Spiders do not have to be scary! In fact, they are one of my favorite fall themes in preschool. My preschoolers have always loved learning spider facts, and there are so many math and creative ideas and activities that can go along with a spider theme. Our spider web number play dough learning activity brings numbers and counting skills together with fine motor skills, and is so much fun!
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Spider Web Number Play Dough Mats
The spider web number play dough mats can be downloaded from the pink button below. Print the spider web mat and both sets of number cards to play.
One set of number cards includes the numbers 1-12 on them. The other set of number cards has different amounts of spiders on each card ranging from one spider to twelve spiders.
Print the pages and make sure to laminate the spider web mat. You can also stick it in a plastic page protector. This will help the play dough to not stick to the paper, and will keep it reusable.
Cut the spider number and counting cards apart on the gray dotted lines. I laminate the cards too because preschool hands like to fold and crinkle things, and I am not a fan of creating activities over and over again!
Once everything is prepped and ready, get ready to play and learn!
Different Ways to Play
The spider web number play dough activity can actually be played with or without play dough!
To play, your preschoolers will pick a number card and identify the number. On the spider web play dough mat, they will need to add that same number spider to the mat. To create a play dough spider, simply pinch a piece of play dough and roll it around the table to create a ball.
Ta da! That’s it. Don’t over think the play dough spider. Play dough balls are all that is needed for the spiders in this printable math activity.
Create and add the correct amount of spiders to the mat. Count each spider as it is placed on the web.
Another way to play is to use pom poms as spiders instead of play dough.
This allows for possibly easier clean up and for the activity to be played on the floor without any extra work. Or really, if it’s the beginning of the year and your preschoolers just aren’t ready for focused independent play dough play, go this way instead!
Use kid-friendly squeezers to pick up the pom pom spiders and place them one by one on the spider web mat.
You can also have your preschoolers pick a spider number card and completely ignore the number on the card.
Instead, have your younger preschoolers identify the color of the spider and add that same colored pom poms to the spider web mat.
What if you have preschoolers ready for more than counting? I love to use counting games to introduce and teach early addition and sometimes early subtraction skills.
This can be done easily with the spider web number play dough activity!
Adding Numbers: Pick 2 spider number cards instead of just one card. Add the correct number of pretend spiders from the first card and then the correct number of spiders from the second card. Count the total number of spiders to find the answer!
Subtracting Numbers: Sort the number cards so that there is one pile that has the numbers 7-12 and another pile with 1-6. Pick a spider card from the larger number pile. Add that many play dough spiders to the spider web mat. Pick a spider card from the smaller number pile. Squish that many play dough spiders so that they are flat. Count the remaining spiders that are not squished to find the answer to subtracting the 2 numbers!
There are lots of ways to play and adapt this activity to fit the needs of all learning levels in your classroom!