Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Countdown to Halloween - Spider Theme

Today's theme for the 13-day Countdown to Halloween is "Spiders." We enjoyed the variety of activities that we did today - especially the art project and one of the food treats.

Art Project

Sophia and Olivia made images of spiderwebs after seeing the idea on Art Projects for Kids.

Sophia's finished spider web picture.

On a 9" x 12" sheet of black construction paper, the girls each made a dot with a pencil somewhere near the center of the paper. They drew straight lines out from the center, going to the edges of the paper: about 2 lines up, two to the right, then the left and the bottom edge.

Next, they drew a series to concentric circles around the center dot. It's easier to keep the lines simple, with lots of space in between.

Then, using white glue, they traced all their pencil lines.

Olivia tracing the pencil lines she made with glue.

To keep control of the glue line, it helped to keep the nozzle dragging on the paper when they squeezed the glue bottle.

Sophia putting glue on the black construction paper.

After the glue dried, Olivia and Sophia used chalk pastels to color on the paper and blend the powder in with their fingers.

Olivia using white chalk pastels for the next section 
of her spider web.

Rubbing is essential as it blends the chalk into the paper, and cleans it off the glue.

Sophia rubbing the chalk pastel into the paper.

Just a note...the glue does take quite a while to dry. The girls put the glue onto the paper around 10:30 a.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will still sections that had not dried completely.

Olivia's finished spider web picture.

We used a hair dryer to dry some of the glue. The other parts, the girls just worked around and were careful not to touch.

Both girls enjoyed this project, and Olivia wants to do another one in a different way to see how it will turn out.

Science/Trivia Fact

Indiana Public Media shared this information which I shared with Sophia and Olivia:

Most people think of spider webs as the organized, circular webs of "orb weaving" spiders. But actually there are many kinds of webs, made by different kinds of spiders.

Spiders of the family Theridiidae, or “cobweb spiders” are responsible for many of the loose, haphazard looking webs found in the corners of houses, barns, and sheds.

Like most spider webs, the webs of cobweb spiders are sticky. When the spiders move away or die, the abandoned webs start to collect airborne lint and dust.

The resulting dust laden strands hanging around lead to the false idea that cobwebs are not made by spiders.

One infamous species of cobweb spider is the venomous black widow, but you’re much more likely to encounter the harmless, tiny brown cobweb spider known as the “common house spider“.

These household spiders eat flies, mosquitoes, and other pests. So, maybe a cobweb or two around the house is not such a bad thing.

Food Treat

Doughnut Spiders 

For breakfast, we had Doughnut Spiders. (The idea came from Prepared Not Scared.) Both the girls enjoyed this simple-to-prepare breakfast. Being able to frost their doughnuts was fun for them.

Two of the doughnut spiders we made.


Chocolate Covered Doughnuts (We used a variety of doughnuts - plain, powered sugar, and cinnamon)
Pretzel Sticks
Milk Chocolate Chips


Stick the pretzels into the sides of the doughnut.

Sophia placing the pretzels around the doughnut.

Dip the M&M's into melted chocolate chips and add them to the donuts to make the spider's eyes. (We used frosting since we had that on hand and it was easier to use.)

Olivia putting frosting on the doughnut so it holds 
the M&M eyes in place.

Use a miniature chip for the eyeball centers using the melted chocolate or frosting.

Olivia with her finished doughnut spiders.

Alternatively, chocolate frosting that can be piped out from a tube to make the eyeball pupils.

Sophia with her doughnut spiders.

Spooky Spider Snack

We also tried to make the Spooky Spider Snack. The recipe came from a pin that was linked to Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons. Let me assure you that the image we saw did not look anything like the finished version. Actually, we never completed making it. Why? I'll explain below.

To make the Spooky Spider Snack, you need: 1 plum, 12 pretzel sticks, edible eyes (we used frosting and M&Ms), and a big hand full of dark grapes.

We poked 3 holes on each side of the plum with a knife. This was the easy part.

Then, we took 6 pretzel sticks and pushed them into the holes. This went moderately well...just a few broken pretzels.

Next, we poked a hole on the ends of the grapes and slide them onto the pretzel sticks leaving just a bit of the pretzel showing. This did not go well at all for Olivia. The pretzels broke as she tried to put the grapes onto them. She didn't want to continue...she just wanted her doughnut spider which was fine.

Sophia got one grape onto each pretzel, and then said the next grape wouldn't work. Sure enough, the end of the pretzel was soggy and simply squished as another grape was added.

How in the world the person on Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons created the legs is beyond me. We tried pretzels with no luck. Then we tried toothpicks.

Sophia said she was just going to put the eyes on and call the project done. So, if we were following the directions, we would have put on edible eyes on the plum with cream cheese or peanut butter.

Since we used frosting and M&Ms for the doughnut spiders, we just used those. The staying power of M&Ms on the side of a plum: about 7 seconds.

See? I wasn't kidding. This sad-looking spider had much to be desired.
Despite its appearance, the fruit at least was good. 
The pretzels inside the grapes were soggy and inedible.
We don't plan on doing this project again.

At this point, we just wanted to eat breakfast. Make a spider from grapes and plums was no longer fun. It was become frustrating. So, we ended up eating the rest of the fruit that was meant for the other spider plain.

For those who aren't hungry and perhaps want to try their luck at making a fruit spider, the rest of the process looks something like this:

Fill up the other pretzel sticks with grapes and poke a hole on the end grape with the kitchen knife. Press that onto the end of the pretzel that is showing. The spider now should be standing up on your plate.

Fun Activities

The girls did a:
- Spider maze
- Spider crossword with answer key
- Spider word find

They enjoyed doing each of these puzzles. The maze, they said, was very easy. The crossword was a good review of some facts they knew about spiders as well as a good way to learn a couple new things. The word find was fun, and they were able to find all the words.


Elisebet Freeburg said...

Mmmm the donut spiders look yummy!

What Remains Now said...

Another great day. I LOVE the art project. When I first saw it, I didn't guess how it was created. Donut spiders...so cute.

Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

I'm so impressed--looks like you had a very full day!