Did you know that black widows are known for cannibalizing their mates?* Eek. Bet you didn’t plan to come to Tinkerlab today to get info like that.
Spider season has arrived, at least in the Halloween sense of the word, and while it may feel to early for some of us, kids can be wildly in tune with the changing of the seasons. And if it still feels too premature, you can pin this today and keep it up your sleeve for a spooky day down the road.
For us, Halloween catalogues have been arriving for a few weeks now, and decorations are popping up in all the local stores. So when my older daughter started drawing jack-o-lanterns I knew that this project would be a hit.
First let’s talk about supplies…
What You’ll Need
- Paper, cut into postcard-sized pieces
- Black Ink Pad or a Sponge and Black Liquid Watercolors (Amazon link).
- Thin Paintbrushes
- Black felt-tip pen
- Small bowl for the watercolor paint
- Damp rag for cleaning fingers
- Paper to cover your table (optional)
- Googly eyes (optional)
Make some fingerprints on your paper.
Have a damp rag handy in case your child is sensitive to having ink on his or her fingers. My kids are okay with this, and understood that that the ink won’t wash off completely until bath time.
Draw on spider legs and faces. However you like. Add goggly eyes if you have any handy.
This is a great opportunity to talk about how many legs a spider has (8), and introduce other fun spider facts (unlike the one I shared at the beginning of this post). Try these:
- Spiders are not insects, but arachnids
- Spiders have 8 legs. Insects have 6 legs.
- Cobwebs are simply abandoned spider webs.
- Spiders do not have antennae.
- In the 1970’s spiders were sent into space to see if they could build a web with zero gravity. The conclusion? While scientists eventually concluded that the quality of the space webs were slightly different from gravity-based webs, webs were made in space!
- The biggest spider in the world is the Goliath bird eater, a type of tarantula.
Be creative and open-minded.
Despite our conversation about how spiders have eight legs, my independent-minded five-year old gave all of hers eight legs…on both side of their bodies. She said that they look better that way. What do you think?
Now that all the materials are out, experiment a little more and be open to new ideas.
We brought out a few more pens to test out the different thicknesses and textures. Then we poured some watercolors into a small bowl and made painted spiders.
From there, the painting and drawing experiments expanded to include abstract patterns and fully covered pieces of paper.
See you next time for more tinkering fun!
*For more weird spider facts, Michael Miller, animal keeper at the Smithsonian, compiled a list of 8 strange but true spider facts that will fascinate you.