30 Plus Spider Activities for Learning!…Even in Speech

30 Plus Spider Theme Activities….AND How We Used Them!!!



 Wow Wee!!  We have studied spiders in just about every way possible for a first grader to do so!

 AND my son has enjoyed learning with a spider theme so much, that I thought I would share with you all the possible ways to use spiders for a theme study.  So…if you were looking to cover spiders…



     Everyday Afterschool my son has first grade spelling words to memorize.  We practice writing his spelling words in a mock test but also do a hands on activity.  I ended up making my own Spelling Spider Web Art….


Before or I found this hands on activity from….

 A Mom With A Lesson Plan: It’s A Spider Web Spelling Word Search!!!!  


We wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t include reading in his spider theme.  He loves, loves, loves, books! And after a search for reading practice at home I found..

We have made lots of printable books together in the past.  

Even if your children aren’t ready to read chapter books they may still enjoy listening to the classic “Charlotte’s Web”.  My son is still enjoying our study in this book (2 weeks later!) with the many activities I found here:

  • One Extra Degree has a Charollet’s Web Unit Study and FREEbie!
  •  I loved using This Reading Mama’s homeschool experience about FACT or FICTION with Charollet’s Web.  We also used these books below (plus tons of others!) to label fiction from nonfiction, compare and contrast spiders with a Venn diagram, fill in a Can/Are/Have chart and an Know/Want to know/Learned chart..
****NO NEED to see disclosure. There are no affiliate links here but I’m working on it;)



     My son is covering addition and subtraction of  double digits.  We also reviewed more/ less than for mathematic language.  Gotta learn those word problem terms!

  •    You can try my activity for Addition/subtraction with spiders HERE.  It also has a more/less than activity version.
  • I included The Imagination Tree Incy Wincy SPider Counting Activity Resource Pack  in this round up because it was a good resource for Firsters in beginning levels of math.
  • Tiny Tots Adventures has a hands on craft to Practice Number Words.
  • 3 Dinosaurs Printable Packs!!  This needs a category all it’s own!
Warming up with the most adorable spider web number sequencing 11-20 Puzzle! 3 Dinosaurs
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write facts from the nonfiction spider books we read.
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write sentences about the fictional spider books we shared reading. 3Dinosaurs
More sentence practice about spiders and fictional books.
More sentence practice about spiders and non fiction books. 3 Dinosaurs
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had it he last problem memorized. Hence Thumbs Up!!:)
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had the last problem memorized. Hence, he did not have to count it out and we gave each other the thumbs up:) 3Dinosaurs (the numbers are taken from previous The Afterschool House activity and used to help with writing reversals)

  If you haven’t tried her printable packs you are missing out on some of the CUTEST graphics and best all around learning out there!!  We used her FREE Bat & Spider Pack over and over again!!  As you can see above, my son had no problem maintaining attention to tasks in almost every subject.  And the best part about the packs are you can choose your child’s level and practice subject!  (Yes, there are printable s for writing, math, reading, shapes, letters, you name it!) She has each printable labeled so that you can pick and choose BEFORE you download!!


   My son likes science almost as much as he likes books..almost.  He particularly likes life science: ants,bugs,life cycles, ecosystems, plants, water, eggs, babies, and the like.  The best place to explore all these things are outdoors.  So we hunted for spider webs on walks and tried to collect one that turned out too dainty for the task.  Maybe you will have better luck at finding a hardy web with the link below..

  • We worked for several days on this FREE Spider Lap Book from Preschool Powol Packets.  

    We rainbow colored the parts of the spider then drew lines to the matching label/name of the part . A variation from Preschool Powol Packets.
  • To match the parts of the spider to each name of the parts he and I studied and talked about it using these SPIDERS at BIJLmakers.com.  This is a fantastic step by step way to label spider body parts!image
  • He wasn’t quite ready for all the printable s in the lap book so I added this life cycle of a spider in addition to the one that comes with the lap book.  We cut The Life Cycle of a Wolf Spider from Kidzone.ws into puzzle pieces and practiced putting it together several times.  Then we glued it into place on the back of the Lap Book.


  • We studied 4 unique spiders: 2 poisonous spiders the black widow and brown recluse, a wolf spider, and the orb spider family.  This link was one he was uber fascinated by.  It’s a posting of a mama wolf spider caring her babies on her back! EEK!!
  • My son is a super visual thinker!  We utilize you tube for learning extensions in all subjects.  Videos also help bring it home so to speak by repeating what we have already learned in reading or listening to books.  Many times I read a book then find the video reading of the same book and read it again.  I didn’t share a link to those we used for his spider study: There were too many!  


