In the spirit of Halloween, we studied spiders today. We used the lightboard to trace a complex spider web, then we added spiders with ink thumbprints. I was so happy to see many of the children adding eight legs to their spiders, after we read a book on parts of a spider. U.P. loved the word "arachnid" and wanted to know more about these animals. We also discovered that spiders can make as many as seven different kinds of silk, each used for a different purpose (egg cases, wrapping prey...). Can you believe that a thread of spider silk is stronger than a thread of steel that is the same thickness?
Here's a spider web activity you can try at home. Finding a web is easy on foggy or dew-covered mornings because the water droplets reveal the silk threads. You'll have to wait to see the spider at work because a spider can't catch a meal until its web dries out. If your child would like to check out the intricate design of a web, here's a trick biologists use to make spider webs visible.
Step One: Put one sock inside the other to make a double-thick bag.
Step Two: Fill the bag with cornstarch or talcum powder.
Step Three: Close the opening by tying a knot in the top of the "bag".
Step Four: Hold the bag next to a spider web (not over the top of it).
Step Five: Pat the bag gently to force poweder out of it onto the web. Hint: Stand upwind so the air carries the powder onto the web.
Step Six: Keep patting the bag until the web is lightly dusted.
Another great extension to this topic is installing a Garden Spider Web Frame from Montessori Services in your backyard. With a little time and a lot of patience, children can observe a web being formed and eventually a spider hunting for a meal.