

Happy exploring!


  1. My eldest son loves following ants around at the moment. And he has a sheet to identify our local ants. So he goes around trying to find as many kinds as he can. Ants are fascinating.


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