LOTS AND LOTS of writing was done after reading, you tube videos, and  before we started the spider study.  I made a couple of charts using the back of wrapping paper to compare and contrast spiders with him.  I did the same for a K/W/l chart before we started diving into books.  He wrote sentences (above) about facts he learned.  I asked him to recall stories from ficiotional books using a story map.  We wrote spelling words on Spider themed paper and paused videos to jot down key points about spiders..I used different types of paper to keep things interesting. 

3 Dinosaurs  Bat Spider Pack was perfect for sentence practice! (See above)


School Time Snippets has a FREE Spider Verb Noun Sort that we have been working on repeatedly.   NOTE****  If your child uses picture cards or PECS try this with your cards!


  • Speech Peeps is still keeping us busy with an introduction to Synonyms WHICH HE IS JUST LOVING!!!! This Synonyms Spider Craft And Activity is oodles of fun!  This doubles or maybe  triples! for Speech, sentence practice, and language arts!!
  • Playing With Words 365 has an ‘Sp’ prodution at the word level GAME.  We aren’t working on Sp articulation but if you have a spider theme going on you can sub your own sounds at different places in words, phrases, or even reading within text.  

We will be having this kinda spider speech fun from SLP Mommy Of Apraxia well into November!

MORE HANDS ON ACTIVITY FUN…..In between the other fun spider learning of course!

  • Oh, he had a very hard time containing the hardy laughs (he can have a deep voice), YEAH’s!, and general ants in the pants when we played this with our neighbors!!! Thanks Frugal Fun For Boys for your  Back Yard Games Spider Launch.  NOTE****we used this to practice spelling words as well.  Neighbors are also classmates. No pictures. Things were going little boy fast!
  • 123Homeschool4me has a totally “Fly”Glow In The Dark Spider Web! Did you like what I did there;)  Here we are trying our hand at it. Our web is still drying….

    “Fly” Glowing Spider Web
  • If you looking for more Spider Crafts Coffee Cups And Crayons is a good place start.  We are using some for Halloween decor. 


We have done done various color wheels but we have yet to use glue and glitter to make a color wheel.  Artsy Momma has a beautiful design for that HERE.

There you have it!! Tons of stuff to have a memorable time learning about spiders like we did!!!!



Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂







5 Ways to Use Spider Rings for MATH

5 Ways To Use Spider Rings for Math……


Its been two weeks now and my little guy is still going strong with our Spider Theme!!   He doesn’t seem to want to find another Halloween theme JUST YET with the exception of our The Magic School Bus: A Reading Book Character Event.  

We’ve had a lot of fun exploring Spiders across all environments, in EVERY subject, and at least one “sub-category”.  That would be the study if the Spider Wasp!  We discovered a really amazing, super gross fact here.

Just home from school! And hiding from the sun in the shade of our hedges.

Math is also one subject that my guy works on everyday even if it is a short activity.  To do this with a spider theme I chose to make his activities as simple as possible.  Meaning, the next step for me was to search awesome homeschool blogs for resources.  I didn’t have to look very long since Halloween is next week.  There were spider activities galore on my search results!  This really is luck.  Remember my son is who gets to choose the themes.  

Bottom right is Playdough To Plato’s FREE 100s Chart and 10 Ways To Use It that we used over the summer.

One very similar to our spider ring math activity was really my inspiration…

 Still Playing School had a great Math spider ring activity!! I know I will be trying soon when my son is ready for multiplication. Yep! I got my eye on that one!

So, my son needed a move to think addition/subtraction activity. I did not however, find an addition/subtraction spider activity that did not require a printer or items like counters.  Our printer is down for the count….

But we came up with this…

First,  I used a large poster board to draw 2 spider webs.  To get an idea of how to easily draw spider webs, you can check out our last spider activity here. 


NOTE: With those 2 spider webs finished, I drew 3 lines using a ruler but you don’t have too. The lines I placed below the spider webs.  We used the lines as a spot to place the numbers he would find sums for.  These visuals can reduce confusion, help them remain on task, and promote independence for children that need the supports.

Now we are already on the last step!! 

