Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Theme Thursday: Spiders

Well, I definitely have fallen short when it has come to doing my Theme Thursday posts.  We still have been doing our theme days, but I have not had the time or energy to post the photos and links and instructions.  Hopefully I will be able to put up a few of these posts in the next week and catch up.  I've got these themes to cover:  spiders, pumpkins, popcorn, pirates, and Thanksgiving.
Here on Temporary Insanity, I will be posting Theme Thursdays each week to share what activities we did and what resources we used on our special day. All of the instructions and links will be right here so please feel free to use them. I am including lots of extra ideas as well - no need to do them all, of course! Keep in mind that my activities are tailored to two kindergarteners and one second-grader; you can adjust them to fit your family.  You can find previous themes here.
Today's theme is spiders.

Let's get right into the reading.  For this theme day, we spent a lot of time with our books because my children have an intense interest (and fear of!) in spiders.  Oddly enough, the kids are no longer shrieking in fear at every spider they find in the house, probably because they know a lot more about them.
1.  The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani was our choice to begin the day.  It has lots of extra verses so the kids can explore all the places that the spider went.  The older kids helped make up motions for the new verses, and we got our exercise in.
2.  Spider on the Floor by Raffi and illustrated by True Kelley was another action-packed book.  It featured all the lyrics to Raffi's song "Spider on the Floor" and was great for repetition and finding rhythm in a song. As a bonus, it is extremely silly, and all my kids delighted in the outrageous things the spider caught in its web.
3.  Spiders by Nic Bishop is a book full of beautiful photographs and wonderful information on all types of spiders.  We probably spent a good thirty minutes poring over this book and learning all the interesting spider facts.
4.  Spiders' Secrets by Richard Platt was also a book chock full of incredible spider facts.
5.  Freaky Facts about Spiders by Christine Morley was yet another book that taught us new things about spiders.  I let the kids explore this book on their own while they ate their snack. 
Some other books that would be fantastic for a spider-themed day would be:
6.  Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
7.  The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
8.  Ice Cream and Spiders: A Story about Learning Two Times Tables by Professor Paradox

Kitchen Activity:  My original idea was to make these spiderweb brownies with the kids.  We made them the night before because whole wheat brownies are better if they sit overnight.  They were pretty time-intensive so I'm not sure I would recommend them as a theme day activity.  Though, the recipe did give the kids plenty of practice in reading, measuring, and other kitchen skills.  Here's the link to the whole wheat brownie recipe and a link to the method for making the spiderweb on the brownies. 
 The brownies were a bit rich for snack time; so I had the kids help me make these cute little spiders instead.  They are made from round crackers (we like the ones from Trader Joe's), peanut butter, chocolate chips, and small pieces of apple.  You might also want to try making Oreo Cookie spiders following the instructions here.
For our craft, we made these adorable pool noodle spiders.  Earlier in the week, I had used a serrated knife to cut three pool noodles into rings.  I gave them to the kids with long pieces of ribbons so they could string gigantic necklaces and work on their fine motor skills. 
To make the pool noodle spider, you need just one of the pool noodle slices, pipe cleaners or bendaroos, wiggly eyes, and craft glue.  Cut the pipe cleaners into 5 inch pieces.  Loop one through the center hole of the pool noodle piece and twist to secure.  Once your child sees how to do that, let them do the remaining seven legs.  My four-year-old needed additional help with this step.  Then let them choose a set of wiggly eyes and glue them to their spiders.  We actually made these before we did the Itsy Bitsy spider book so we could use our spiders while doing the motions.

Next, I made this worksheet for the kids to practice a variety of skills.  They colored the SPIDER letters and the spider.  All three kids chose to put the red hourglass symbol on the spider to make it a black widow spider.  They learned how to skip-count by eights, and they worked on the phonics sound of "sp in spider".  Finally, they practiced reading all of the spider words that they learned from the various spider books we read.  You can click on the image above and save it to your computer to print out for your own use.

The last thing we did on Spider Day was go exploring.  Since we live in the rainy Northwest, we have lots of garden spiders and house spiders, especially this time of the year.  We had one particular garden spider that had spun a web right outside our kitchen window and had just caught a moth.  The kids got to watch the spider spin its silk around the moth and start liquefying it with its digestive juices.  It sounds gross, but I couldn't have set up a better learning experience if I had tried.

Next Theme Thursday post will be on pumpkins. 

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