Along Came A Spider

A Thematic Unit About Our Creepy, Crawly, Eight-Legged Friends


October is the month for spiders!
Even children who are afraid of these wonderful bugs are captivated by pictures and stories about spiders, from Charlotte's Web to The Very Busy Spider to everyone's favorite fingerplay, The Itsy Bitsy Spider

On this page you'll find many wonderful ideas and activities for studying spiders, plus songs, poems, and suggested books. To find out more about a book, click on the cover or the title to go to, then use your browser's BACK button to return here for more great ideas.  Amazon will save your books in your electronic shopping cart until you're ready to check out, now or anytime in the next 90 days.

Getting Started

I begin my spider unit by singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and by teaching the children the Little Miss Muffett poem.  I have both on 1/2 sheets of posterboard, and we keep them in our Song & Poetry box, which is used as one of our Literacy Centers.

After the song and poem, I make a Language Experience / KWL chart about spiders, listing the facts my students know and also the things they'd like to learn.  We also make a graph ... Are You Afraid of Spiders?

I have groups of students draw large webs with black marker on orange bulletin board paper.  We hang these around the room, and use them for recording facts we know (and learn) about spiders.  At the end of the first week of spider study, we transfer these facts to single pieces of construction paper, and individual students illustrate the pages to make a class book.

Many of the activities I use are listed below, along with great ideas from KinderKorner mailing list members.  Have a great time teaching and learning about spiders!


Spider Facts

  Spiders are not insects.  Insects have three body parts and six legs.  Spiders have eight legs and two body parts, the abdomen and the thorax.

  Spiders have silk spinning glands called spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen.

  Not all spiders spin webs.

  Spiders belong to the Arachnid family.

  There are more than 30,000 species of spiders.

  Spiders are oviparous, which means their babies come from eggs.

  Most spiders have either six or eight eyes.

  All spiders have fangs, through which venom is ejected.  Spider bites can be quite painful, and a select few can be fatal.

  Fear of spiders is called Arachniphobia.  It is one of the most common fears among humans.

  Tarantulas shed their furry skin as they grow, leaving behind what looks just like another tarantula.

  Spiders eat many types of harmful insects, helping to keep your garden free of  pests.

Here are a few of my favorite books for getting your spider unit off to a great start!

The Itsy Bitsy Spider
My class LOVES this book!  The traditional fingerplay gets five new verses as the spider climbs the kitchen wall, a pail, a rocking chair, and a maple tree, and has encounters with a cat and a mouse.
A must-have book with beautiful watercolor pictures. Under $6.

The Very Busy Spider
A board book edition of the best-selling story features thermographic pages and a raised spider web children can feel for themselves.  Under $5
Also available in hardcover.

Miss Spider's ABC
From ants to the zebra butterfly, Miss Spider's friends prepare for her giant surprise birthday party: "Bumblebees blow balloons ... Earthworms entertain ...  Fireflies fandango ... Moths mingle ... Owlflies ogle."
More Miss Spider books can be found further down this page.

Mighty Spiders!
A Hello Science Reader
From tiny spiders the size of a grain of sand to their larger relatives that are bigger than your hand, this delightful rhyming book introduces children to the world of amazing arachnids. Under $3.

A beautiful science book from popular author Gail Gibbons, presenting the diversity of spider habitats and behavior, and explaining the way different spiders build their webs.  Under $6.

Spider's Lunch
By acclaimed Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole
An introduction to the arachnid world explains how a hungry garden spider must obtain food by carefully building a web and then patiently waiting to catch something.  Under $4.

Amazing Spiders
 Dramatic photos, time-lapse sequences, and detailed artwork show how a spider spins a web.  Learn about a spider that flings its own poisonous hairs at its enemies, and about spiders as large as a dinner plate.

Anansi The Spider
A Caldecott Honor Book
When Anansi sets out on a dangerous journey and gets into all sorts of trouble, each son does one thing to help, and all their efforts together save their father.  Under $5.

The Lady and the Spider
A Reading Rainbow book
A spider who lives in a head of lettuce is saved when the lady who finds her puts her back into the garden.  I also use this book during my Come Into the Garden unit.  Under $5.

Spiders Have Fangs ... and Other Amazing Facts About Arachnids
From the "I didn't know that" series ... lots of information that your students will love.


Spectacular Spiders
A young girl takes readers on a tour of her yard, explaining how garden spiders trap insects for food, spin webs, and leave retractable silk draglines wherever they go.

Dream Weaver
An evocative, hypnotic picture book about a little boy watching a tiny yellow spider, in the up-close
and personal vein of Verdi and Stellaluna.  My personal favorite spider story.


