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Activity of the month
Make an orb web spider
As autumn draws in, the Downs transform into a tapestry of reds, golds and browns. The berries that first appeared in August are ripening, providing a feast for wildlife including comma and red admiral butterflies that sip the juice from rotting fruits. September is also conker season. These smooth brown nuts are the seeds of the horse chestnut tree and are traditionally threaded onto a lace and used to play ‘conkers’ although they can also be used to make art and even soap! This is also a good time of year to spot orb web spiders as the females are full of eggs and so are much larger than usual. Download this month’s activity sheet to find out how to make an orb web spider!
You will need
- A cardboard fruit tray (avocado tray or similar)
- Thin card
- Shiny or colourful recycled materials such as sweet wrappers, wrapping paper or foil
- Four pipe cleaners
- Wool or thread
- Double sided tape and masking tape
- An adult helper
1. Cut out a domed section from your fruit tray. This will be your spider’s abdomen. Decorate this using paint and recycled materials.
2. Use the template from the download to cut out a cephalothorax shape from thin card. Decorate this using pens or recycled materials.
3. Bundle up your pipe cleaners and use a piece of wool to secure them in the middle. Tape them onto the back of your cephalothorax with some masking tape.
4. Using a sharp pencil, make a hole in the abdomen about 1/4 of the way up. Thread some wool through this and use a piece of tape to secure it.
5. Bend the tab on your cephalothorax up. Stick this into the underside of your abdomen using double sided tape.
6. Arrange your spider’s legs and take her for a walk -by jiggling the string, you can make her scuttle like a real spider!
Photographs © Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project.