Saturday, June 6, 2009

Backyard Critter Camp - Day 4 - Spiders

This was our final day of camp.  I was concerned about the weather (80 percent chance of rain from the previous afternoon through the following day).  We started dry - though a very wet yard - and only had light rains in the morning.  We did most of our work in the garage and under and awning - and then a little in the yard.  It worked well despite my misgivings.  God was gracious to allow us this break in weather.

Our book for today was Are You a Spider?

 We began our day with devotions.  We talked about spider webs and how they are made and used.  Lies are a lot like spider webs in that they can trap us.  We talked about how the best thing is to tell the truth. 

Psalm 34:13

Then watch your tongue!

Keep your lips from telling lies!

 We then read the story and had an information time on some of the varieties of spiders that God has made.  It is truly amazing!  I'll share one interesting story.  You all know that spiders have 8 legs and no antennae.  Insects on the other hand have 6 legs and 2 antennae.  There is one type of spider that mimics insects (ants) in order to avoid predators (birds that won't eat ants) or to hunt for ants themselves.  They put their front legs in front of their body so that they look like antennae.  Isn't that interesting?  (And I'm not a huge spider fan either.)

Then we broke up by age.  The older children learned more about spider anatomy (blue blood) and which ones lived in our area.  The long trail of papers are pictures and facts about spiders that live where we do.

The younger children did a quiz to see how much they knew about spiders.  I picked questions that had been either in the book or that we had talked about.  I asked them to stand up if the statement was true and to sit if it were false. 

When they had answered each question, they took turns applying sticker pictures that related to the answers on a large piece of paper (it was really the bottom of a box covered in white paper).  Each child had a turn and they did a really great job in answering the questions.  For those who are curious, I made the stickers by scanning images from the book and also from the internet.  These were then printed on sticker paper.  My sweet dh helped me to do this. 

Next, they moved to an observation area.  More information to learn about spiders and a picture of a spider to label with sticker words.

There were some live specimens for them to examine - even a black widow (one of only two dangerous spiders in our area).  That one was found just the morning at one of the camper's homes.  (Glad it wasn't mine!  If they are here, I don't want to see them!)

Next it was snack time.  Bet you can guess what we ate - spiders, of course.  We made them using rice cakes as a base.  The children could choose to cover it with peanut butter, cream cheese, jelly or a chocolate spread.  Peanut butter was the hands-down favorite.  Then they added raisin eyes.  Last the legs which could be either carrot sticks or pretzel sticks.

 Christopher chose his own snack (peanut allergies) and Eliana let him know that she wanted some too.  He was happy to share.

The younger children made spider gliders for a craft.  I don't have pictures of the actual making since I needed to help the children.  Here's a picture of two of the finished spiders.

And here is one of them in action.

We ended the day by playing a couple of spider games.  Both the older and younger children did these, but I wasn't able to get pictures of the older kids.

First, they tried to throw some prey onto the spider's web.  They had learned that not all of the strands on the web are sticky.  We used cotton balls as the prey and they threw them at the circles made of tape on the web.

In the second game, one child stood on block of wood to which 8 strings were tied.  This child was the spider.  He/she closed eyes and placed their hands on the strings.  The eight strings were being held by the other children.  One child was selected to "strum" their string to see if the spider could feel it.

The spider then followed the string to capture the prey!

 And that is a wrap!  I had hoped to have people over for a movie watching outside and dessert social.  (Showing movie using a projector)  The weather however was uncooperative.  We had thought that A Bug's Life would be a fun one to watch.  We may try again - though our weather is looking iffy this week as well - you know, summer thunderstorms.

I'm thankful for this time to have a fun learing experience with friends.  I'm thankful for the other creative moms that joined me in teaching as it was truly a cooperative effort.  I highly recommend doing this type of camp!  I'm happy to answer questions on how we did it for anyone that may have any.