This activity is fun and hands-on, and only requires this sheet and toy ants.

The children love it at our CEFA Early Learning schools, and it gives them an opportunity to gain math skills, like estimating quantities, measuring and counting. You can download the free practice sheet here and try it at home!

Best Ages for This Activity

Two to four

How to Make It

What You Will Need

  • Paper
  • A printer
  • Toy ants (if you don’t want to use them, you can always draw and cut mini ants on paper or paint grains of rice black and pretend they are ants – both are a lot more work)

Let’s Get Started!

  • Print the worksheet and get the ants ready in a little box or bowl
  • Ask your child: I wonder how many ants it would take to reach the top of the hill? What do you think? (give them time to estimate the quantity first, write the possible answers)
  • Invite your child to figure it out using the toy ants. Starting from the very bottom of the anthill, your child can put one and in front of the other until they reach the top of the hill (the hole).
  • Then count the ants.
  • Was it close to the number you estimated? Was it more? Was it less? (work on that math vocabulary, this is very important)

Learning Opportunities

This activity is designed to teach your child math (counting, estimating quantities, measuring) and math language which is an important part of our literacy program. They will practice their fine motor skills which are very important for writing.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Try making an anthill with real mud outside and count how many ants it takes to reach it.
  • You can also turn it into a sensory bin by adding moist soil to your sensory bin and adding the ants. Your child will delight in making hills of all sizes and shapes and count how many ants it takes to reach the top of each, providing hours of independent fun!
  • Add a measuring tape to the activity so your child can begin measuring using centimetres.
  • Go outside with a magnifying glass and try to find a real anthill to observe. Be careful not to hurt the ants, and not to destroy their habitat though.
  • Use the ants to measure different things in the house. For example, put a sandwich in the middle of the table, and ask your child how many ants it would take to reach that sandwich and eat it.
  • Together, learn about ants and their habitat.