Fold  2 or 3 pieces of card stock to make rectangular squares to write your child’s practice numbers on.  Fold the card stock first in half then make 2 more folds.  You will end up with 6 rectangles per piece of card stock to be cut out…. I used 3 pieces the first time we practiced and several more  later during the week for additional practice.  For the addition, subtraction, and greater than/less than signs, simply fold and cut 2 of  the rectangles out.  Then write the signs on them.!

imageimage image

   Write different numbers for your child to practice adding and subtracting.  We warmed up with single digit numbers then moved straight along to double digits.  Turn the numbers over and place a stack of numbers under each spider web for the child to chose from.  I also asked my son to write each number down in the form of a solved problem.

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     Greater than/ less than practice….


This spider ring math activity we also used during with our spider theme week. It is Prekinders Spider Ring Counting Game with printable.

If you would like to add to this mini math spider ring round-up, please make your suggestions in the comments.  I would love to see how you have used spider rings for math!!!


Spelling Spider Web Art

Spider Spelling Art


     This week my son has been studying SPIDERS.  All week I will be posting fun activities that we have used and will be doing afterschool!  


    The first of each week he has a new spelling list sent home from school.  I’m always on the hunt for new ways to practice spelling and occasionally I come up with an idea of my own.  See here what we did?!

To do this spelling craft you will need..

  • A large piece of poster board
  • Several sizes of circular containers ( I used 2 glasses, a plate, and a medium Tupperware bowl)
  • washable finger paint
  • pencil or gray maker for the color of the web
  • juice bottle lids
  • googly eyes for the spider optional
  • paint brush is instead of marker for the spider legs is optional but can add fine motor practice!!
  • paint for the spider bodies

Make a simple spider web design on the poster board by drawing a cross in the center.  Second, draw an “X” to make a pizza cutting pattern.  I used a pencil just in case I needed to erase then went over it with gray marker. 

Sample from Spider Web Math AND 3 Ways To use It!

Start tracing the outer edge of your smallest container first.  Draw a portion of a circle from one of the pizza cut design lines to the next.image

Keep drawing the curves using the container and at an angle so that your web continues to circle around.  You will reach a point when you need to use a larger container to trace because the smaller one no longer touches from one line to the next. 


When you have finished circling the web like a spider does! use  your juice bottle cap to make circles randomly around the web.  Make a circle for each letter of every spelling word  your child needs to spell. To give you an idea of how may circles will fit on the web: I made 20 or so spider circles and a few extra for mistakes.

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Now the FUN part!!  Let your child use juice bottle caps dipped in paint to spell their spelling words!  My son first wrote the words (like he would for a spelling test) then he stamp painted them.

Practicing those words.


We talked about types of spiders here. He mimicked the look of the Brown Recluse, Black Widow, and Rainbow Orbb spide. LOVE the way he blended the colors!!
We talked about types of spiders here. He mimicked the look of the Brown Recluse, Black Widow, and Rainbow Orbb spider.  LOVE the way he blended the colors!!

After the spiders dried a bit, I showed him how to paint legs.  You can use a marker for another look like we did here.  He also used a paint brush.  Sneeking in fine motor work where I can. 

His finished masterpiece!!

If you need a few more sensory centered spelling activities here is my goto list for the week:

Check back for more SPIDER activities later this week here at The Afterschool House!


Thank You for Reading!

Crystal 🙂


Leaf Word Families Activity

Leaf Word Family Activity updated…


LEAF Word Family Activies




This post was originally wrote last Fall, but it was such a fun and simple activity I decided to use it again this year.  It’s a wonderful activity to do as a word families or book study extension! 





      At this point into our owl/leaves study we have already completed a few Owl activities and have done a few owl related RED TED ART crafts.  So this is why you see a picture of the owl bird feeder also from Red Ted Art in the above collage.

 My son continues to study word families at school.  There are a lot of word families and this means I have to offer a variety of word family activities every week for everyday practice.  This particular word family activity is super easy to make, offers sensorial learning, and is just in time for fall!!

LEAZf Word Families Activity

 I started with a 1 dollar arrangement of leaves from a dollar store, cut off each individual leaf.  Then I cut each leaf in half (as shown in second picture).

image image

 Just one more step!  Using a dry erase maker, I  wrote his word family for that week on one half of a leaf and simple consonant beginnings on several other halves of leaves.  

Then, he practiced trying different letter sound beginnings for his “it” word family leaf.


 We had been reviewing word families all summer long so he really breezed through the “it” word family reading new words in a matter of a few minutes.   I wrote his previous word family spelling words from school on some other halves of the leaves.  