Spider Songs & Poems

One of my favorite spider songs is There's A Spider On the Floor, written by Tom Paxton and made even more famous by Raffi.  It's available as a book, as a song on several different children's tapes, and the full words are right here.  Kids love acting out the words.  Enjoy!

There's A Spider On the Floor

There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
Who could ask for any more
Than a spider on the floor?
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.

There's a spider on my leg, on my leg.
There's a spider on my leg, on my leg.
Oh it's really really big
This old spider on my leg.
There's a spider on my leg, on my leg.

Now the spider's on my stomach, on my stomach.
Now the spider's on my stomach, on my stomach.
Oh he's just a dumb old lummock
This old spider on my stomach.
Now the spider's on my stomach, on my stomach.

Now the spider's on my head, on my head.
Now the spider's on my head, on my head.
Oh I wish that I were dead,
I've got a spider on my head!
Now the spider's on my head, on my head.

And he jumps off! ....
Now there's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
(repeat until you can't stand it any longer :o)

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away!

The Spider

Watch the busy spider
He's helpful as can be.
Eating insects all day long
Now they won't bite me!

contributed by Purplebabs

 Spider Song
(tune: Oh, Susanna!)

I was sitting in my room one day
When it came right through the door
A big spider sped right by me,
Went racing 'cross the floor!

Oh that spider
Oh how it scared me so
But spiders can be good friends
And so I let it go

I watched it crawl up on the wall,
To find a spot just right
It spun a web so beautiful
And then went out of sight


Now bugs and flies do not scare me
For I know that its true
That a spiderweb is good to have
Bugs stick to it like glue


Spider Webs
by Amy Goldman Koss

The spider weaves a sticky web
To capture bugs to eat.
What keeps the spider's sticky web
From sticking to her feet?

Spider webs are very tricky
Because not all the strands
are sticky.
Unlike the passing hapless fly,
The spider knows which strands
are dry.

But if she accidentally stands
Upon one of the sticky strands,
She still would not get stuck,
you see --
Her oily body slides off free.

contributed by April in TN


 by Janet Bruno

Spiderlings hatch from eggs.
Each one has eight tiny legs.
A spider has more eyes than you.
Most have eight, and you have two.
A spider has two body parts.
Across its web it quickly darts.
From a spider's spinnerets
Sticky spider silk jets.
Spiders feel the frantic tugs,
Of their favorite food -- it's bugs!

contributed by April in TN

 The Spider in the Web
(tune: Farmer in the Dell)

The spider in the web, 
The spider in the web
Spin, spin, oh watch him spin,
The spider in the web.

The spider eats a (bug name)
The spider eats a _________.
Spin, spin, oh watch him spin,
The spider in the web.


 Tommy's Pet Spider
(tune:  Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Tommy's pet spider climbed up the bedroom wall,
In came the wind and made the spider fall.
When Tommy's mom came in to sweep his room a clean,
She saw that spooky spider,
and boy did mommy scream!

contributed by Leigh in Texas

(tune:  Itsy Bitsy Spider)

See the little spider
Climbing up the wall,
See the little spider
Stumble and fall.

See the little spider
Tumble down the street,
See the little Spider
Stop down at my feet.

contributed by Ellyn

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again.


I'm a Little Spider
(tune: Little Teapot)

I'm a little spider, watch me spin.
If you'll be my dinner,
I'll let you come in.
Then I'll build my web
to hold you tight,
And gobble you up in one big bite!

We always made a Big Book of this (at least two copies) with student illustrations.


More Spider Books We Enjoy!

Be Nice to Spiders
A sweet story about a little boy who gives his spider to the zoo, because his apartment doesn't allow pets.  Lots of good information.

Anansi and the
Moss-Covered Rock
Anansi the Spider uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals, until Little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.
Under $6.

The Adventures of Spider
Six folktales about Spider, including those which explain how he got a thin waist and a bald head and why he lives in ceilings and dark corners.

Silly Spider!
A spider pops up all around the bathroom -- in the sink, under the soap, behind a towel. Features a separate spider that slips through die-cut holes and pops up behind flaps on the following page.
Extremely Weird Spiders
A wonderful book filled with pictures the kids really enjoy!
Under $5.

Insects and Spiders Eye-to-Eye
Through the magic of stereographic photography, readers to come face-to-face with some of nature's coolest creatures.
Under $8.

Identifying Spiders
Outstanding photos everyone will enjoy!
Under $8.


The Little Buggers
Insect & Spider Poems
Twenty Four poems that will make your students laugh and giggle ... fun pictures and great rhymes!

