Welcome to letter E of the ABC’s of Nature hosted by School Time Snippets. For 26 days, 26 bloggers from around the world will be joining together to share a nature themed post beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet.
E is quite a tricky letter to find something nature related. We thought of emu and elephant (both slightly lacking in the UK), eagle (couldn’t find any in Norfolk), elm tree or an eel. Finally with some creative thinking we came up with E is for eight-legged creatures – spiders! There are other creatures that have eight legs – harvestmen, pseudoscorpion, mites and ticks but we chose an activity based on spiders.
After our Giant Threading activity I have been thinking of other ways to practise threading on a large scale. I thought of threading items onto the eight legs of a spider but wanted to use natural materials/recycled materials as this was a nature related activity. Time for some family brainstorming.
My parents have a willow tree that is used for pollarding. Nana cut some suitable branches for the spider legs. Adam and Beth had great fun chasing around the garden with the branches.
Originally the willow branches were going to be tied together like wheel spokes with a spider’s head placed on top. However, this wasn’t going to make the branches secure enough to withstand a toddler trying to thread objects on to it. Nana’s inspiration was a recycled beach hat. We cut 8 holes in the hat and pushed the branches through. This secured the branches and gave the spider a 3D effect for the body. The only trouble was that the hat was white – cue some black paint. I made a spider’s head out of black card and placed the spider on our Ikea stool.
Continuing with the natural/recycled materials theme I decided on using toilet rolls for Adam to thread onto the willow branches. I wrapped black tissue paper around the cardboard tubes. I was amazed how quickly I covered 30 toilet rolls.
I have to admit the spider confused Adam. He walked out into the garden, took one look at the spider and said “hat”. I kept telling him it was a spider and showing him a picture in a book but he still kept saying “hat”.
My attempt at a spider didn’t deter Adam from attempting the activity. He took the toilet rolls and started to thread them onto the spider’s leg. It was going well until he realised he could empty the toilet rolls out of the box onto the grass – cue transporting schematic behaviour!
Once he was happy the cardboard rolls were all out, Adam turned his attention back to threading.
He managed to thread all of the 30 toilet rolls onto the spiders legs and had great fun in the process. It was a good activity for fine motor skills, gross motor skills and hand eye co-ordination. The activity was not so good perhaps for teaching Adam about spiders. After the activity he was looking through a book, brought it to me, pointed to a picture of a spider and said “hat!”
Some spider facts:
* Spiders are arachnids, not insects (insects only have 6 legs)
* Spiders have four pairs of segmented legs and can grow a new leg if they lose one.
* Most spiders have eight eyes.
* Spiders have 48 knees!
* Spiders help to keep the insect population under control.
* Spiders are found on every continent of the world except Antarctica and there are 40,000 different species
Children’s books related to spiders:
* Aaaarrgghh, Spider! by Lydia Monks
* The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
* Hairy, Scary Spider? by Paual McBride
* Art the Spiffy Spider by Kathryn Calvert
Don’t forget to check out the other ABC’s of Nature posts.
* Willow branches or you could use broom handles or garden canes.
* A hat (preferably a black one so you don’t have to paint it!)
* black cardboard to make the spiders head
* Plenty of recycled toilet rolls – we used 30 but could have done with more.
* Black tissue paper and glue
* A stool to stand the spider on. Our trusty Ikea stool made another appearance.
Adam was 2 years and 1 month old.
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