LEAF Word Family Activity

He practiced blending different beginning sounds with several other word families for review, too.

The  _an word family…

LEAF Word Family Activity

The  _at word family…



This little activity was a good extension of our leaves studies and took less than 5 minutes to prep!  We used the leaves I made all week for spelling practice and sounding out words.  I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as we did!



Thank you for reading!


Crystal 🙂

Places I Share:

The Mommy Club Link Up!

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Positive and Negative Leaf Art


Positive/Negative Leaf Art



It occurred to me that my son has yet to do a LEAF RUBBING!  WOW. He is 6 years old. How did we miss that?  Now that he has learned about Leaves and Why Leaves Change Color he was ready to move on to something else to discover.  That something else happened to be a battery powered plastic bottle car ( coming soon!).  While searching for What’s Inside A Battery we both learned a little about positive and negative charges.  Every parent knows when you type in a search phrase ANYTHING remotely related to whatever you are searching for can pop up!  Positive/Negative Art for kids was one of the hits that took us to this activity…

We began with simply sorting our leaf colors according to matching colored construction paper. 

Leaf color sorting.
Leaf color sorting.

Folded each piece of paper in half and cut them where the fold was.


He then chose a leaf for each half piece of paper to make a rubbing of and used his crayons to rub over the leaves..

It was his first leaf rubbing so he had to learn to use the crayon another way.
It was his first leaf rubbing so he had to learn to use the crayon another way.
Easy peasy!
Easy peasy!

So now that he was familiar with leaf rubbings I brought out 2 black pieces of construction paper and a white crayon for him to try the process again.  I taped these two pieces together on the back side and helped him hold the whole thing in place.



In his words “Wow!” The finished art work is hanging on my living room wall.  It is a beautiful piece!!



During this activity, I talked to him telling him just like there is a positive and negative charge for a battery there is also positive/negative art work technique.  We took a picture of his rubbing and used an app to turn it into a negative photograph.

He and I searched a few web sites afterwards about Japanese art.  Here are some we shared reading.

  • Art is Basic has a wonderful example of NOTAN art.
  • Art For Small Hands showed us both how to use Layered scissor pattern for a different type positive/negative art.

He learned through reading with me that different artists became famous using positive/negative art techniques.  

    I plan to sneak in some First Grade writing with these inspirational activities from Buggy and Buddy.

Confessions Of A Homeschooler has made a good lap book if you are interested in learning about Matisse.

Hodge Podge has a FREE printable to use for her activity using pastels, too.  Did you know that the FedEx logo is also an example of Positive/Negative art?? Just look for the arrow! 


Our Own Owl Pinecone Craft

Our Own Owl Babies Pinecone Craft…..

We love RED TED ART!! My son likes to scroll through their gorgeous art projects to find the ones he would like to try.  A week or so ago he and I were doing just that when he came upon their Pinecone Owl Craft.  He chose this one and a new theme was born here at The Afterschool House!  It’s been Owls with every first grade subject for almost 2 weeks now, even in speech!

This is the littlest owl he made. My son fell asleep with it the evening he and I made it.
This is the littlest owl he made. My son fell asleep with it the evening he and I made them.

My son has had a wonderful time these past days learning about owls with his Afterschool work.  So, I thought I’d share how we incorporated the owl theme.

We started of course with the book “Owl Babies” but we didn’t own the book.  Instead he and I watched readings    of this book and many other “cute” owl books geared for his reading compression level.  Here are a few he enjoyed….

This one is more a first reader : “Owl At Home” by Arnold Lobel

After he had his fill of story books we moved on to making the Owl Babies pine cones like this…

The pine cones in this area are very thin, not fat like Fir trees.  We compensated for the three thin cones by attaching them with glue to card stock that I cut out in the shape of  a regular fat pinecone.



Next, my son stuffed all three cones with cotton balls by gluing small pieces of cotton inside and around the cones.  He added two whole squarish looking cotton balls to the tops of the paper to form each owls head.


While the glued cones dried a bit, I traced a dime and cut out yellow eyes using zig-zag craft scissors.


All there was left to do was color in the BIG pupils of the Baby owls. 


Aren’t they CUTE!!!?


We didn’t stop there.  First graders are also expected to be able to write about what they read.  So, we headed to the library to find owl books to read and write about.  Over the summer I created several simple story maps for reading/writing retell  practice, but now he needed a smaller lined owl themed notebook paper. First Graders will learn how to write  nonfiction detail sentences.  While at the library, I printed some Owl themed notebook paper from The Note Booking Fairy.  He then practiced writing and formulating sentences about key details from the books we read together.  The round up of books I’ll save for another post because WE’VE READ ALOT OF OWL BOOKS!!

