Friday, July 15, 2016

Montessori-Inspired Ant Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Young children often have mixed feelings about ants. They're fascinated by ants, while at the same time many of those children find ants a bit frightening. So today, I want to share some ant activities and printables that are high interest and will hopefully help ease children's fears of ants. 

You'll find lots of free ant printables in my Free Ant Printables and Montessori-Inspired Ant Activities. Here, I'm sharing some Montessori-inspired ant activities using free printables for preschoolers through first graders. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  

Ant Pin Poking Activity

  Ant Pin Poking Activity 

Free Printable: Ant Pattern from Pattern Universe from Pattern Universe or Printable Ant Shape from Printable Treats 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft Tray, colored construction paper, Wood-Handled Puncher from Montessori Services (Read the push pin warning and why I recommend using the wood-handled puncher.), and a Felt Pad from Montessori Services (Note: The Montessori Services felt pads are now black so they don’t get dirty as easily.) 

This is similar to my snail pin poking activity last month. You can't see the ant image in the photo, but it does show up. If you wanted it clearer, you could simply print out the template and trace around it with white ink. 

Punching out the ant is a good way for young child to develop fine motor coordination and work on the pencil grip needed for writing. It's also a wonderful activity for developing the ability to concentrate.  

Ant Mazes Ant Maze Activity Free Printable: Ant Mazes from Gift of Curiosity, which I laminated to use with the erasable crayon. 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft tray, miniature ant, erasable crayon, and chalk eraser. I love this for an early writing activity. It doesn't take a lot of coordination but is a good way to practice holding a writing instrument. There are more difficult ant mazes in the pack for older children, too. And a child could "walk" the ant through the maze for a simple fine-motor activity. 

 Counting Ants Picnic Activity Counting Ants Picnic Activity Free Printable: Counting Ants Game from Glued to My Crafts 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft tray, Montessori Services basket, napkin from our tea party picnic, 10 miniature ants, and a small bamboo condiment cup to hold the ants. I just used 10 ants. If you'd like to lay this out like Montessori cards and counters, you'll have enough ants (55 are needed). There are supposed to be 50+ ants, although there were 73 in my package. Counting Ants Picnic LayoutYou could also take turns picking a piece of picnic food and counting out the appropriate number of ants. 

Ant and Anteater Subtraction Activity Ant and Anteater Subtraction Activity Free Printable: Ant Numbers (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Free Printable: Mathematics Operations Buttons from Flaticon 


Free Printable: Giant Anteater Photo from Flickr Creative Commons 

For this activity, I used a a Multicraft tray, miniature ants (totally fun), tweezers (to add a fine-motor activity), and small bamboo condiment cups to hold the pieces. 

Ant and Anteater Subtraction Layout 

Here's a possible layout for the activity with the photo. For our floor layouts, I always use a Montessori Services hemmed work rug. Ant and Anteater Subtraction Activity with Ants Beanie Baby 
I added Ants the Anteater Beanie Baby to this tray for a fun home learning activity. (Yes, we still have lots of Beanie Babies from when my kids were young!) 

Anteater and Ants Hands-on Subraction Activity 

You could introduce younger children to hands-on subtraction by counting out the ants for a number card. Then have the anteater eat however many ants you want to "take away." You don't need to use equations or focus specifically on subtraction other than the concept of taking away from a number. Zoey had lots of fun with this! 

Letter A Basket and Writing Tray

  Letter A Basket and Writing Tray 

Free Printables: Ant Letters for A Letter Basket and Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the letter a basket, I used a basket with small objects beginning with /ă/ sound (short a sound). I like introducing the cursive letter along with the manuscript one, so I included the cursive a card. I used a variety of objects starting with /ă/. You could just say the phonetic sound as you or your child removes an item from the basket: for example, "/ă/ anteater, /ă/ alligator..." 

Some of the objects are ones I had at home (such as Antsy the Anteater Teenie Beanie), although most are from Montessori Services (they have individual phonetic objects or a whole set available). 

 Ant Life Cycle Activities 

  Life Cycle of an Ant ActivityFree Printable: Animal Life Cycles from The Pinay Homeschooler 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft tray, Montessori services basket, and Safari Ltd. Life Cycle of an Ant. There are a number of activities you can prepare with this printable. A simple one is for the child to match each stage of the ant life cycle.  

More Free Ant Printables  

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free ant printables from around the blogosphere: Free Ant Printables and Montessori-Inspired Ant Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.  

You'll find find animal classification resources in this post at Living Montessori Now: Montessori-Inspired Animal Classification.  

You'll find many more insect resources at Living Montessori Now:
Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBookIf you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer! :)

Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 41 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and toddler granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.
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