DIY Paper Spider Climber

One of my kids’ favorite songs is “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” The DIY paper spider climber is the perfect craft to go with the song because you can make a spider that climbs up the … yarn. Close enough!

You can make this paper climber into any creature. If spiders creep you out, then make a friendly ladybug or butterfly instead. 

How to Make a Climbing Spider

Materials:

  • Brown and black construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Tape
  • Straws
  • Yarn or string
  • Optional: Black pipe cleaners
  • Optional: Googly eyes

Directions:

  1. Cut two circles out of the brown construction paper, one slightly smaller than the other.
    DIY Climbing Spider Parts
  2. Overlap the circles slightly and glue them together.
  3. Draw eyes or glue googly eyes on the smaller circle.
    DIY Climbing Spider Eyes
  4. Cut 8 spider legs out of the black construction paper. Alternatively, you can make the spider legs out of black pipe cleaners with these instructions:
    1. Take 4 pipe cleaners and twist them together in the middle.
      DIY Climbing Spider Legs
    2. Spread out the pipe cleaners and bend them so they look like spider legs.
    3. Tape the legs to the back of the spider.
      Tape Legs to Paper Spider
  5. Cut about two ½ to 1-inch sections from the straw. 
  6. Tape the straws to the spider. 
    DIY Climbing Spider Straws
  7. Cut a long piece of yarn or string.
  8. Thread one end of the yarn or string through a straw and down through the other.
  9. Tie knots at the ends of the yarn or string. This prevents the spider from falling off the string.
  10. Hang the yarn or string on a doorknob. 
  11. Alternate pulling on the yarn or string back and forth. Watch the spider climb up the string! If your spider is having trouble climbing up, try widening the distance between your hands and pull the strings farther apart.
  12. Release the tension on the yarn or string and watch the spider climb back down!
DIY Climbing Spider

Ready to hear the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” gazillion times as your kids play with their spiders? Then it will get stuck in your head and you will be humming it for days to come. But it’s so worth it seeing your kids sing happily to the song while they make their spiders climb up and down the string!

Science Behind the DIY Paper Climbing Bug

Though it seems like a simple craft, you can actually use this opportunity to teach your kids a quick lesson in friction.

The spider can climb up the string because of the friction between the straw and the string. And when you lessen the tension or straighten out the string, the friction decreases and loses against the fight against gravity. As a result, the spider falls down.

If your paper critter is having trouble coming back down, you can also tape a penny or some kind of weight to the bottom of the bug and it should fall down easier.

You can explore friction further by:

  • Use a different type of string. Perhaps use one that would cause a lot of friction, such as a hemp rope. Or use a smooth string with very little friction. 
  • Use different straws. We actually tried this and found the narrower straws work better for climbing up the string but the friction may be too much and the spider can’t come back down. We had to use our hand to push the spider back down.

Final Thoughts on the Climbing Paper Creature

I hope your kid had fun doing this craft. Isn’t it fun to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and coordinate the movement of the paper spider to the song? I wonder if we can do fun crafts with other nursery rhymes or children’s songs!

I also like this activity because it’s easy enough to the kids to make their own critters. Let your kids use their imagination and creativity – you never know what kind of paper creature they will come up with!

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