Review: My Living World – Ant World

With the better weather (if sweating to death is better) comes the excuse to be outside far more often. The trampoline has been re-assembled, the patches of grass that are still alive have been neatly mowed and the water pistols have made a re-appearance. But it’s not just larking about that we like to do outside. Getting out into the fresh air is also a great opportunity to start getting the kids in touch with nature. As city people, our connection with natural things can often be tenuous, although we’ve had some good sessions of forest school. We also like to get outside and play when we can.

We were sent a bumper pack of fantastic kits from Interplay’s My Living World range to put through their paces. This seemed like a great opportunity to bring some of the nature back inside the house to show the kids the wonder of teeny-tiny minibeasts. The first we tried was Ant World!

For those who are unfamiliar with the general concept of an ant farm (or ‘formicarium’ if we’re being technical) it’s this. You collect a small amount of sand and soil which is then sandwiched between two transparent panes of perspex. Into this are introduced a healthy selection of ants. The ants then go about their business and make their usual tunnels. These are then visible through the side of the ant farm allowing the viewer to observe their behaviour.

Ant World is a simple, easy-to-assemble ant farm of exactly this nature. The kit comes partially assembled, but you are still required to do all the important work like filling it up and finding ants to get it going.

ant world

Each kit includes the main body of the formicarium and all parts necessary to keep it sealed up and stand upright. You are also provided with a magnifying bowl, connecting tube, pipette and a small bag of sand which you can then mix with some of your own soil. The kit also comes with full instructions on how to set up and maintain your ant farm (despite which I think we still got a few things squiffy).

The kids loved assembling the ant farm. Filling it up can be quite a messy job which is always popular, but both Marshall and Claudia were really keen on seeing the ants in action!

The kit was easily assembled and, thanks to some blistering hot weather and an ants nest literally on our doorstep, we were soon able to coax some ants into their new environment. We started by shovelling a lot of plant matter crawling with ants into the magnifying bowl and then waiting for them to travel up the tube. It’s worth noting that you can actually purchase ants directly from Interplay which may be an easier option if you don’t want to go catch ones for yourself.

Once the ants were in their home we made sure they had food (tiny pieces of fruit) and water (soaked into a cotton wool ball). Due to not reading the instructions properly I put quite a lot of raisin pieces into the top of the frame when most feeding and watering can be done in the magnifying bowl. We also put some dead flies (of which we have a lot at the moment) into the bowl as they can appreciate a bit of protein, especially when they are laying eggs, etc.

ant world bowl ant world bowl

Over the past few days that we’ve had the ant farm the kids have been fascinated. We keep it in our office room and the kids (and mum) regularly come in to have a peek at the ants to see how they’re getting on. The tunnels have already started but are growing slowly as we do not yet have our full compliment of ant occupants. We also somehow managed to introduce some sort of seeds into the mix as we now have something growing in there too!

Check out this video of us getting our ant farm going!

I’d definitely recommend Ant World to anyone who wants to get their kids engaged with science and nature. It’s great to actually observe the ants as they go about their business. Until now our main relationship with ants was trying to keep them out of the house in the summer and this year we’ve brought them in ourselves!

Disclaimer: This review was done in return for the product. No financial agreements were entered into.  Our opinions remain our own. 

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