Monday 2 July 2018

Ant World from Interplay (age 5+) - The review that didn't go as expected.

Interplay have an awesome range of children's My Living World sets created in conjunction with Nick Baker, the Really Wild Show presenter and naturalist. The sets help children get up close and personal with nature, supporting science and building STEM skills, as well as teaching about caring for living creatures. We've been given Ant World to review.

There is a backstory as I actually requested this review for my 9 year old. He came home from school one day, incredibly excited about the idea that people can keep ants as pets and see into their usually hidden world. I'd previously been offered this set, so I went back to Interplay and asked if we could still review.

The Ant World set is great. It takes barely minutes to set up and the parts of the tank, or formicarium to give it a proper name, fit together really snugly. It's easy to use and compact, but big enough for a colony of 40 or so ants.

There are large inspection windows on the sides, which cover up when you aren't peeping, and an inspection hatch at the top to drip a little water in occasionally and with air holes so that your ants can breathe.

Also included is a tube and a feeding area with a magnifying lid. Ants are actually very sensible and like to keep food, waste and living areas separate.

The instructions recommend you go and collect 30-40 ants from your garden and put them into the formicarium. My son had other ideas though. He had read the enclosed booklet by Nick Baker and has his sights set on higher things.

The aim of Ant World is to get your child interested in these tiny living creatures, and my son is now REALLY interested. So interested in fact that he's read everything he can find and watched about a million videos. He didn't want to just take some ants from the garden, he wanted a proper colony with a Queen.

You can collect a Queen yourself on flying ant day. The wingless large ants are flying ants that are ready to go off and create a new colony. Sadly it was not flying ant day, but my son had seen he could order ants from the internet.

Around £6 will get you a pregnant female with eggs in a test tube configuration which can sustain her for weeks.

Our Queen arrived and excitedly we attached her test tube to the Ant World and waited. We fed her occasional protein (a dead greenfly) to supplement her sugar water diet, and covered her to provide a cool, dark place where she feels safe. A couple of weeks later we had our first 'birth' and the excitement was immense.

We have had 3 more hatchings since, although sadly one was lost. But none of the ants have left the test tube. Our ants have this amazing Ant World waiting, filled with the various grades of sand supplied in the kit and looking lovely, but they aren't budging.

It's been 8 weeks and not a teeny tiny ant toe has yet stepped into Ant World. The Mum doesn't want to leave her babies and the young ants are happy caring for her in the test tube.

We can't bring in ants from the garden as they'll attack our little family, and as careful as we are, I don't think our skills extend to moving baby ants, not even using a soft paintbrush like it says in the booklet, so we really can only wait. Their test tube is beginning to show signs of getting grubby, and I have faith they'll decide it's a mess and send someone exploring any day.... watch this space...

Ant World is available to buy now. A fantastic way to get your child interested in the natural world and teach them about caring for living creatures - including those we might ordinarily not notice. Just be warned, it might make them far more interested than you expect...

Ant World is made by Interplay and available to buy now rrp £14.99 from a multitude of toy shops instore and online, including Amazon, where it is currently reduced to £12.99 (aff*). Spare parts, including ants, are available from Interplay. 

We were given Ant World to review. The Amazon link is an affiliate link, which means as a thank you for adding it, they'll pay me the price of a lollipop if you order through my link. You won't pay any more.


  1. Hi. How did you attach the testube to the antworld? As they are different size tubes and I’m stumped…

    1. I am sorry I wasn't able to answer this for you before, I've had a family bereavement. Hopefully you have worked a solution by now, but we ended up using a small piece of mor flexible tube and a lot of tape - being very careful not to leave any sticky edges anywhere. It was a pain in the behind, I'll be honest. In truth next time I'd empty the tube before she had all her babies.

  2. Our ants went into ant world but we can’t see them, is this normal?

    1. I can't claim to be a true expert, but we definitely found you could spot them making tracks and moving food around. If there's too much heat or direct sunlight then they will keep their little roadways away from the sides, but we could see them, or evidence of them, fairly easily. Fingers crossed there hasn't been a disaster - and if there has, new food and ant themselves are pretty cheap to buy online, although obviously it's demoralising for the children. Fingers crossed guys.


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