‘Spiders Aren’t Scary’

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Little Farmers Macie and Finley Richter play with fake furry tarantulas at the North Alabama Agriplex’s “Spiders Aren’t Scary” program Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex on Friday hosted a no-so-creepy-crawly Little Farmers program. Called “Spiders Aren’t Scary,” the event saw preschoolers ages 3-5 learning all about our eight-legged friends.

Agriplex Executive Director Rachel Dawsey said she didn’t use real spiders in case any children were frightened, choosing to ease them into appreciating spiders with spider crafts and stories. She read the children’s books “Be Nice to Spiders” and “The Very Busy Spider” and taught the kids facts about spiders’ usefulness to the ecosystem. 

Dawsey said she wanted October’s Little Farmers theme to fit Halloween, while also being mindful that many young children may not learn the usefulness of spiders until they are older, causing them to be afraid.

“My sister was always so scared of spiders so I was left to deal with them,” she laughed.

Dawsey said she wanted the preschoolers to think about spiders in a more positive light.

Little Farmers learn about spiders from North Alabama Agriplex Executive Director Rachel Dawsey at the nonprofit’s “Spiders Aren’t Scary” program Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

She taught the Little Farmers that one of the ways spiders help the ecosystem is by providing insect population control. Most spiders rely on insects as a source of food. Spiders get rid of the insects that are pests to people and crops. They eat insects like grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars that feed on fruits, leaves and seeds.

The kids played several games, including spider-fly tag where the they got to act as spiders and catch their “fly” friends. They also played in sensory bins with fake furry tarantulas and made take-home crafts.

Dawsey said the Little Farmers program has been very well attended. The program takes place at the Agriplex once a month and allows children the chance to get interested in the agriculture and animals in our area at a young age.

To get info on upcoming programs, go to https://agriplex.org/WPtest/.

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