Spiders are incredible critters! Not only are they masters of web weaving, but they also use their silk to travel through the air by sensing static electricity (called ballooning). And, spiders can inspire super creative play, too! In this activity, kids spin a web with yarn to set the stage for imaginative spider play.
Learn about spiders.
Watch this time-lapse video
from BBC Earth of an orb weaver spider spinning its web. You can also watch this video
of spiders ballooning. Invite your child to share what they noticed about the shapes and design of the spider’s web. Head out on a search for spiders and/or webs in your outdoor space.
Ask, “Would you like to spin a web like a spider? Do you think you could spin a web big enough for you to play in?” Suggest that since humans can’t make silk from their bodies, they could use yarn or string to create their own web.
Head to an outdoor space with a couple of trees close together. Or, bring out some chairs and/or a table to use for weaving. Kids can also build their web right on the ground if these materials are not available. Offer support as needed to anchor one end of the string to the tree, chair or table. Welcome kids to spin a web as big as space allows. Then, let the web spinning commence!
Move like spiders.
Once kids are satisfied with their web, wonder aloud how a spider might move in and out of its web and welcome kids to try it out. Can they find a spot to crawl through? Over? Under? For an extra challenge, invite kids to move through the spaces of the web without touching the string. If kids are enjoying spider movement, invite them to pretend to balloon through the air like a spider by tying a piece of string to their waist and running down a hill or dancing in the wind.
Communicate like spiders!
Spiders sense prey and communicate using vibrations. Take turns plucking at the web while the other person closes their eyes and feels for the vibration in the string.
Catch some "prey."
Kids can pretend that nature treasures are delicious treats for the spider to eat and weave them through their web or use extra yarn to wrap them up.
Why is this activity great for kids?
Pretending to be another creature is a terrific way to support kids’ cognitive empathy
. As kids use yarn to weave their web, they use creativity
and problem-solving skills
. And, as kids move their bodies and heads in different positions in their web, they activate their vestibular
systems, the senses that support balance, coordination, attention and focus.