Kids will experience how a spider evaluates the size of its prey with this easy spider web science activity. It’s perfect the perfect STEM addition to a unit on spiders or to do during Halloween!
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Lucy and Theo had fun learning about spiders and their webs with this easy science activity for kids. All you need is some yarn or string, a place to make a web, and some kids excited to learn!
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Our Favorite Books About Spiders
Spider Web Science Activity for Kids
Materials for Spider Web Science
Procedure for Spider Web Science Activity
1. Start by building a web with your yarn or string. (I used black yarn so it’d be more visible in the photos, but you could use white to better resemble a real spider web.) You’ll need to find someplace stable you can tie your yarn. (We used two chairs.)
Tie strings of yarn across the two chairs. Make sure the yarn is taut.
Weave some long pieces of yarn around the yarn attached to the chairs, tying in certain areas as you go.
(I added one of our pom pom spiders just to make it more realistic!)
2. Have one child hold onto the web and close his/her eyes (or in my case- have some superheroes grab on to the web). Have the other child pluck the string- sometimes lightly and sometimes firmly. (Make sure to pluck one of the taught strings rather than one of the woven strings.) The child with his/her eyes closed can feel different degrees of vibrations as the other child is plucking the string.
3. Switch and let the other child have a turn.
- You don’t have to build an elaborate web to do this experiment. Simply tie one string across two stationary objects.
- When you’re done, use your web for a Halloween decoration! (Or, like my kids, use it in your superhero imaginary play- LOL! It became a place for the superheroes to get trapped!)
When the string is plucked, it causes it to vibrate. A small pluck will result in a weak vibration while a firmer pluck will make a more brisk vibration.
Spiders can feel the vibrations in their web with sensory hairs on their legs. If a spider senses a weak vibration, it will ignore it. If the vibration is too large, the spider will know the cause of the movement would most likely be a predator rather than prey and will stay away. A vibration of just the right amount will signal to the spider it might have caught something to eat!
Want to go even further?
Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.
- Try this experiment using different strings and yarns. Can you feel the vibration better with one or the other?
- Make a spider web craft using popsicle sticks!
- Preserve some spider webs from outdoors to study.
- Read: Spiders by Gail Gibbons and The Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin