Squash the spider (or any other spider books)

tmp_30924-51zSq9VRCBL._AC_UL160_SR160_160_-1196575581This is a fun book in which a spider jumps out to scare people and everyone yells “Squash the spider” till someone actually goes to squash it and the boy rushes to save him.

This is Jumbles’ favourite spider book, so when I said we were doing a spider web activity, he asked to do this book. Really, a much more relevant book for spider webs would be either: tmp_30924-the_very_busy_spider-1692918224

“The very busy Spider” by Eric Carle, where a spider busily spins her web.


tmp_30924-5196BV5PG9L._SX258_BO1_204_203_200_-1496882885“Incy wincy Spider” by Keith Chapman and Jack Tickle – a beautiful book which creates an adventure for Incy wincy spider, the whole book is written to the Incy Wincy tune, with the spider being flicked around the farmyard. Each page has a raised, glittery spider’s web trail to trace, and the final page has a big silver web. Though Jumbles (4) is probably getting a bit old for this one, he still enjoyed tracing the trails today.

The activity:

You are basically going to make a large spider’s web, you need masking tape and some sort of frame to attach to. We used our mini trampoline, you could also use chair legs, a clothes airer, anything really.

FB_IMG_1463082252330Start by pulling out a large length of masking tape, attach one end to you frame, then twist it to make it into a long strip with the sticky side on the outside, attach it to another point on the frame, then continue, rolling the tape and making new lines across the frame, once you have a base network, start criss weaving your thread under and over. This gets very tricky as it will stick to the bits you’ve already made, but if careful, you should be able to pull it apart. Jumbles was able to help initially, even with the weaving, but once it got quite dense, he couldn’t do it anymore. My web wasn’t exactly beautiful, but it was good enough for us. If you want it neater, prep it overnight while the kids are in bed, but I liked including them in the setup, and the weaving is good motor skills practice for them.FB_IMG_1463082258872

Once you are happy with your web, give your child some “flies” to throw at it. We used coloured pom poms and scrunched tissue paper, as I thought the finished effect of colour would look nicer than black blobs, but you can choose whatever you like, it just needs to be something light enough to stick. Jumbles loved doing this, but Bean (2.5) was less bothered. She stuck a few on, then wandered off, so maybe this is an activity for over 3s. FB_IMG_1463082275737

We just enjoyed playing around, throwing the flies, but if your kids are competitive, you could probably make a fun game, give each child a different colour of flies and see who can stick the most to the web, or try throwing from further away etc as you can see from our photo, we threw from very close.FB_IMG_1463082264496

Affiliate links to buy Spider books:

Buy Squash The Spider from Amazon (affiliate link)

Incy Wincy Spider

The Very Busy Spider


What the Jackdaw Saw (deaf awareness)

61tQRblRM-L._SX258_BO1_204_203_200_Rather irritatingly after deciding to learn some sign language with the kids and blog about it, I thought I’d see if there was a deaf awareness week, so that I could schedule it for then. It turns out I’ve literally just missed it, so sorry that this post is just over a week late!

Anyway, this book is written by Julia Donaldson, with a group of deaf teenagers. She’s written two books, that I know of, aimed at raising awareness of deafness. The other is “Freddie and the Fairy”, which teaches the importance of speaking clearly, looking at the person, and not covering your mouth. This book (Jackdaw) introduces British sign language (BSL) teaching a few signs through the story. This post is all about BSL, so if you live in a country that uses a different sign language, my apologies, but you could find signing apps for your country and still do the activities.


Learning signs from pictures can be tricky, it’s much easier to watch someone signing. So download a sign language app. I used Sign BSL  a very simple app, where you search for the word you want to sign and it shows you a list of videos of different people signing that word. Some of the people are more animated than others, try to avoid the really dull ones for your kids! Do check what they’re signing though in the text under, sometimes they’re signing a related word to what you searched for.

Before you read the book, double check that you can sign all of the featured signs in the book, either using This youtube clip of the signs, or by searching for the signs in your app.

As you read the book, sign the words with your child as it teaches you. If your child is showing interest in knowing more, as Jumbles was, open up the app and ask your child what they want to sign. Practice together with your child. Remember, when signing you still say the word at the same time. Your child is likely to want to know how to sign their name, so potentially learn to finger spell their name beforehand, as learning the whole alphabet might be tricky. I thought Jumbles might find his name tricky, but he enjoyed doing it and remembered some of the letters later.


Learn together the signs for various objects around the house. Play a scavenger hunt. Sign things for your child(ren) to race to collect. Have your child challenge you to find the things they sign.

Suggested items:

Apple (note, in the first video on sign BSL, she is signing an apple computer, so pick a different one to watch!)


A great way to learn signs is through songs. Check youtube for loads of BSL songs, maybe your child’s favourite is there. Or check out Cbeebies BSL nursery rhymes

links to apps/videos:

Sign BSL – search for words, see videos of those signs.

“What the Jackdaw saw” signing video

Cbeebies BSL nursery rhymes

Free online BSL course (for adults, putting it here in case you’re interested in learning more yourself)

Affiliate links to buy from Wordery (free worldwide shipping):

What the Jackdaw Saw

Freddie and the Fairy



Whale gets stuck


My apologies for the extended absence. I have been struggling with motivating myself to blog, particularly since my laptop broke, and trying to blog on a touchscreen is so tedious. We have a PC, but I don’t want to sit in the office. Anyway, this is an activity we did a few weeks back, it’s very simple, but requires set up the day before. This is a great activity for a warm day and can be done with or without being linked to a book.

The book we used isn’t anything amazing, so don’t go trying to find it just for this activity, it’s about a whale who gets stuck on top of a sheet of ice. His friends try various things to free him, until eventually the warmth of the sun and their bodies melts and breaks the ice. So it lent itself perfectly to an ice melting activity.

Prep in advance:
-Grab a large container (I used a silicon cake tin) and fill it with water and sea animals (or other toys, e.g use dinosaurs and do some dinosaur excavation)
– Freeze the lot
– Wait for a warm enough day (I prepped this approx 6 months in advance and kept forgetting and then being annoyed at the freezer space it was taking up).

Set up on the day:

Tray with your ice block of frozen animals
Blunt knives
Pot of salt
Jug of warm water

Basically, just let the kids play around, hammering etc. trying to release the animals from ice. Mine loved watching the ice crack and melt when I poured hot water on (have them stand back for safety reasons). Using the salt wasn’t fast enough for my kids, but you could set this up as a proper science experiment, with one lot of ice with salt on and one without so they can see the difference.

This was a crazily simple activity for now, to try to get me back in the swing of blogging, I’ll do something more creative soon.

Buy Whale Gets Stuck – affiliate link