Spiderwebs have inspired design, art and technology. Spiders can weave these thin but strong nets while manufacturing the raw material: threads of silk.
When observing these complex and beautiful suspended structures children can learn about geometry, physics, connection, aesthetics, structures, resistance, fragility.
What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation
- Children have been exploring structures and buildings;
- Children are curious about spiders and animal homes;
- Children are excited about using threads to connect things.
• T-shirt yarn in various colors
Setting up this Play Invitation
- Prepare a bag with a few balls of colored t-shirt yarn. We like to use t-shirt yarn because it’s thicker, easy to find, and there is a myriad of colors to choose from.
- Find a spot with safe things children can use to attach the thread, like poles, trees, fences, benches, etc.
Tip: If you do this in a public space remember to take your threads with you when you’re finished.
How to Explore
- Invite children to look for spiderwebs outside. Take pictures and dialogue about their location, shape, and size. Who lives there?
- Divide your children into groups of four and designate an outdoor space for each group.
- Give a ball of thread to each child and, inspired by the spiderwebs, invite them to create their own installations.
Optional Next Step: Create a dramatic game where children are spiders living in the different installations.
How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation
- Honor children’s desire to learn more about the natural world. Children love to be outside because there are lots of things to look at that are really fascinating. And there’s nothing that is taught indoors that can’t be taught outdoors, like in this example where children will be exploring concepts such as structure and line through the eyes of a spider.
The Academic Learning Opportunities
- SCIENCE: Understand form and function.
- PHYSICAL: Build on their gross and fine motor skills, reach and flexibility, and visual-spatial relationships.
- SOCIAL: Collaboration and cooperation.
- ART: Children can explore lines and structure, pattern, composition, and contrast.
- Invite children to explore other structures built by animals such as termite mounds, beehives, burrows, beaver dams, and bird nests.
This book will make you take a closer look at spiderwebs.
The story of a little spider spinning her web on a fence.
A beautiful book about many types of spiderwebs.