Ants are social insects with an extremely rigid hierarchy, where the whole society is divided into workers, females, and males. If these insects were bigger and a little smarter, then they could take our planet hostage, enslaving humanity. Fortunately, evolution has made a choice in our favor. However, modern people can adopt some models of the organization of work from these creatures, and children, observing ants, may well begin to take the first steps to new scientific discoveries.
And best of all, it's not necessary to go to the forest for this. It is enough to create or buy an ant farm for kids. In this article, we describe the scientific and practical benefits of this solution for children.
A Couple of Introductory Words About Science and Ants
Formicaria, or an artificial anthill, is a container with a filler that simulates a real home for ants. Entomologists began to use them for scientific research back in the 19th century. But naturalists also drew attention to the formicaria, so they began to create them for commercial purposes. The most famous ant farm brand, Uncle Miltonʼs Ant Farm sends ants to customers by mail. Since 1956, they have sold more than 20 million formicaries.
Three Scientific Skills That Children Develop in the Process of Interacting with an Ant Farm
Some buyers of ant farms perceive this system as just an expensive toy or an unconventional alternative to familiar pets. However, ant farm reviews suggest that they also have a scientific value.
One of the most important skills of a scientist is the ability to observe wildlife, notice changes, track patterns, and penetrate the essence of things based on the results of scientific activity. An ant farm is an ideal resource for developing an observation skill in a child. Each of the ants has its own function in the community. Observing each species and capturing the results develops observation, attention and the ability to analyze.
New discoveries are impossible without a lively interest in nature and the surrounding reality. The life of ants is subject to strictly defined rules and patterns. And the development of research interest is a direct consequence of the development of observation skills. When a child watches ants, he asks questions and seeks answers, gradually forming his own conclusions.
Responsibility Towards Nature
In formicaria, humidity and temperature need to be regulated (for different types of ants, comfort parameters differ). Usually, the farm is moistened from two to five times a week, dripping water into a special container. Part of the chambers must certainly remain dry. The capacity must be protected from direct sunlight and vibration sources (speakers or computer system units).
All this means active actions of the child and his responsibility for the consequences. This can be compared with caring for the entire planet, only in miniature. A child who feels responsible for nature in childhood will never turn into an irresponsible adult.
Thus, here we can talk about the development of not only scientific skills but also humanistic traits necessary for a comfortable life on the planet.