Thursday, 13 February 2014

The very busy spider by Eric Carle - EYFS themed activities for children.

This week I will be looking at 'The very busy spider' This is another of my favourite Eric Carle books. Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at 'The very hungry caterpillar' and 'brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?'

This will be my last Eric Carle theme planner for a while. So I hope you enjoy it :)

I have created a list of ideas for activities to go with the story. All activities have been grouped into the EYFS areas of learning that I feel they best fit into. 

Dont forget to hop over to my pinterest Eric Carle board for many more ideas.

Personal, social and emotional development.

  • Discuss why the spider didn't want to play with the other animals.
  • Who would the animals play with now?
  • Encourage children to think about how they would feel if a friend wouldn't play with them.
  • Bath plastic animals. Talk about why its important to care for others, especially animals that cannot care for themselves.
  • Make some spiders out of different salad items... a tomato body, raisin eyes and thinly sliced carrots for the legs. Encourage children to try new foods, and discuss the importance of eating healthy.
  • Read the story of the very busy spider as a group, encourage children to act out the different animals parts.

Physical development.
  • Pretend to act like one of the animals in the story.
  • Attempt to make some origami animals.
  • Set up a sensory play area. Put out a farm set with farm animals. Add some straw, hay and sand.
  • Hole punch the outside of a paper plate and use the holes to thread your own spiders web.
  • Play catch the fly. You could use some scrunched up paper for the fly, or you could use a balloon or some  pom poms.
  • Play swat the fly. Children have a plastic fly swatter and they have to hit the scrunched up paper flies.
  • Pretend to milk a cow. Fill a plastic glove with water, put some small pin prick holes in the nails of the glove and use squeezing and pulling movements to squeeze the water out.
  • Wrap plastic flies in white wool or cotton.
  • Draw a spiders web on contact paper and sellotape it to the wall.Throw paper flies at the web.
  • Print out some play dough mats to go along with the story.
  • Cover the room in toilet roll. Blue tac some to the walls. (the idea is for it to look like a spiders web.) Encourage your children to attempt to crawl through the toilet roll web :)
  • Wrap a child in toilet roll.
  • Make a pom pom spider. Try making your own pom poms.
  • Practice cutting along spider web lines.

Communication and language.
  • If you had your own pet dog or cat what would you call it?
  • Encourage children to talk about their own pets. Do they have any of the animals in the story as pets?
  • Discuss which animal they would like for a pet.
  • Print out some story puppets to encourage children to retell the story during free play.
  • Watch The very busy spider on you tube.
  • Try singing the story instead of reading it, encourage the children to join in by clapping to the beat.
  • Use sequencing cards to help children put the story in the correct order.
  • Make your own story stick, you could print out the animals and stick velcro on them. The children could then put them in the order that they appear in the story.
  • Lay down a large piece of paper, draw the animals onto it as they appear in the story. Encourage the children to 'walk the story'
  • Encourage your children to describe what the different animals look like.
  • Write a poem about the very busy spider.
  • Discuss what they like to do to keep busy?
  • Talk about the characters and the setting of the story. Ask simple questions, like where is the story set?
  • Sing nursery rhymes that relate to the story 'the very busy spider.' ... incy wincy spider, old Mc donald had a farm, baba baa black sheep, five little ducks...

  • Make the corresponding animal out of its initial letter. For example draw a big 'O' and turn it into an owl.
  • Create a spider alphabet line.
  • Write different letters or simple sight words on paper flies that are stuck on the wall. Use the plastic fly swatter to hit the letter as you say it.
  • Colour in pictures of the characters from the story.
  • Print out the very busy spider printable book. Encourage children to use a variety of materials to decorate the animals.
  • Copy over the animals names using your finger or a pencil.

  • Make animals using just shapes.
  • Make your own animal colour matching game.
  • Make a spider number line.
  • Play a cow number matching game. Match the number of spots on one cow, to the corresponding numeral on another cow.
  • Create your own shadow matching game.
  • Practice adding and subtracting using spiders legs. (pipe cleaners)
  • Make animal cards - use them to play memory matching games and snap.
  • Counting how many spiders are on the web.
  • Look at the times on a clock, introduce what the two different hands stand for.
  • Sequence the story by time.

Understanding the world.
  • Provide non fiction books about the different animals in the story.
  • Watch a video of a spider spinning a web on Youtube.
  • Find out what food the different animals in the story eat.
  • Talk to the children about what it means when an animal is 'nocturnal'
  • Find out how spiders spin their webs.
  • Label the different parts of a spider.
  • Discover why dew hangs off spiders webs.
  • Find out why spiders webs are sticky.
  • Look at what other little insects spiders like to eat.
  • Using science discover why a duck stays dry in water.
  • Collect a real spiders web on black card.
  • Look at the different types of spiders.

Expressive arts and design.
  • Make animal hats.
  • Make animal hand print pictures.
  • Make paper plate animals
  • Create sparkly spiders webs by drizzling glue and sprinkling on glitter.
  • Use black icing to make spiders webs on biscuits.
  • Make a kitchen roll spider, cut the bottom half of the kitchen roll into 8 sections for the legs.

I hope you like this list and you manage to use some of the ideas. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. I would love to hear them xx

If you are after fun educational printable resources for preschoolers, then look no further. Here at Mummy G I have a huge selection of topic themed preschool resources packs. Click here to find more information..


  1. This is a fantastic list of activities - thank you for putting it together. I love The Very Busy Spider :)

    1. Thank you Catherine. I am pleased you like it :)