Objective:  Children will learn the characteristics of spiders and how they differ from insects.  (This is a good lesson to teach after the insect lesson.)


  • Find drawings or pictures of spiders and insects from books, magazines or old calendars.
  • Make word cards for the words, “insect” and “spider”.
  • Cut out 1”- 1 1/2″ hearts from foam or heavy paper. Any color will work, spiders vary in color.
  • Cut out 3” hearts from foam or heavy paper
  • Glue the hearts together at the points to form spider’s Cephalothorax (head and body) and Abdomen .
  • Punch holes around the sides of larger heart—4 on each side
  • Have chenille (pipe cleaner) stems 4 per spider
  • Have permanent markers of all colors
  • Make a web in the classroom to hang the spiders on. You can create your own with yarn or use synthetic spider web.
  • Suggested books:  Spider Names by Susan Canizares,  The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, Spiders by Gail Gibbons


Read the book(s) then discuss while showing pictures.

Spiders belong to a group of animals called “arachnids”. Arachnids are creatures with two body segments, eight legs, no wings or antennae.

Most spiders have four or more openings, or glands, on their abdomen called spinnerets which produce the silk they use to create webs.

Discuss the body parts of a spider

  • Spiders have two body segments. The front segment is called the Cephalothorax. The spider’s eyes, mouth fangs, stomach, brain and the glands that make the poison are on this part of the body. The legs are connected to this part, as well. Most spiders have eight eyes, but some have less. Spiders also have these tiny little things called ‘pedipalps’ that are beside the fangs. They help to hold prey while the spider bites it.
  • The second part of the body is called the Abdomen. The back of the abdomen is where the spinnerets, the silk producing glands, are. The spider’s body has an oil on it to keep the spider from sticking to it’s own web. 
  • Spider’s legs are covered with many hairs. The hairs pick up vibrations and smells from the air.
  • Spiders have a hard outer shell called an ‘exoskeleton’.

Discussion questions:

  • Where do spiders live? Spiders live everywhere even in lakes and ponds.
  • What does it eat? Spiders are carnivores and most eat insects.
  • What likes to eat the spider? Birds, toads, lizards and monkeys.
  • What is the difference between spiders and insects? Insects have six legs and three main body parts. Spiders have 8 legs and most have 8 eyes.  Most insects have wings.
  • Can spiders hurt humans? All spiders have fangs! And, yes, they almost all have venom in them. Most spider poison will not harm people, however, because it is quite weak. There are a few spiders which include the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse spiders with poison strong enough to cause pain. If a bite from these spiders is left untreated, death could result.

Here is a very fun song to sing with the children to the tune of “My Darling Clementine”:

  • It’s an insect, not a spider.
  • It has 6 legs instead of 8.
  • 3 on this side and 3 on that side
  • And its crawling on my plate.


Picture Sort

Take pictures of insects and spiders and sort them by putting the insects by the word “insect” and the spiders by the word, “spider”.  

Foam Spider

Have the children add 8 eyes to the Cephalothorax and decorate the Abdomen with permanent markers.

Back of spider

Help them feed the chenille stems down through the hole closest to the Cephalothorax on one side and come up in the hole farthest from the Cephalothorax on the other side.

Repeat previous step for each hole crossing over in the back.

Have the children bend the “legs” into an s-shape from the body.

Hang the spiders on your spider web somewhere in the classroom as a decoration.

Note:  Children love this activity and it is fun to do around Halloween.  

Check out our website.  http://www.phonicsbyspelling.com/


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