Eeeeeek! Spider!!! Spiders tend to make many people cringe. Their eight legs and eight eyes don’t exactly look too welcoming. But spider theme preschool activities can be fun to explore with preschoolers. For instance, there’s lots to learn about their positive impacts on the ecosystem (they keep the bug population down)! Spiders can also make for a fun learning theme in addition to or in lieu of Halloween activities.
If you’re looking to learn more about spiders with preschoolers, here are some fabulous resources for planning your preschool spider theme. Most of these activities are designed for kids ages 3 through 5, but many can be modified for younger and older kids as well.
WHY IT’S FUN
Spiders are creepy crawly creatures that can be fun to create with hands-on crafts. Making sure you include eight legs and eight eyes also reinforces counting and one-to-one correspondence. Kids love to get imaginative and pretend with these creepy crawlies too- spiders make for fun finger plays and action rhymes!
WHEN TO TEACH A SPIDER THEME
We like to teach a spider theme in late September through October, as it ties in nicely with any Halloween activities. A spider theme can also serve as an excellent alternative to a Halloween theme. You may also choose to teach about spiders any time of the year. It’s a versatile theme!
TEACHING TIPS & MAJOR CONCEPTS KIDS WILL LEARN
If you’re planning a preschool spider theme there are many possibilities for incorporating meaningful early learning skills.
These are just some of the concepts kids can learn about during a spider theme:
- spider webs
- predators vs. prey
You can also use googly eyes or chenille stems as manipulatives for many learning activities to teach math and literacy concepts.
ITEMS TO COLLECT AND REQUEST IN ADVANCE
If you get parents, friends, and family involved you can enrich the experience kids have during your preschool spider theme.
Collect or ask people to help you collect:
- googly eyes
- black play dough
- chenille stems
- plastic spiders
- yarn (for spider web creation)
You might even invite special guests (or go visit if you can) to come and share about fields and hobbies related to spiders. You could include:
- an arachnologist
- a student’s parent or family member who has a pet spider
PRINTABLE SPIDER THEME LESSON PLANS
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set currently includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
- My Spider Emergent Reader
- Spider Babies Fine Motor Activity Mat
- Spider Patterning Task Cards
- Spider Roll and Add Counting Game
- Spider Letter Building Mat
- Itsy Bitsy Spider Story Sequencing Pieces
- Spider Calendar (or general number) Cards
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
INDIVIDUAL SPIDER ACTIVITY IDEAS ON FANTASTIC FUN AND LEARNING
Here on Fantastic Fun and Learning we’ve shared the following ideas to go along with a preschool spider theme.
Invite kids to create their very own play dough spiders. Just set out some black play dough, chenille stems, and googly eyes and let them get creating!
Grab some pretend spiders and create some spider process art with this spider painting activity.
Dip a dough cutter in paint and roll it across paper to create process art spider webs. Go in all sorts of directions to “weave” the web.
Make a spider craft puppet and get ready to act out The Itsy Bitsy Spider and fun pretend spider play!
Create spider web process art with just yarn and paint. Kids will love dragging the yarn across the paper to “weave” their webs!
Kids will love pretending and playing with this creepy crawly spider ring!
This spider headband craft encourages imaginary play and creativity. Grab some black construction paper and googly eyes and have fun!
Using contact paper and foam sheets of paper, create an Itsy Bitsy Spider interactive retell wall for children to sing and act out the classic nursery rhyme.
MORE ACTIVITIES FROM CREATIVE EDUCATORS
Learn all about spiders as you explore them across the curriculum. Kids will love these fun and hands-on spider activities we’ve found and shared over the years!
INFORMATIONAL YOUTUBE VIDEOS
SciShow Kids teaches lots of facts about spiders and the important jobs spiders do.
See some real spiders in action and learn how they spin webs, where they live, and how they differ from insects.
National Geographic Kids presents lots of interesting facts about tarantulas. Check out the creepy crawly videos up-close and personal!
Sing along to the classic Itsy Bitsy Spider song with Twinkle Little Songs.
This version of The Itsy Bitsy Spider from Little Angel has great graphics and new twists on the classic song as the spider goes to the zoo, climbs up a chimney, and even has an encounter with a mouse.
Super Simple Songs has a cute version of the Eensy Weensy Spider and encourages the finger play to different speeds of the song, high, and low voices.
OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES
Finger plays and action rhymes are a great addition to your preschool themes. Here are a few terrific options to go along with a leaf theme.
Preschool Education shares several fun and engaging spider finger play songs that are sung to familiar tunes.
This finger play from Let’s Play Music will have kids enacting “My Little Spider” crawling all over them and then putting it to bed. Sheet music and live instrumental music is available.
Re-enact Little Miss Muffet with some props or your hands and recite the rhyme along with Let’s Play Kids Music. Sheet music and a tutorial on how to play it on chime bars is provided.
Preschool Express has a great list of spider finger plays and rhymes that will have you moving and singing to familiar songs. We especially like the spin on the traditional Eensy Weensy Spider and counting backwards!
If you’d like to supplement your hands-on learning with some online games you might try:
Count along with little spider as your practice number recognition and counting with this spider counting game from Cookie.com.
Help the spider catch some bugs with this spider game from Primary Games. Use the keyboard arrows to move the spider along the web to catch the unsuspecting bug that has landed in the web.
FAVORITE SPIDER BOOKS
There are a ton of wonderful books to read for your spider theme. Below are some of our favorite picture books for a preschool spider theme.
Bring spiders to life with real photographs and nonfiction texts about spiders.
MORE SPIDER BOOKS
Learn more about those creepy crawly arachnids as you dive into some of our favorite books about spiders.
OTHER PROPS AND TEACHING TOOLS
Reinforce learning with these hands-on materials for your spider theme. They can be used for sensory bins, crafts, and learning activities.
Use these free printable spider counting mats to work on number recognitions, counting sets, and identifying different ways to represent numbers zero through ten.
Print out this free spider babies mat and get to flexing those fine motor skills as you place the babies on their mommy’s back.
This spider counting book gets kids counting in a fun hands-on way as they create and count spiders on a web using their fingerprints. It’s also a pretty cute keepsake to remember those tiny fingers!
POSSIBLE FIELD TRIPS OR ADVENTURES
- go on a garden walk in search of spiders
- take a virtual field trip to watch a spider spin its web
As you wrap up your preschool spider theme take note of what the kids were most interested in throughout the theme. Continue on by investigating one of those concepts more in depth. Below are some possible suggestions. Themes we have printable lesson plans for include links after them.
More Halloween Themes to Explore