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Summer is a great time to study spider webs. Some webs, such as those of the orb weaver spiders, are incredibly complex and beautiful.

The spider uses its spinnerets to produce the silk. If you are interested in spiders, the Anatomy of a Spider has a great deal of technical information about the parts of the spider and about spider silk. Note: this site has lot's of big photos of spiders, if you are squeamish.

Activity:  Make a Spider Web

Gather:

  • Cardstock, poster board or a file folder
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch
  • Small spider clip art (optional)

Have older children watch this cool animation of how a spider makes a web. (Requires Quicktime).

Next, cut a square out of the cardstock. Make the size appropriate for the age of the children you are working with. Cut out the center of the square, leaving a frame about one inch wide. Cut holes in the frame with a hole punch. Now have the child weave a web by placing yarn through the holes.

For young children, this may be simply a lacing exercise. Encourage older children to create an art project. When they are done, leave a tail of yarn and tie or glue on a spider picture.

spider web activity for kids

For giant fun, place some kitchen chairs in a circle in an open area, hand the kids some skeins of yarn and let them connect the chairs with their own human-sized web. Note:  This project is loads of fun for the kids, but not always that fun to clean up. Be prepared with some scissors.

For more information about spiders, check the spiders category of this blog.

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The jumping spider photos seems to be piling up, so maybe today would be a good day to use them.

jumping spider

Jumping spiders have two large round eyes on the front of their cephalothorax (we’d call it a head), as well as six smaller ones to the top and sides.

jumping spider

Jumping spiders are fairly tiny as spiders go. They sit on plants waiting for insect prey and when they see something, they jump with their stout legs.

jumping spider

Many jumping spiders are colorful. This one looks like a tiny zebra. or maybe that should be tiger...

jumping spider

This jumping spider had red markings on its abdomen.

jumping spider

It was trying to catch bees and flies coming to visit these large flowers.

jumping spider

jumping spider

Jumping spiders have retinas in their eyes, so the eyes change color as they look around. If their eyes go dark, they are looking right at you. Compare the eyes of this spider to the top one.

Have you seen any jumping spiders lately?

Did you see the spider in the cactus flower photo in last week’s post?

I have circled it here.

crab spider

The spider is a common type of spider that sits on flowers and waits for food to stop by. Spiders of this group are called crab spiders, probably because their legs are directed forward like a crab’s. (Maybe they should be called "grab spiders" LOL!)

I found another one this week, which has picked a fruit fly off of a lemon.

crab spider

Can you see the little red-eyed fruit flies peeking out of the hole?

crab spider

The really cool thing about crab spiders is some of them can change color to match the object they are sitting on, although it can take a day or two. Does this one look a bit yellow? I think so…

We learned about how crab spiders change color in the end of How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects by Ruth Heller

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There are a number of good nonfiction books about spiders for the picture book set, like Are You a Spider? by Tudor Humphries

Spiders also abound in picture book fiction. Here are two classics we enjoyed a great deal:

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin (Author), Harry Bliss (Illustrator)

Adults can find a few good books on spiders, too.
Biology of Spiders, 2nd Edition by Rainer F. Foelix