Spider Web Jumble: Fine Motor and STEM Games for Kids

by Meghan

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Looking for a little spooky, learning fun this Halloween?  The girls and I had lots of fun this week with this Spider Web Jumble.  It is a great fine motor skills challenge, and the simple set up makes for easy holiday STEM games for kids too.

Spider Web Jumble - A Fine Motor Skill Challenge

Spider Web Jumble

Ever since we read Charlotte’s Web last summer, the M’s have been obsessed with spiders.  They call them ‘Charlottes’!  With Halloween approaching, I used the opportunity to do a little learning with spiders in this easy to create free play activity.


This activity requires only basic craft supplies, most of which I already had on hand, but can be rounded up for less than $15.


Medium to large cardboard box
Acrylic paint (black, orange, green and purple)Foam paint brush
4 Dessert Paper Plates (black, orange, green, purple or white)
32 Clothes pins
White yarn
Assorted size googly eyes

Cost: Less than $15
Prep Time: Less than an hour (to create activity)
Clean Up Time: Less than 5 minutes

Spider Web Jumble - Supplies

I found our colored dessert plates at Wal-Mart for $1 each, but you could also just buy white plates and paint them along with your legs.  I also got the Halloween acrylic paint sets at Hobby Lobby.  A great crafting tip – any time you need specific seasonal colors for a project, check the holiday aisle before going to buy them individually.  They often have deals for combined sets, be it paint, felt, foam sheets, ribbons, etc., for holidays that make rounding up what you need more affordable.

Building the Spider Web Jumble

During quiet time, I painted the inside of a medium-sized Amazon box with black acrylic paint.  Between our recent move and my slight addiction to Amazon Prime and Subscribe and Save, there is no shortage of boxes in our house!

Next, I painted the clothes pins – 8 to match each color plate, representing each spider’s legs. Clipping them to a strip made it much easier to paint than trying to paint them individually!

Spider Web Jumble - Painting Legs

I also gave each paper plate spider eight googly eyes.  Did you know spiders have eight eyes?  I didn’t either! I let everything dry until bedtime, and then used the box and white yarn to create my spider web.  I used a small screwdriver to poke holes in the sides of my box and thread the yarn through from side to side and top to bottom to create a web.

Once the web was complete, I mixed up all the clothes pins and clipped them to the web.  In the morning, I set out the box and paper plates on the Ms craft table for them to play!

Playing Spider Web Jumble

I set up the Spider Web Jumble on the girls’ craft table, at their eye-level, and free for them to play with at their leisure.  We talked about how spiders have eight legs and eight eyes.  Big M, 4,  needed little instruction and got right to work.  Lil’ M, at 2, needed a little more direction (match the colors to the plates) and help pinching the clips off the web and onto the plate.

Spider Web Jumble - Activity in Action

Reinforcing Early Learning Skills

The Spider Web Jumble reinforces some important Early Learning Skills, including:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Color matching
  • Color recognition
  • Counting

The pinching of the clothes pins strengthens little fingers which makes all fine motor skills easier, from pencil grip and writing, to fastening clothes, holding utensils and using scissors.  While Big M has mastered colors at this stage, Lil’ M still declares everything to be ‘Purple’!  Fortunately, with this activity, she was right 25% of the time!  And both the girls love to count to make sure each spider has all his legs.

Spider Web Jumble - Practicing Pinching

Bonus – Big M loved re-setting the jumble, mixing all the legs up and putting them back on the web as much as she liked collecting the legs for the spiders!  I have left the box and spiders set up all week, and they re-visit the activity at least 2-3 times a day.

Simple STEM Games for Kids

With a little more guidance, you can easily turn this Spider Web Jumble into several different STEM games for kids.

  • Add dice to see how many legs a child can take on each turn
  • Map how many ways there are to make 8 with the dice
  • Write numbers on your clothes pins and your spiders to add a number recognition component to the activity.

Have you started decorating and planning for Halloween yet?  What are some of your kids favorite Halloween activities?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy our Halloween Sensory Bin and Jack-O-Lantern Pattern Cards. You can find all of these and our favorite ideas for Halloween on our Halloween board on Pinterest.

Spider Web Jumble - Fine Motor Skill Challenge Square

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Emma September 28, 2015 - 12:22 pm

What a fun idea! I like the spider craft – so cute (and that’s not something I can usually say about spiders, lol!)


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