Impromptu learning – Spiders

Yesterday, while I was trying to get a bit of work done and the tot was watching Curious George, she came into my office and said there was a spider under the floor. I assumed her yammering was connected to something she was watching so I brushed her off and kept typing. But, a few minutes later, she came back to tell me the spider was really under the floor. Then my brain hiccupped back to last year (remember the black widow incident?!) and I went to make a thorough investigation. Sure enough, there was a spider, but just a small one, crawling along the floor. I am not a fan of spiders – at all. But she was looking at me with those big, excited eyes, so instead of squashing it up, I grabbed a glass lidded jar, swept in the spider, and figured it was time for some impromptu learning.


My toddler is three. No need for bug vs. spider discussions – just a bit of observational learning. We discussed what color the spider was, how many legs he had, how he could walk upside down, if he had a family – or a name…

learning about spiders

After about an hour (full of showing the entire house to the spider) I was beginning to become worried about lil’ spider’s well-being and declared it time to head outside. We could look for spider’s family and release him if we found any relatives.

It was decided that spider loved water so a shallow mud-pit was created. During this time, spider was positioned safely on a table so he could see.


When I asked my tot if she was ready to let spider go and have lunch time, she said NO.



I have to KEEP HIM.

He LOVES me.

All I could think was that dear old spider was going to be lifeless any second and how I needed to use my super-mom abilities to save poor spider (whom I actually didn’t really like). I offered lunch and the incentive of some sort of sweet treat, which sent the tot trotting up the stairs. While her back was turned (and hopefully before she’d remember to grab spider) I popped the top of the jar and hoped spider would make a quick escape.

Once upstairs, she realized she had forgotten spider, looked out the window and observed the open container.

Oh NO! SPIDER! Ohhhhhh!

We talked about how spider had decided it was time to find his family but that he’d probably be back to visit.

After lunch, and a quick clean-up and change, we sat down to draw spider – and his family.

Drawing spiders

We taped the finished drawing to the fridge and both enjoyed a much-needed nap/quiet time.



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