Tag Archives: spider crafts for kids

Of Foam and Feathers

Another day, another crafting anxiety spiral.

In an hour I have to go teach Afternoon Enrichment class at MJ’s school. Remember AE? My anxiety attack over the spiders? My misery as I tried to come up with novel ways to make perfume? It rolls around, once a month, as inevitable as the tides. And as relentless. Work got me out of it for a while, but now I’m here again. The theme today? Birds, of course. How could it be anything but? When your child is waking up in the morning and screeching “Don’t call me MJ! I’m a blue tit!” you don’t have a lot of alternatives.

For days I’ve been googling “bird crafts for preschoolers.” There are plenty of ideas, believe me. But none seems quite right. Or easy enough. Or doable in a sixty-minute time period with eight antsy five-year-olds.

I’ve been losing a lot of sleep over it.

So yesterday I did what I always do. I went to Michael’s and wandered the aisles aimlessly, hoping for inspiration. Last night, when Mike came home from work, I told him the outcome.

“I got some styrofoam balls.”


“And some feathers!”


“And, um, some lollipop sticks.”


“And now I’ve got to go to book club! Can you figure something out for me?”

Look–he should be helping out. He’s far more creative than me. Plus, he knows the stress of this gig. He’s had to do the last three. I think it’s the main reason he worked so hard to find another job. That, and his unemployment running out.

I came home from book club to find a variety of foam ball birds on the counter. Pinterest-worthy they may not be, but they’ll have to do. I hope the kids can emulate them. I hope they get us through an hour of crafting time. I hope no one turns on me and screams “This is lame!”

I hope Mike is unemployed again next time AE rolls around.



One more thing about spiders: they procreate like crazy. Especially the ones manufactured at home by your obsessed three-year-old daughter. Who clearly has too much time on her hands.

Where once there were three, we now have fourteen. With six more coming down the pike.

Shall I call an exterminator? Or just pack them all up and wait for Halloween? Whatever the solution, it won’t be happening for awhile. Right now I can tell it’s going to be spiders all day, spiders all night, spiders in bed, spiders at the park, spiders at the bath, spiders at every meal.

Hey, I’m not complaining. After all, it’s better than Barbies.

I think.


Guess how we’re spending our day off today?


Yup. Making more spiders and reading more spider books. I guess you could say it’s the ultimate compliment to my “class” yesterday.

On that subject, did you know that “Little Miss Muffet” was a real person? Her father, Thomas Muffet, an spider enthusiast, fed her mashed spiders whenever she had a cold.

And you thought zinc lozenges worked well…

Anyway. That’s what happening in our household today. Later? I vacuum up googly eyes for hours.

Eight Legs Out

In the end, there was only one way in which my spider class sucked: it sucked my day up.

Or a big chunk of it, anyway. I was in the kids’ section at the library by 10:30 this morning, cramming arachnid trivia from books like “Amazing Spiders,” “Spiders!” and “Aaaargh! Spider!” (Did you know that arachnids shoot a fang-like thing into their prey and liquify their innards before they ingest them? Sort of like buggy slurpies? Yum.)

Anyway. Then there was the prep: ninety minutes of it before class. I know. I’m compulsive. Then clean up was ninety minutes after. More compulsiveness. Plus, glitter is a bitch. I won’t make that mistake again.

And, of course, the class itself, from 12:30 to 2:30.

During which we:

  • Read three spider books.
  • Listened to three spider songs. (One of them was obvious:”Itsy Bitsy Spider,” but I offered a more unexpected choice, too: “Boris the Spider” by the Who. The third was a verbose, obscure, and quite horrid selection called “What is a Spider?” from a kids’ CD I found on Amazon. It sounded, as Mike observed, like Pat Boone mixed with an Ira Flatow podcast. No one listened to that one.
  • Made baby spiders out of egg carton cups, foam balls, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, sparkles, paint and glue.
  • Made a “Mama spider” out of a trash can liner and an inverted TJ’s bag.
  • Spun “webs” around the classroom–otherwise known as wasting a lot of perfectly good yarn.

The kids seemed to have a great time, no one got hurt, and, best of all, I had the thrill of hearing a five-year-old girl exclaim to one of her friends: “look! I have a spinneret coming out of my butt!”

Ah, the pedagogical life.