How to Make an Ant Farm Jar and Watch an Ant Colony Build Mazes

This is a great project for kids who are interested in nature and bugs. This is an easy project for kids of any age and you get to watch ants build an underground city…so it is pretty cool. This ant farm has no openings, so you don’t have to worry about the ants escaping. You can open the jar outside to feed the ants, and then close it back up and bring it inside to observe.

How to Make an Ant Farm Jar and Watch an Ant Colony Build Mazes Craft Activity for Kids

How to Make an Ant Farm Jar and Watch an Ant Colony Build Mazes Craft Activity for Kids

Crafts Materials Needed

– 2 Jars – One Big, One Smaller
– Loose, Sand-Like Soil
– Water
– Sugar

Step 1

Clean both jars out, and dry them out. Take the outside wrappers off so you will be able to see inside the ant jar.

Step 2

Put the smaller jar, without its lid, upside down, within the bigger jar. Try to center it.

Put the smaller jar, without its lid, upside down, within the bigger jar. Try to center it. Poke a few tiny holes in the jar lid, small enough for ants to not escape.


Step 3

Fill the outside area between both jars, with the sandy-soil.

Fill the outside area between both jars, with the sandy-soil. Make sure that the entire area is filled, but don’t pack it tightly or the ants will not be able to dig their way through it.

Step 4 : Finding and Trapping the Ants

Now you must find the ants for your ant farm jar. Go looking in your back yard or in the local park. If you still can not find any ants then you can build an ant trap. Ants love sugar, so what you should do is put some sugar, mixed with a tiny bit of water, into a jar or can. Put it on its side and keep an eye on it…when you have about 20 ants. Don’t get more than 20 ants…crowding too many ants in the jar will make them less active and less fun to watch. You can close the jar and put them in your ant farm jar (DO THIS OUTSIDE – NOT INSIDE YOUR HOUSE).  Important : Make sure that these ants are from the same colony or they will land up fighting and killing each other.


Step 5 : Close That Jar Tight

Make sure to close that jar tight. Don’t worry about the ants getting enough air because you will be opening it to put food in there. Believe it or not, that is plenty of air for your ants.

How to Make an Ant Farm Jar and Watch an Ant Colony Build Mazes

Feeding Your Ants

Do the feeding of your ants outside to keep them from escaping into your house (or I will get a lot of nasty emails from your Moms). 🙂

Once a week (no more than this) feed the ants a few drops of sugar water. You can put it directly into the soil. You can also drop in there a few grains of bird or grass seed.


Keep Your Ants Safe

– Keep your ant jar away from direct blow of air conditioners, radiators, and heaters…keep them at normal room temperature.

– Keep them out of the direct glare of sunlight.

The Fun Part is Watching Your Ants Build an Underground City

Now just watch and observe your ants build their own littler underground city. They can build them most amazing, intricate mazes. I hope you enjoyed this project.

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  1. ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww !

  2. Hi, I’ve tried making an ant farm and its going ok. One thing that is troubling me is that every morning there are a few dead ants lying on the top of the soil!
    Is something wrong?

    By for now

  3. This might just be them dying at a natural rate. But it also might be that you got ants from different colonies so they are killing each other. Are you keeping the jar out of direct sun light, also is it away from blasts of air or heat?

    If you are doing everything right…you can try poking a few tiny holes in the jar lid. I got this craft from a book that was really old…so maybe jars are more air tight than they used to be. Let me know what happens. Thanks. Rachel

  4. I think I’m doing everything right but they don’t seem to take in the sugar water I give them. Is there anything else I can give them?

    From Jennifer

  5. Hi Jennifer…check out this article on feeding ants … it will help you a lot. It looks like you can feed them apples, celery, lettuce. This article says you should put a drops of water in every day….so maybe that is what is going on.

  6. Thanks that has really helped!
    I have been feeding them bits of apple and they love them!
    Next time I’ll upload a photo! 🙂

  7. Sorry but I can not upload a photo at all!
    I have no idea how to.:)
    By the way how do you tell if your ants are no longer alive?
    In other words how long does it last?
    Bye for now! :p

  8. In Step 2, you say to poke tiny holes in the lid, but you also say to leave the lid off the little jar. Which lid are you referring to here? Later you say to screw the lid on tight. Do you mean to poke small holes in the lid of the big jar? For air? Thanks

  9. Sorry that this was confusing. In step #2, yes, take the lid off of the smaller jar. Poke holes in the lid of the bigger jar. And the lid that I want you to screw on tight is for the bigger jar. I hope that this clears things up.

  10. From what I remember, ant colonies need their queen to survive. You can only expect these farms to live for about 1-3 months. Ants communicate with pheromones, I’d wonder if your angry ants aren’t just sending mad pheromones to each other, or perhaps two competing groups.

  11. Love the idea. I’m going to try it with my kindergarten class. Can I use potting soil for step 3? It’s pretty loose and we just finished planting seeds and have a lot left over. Thanks

  12. Hi there. I’m sorry that I haven’t responded but my computer was out for repair for 3 weeks. I’m pretty sure potting soil would work, but I’m not sure. Sorry.

  13. I totally look forward to doing this with my kids! One question though – what is the pupose of the jar in the middle ?

  14. I’m wondering…after observing the ants for a while, can you release them back outside again?

  15. I would imagine the purpose of the small jar in the middle is so that the ants builds their tunnels against the walls of the large jar so you can observe them. If it’s just a big jar of sand then most of their tunnels could be hidden in the middle and you wouldn’t have much to see. 🙂

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