These activities will teach kids everything they need to know about termites.
Start Off EasyWhen it comes to kid-friendly termite basics, Easyscienceforkids.com has a brief overview that’s got you covered. The page includes termite images that compare termites vs. ants and has both a short question-and-answer section and an informative video. It also includes some fun facts.
- “Most termite species live in hot, wet climates, such as rain forests and jungles. Here, they make a tasty snack for lizards, anteaters and other small animals.
- A few species live in the U.S.
- Termites build big colonies. Each colony can have millions of members, depending on the species.
- Termite colonies have a king and queen. The queen lays millions of eggs during her life.”
If you have small children, after explaining that termites move around in tunnels, you can build your own together. The Penn State Extension has instructions for how to assemble a tunnel using cardboard boxes.
If your kids are older, or into more detailed termite images, head on over to National Geographic Kids, where you’ll find the answer to, “What do termites look like?” along with information about termite mounds.
“Many of the offspring that hatch from the queen’s eggs become worker termites. They help the queen by keeping her clean, feeding her plant fibers, and looking after newly laid eggs. These insects may also double as construction workers, carrying up soil from underground to create the colony’s mound. Some termite mounds can reach over 17 feet in height.”
Time to Level-UpOnce your kids know the basics, it might be time to dig a little deeper. Virginia Tech’s Wood Magic website has lessons and activities about both trees and termites. The termite section starts with an interactive question and guides you through the information with linked questions at the bottom of each part. It covers related insects, too, comparing termite pictures (illustrations) with winged ants and more.
The University of Michigan’s BioKids page on Isoptera (where termites are classified scientifically), has even more information. And, yes, more termite pictures.
Game TimeLet your kids show off their new termite knowledge with this termite maze game at the National Wildlife Federation. Kids use the cursor to guide a larva through a termite mound. Along the way, they’ll pick up informative facts, “food” and earn extra points during bonus rounds. If they complete all the mazes, they find the termite queen — but watch out, larvae that run out of food have to start over.
None of these activities provide the answer to, “Do termites bite?” That answer, should the kids ask, is that soldiers might try, but they're not strong enough for you to feel it.
Now that you’ve learned about some termite basics, why not turn this into an outdoor learning experience? Go on a hunt for termite signs around your home. Kids are quite perceptive and might find evidence of these invaders that you missed.
Are your kids excited about what they learned? Did they spot termites around your home? Share their new knowledge with us on Facebook or Twitter.