Each year for Halloween, we like to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, which offers allergy-friendly treats to trick-or-treaters. We go beyond choosing allergy-free candy options and offer Halloween crafts instead! Usually our crafts still require some type of stickers or glue that may have latex, but this year I made an adhesive-free, latex-free version–a Spider Web and Bug DIY Cup-and-Ball Game. It’s perfect for a non-candy trick-or-treat goodie, or it works as a stand-alone Halloween activity!
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Growing up, I always loved cup-and-ball games like the bilbo catcher or kendama. They are a great way to practice hand-eye coordination, work on motor skills, and just have fun when you don’t know how else to pass the time (I use mine as a fidget toy.).
This super fun Halloween Spider Web and Bug version is sort of a mixture of a bilbo catcher and kendama. Rather than a cup on the very end, like bilbo catchers have, or cups on either side and the bottom handle, like kendama has, this Spider Web and Bug Game has one cup on the side. You can add two, if you wish, but this was easiest and cheapest for me to accomplish and it still works well.
Spider Web and Bug Halloween Activity | DIY Cup-and-Ball Game
**Get ready to help the spider catch the fly in its spider web!**
Supplies Needed for Each Game:
- 1 wide craft stick; if you want longer ones, wavy craft sticks would work too
- White yarn (about 3′ 7″ long–once you’ve cut the first one, use that as a guide)
- 1 tiny plastic cup (since my 1oz condiment cups were a little bigger than I wanted, so I used disposable communion cups; I found a small pack locally at Mardel)
- Super glue or hot glue (no-run gel super glue ended up working the best for me–2 containers were plenty for making 60+ kits)
- 1 plastic fly or another tiny plastic bug (make sure they are the proper size for whatever cup you choose)
- 1 plastic spider
For Trick-or-Treaters, You’ll Also Need:
To make this DIY cup-and-ball Halloween craft latex-free, I simply took out most of the adhesives. The only glue I used was super glue, which I used to pre-attach the cups to the craft sticks, so the glue is completely dried before the kids will receive it. You can glue these together using different glue if you wish, but I recommend super glue for sturdiness.
I also gave options for tying the fly to the yarn, tying the yarn to the stick, then adding the spider without glue (the type I purchased has hooks on their underside so they grab onto the yarn). This will require help from parents for younger ages, but it was a simple way to avoid unnecessary adhesives. If your child does not have any adhesives/latex allergies, gluing the fly to the yarn, yarn to the stick, and spider to the stick may be easier for you.
How to Assemble:
1. Before adding all of the supplies to the kits I will be handing out, I pre-glued the tiny cup to the end of the craft stick. Add a thin ring of super glue around the bottom of the cups where they will touch the craft stick. If you are using larger cups or cups with concave bottoms, keep in mind what parts will actually touch the craft stick.
Press the cup onto the end of the craft stick, leaving about a quarter-inch or so of space at the end. Hold for 30 seconds, or until the cup stays in place. Carefully move it to a safe place, and let it dry completely (which generally takes about 10 minutes until you can move it around, but 24 hours to completely dry).
Once the glue has completely dried, you can now assemble the Halloween craft kits or assemble your DIY cup-and-ball game.
2. Tie or glue the plastic fly or bug to one end of the string.
3. Wrap the yarn around the cup and stick, leaving about 6 inches of yarn from the fly to the craft stick, so the fly is dangling down.
4. Tie or glue the yarn down on the bottom of the stick, so it stays in place. The fly should be hanging from the underside beneath the cup.
5. Wrap the rest of the yarn around the craft stick; criss-cross the yarn so it looks sort of like a web. Leave a little room yarn-free at the end opposite of the cup, so you have a place to grip the craft stick.
6. Once you get to the end of the string, tie or glue it on the underside of the stick.
7. Once the knots are tightened or the glue has dried, trim off any excess yarn.
8. Attach the plastic spider to the yarn on the top of the craft stick opposite of the cup. Make sure you give yourself a little room to grip the craft stick (which is also why we made sure the yarn didn’t go all the way down, so she can sit at the end of the web). You can slide it onto the yarn where it will hold the best, if you purchased the kind with a hook on the bottom, or you can glue it in place using hot glue or super glue and let dry. If your spiders don’t have hooks and you cannot use adhesives, try hooking the spider into the yarn, or using a little extra yarn to tie her into place on the stick.
Now that your Spider Web and Fly DIY cup-and-ball game is complete, it’s time to get playing!
This hand-held Halloween game is great for hand-fly coordination! (I cannot take credit for this pun…that was all my husband…I was so proud of his comment, that I had to include it!)
Take this opportunity to discuss science–how spiders make webs, what they eat, how they catch their food in their webs, and how they are beneficial to us. Talk about which spiders to stay away from, and which are harmless (even if they might be a little bit scary). Talk about STEM topics like trajectory and gravity and how they work to help you catch the fly in the cup! Spiders are amazing mathematicians and engineers!
Will you hand these Halloween Spider Web and Bug games out to trick-or-treaters as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project? Or will you do them together at home as a Halloween activity?