One of my favorite serendipitous events that happened many years ago was when we were singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider in the classroom and a real spider actually was hanging on a piece of silk in front of the children. I couldn’t have asked for a better real-life experience. This, of course, made the children very excited about spiders.
We are currently in the season of real and pretend spiders decorating our houses. The children may be seeing a lot of Halloween decorations dedicated to spiders and may become interested in the real thing. This is a great time to explore spiders more in depth.
Go on a spider web hunt
I always loved opening the center in the morning during this time of the year. I had the privilege of seeing many beautiful and intricate spider webs glistening in the morning frost. This is always the best time to see the amazing designs of a spider web. While you may not be able to catch a glimpse of a spider web in the early morning frost, you may still be able to find spider webs around your neighborhood. Spiders tend to spin webs in corner of doorways, in trees, or between two posts. Did you know that you can tell what type of spider it is by the web?
Make spider webs
Provide opportunities for the children to make their own spider webs using various materials such as yarn, popsicle sticks, paint, or tree branches. Show the children various pictures of different types of spider webs as a source of inspiration. You can also make a large class web by using a ball of yarn. Have the children sit in a circle with a ball of yarn. The children can make a class web by having one child at a time pass the ball of yarn across the circle. Have each child hold a piece of the yarn before they pass the ball. When everyone has a piece of yarn, have them tape their yarn piece on the floor using painter’s tape. Then stand up and enjoy your beautiful class web!
Study an Arachnid
Did you know that a spider is not an insect? In fact, a spider is part of the arachnid family. An arachnid has eight legs but has no wings. This little-known fact is a great springboard for an in-depth investigation on spiders and insects. One great activity to do is to go on an insect/spider hunt. Another way for the children to gain a more concrete understanding of insects and spiders, is to have them compare and contrast the differences between spiders and insects. Ask the children what they know about spiders and what they want to learn about spiders. You may be surprised by their answers.
Act out the Itsy Bitsy Spider
Allow the children an opportunity to retell the story of the Itsy Bitsy Spider in the sensory table. Fill the sensory table up with water. Add pieces of rain gutters and plastic spiders as props for the story retelling. Also provide containers for the children to use to “wash the spider out”. Pair the water play with The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani.
What are some ways you can investigate spiders during this spooky season?