Week of the Young Child Series (4 of 5)


Inspiring Curiosity and Inquiry in Nature by Chelsea Martinez


Spring is here along with all of the plants and critters that are popping up around San Antonio!  Along with spring comes the most perfect weather for outdoor activities. Why not pack up a picnic with your child and await the critters as they help themselves to the leftover crumbs?

Curiosity and inquiry about living things are natural to young children as they explore the outdoors. With this mini science investigation, you and your child will become expert researchers as you investigate the food preferences of ants.

Step 1: Help your child select foods to bring on your picnic. Pick 4 different foods to test. Try varying the tastes, textures, and colors of the food (salty, sweet, bright, dark, gummy, and crunchy).

Step 2: Select and travel to a park, yard, or other outdoor space to eat your picnic.

Step 3: Divide a paper plate into quadrants with a marker and place a piece of food in each quadrant. Place the plate with food a little ways from your picnic area.

Step 4: Sit back, relax, and eat while you observe the ants join in on your picnic

Questions to ask:

  • What food did the ants seem to enjoy the best? How do you know this?
  • Why did you choose that particular food?
  • How did the ants know that the food was there?
  • Where did the ants take the food?

Activity Extensions

  • Make a bar graph to visually depict the results of the investigation.
  • Practice recording data in a notebook as you observe.
  • Draw a picture of your picnic together.

Literature to share

  • Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi, Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
  • National Geographic Readers Series: Ants by Melissa Stewart
  • Hey, Little Ant by Philip M. Hoose and Hannah Hoose

Howdy there! My name is Chelsea Martinez and I am a Discovery Leader and member of the Early Childhood Education Team at The Doseum. I am originally from Brownsville, Texas but San Antonio is my home now. I graduated high school from St. Joseph Academy in 2010. In 2014 I received my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas A&M University. I will be receiving my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of Texas at San Antonio next month. As a Discovery Leader, my role is to foster family engagement, design and lead weekly programming classes, and highlight the educational opportunities in our galleries. As an educator, I am a huge supporter of discovery learning. Children have so much potential to learn when they are allowed opportunities to experience things first hand.

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