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Those Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Summer is a great time to allow your budding scientists to see the world around them in a whole new light. Marcy shared some fabulous ideas last week on how to take your drab backyard and make it blissful, and adding science to play is just another way! I hesitate to call spiders blissful, but giving children time in the great outdoors most certainly is. Relishing in all that nature has to offer includes appreciating the role of living and non-living things in the ecosystems around us.

By doing a quick nature walk around the house yard your children should be able to spot a spider web or two. Have them make observations with their eyes only. It's important to teach children about different types of habitats, and with that knowledge they will learn to respect the craftsmanship and purpose of each animal's home. Point out the different shapes and sizes that webs come in. If your children are old enough to do a little research that would be great. Have them try to find pictures of spider webs, what webs are made of, where the silk comes from, what type of animal is a spider, and the names of different types of webs and spiders. For younger children you might want to read a book like Eric Carle's Very Busy Spider. Make breakfast spider themed too, and practice having little ones count to eight (the number of legs a spider has) while dining on spider pancakes.

Now have your children use their art skills to recreate their observations. Here's what they'll need:

*black (or dark) construction paper
*bottle of glue
*white or clear glitter (optional)

Using the tip of the glue as a pen have children create a web. We created an orb web, the kind Charlotte is famous for, and a sheet web. To take it a step farther children could design a spider to attach to their web and attach note cards with interesting arachnid facts. Of course if you are looking for a tie into literature make E.B. White's Charlotte's Web a summer family book club choice! For older children (elementary age) print out a copy of A Spiders Web, a science journal, from my Teachers Pay Teachers site. This observation sheet will allow them to record their thoughts and will compliment the spider art project wonderfully.

Those Itsy Bitsy Spiders can provide lots of summer science fun!

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