Nature Watch Spiders
Written for older students, this book still makes a fine addition to your classroom library and is a hit on the science table!

Spiders Spin Webs
Incredibly lush illustrations and simple, airy verse introduce 15 types of arachnids: "Spiders spin webs / Like weavers of old, as / Their spinneret
 patterns, / Like magic, unfold. / That's how spiders spin webs."  Under $6.

Web Weavers and Other Spiders
You'll squirm over the stunning full-color close-ups of strange and dangerous arachnids doing what they do best - spinning, trapping, and slowly digesting their prey.  Under $5.


Like Jake and Me
A Newberry Award winning book.  Alex feels he doesn't have much in common with his stepfather Jake until a fuzzy wolf spider brings them together.  Highly recommended.




Spider Art Projects

Spider Handprints
This is the art project I use on my October homework calendar.
For the background, use a 7x10 inch sheet of orange construction paper.  Paint each child's hands and fingers black -- do not paint their thumbs.  Press one hand down in the center of the paper, fingers pointing outwards.  Repeat with the other hand, overlapping the palm print.  When dry, add peel-and-stick ring reinforcer circles for eyes.  We used yellow rings this year, and they look great!

Spider Web Painting
Place an 8x8 inch square of white construction paper in a gift box lid.  Dip a marble in black paint and drop it onto the paper.  Roll the marble around by tilting the lid.  Repeat as many times as desired to create a spider web.  Add a spider sticker or glue on a plastic spider.  These can also be done with white paint on a black background.

Glittery Spider Webs
Using thin lines of white glue, make a spider web design on black posterboard.  Sprinkle with silver glitter and let dry.  Make a tiny hole near the center of the web, and attach a plastic spider ring to a 12 inch string or piece of fishing wire.  Thread the string through the hole (from front to back) and tape the end to the back of the picture.  Allow the spider to hang down from the web, leaving a silk line.  When he senses danger, pull the string from the back of the board, returning the spider to safety.

Lacy Spider Webs
Using thin lines of white glue, make a spider web design on a sheet of wax paper.  Sprinkle with glitter, if desired.  When dry, carefully peel away the wax paper.  These can be used in other projects, or hung in the window.

Paper Plate Spiders
Paint paper plates black.  When dry, add eight legs made of 1x18 inch construction paper, folded accordian style.
Younger children especially enjoy making these.

Thumbprint Spiders
Let the kids make a picture with lots of thumbprint spiders (press thumb on black stamp pad, then add legs with thin black marker).  They can put their spiders in webs, in the garden, in the house, etc.  A great springboard for writing spider stories.

Circle Time Spider Web
During circle time, hand a ball of yarn to one student and have them toss it to another student.  Holding the yarn firmly, that student tosses the yarn to another child.  Repeat until everyone has had a turn.  Be sure to take pictures of your great spider web!  This can also be done in a corner of the room, tying the yarn to furniture, drawer and cabinet knobs, etc.  Another fun variation is to make a web and let students untangle it.

Spider Homes
(contributed by AmyNealW)

As a teacher in a K/1 class, the children and I also made a variety of spider
homes ... we used shoe boxes for trap door spiders and paper mache and paper towel rolls for purse-web spiders.  I found the directions in the resource
book Bugs to Bunnies by K. Goin, E. Ripp, and K.N. Solomon, published by Chatterbox Press.

Another idea ... how about painting a styrofoam ball (or half of one) black, then stick on black pipe cleaners for legs, and add googly eyes?  You could also
use the individual cups  from an egg carton for the body.

Spaghetti Spider Webs
(contributed by Tina in St. Louis)

I have done this project with my 1st graders for a few years and they love
it.  We create spider webs with cooked spaghetti and glue. Take a bowl of
cooked spaghetti ( 2 lb. was more than enough for my class of 25 last year),
add white glue (no certain amount).  The kids mix it up with their hands. Then
they pull individual strands of spaghetti out and begin to design their web
on a dark piece of construction paper.

After it dries, you can usually (if you are careful) pull the web off completely We have hung them on string and used them for decorations. We talk about how spiders create webs & why.

Two Spider Ideas from Jennifer

We made up variations on "Itsy Bitsy Spider" -
Great Big Spider (deep voice), Very Sleepy Spider,
etc.  Just spur of the moment usually, but they always
liked the great big one.

One of the cool science things we did was to "lift"
spider webs onto a dark piece of paper - was
interesting to see the intricate designs.

Woven Paper Plate Webs
contributed by Ellyn

Using a paper plate, I either punch holes around the plate or make slits
around the plate - slits are easier for younger children. Then I give them
some yarn and they weave back and forth and make a spider web.  If you
punched holes, it's helpful to put some scotch tape on one end - making it
easier for them to put the yarn thru the holes.