The Note Booking Fairy's owl pages were perfect for spelling practice prep as well.
The Note Booking Fairy’s owl pages were perfect for spelling practice prep as well.

He also used a few last minute pages I made using his Ipad for even MORE writing practice.  These we used to write about “What Owl’s EAT” and even to make up his own fictional story about “The Tired Old Owl..”imageimage

These activities were originally intended to be wrote nearly two weeks ago (we have been busy owl’s!).  Since then, I’ve discovered my sons interest in owls is going to be a long standing one.  Hence, the next blog “Owl’s For Every 1st Grade subject!”…..Even Speech! You won’t want to miss this one!  Hope to see you there.


Owl Word Families

After-school learning for my son has to be interesting and usually hands on.  So, I try to incorporate themes of high interest into every subject.  This year he is in first grade.  At the beginning of this year his class is learning how to spell words in word families.  This particular week the spelling words are from the “it” family and we are covering one of his favorite birds the OWL.  I searched the Internet for FREE OWL themed word family printable s and activities to no avail!  I mean, I saw Tons of wonderful word family activities from all my favorite bloggers but nothing owlish.  Then I search through gobs of owl activities and printable s but nothing about word families.  The solution had to be to come up with a whole new owl word family on my own or spend money on printables that could only be used few times.  I decided to do this:

     First, I drew a picture of an owl on cardstock (which I later copied and used for several other activities).


Next, I cut two slits about half an inch apart and the length of a toilet paper roll into the drawing.  I put the slits on the body of the owl but you can put them anywhere on the card stock picture.


     My son usually doesn’t like to color with crayons but this was an OWL!!  He took extra care to color in the lines.


     Then, I cut a tp roll in two parts, one part just a tad bit longer than the other.  I also had to trim the roll more for it fit within the slits easily.  It needed to spin without causing the paper to tear.  Now my son was able to paint the roll parts.          


     We let the the rolls dry.  After they were dry, I helped him tape the rolls end’s together.  All that was left to do was to write the word family ending “it” on one of the rolls and consonant beginnings on the other roll.  Wah La!! He had his OWL word family activity to use again and again. 


If you would like to try this for yourself there are many sources for FREE OWL COLORING PAGES out there.  Here is a link to one of my favorite bloggers.

Oh No! It’s Common Core

No two ways about it, Common Core has baffled both teacher and parent when it comes to finding time to teach all those standards.  New focus is placed more on reading and math but less on life skills like teaching a child to tie their shoes. Why? There just isn’t enough time to teach those basic life skills and standards during a regular school day.  More parents are surprised by the expectations given to their child from local school districts at the start of Kindregarten in those subject areas of reading and math.  How can you keep from getting that deer in the headlights look? Better yet, how can you prepare your child for their first year of school?? I’ve put together a list of strategies that help target beginning levels of Kindergarten reading language.

Print Concepts

Your  Prekinder can start pointing and/or labeling some of these before Kindergarten.

  • the book’s front, back, spine, and title page when asked “Show me” “Point to..” or ” Where is..”
  • the title, author, and illustrator
  • Point to..”  one letter, one word  Kinders are tested on knowledge of the difference between a word and a letter in this way. The test is to determine if your child correlates that letters form words.
  • the first letter and last letter in a word
  • a lowercase letter and uppercase letter
  • “Point to..” the first and last part of a sentence  Your child will eventually be asked to identify the end of a sentence as being a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark

Also a part of Print Concepts is knowing the basics of opening a book for the purpose of reading it instead of building a tower with it.  My son loved to line books up instead of read them.  Other begining levels of Kindergarten print concepts are…

  • opening the book to read from left to right and turning pages to read in a forward direction.
  • knowing where to start reading on the page.
  • knowing to use a return sweep when he/she comes to the end of the line.  Your child should begin learning how to point to each word as they read and drop to the next line at the end of the line they are reading to continue on.

     I hope this helps take some of the guess work out of what to expect in Kindergarten with print concepts!! I’ll be posting more on “What to expect in Kindergarten with common core reading comprehension.” Check back soon!

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My son is 4 almost 5 yrs. old here. He has yet to learn to read in these pictures. However, he LOVES ants and is pretending to read to one!