Ant Lesson for Kids: Facts & Life Cycle

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

What kind of animal is an ant? You see them all the time, but where do they make their homes? How do they grow? This lesson will teach you about the body, habitat, and life cycle of ants!

What Are Ants?

You've probably seen them in the summertime, gathered on a piece of sticky fruit, or you might even have ant hills in your backyard. Ants are found nearly everywhere, so you have most likely encountered many ants in your life!

Ants are insects. Insects are animals with six legs and three body parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. The head is where the eyes and mouth are. Ants also have antennae on their heads that help them touch, smell, and hear. The thorax is the skinny middle part of the body, and the abdomen is the tail end of the body.

Ants have three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.
Ant diagram

Most ants are brown or black and they are usually small, less than one inch long. That is smaller than your thumb. Many ants are much smaller though. Insects usually have wings, but not all ants do. But did you know that some ants do have wings? These winged ants are in charge of traveling to new places, to start new colonies.

Where Do Ants Live?

Start new colonies? Yep, ants live together in groups called colonies. Ants build nests in lots of different places, including in wood, in plants, or under the ground. You might have seen an ant nest on the ground- they look like little hills and are often called ant hills. Ants can live anywhere in the world except for very cold places. Antarctica and a few islands are the only places in the world without ants.

What Do Ants Eat?

In ant colonies, every ant has a job. There is a type of ant called a worker ant whose job is to find food for the others. Ants are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. The worker ants bring food like leaves, fruit, and other dead insects back to the nests for the ants to share. Ants have sharp jaws that help them chew their food.

Worker ants gather food for everyone in the colony.
Leaf cutter ants

How Do Ants Grow?

Ants go through metamorphosis, which is the changes that some animals go through as they grow from egg to adult. A well-known insect that goes through metamorphosis is a caterpillar, which turns into a butterfly.

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