The greatest educational toys are often the simplest. Milton Levin, co – inventor of Ant Farm had the idea for this simple educational game whilst on a picnic in 1956. He watched the antics of ants crawling through some sand, and the rest is history – or rather biology. Letting children see the habitat of ants close up provided an incredible insight to a hidden world in science. The science game he developed was surprisingly simple. A green plastic frame contained some sand housed bewteen two plastic windows. The ants lived happily digging tunnels in the sand.
With sales of over 20 million Ant Farms this simple yet highly effective introduction to biology provided a great insight for children and parents to a world normally hidden from view. The game remained visually unchanged throughout the ensuing years apart from swaping the sand to a whitish volcanic ash to make the ants more visible.
The use of educational games in teaching can enhance the learning experience for children and turn the text and images of a text book into practical reality. The Ant Farm made it into the top 100 educational toys list of the century.