Spiders aren't everyone's idea of a family pet, but perhaps we're all getting lonely enough during lockdown to start talking to minibeasts, or at least taking time to notice how interesting they can be. Lydia Monk's Aaaargh Spider is a funny story that helps us see the world from a spider's point of view!
Make Your Own Pet Spider
Depending on what craft supplies you've got at home, there are lots of ways to make spiders, which look fabulous.
However, with small children, I often find that the best tactic is to keep arts and crafts really simple, for the following reasons:
- Little ones are much more interested in the process of sticking, painting, colouring and making than in what the finished product looks like. This is why I sometimes do large collaborative painting projects at my sessions. The children enjoy getting messy with the paints, but the parents don't feel that they have to take the sticky end result home in the car!
- It's cheaper, better for the environment, and, at the moment, much more practical to use recycled bits and bobs from around the house than to buy in craft supplies. When they're older and have greater dexterity they will enjoy more complicated crafting, but right now they will love using their imaginations and innate sense of invention.
- Children don't really care if the thing you've made looks great, but they enjoy playing imaginative games. With this simple loo roll spider, my daughter loved being tickled and chased, pretending it was a real spider. We made up a game called 'hidey spidey' where we took it in turns to hide the spider around the garden and use 'hotter/colder' clues to find it.
All we did was take a loo roll tube and cut eight slits around the base to about two thirds the way up. We then bent each leg out and back in again to make a very basic spider shape. Little ones can decorate them with pens, stickers or cut out paper shapes.
More on Spiders
- Spiders are arachnids, not insects. Insects have six legs, spiders have eight legs. Do some simple counting on your little one's fingers and toes to practise this.
- Spiders spin webs to catch their dinner. The silk that they produce is five times stronger than a strand of steel of the same thickness. Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider is a story about a spider intent on building her web and ignoring all the other animals trying to distract her. It's beautifully illustrated and you can find an animated version here.
- Spiders also feature in Mad about Minibeasts, a collection of rhymes about creatures you might find in the garden.
- There are lots of nursery rhymes about spiders. 'Incy Wincy' is probably the best known, but some others can be found here. My favourite is 'There's a Spider on my Knee' (to the tune of 'If You're Happy and You Know It'):
There's a spider on my knee, on my knee x3
...and it's very tickly
There's a spider on my knee, on my knee
...on my arm/it won't do any harm
...on my toes/and now it's on my nose!
...on my head, I think I'll go back to bed!
Can you think of any more rhymes for body parts?
Have fun making friends with minibeasts!