Saturday, October 18, 2014


In our nature preschool group at Woodlawn Nature Center, we studied spiders the other week. I've heard several people mention recently that it's important for children to understand young that spiders are not creepy, crawly, and scary. I admit, I have been scared a couple of times when I found HUGE ones in my closet while living in Japan (like size of my hand!); however, they serve a good purpose for the most part. We're also unlikely to encounter one of the dangerous ones as they are reclusive in our area.

To follow up from the last week, we did leaf rubbings in our journals. Then we drew a picture of a spider to evaluate what we already knew about spiders. One girl had a big circle with lots and lots of legs and two eyes. She has a beginning understanding of spiders, knowing they have body parts, eyes, and legs.

We made spider headbands. Spiders can have 2-8 eyes, always paired up. Web-spinning spiders rely more on touch and feel as they cannot see well.  Those spiders who hunt their prey have a much better developed sense of sight.


For story time, we read Aaaarrgghh! Spider! and The Very Busy Spider; talked about body parts; and did a couple of songs/poems about spiders. Then we went outside, looking for spiders along the building and such. My son thought he wanted to build a spider web in the trees! :-) That would have been fun!

It's great to explore outdoors and take risks with these kids! 

I love seeing the movement and the action! We took along cardboard looms (sturdier with younger children) to weave natural items in them as we walked. We looked at various types of spider webs and thought weaving would be a good tie in. I was very impressed that looking high and low, the girl in our group that day was able to find a spider and a web on a plant! Good observation!

We had to pose for a couple of photos. My youngest is still wearing his spider hat out and about!

The looms turned out great! I love seeing the colors, textures, etc. that come from natural weaving. Here are other ideas I've collected on natural weaving. One guy is checking out the turtle at the nature center as well. 


For snack, we made banana spiders!

After snack, we had several activities during open exploration time, such as this spider sorting activity. Digging through the sensory items added more dimension and fine motor skills to it! 

We also could match spider webs, shapes, and spiders. Some spiders don't even make a web! We used these lacing cards from Growing Up Wild as well. I saw that someone traced these with glue to make rubbing plates this weekend at Gene Stratton Porter's Owl-O-Ween. I love finding new ideas! 

Later, we used fine motor skills to "straw for spiders". I've used this activity for so many Halloween get togethers. :-) It's always a hit! What a fun spider exploration! We learned about where spiders might live, what they like to eat, their body parts, types of webs, etc. We also strengthened fine motor skills, classifying, sorting, art appreciation, and more!