STEM Games for Kids : Engineering Ants
I’m back with another kid game that you won’t hate playing! (Speaking of, check out the links at the bottom of this post for more kid games you probably won’t hate!) Engineering Ants is one of a few STEM games for kids that are aimed at early elementary ages. I had heard mixed reviews about Engineering Ants so I just had to order it and try it out, and I have to say that I really like this game! Engineering Ants is a board game, but it’s also a 3-D model building game. The point of the game is to create inventions to rescue trapped ants from a variety of perilous situations – all while racing a hungry anteater.
Disclaimer: This review is unsolicited. I was not asked to do this review or compensated for it. This post contains affiliate links, thanks!
How to Play Engineering Ants
Engineering Ants is a cooperative game, all players play as the ant mover. Place the ant mover in the ant hill in the middle of the game board. Place the anteater marker on the first step of their grey path
Place the Obstacle Cards. The red obstacle spots have one card placed face-up. You cannot travel over a face-up obstacle, you must stop on it regardless of the number you roll. The green obstacle spots get one obstacle card, face-down, and you do not have to stop on them if you can continue moving.
Place the Ants that need to be rescued. One ant goes on each spot next to the “face up” obstacle cards.
Roll the die and move! If you get a number you move that many spots in any direction. Try to avoid the anteater spaces, if you land on an anteater you must move the anteater one spot along his path, closer to the ant hill. If you roll an anteater you must move the anteater one spot along his path.
Rescue Ants! To recuse the ants you must stop on the face-up obstacle card next to the ant. Use the model pieces to create an invention to rescue the ant. In the following photo my daughter made a hang glider for an ant to escape a cliff. If all players agree that the invention is a proper rescue, the ant is rescued and placed in the anthill. If players cannot agree on the rescue method, the ant is not rescued and game play continues. If you stop on a face-down obstacle card you must make an invention, but no ants will be rescued.
Win or Lose? Win the game by rescuing all three ants and returning to the ant hill before the anteater gets to it! If the anteater gets to the ant hill first, all players lose.
What Do My Children Learn When Playing Engineering Ants?
STEM/STEAM Skills – So important these days, STEM/STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. All of these topics are covered in this game. Of all of the STEM games for kids out there, this has got to be one of the best!
Thinking Skills – Bridge or hot air balloon; which will get my ant over the muddy puddle safely? Is there anything about this invention that will put the ants in more danger? Which way should we move in order to avoid the anteater?
Cooperative Play – Because players move and create together, they must play as a team.
Fine Motor Control – Creating the inventions is a hands-on process using lots of little pieces.
Adapting Engineering Ants for Different Needs
Playing with multiple kids can be sort of difficult, kids have to be able to cooperate to play the game successfully. You may wish to take turns being a designated builder while the other players provide input.
The building pieces can be difficult to work with and it’s tough to fit them into the places you want them to fit, causing a high frustration level for some kids and those with fine motor control issues. Adult help should be nearby if there isn’t an adult playing.
Reading skills are not required to play.
Necessary math skills are very low, your child just needs the ability to count to five or have someone nearby who can help.
What Do We LOVE About Engineering Ants?
It’s cooperative! My 13 year old can play with my 5 year old!
It’s actually fun! There are so many building pieces to use, and so many obstacles, that this game will never play the same.
My non-reader can play! Instructions are very easy to understand and one read through of them was enough for her to understand the game mechanics.
Is There Anything We Don’t Love About Engineering Ants?
The only thing I would change is to make the building pieces a little easier to use. I’m not sure how this could be accomplished though. I’m assuming as we play the game more and more the fittings will loosen up a little bit. I also wish there was a larger game board, the small game board isn’t a problem but we would appreciate a larger, longer game option.
Fast Facts about Engineering Ants
Publisher: Peaceable Kingdom
Type of game: Cooperative 3-D Board & Building Game
Buy It: Engineering Ants
Time to Play: 15-30 minutes
Reading Skills: Not required
Math Skills: Counting to 5
Adaptability: Moderately adaptable
Skills learned: Strategy, innovation, fine motor control, STEM/STEAM, thinking skills, cooperative playing skills
Worldview: Safe secular choice
More Posts About Kid Games You Probably Won’t Hate
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.