Ever since T’s eyes could properly focus, he’s always been obsessed with bugs and small creepy crawlies. I’m not sure what it is about them that capture him more than a bird or larger animal, but if something quickly scurries past or lands on him (or us for that matter!) he’s on it wanting to hold it or let it walk over his hand.
With this in mind, dog walks are always a fun event – especially in places like the woods – as he MUST stop at every woodlouse or ants nest to tell us what he can see and ask whether he can pick it up. It’s quite sweet really, but I can’t help but worry he’ll turn into Lenny from Of Mice and Men once he gets hold of that poor defenceless ladybird.
A few weeks ago I attended BlogOnX and was given the opportunity to take home an ‘Ant World’ by Interplay, which is part of the ‘My Living World’ series of nature kits. Apart from the ants themselves (that part comes later!) the kit comes with everything you need to create your very own ant farm.
The Kit Includes:
The majority of the assembly was pretty straight forward, however there were a few fiddly parts along the way. For example, once we had filled the tank with sand, the plastic caps that cover the hole where the plastic tubing connects to the magnifying bowl were pretty stiff, and one sharp tug resulted in one of the sides coming off with the cap. Thankfully, we only lost a bit of sand but it set us back a little.
Other than that, the only fiddly parts were simply due to having fat fingers and a three year old wanting to ‘help’
The instructions are really clear and have a ‘quick start’ option or a more detailed option. I would recommend following the detailed option as this offers you hints and tips for keeping your ants happy as well as maintaining a healthy ant farm.
Speaking of ants…
You have two options when it comes to obtaining your ants. You can order them direct from Interplay or you can try and catch them yourself. We did the latter as T was chomping at the bits to find some ants, plus it was more fun this way – right?
45 minutes later and we finally captured the recommended 30-40 worker ants, give or take several escapees and those that didn’t make the journey from tub to tank. We started off pretty shaky, but once Sharon got into the swing of it we managed to get quite a few in succession (until T wanted to ‘help’ again).
Once everyone was settled, we then created a few introductory tunnels for them to get their teeth into and then attached the connecting tube from the tank to the magnifying bowl. This bowl is also the ‘feeding’ chamber and really helps your children get involved with feeding and examining their ants. We waited until the following day to offer them some food as we didn’t want to stress them out further.
After finding a temporary home, we then placed the cardboard shades on the sides to make the tank cozy and dark and put them to bed for the night.
The next morning
After checking in on our new additions to basically check they hadn’t died in the night or been knocked off the shelf by the cats, we gave them a small piece of apple (they only get fed a pin sized amount of fruit once a week). Sharon also read up about giving them their own ‘pets’ so went and found some aphids (I knew she’d come round to liking the little guys) to give them.
Our @MyLivingWorldUK ants survived their first night! 🐜 Now just giving them some breakfast for the week. 🍎
— LesBeMums (@LesBeMums) May 26, 2018
We honestly didn’t know what to expect when we fed them, but slowly and surely they started to arrive down the tube and chomp down on the apple, and in no time others started to get the message and make their way. It was such a fascinating sight.
Very quickly, T got into checking in on his new pets and would often tell us if they were doing something. Plus, we’ve found a new way to occupy T for a good hour by playing a game of ‘lets count the ants!’ (you think i’m joking).
Whilst Interplay recommend that the tank is for children aged 5 and up, I don’t see why anyone younger (but older than 36 months for safety reasons) can’t get involved and help where they can or at least use it to get into Biology and Nature. T absolutely loves his Ant World, and once we’ve got into a nice routine of weekly feeding and changing the water (to offer drink you can offer damp cotton wool or sponge!) we will probably place the ant world in his bedroom (although still out of reach – we really don’t want ants everywhere).
We received our own Ant World in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are our own