Toysmith provides the Ant Universe, which is a visually appealing ant farm. This product is somewhat small in size, but it's certainly nice looking. The Toysmith Ant Universe is filled with a gel that was developed as part of a NASA space experiment and ended up being useful in unexpected ways. In this case, the gel serves as the environment for the ants to inhabit and it also provides nutrients and water.
With these ant farms, you start with the included user manual. In that, you will find instructions for how to use the kit as well as information about ants. The information about ants helps increase the learning and educational value of this product. The kit also includes a tunnel tool that you plunge repeatedly into the gel to make an assortment of starter tunnels before putting the ants inside the device. This makes it easier for the ants to begin digging tunnels in their new home.
To its credit, the Toysmith Ant Universe Ant Farm comes with a surprisingly powerful magnifying glass for such a reasonably priced toy. Many ant farms do not provide magnifying glasses, which is a problem since ants are so tiny and children naturally will want to see them as closely as possible.
With the Ant Farms from this company, the ants are not included with the ant habitat. They must be ordered separately. However, a form is enclosed to make the ordering process easier and faster.
The blue gel is quite attractive, and it makes a visually appealing spot for an ant colony, but one serious drawback to gel-filled ant habitats is that they require little effort from a youngster. You put the ants in, jab holes to begin tunnels and that’s about it. The ants eat the gel to get the food and water they need. There is little interaction required for your youngster if that is a priority for you.
While you can observe the ants moving around and doing their work, that by itself provides very little in the way of play value and not all that much as far as educational value. With the old-fashioned sand ant farms, you must feed and water the ants, which gives children much more involvement with the insects. However, despite the lack of interaction, this is a solid ant habitat with some helpful tools and written material.