Spiders are fascinating insects, most widely known for their ability to produce silk from their spinneret glands and create beautiful webs. In fact, spiders are classified by the type of webs they weave: spiral orb webs, tangle webs, funnel webs, tubular webs, and sheet webs. As fragile as the cobwebs may look, the tensile strength of spider silk is actually greater than steel. So, weight for weight, you’d be more likely to kick down a steel door than fight your way through giant spider webs. (Remember the Giant Spiders in The Hobbit* and Shelob in The Lord of the Rings*? Now those are some super strong webs!)
I’m not sure why spiders are strongly associated with Hallowe’en. They don’t give off more of a death-vibe than any other small insects – and they aren’t the only insects which can be lethal. Certainly, I don’t particularly equate them with autumn, or harvest, or good luck. (In fact, they usually make me think of poor Arachne and her famous weaving skills.) However, they are talented creatures and artists of nature.
Spider Resources Round-Up
If you have spider enthusiasts or young scientists in your home, here’s a selection of (mostly free) education resources from Twinkl, Education.com and First-School. The age guidance is arbitrary; you should always pick resources that match your child’s aptitude and ability. Also, Art doesn’t really have age restrictions even in a school setting.
- Free Spider Page Borders – stationery paper for writing or drawing.
- Spider Life Cycle Workbook – ideal as a KS1 Science mini topic.
- Spider Life Cycle Activity Sheets – a cut-and-paste fun freebie.
- Spiders Differentiated Fact File – needs a Twinkl subscription.
- Spider Anatomy – nice for UKS2-3 Biology.
- Egg Carton Spiders – recycle your egg boxes for junk-modelling.
- Spider Activities & Printables – colouring and tracing for preschoolers.
Easy Twig Spider Webs
You will need:
- 3 short twigs
- Scrap yarn or string
- Tiny toy spiders (optional)
- Arrange your twigs so the midpoint overlaps, in a snowflake shape. Wind some yarn or string around the centre, multiple times and overall six intersections, until the twigs are firmly held together. Tie a double knot and trim the ends.
- Use a long length of yarn to make the spider webs. Tie it to one of the twigs and start weaving it over and through each twig in a spiralling pattern, moving further toward the ends of the twigs as you go. To ensure the yarn doesn’t shift too much, wrap it around the current twig once or twice before weaving it over or under the next twig.
- When you reach the end of the web, tie the yarn firmly and trim the end. If you have some tiny toy spiders, glue them to the web with PVA glue.
I really wanted to do this with 4 twigs to make 8 spokes. Eight is a lucky number, and equal to the amount of legs on a spider. However, it really didn’t work with the extra twig – they wouldn’t lie flat and it was too difficult for my kids to wrap the yarn. Three twigs for 6 spokes seems to be a happy compromise, and I think our spider webs look great!