Spiders make a fascinating subject of study for preschool and kindergarten students.
Young students should know some spider rhymes:
The eensy weensy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the eensy weency spider climbed up the spout again.
Make a spider glider to play with along with this fingerplay. Mary Ann Hoberman has done a cute picture book of The Eensy-Weensy Spider.
The eensy-weensy spider is also a good introduction to the subject of weather for young children. Add sun and rain stickers to your calendar squares for the duration of the spider unit. If your students are ready for charts, chart the fair and fine days.
Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider and sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
This rhyme gives a great opportunity to think about archaic words. A tuffet is an upholstered footrest which might also be called a hassock or ottoman. These are all pretty cool words.
- Make a tuffet with a kit. If your class includes sewing for STEM, this is a great project.
- You can also make a tuffet from big juice cans or food service size cans from the cafeteria. Each student needs four to 6 identical cans, batting, and some fabric scrounged from home. An old quilt is perfect. Roll batting around the cans and form them into a ring. Tape them securely together. Draw around the flower-like shape you’ve created and cut two such shapes from fabric. Wrap fabric around the cans and secure it with hand stitching if your class is old enough to sew. If not, or if you’re in a hurry, use hot glue. Attach the fabric shapes to the top and bottom so that the cans are completely encased in fabric. You can see illustrated instructions for this traditional craft at What I Found or Sweet Things. While this may seem like an ambitious project, it makes a great lesson on recycling and could teach your students the valuable life skill of sewing or mending.
Curds and whey are what you get as you’re making cheese, and cottage cheese is pretty close. Let your young students try out some cottage cheese as they sit on their tuffets for the full Miss Muffet experience.
This makes another good opportunity for charting, as you count those who like the curds (the whey is sour and usually is removed, though your natural yogurt or sour cream may develop a bit of whey if it sits in the fridge for a while). Compare the number of students who like it with the number who do not.