I modeled how my children could wind the yarn around and across the table, weaving it in and out in order to make a unique web. We ended up using two balls of yarn - one for each child - but if you are doing this with a larger group of children you might consider using only one ball and encourage the children to problem solve how they might take turns creating one web together.
This activity took a lot of coordination as each child needed to figure out how to wind the yarn around and across the large table, while keeping it tight enough to retain the 'web like' appearance. They also needed to work together. A few times they ended winding each other into the web and had to figure out how to cooperatively create the playscape.
As my children worked, they began to notice and name the shapes they saw in the web. They also realized that the sides of the table were beginning to look like they were covered in webs too, opening up the possibilities for the play space.
Once they were happy with the web, we added plastic spiders (found as Halloween rings at the local dollar store). I was pleased to see that neither child was reluctant to handle the very realistic looking spiders. I'm hoping it helps them feel even more comfortable with creepy crawlies when they encounter them in real life.
Such an easy way to use little materials and a light table to inspire creative dramatic play. Our spiders had all sorts of adventures on and around the table. Tomorrow I'm going to read some books about spiders and encourage my children to retell the texts on the table.