STEAM SPIDER CRAFTS FOR PRESCHOOL
building nature connections through our creepy crawly friends
Spiders are a part of the wild that are always somewhere nearby. Whether you find them spooky or fascinating, their creepy familiarity makes them a great crafting subject for young children. And crafts can be so much more than a way to pass the time. Incorporating the arts sets the stage for memorable experiences that engage multiple senses. As Scott Sampson writes in How to Raise a Wild Child, “A deep understanding of nature must be absorbed through our eyes, ears, nose, and pores, as well as our minds.” Though I might prefer to leave a couple senses out of a spider study, spider crafts can certainly help preschoolers begin to build a deeper connection with the nature that surrounds them.
start with Close looks Outside
We love starting projects outside whenever we can. In this case, we started with a nature scavenger hunt that challenged the boys to take a closer look at where they might find spiders. A nature scavenger hunt is a great way to get kids looking closer at the nature that surrounds them. More on that here. While taking distanced looks at spider webs was enough for Bug, JJ was excited for a photo scavenger hunt. We looked back at his photos after our projects, and reflected on how difficult it must be to weave those intricate webs.
OUR FAVORITE PRESCHOOL SPIDER CRAFTS
This simple project only requires sticks and yarn! To create a large web, like the one pictured above, I gathered three sticks (consider adding this to your spider web scavenger hunt).
First, arrange the sticks as shown above, like an “X” with a line through it. Then, wind yarn around the center of your web where the sticks meet in a diagonal pattern that covers all directions. Do this until each stick stays spaced apart as desired. Once your sticks stay separated and are stable, begin your web spiral. Move from the center out to the nearest stick. Make a loop around the stick, stretch the yarn to the next stick, loop around again, and continue. You’ll see the pattern building as your web progresses.
The large web was a bit of a challenge for JJ and I to do together, so we made a second smaller web starter for him to practice on using craft sticks. I hot glued the sticks together so he wouldn’t have to worry about keeping them from moving. He caught on to this version pretty quickly.
I am always looking for ways for the boys to have the opportunity to “make believe” while learning something new. As we were cleaning up the yarn from the weaving project, John and I started building a giant web around the living room. It was one of those silly impromptu ideas that the boys loved. We ended up keeping it up until bed time. I’m thinking our giant web will need to make a repeat appearance when we get closer to Halloween!
We screwed some hooks into the walls to anchor the corners of our web (we’re about to paint, so I wasn’t too worried), but Command hooks would work just as well.
More Spider crafts for preschool that we love
Each of the following projects puts a unique spin on spider crafts. We’re adding these to our list this October, and again in the spring when the webs start popping up around the yard.
Pine Cone and Twig Spiders
This mobile from Zombies Wearing Helmets is both awesomely simple and highly effective in giving off the right creepy spider vibes. Plus you can gather most of the necessary materials on your spider scavenger hunt. The finished project is a mobile, which also serves as a reminder to look up on your search for creepy crawlies. Click here to check out the full post with a tutorial.
Spider Stone Puzzle
Preschoolers love their puzzles! This DIY Stone Puzzle from Little Pine Learners checks all the right boxes. Children can learn the basic anatomy of a spider, practice spatial awareness, and once again, most of the important materials can be collected on a nature walk. Click here for the full post and tutorial on Little Pine Learners.
Giant Lacing Spider Web
We have boxes ready to go for this one, so Mr. Bug can make his own Halloween decor. I love a super simple concept that keeps our preschooler engaged while practicing his fine motor skills. Not to mention, growing his appreciation for busy spiders! Click here for the full post and tutorial from Fun at Home with Kids.
Preserving a Spider Web
This one is more of a challenge, but would be a great teaching tool whether your preschooler joins you in preserving the web or if you just use the preserved web as inspiration for a project. Check out step by step instructions on preserving a web from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources here.
The perfect spider stories to bookend your spider crafts
There are soo many wonderful stories about spiders out there. The following are our top 3 stories for extending our spider crafts and conversations.
Diary of a Spider
I’ve had a soft spot for Diary of a Spider and its companion books for years. They are funny and fun to read. They also do a great job at the all important work of trying to get children to see the world from a perspective other than their own.
I'm Trying to Love Spiders
This one hits close to my heart. As many times as I try to teach my kids to approach spiders with curiosity and wonder, at the end of the day I always fail at the most important part. Modeling curiosity and wonder. When I’m reading this to the boys, in a way I’m reading it to myself! Plus it’s a good source of fun facts about spiders that is actually fun to read.
The Very Busy Spider
Of course, any preschool book list on spiders wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t mention Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider. I’m including an animated YouTube link here, as it might be fun for kiddos familiar with the story to see it in action.
Time to make, play, & create!
I hope you found some ideas for your next preschool spider craft. We love getting outside and using what we find as inspiration, and hope you do too! If you create some spider crafts at home, please share them with us. We’d love to see your family’s or students’ ideas, interpretations, and discoveries!