2. Circle/Whole Group: Show several large pictures of spiders (a library book may help) and discuss observations. Some spiders hunt for their food, some jump, some spin webs, and some dig trap holes! Are spiders insects? Why not? Let kiddos tell stories about spiders they’ve seen.
3. Song: The Spiders Go Crawling–follow the melody and format of The Ants Go Marching. For example, “The spiders go crawling one by one. Hurrah, Hurrah!…” Stand and act out the words.
4. Story: Anansi does the impossible! : an Ashanti tale retold by Verna Aardema. Before reading the story tell the kiddos that the story is about a very smart spider named Anansi. The story was first told by the Ashanti people. The Ashanti people love to tell stories about Anansi the spider. The Ashanti people live far away in Africa. (Show how far with a globe.) You would need to fly on an airplane all day to get to Africa. Let’s pretend to visit the Ashanti people for this story.
Move chairs, or use pillows or anything else to represent an airplane, and fly to Africa. Give everyone brightly colored fabric, scarves, or clothes because the Ashanti wear bright clothes that the men weave.
Once everyone is “dressed” and situated, read the story. Ask the children what difficult things Anansi did. What difficult things have the children done? Act out the story.
5. Craft: Anansi Spiders! What color do you want your Anansi spider to be? Help the kiddos glue two small styrofoam balls together to make a spider. Spiders have eight legs. Thread four pieces of yarn through the body with a needle to form eight legs. Children can color the spider with paint or markers.
No foam balls? An alternative is to make the spider webs! Give each child a black plastic plate (or piece of construction paper) with slits cut around the edge. Let each child string a white piece of yarn through the slits in whatever pattern/arrangement they would like their spider web. You can even glue little spiders on if you like!
6. Learning Activity. Anansi Stories! Explain that the Ashanti tell many stories where Anansi does something smart or hard. Today we will write our own Anansi stories! This will be the children’s first prompted writing project, so they may need a lot of help. Each child will need an empty “book.” (Preparing the book: use a word processor to make a table with two columns and three rows that fills an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page. In the top right hand square, print: “My Anansi Story.” Below that, print: “By ______.”) Help each child cut out their book, layer the three rows on top of each other, fold them in half, and place two staples right next to the fold.
Begin writing by demonstrating the process. Make up a short Anansi Story. For example, One morning, Anansi wanted to play with his friend, Turtle. Turtle needed to water his flowers, but it took a long time because the flowers were down the path from the pond. Anansi wanted to help Turtle water faster. Anansi had an idea! Anansi and Turtle dug a path for the water to flow from the pond to the flowers. Turtle was done watering his flowers and could play with Anansi now! As you tell the story draw a simple picture on each page. Then show how you can go back and write in the words. Let the children take turns telling stories and drawing pictures. You can write in the words for them one at a time.
7. Snack: Spider Toast. Give each child a piece of toast with butter, 8 pretzels, and two raisins. Let them make and eat their own Spider Toast!
8. Learning Activity. Spider Bowls. Prepare small spider cards by printing a sheet of paper with 20-30 spiders and cutting them out in small squares or rectangles. Also print out number cards with numbers 1-10. Place three bowls on the table with a number card by each bowl (ie. 1, 3, and 5). Let the children work together to put the correct number of spiders in each bowl (ie. three spiders in the bowl with 3 by it). When the correct number is reached, cover the bowl (with a lid or paper or book). When all three bowls are filled correctly, empty them, change the numbers, and repeat the activity.
9. Freeplay outside. Send your “little spiders” out for some sunshine!
10. Circle to review and summarize day.
Supplies for the day:
chairs for “airplane”
bright colored cloth
Anansi does the impossible! : an Ashanti tale retold by Verna Aardema
paint or markers
If doing the alternative craft, replace italicized supplies with black plastic plates (or construction paper), white yarn, and scissors. Little spiders and glue are optional.
book pages for each child
crayons or colored pencils
little spider cards
number cards 1-10