    Afterwards, I give them each a spider ring to put in their web.

Button Spiders
contributed by Teresa Harbin

Here is a super easy way to make a spider.  If you have access to
an Ellison machine, choose the button die-cut.   I used black construction
paper (or black foam sheets), cut out one black button per child.  Give them
two black pipe cleaners.  Cut both in half, thread 2 halves through  each
button hole and shape like spider legs.  Instant spider!  You could also
glue pin-backs to bottom of spider to make a cute pin.

Paper Cone Spiders
contributed by Amy

Another idea is to take a half circle of black construction paper and wrap it around to make a cone shape, then add construction paper legs and eyes.  You can hang them from the ceiling or in a corner covered with that spider web stuff.

Miss Spider Books

Miss Spider's ABC
From ants to the zebra butterfly, Miss Spider's friends prepare for her giant surprise birthday party: "Bumblebees blow balloons ... Earthworms entertain ...  Fireflies fandango ... Moths mingle ... Owlflies ogle."
My class enjoys
Miss Spider stories
all year long!

Little Miss Spider
A story that takes us back in time to the very first day of Miss Spider's life, surrounded by brothers and sisters but unable to find her mother.  The message is "your mother is the person who loves you best!"

Miss Spider's Wedding
Meeting the man of her dreams, Miss Spider prepares for and enjoys a beautiful wedding despite the scrutiny of her peers, in a story about accepting and appreciating differences.

Miss Spider's New Car
Miss Spider and husband Holley shop for a car, test driving a series of vehicles, including ones composed of leaves, flowers, and other plant parts.



Miss Spider's Tea Party
Miss Spider eagerly waits for some guests to join her at tea, but because spiders are in the habit of eating their company, no one
wants to join her.  A great counting book, covering the numbers one to ten.


Miss Spider's Tea Party
The Counting Book
A board-book edition of Miss Spider's Tea Party, with the text reduced to one line per page.  Despite the diminished text, my students thoroughly enjoy this easy-to-hold book.  I keep a copy with our math stories, and another for thematic unit studies.



Spider Recipes

Marshmallow Spiders
For each spider, use one large marshmallow for the body and one small marshmallow for the head (attach with 1/2 a toothpick).  Make eyes from mini M&Ms, legs from pretzel sticks.  Cover with chocolate sauce, if desired.

Oreo Cookie Spiders
Use an Oreo (or other chocolate sandwich cookie) for the body.  Attach 8 legs made from thin black licorice.

Peanut Butter Cracker Spiders
Make 2 "sandwiches" from 4 Ritz crackers spread with peanut butter.  Lay them side-by-side on a plate, sticking them together with more peanut butter.  Attach peanuts or raisins for eyes, and make legs from pretzels.

Silly Spider Sandwiches

2 slices of bread ( use raisin bread!)
1 T Strawberry cream sheese
8 Raisins or red hots
8 stick Pretzels
1 piece of black string licorice (about 4 inches long)

You will also need:
1 paper plate
1 plastic knife
Measuring spoons
round biscuit cutter


Cut bread into circles with biscuit cutter. Measure and spread cream
cheese on one piece of bread. Place the other bread circle on top. Put
the 8 raisins or red hots on the top piece of bread for eyes. Place 4
pretzels coming out of each side for legs. Add licorice string at the
top to look like your spider's drag line.

contributed by Kibbles


Links to Other Spider Sites

SEDL Spiders Unit
A terrific 7 Lesson unit on Spiders for Kinderkids

Kindergarten Spider Project
Addie Gaines' page about the cooperative Email and Internet spider project between two kindergarten classes, her own and Amy Griffin's.  Both Addie and Amy are KinderKorner subscribers.  Addie's page has tons of ideas and resources, plus great spider photos taken by students.
Click here to visit Amy's page, which has more resources plus wondeful pictures of class spider activities.

Online Spider Concentration Game
A fun site to visit, with superb spider pictures.
My students love playing this game!
Thanks to Addie and Amy for this link.

The Legend of the Christmas Spider
Thanks to Addie and Amy for this one, too!

Beakman Spider Webs Activity

Spiders of North West Europe
This site contains more than 450 pictures of
over 170 spiders commonly found in
NW-Europe, especially the area between the
Netherlands and the south of France.

How to Make a Spider Glider
from the Science Museum of Minnesota


Visit the Kinder Korner Bookstore
for terrific teaching resources!

My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students.  The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page.  Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!

Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!

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This page went online October 2, 1999

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