Arachnids fascinate young children

GTT – Spiders are often feared and misunderstood. When a spider web and huge “Charlotte” appear in the yard, turn the event into family STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activities at home.

Observe spiders

Adults and children can observe a spider with a magnifying glass for several days while it adds to its web, collects insects, and encases them. Check on spiders working at night with flashlights. How much progress do they make by morning? Observe spiders around the neighborhood to compare spider webs. Warn children to look and not touch because they will bite.

Check out some nonfiction spider books from the library like “I Love Spiders” by John Parker and “Anansi the Spider” by Gerald McDermott. Search for “Spiders: Animals for children kid’s videos” on You tube. The” Isty Bitsy Spider” song and many other finger plays are also found on the Internet.

Children can discuss how spiders help the ecosystem by catching harmful insects like mosquitoes and flies. Are there female spiders carrying white sacs of eggs? Research if Daddy Long Legs are really spiders.

Adults and children may discuss what facts they learn and use different geometric shapes to illustrate a few pages about spiders. Children may dictate sentences for captions under the pictures and help staple the pages together.

Making Spiders

With adult help, children may create their own spiders. Children can cut out two circles (head and body), eight long skinny rectangles for legs. Circles for eyes, and tape them together to make a spider. Hang a string and thread it through a short straw taped on the back so the spider can climb and drop down from the string.

With help, children may make edible spiders. Cut two circles from bread, spread peanut butter, add eight pretzel legs and eight raisins for eyes.

Children can also go outside to make spider web mazes in sand or on the sidewalk. Spread out stones in the sand to make points for a pentagon, hexagon, and octagon. With a stick or chalk, make lines like spokes in a wheel to connect each stone with the center of the shape.

To catch an intricate web, spray one with a light coating of white paint and carefully swish a large black piece of construction paper made by taping several pieces together. What geometric shapes are in the web? How do spiders store their meals? Which web has captured the most insects? How strong is a web?

Family STEAM activities help young children observe, form questions, increase vocabulary, do quick sketches and writ stories of what they see for science journals.