Friday, October 3, 2014

Itsy Bitsy Spider Language Fun

The itsy bitsy spider is one of my favorite nursery rhymes.  It's about a spider who never gives up. No matter how many times the rain washes him down the waterspout, he always climbs back up the spout again and sees the sun.  I am sure everyone has felt like that little spider at some point in life. I know I have. So maybe that's why I smile when I sing this song.

Being a Nana K has given me the chance to enjoy nursery rhymes all over again. After all, I sang them with my own children when they were little (seems like yesterday). When I started teaching, I sang them with my students.  I sing them with teachers at conferences while we talk about how to incorporate emergent literacy skills such as phonemic awareness and rhyming.

Now I get to sing them with my grandchildren.  So this post is dedicated to my little H who squealed, "Do it again Nana K! Do it again!" as we played with our waterspout and spider.  And in the blink of an eye, my other 3 grandchildren will be old enough to play too.  Right now all 4 benefit from hearing nursery rhymes over and over again even from birth.  It's never too early to read and sing to your child.

  • 1 paint stick 
  • 1 doll clothespin
  • 1 regular clothespin
  • 1 milk jug plastic lid
  • 4 googly eyes
  • small piece of red yarn
  • yellow craft foam
  • silver craft foam
  • blue craft foam
  • glue gun
These are the paint sticks that I purchase from Amazon.  I like them because they are smooth and cheaper to buy in bulk.  I've also add a link for the wooden craft clothespin after requests from those who have read this blog post.   You can click on the pictures below to get a better description of both.  Amazon links are included for your convenience.

I created a FREE PRINTABLE at the end of the blog post if you prefer to use clipart on card stock.  It also includes a song sheet of The Itsy Bitsy Spider with rebus pictures to read with your child along with some sight word cards.



  • Use a larger lid to trace a circle on the yellow and silver craft foam.  
  • Cut out the circles and hot glue them onto the regular clothespin.  
  • See picture above for placement on clothespin.
  • Cut out raindrops and glue to silver circle.
  • Your clothespin is ready!

I used silver glitter spray paint to paint my stick, doll clothespin, and regular clothespin.  You could also use children's washable paint, or gray markers as a substitute or leave them in their natural wood finish.  Another option is to let your child mix washable children's black and white paint to make gray.  Let your paint stick dry.

  1. Clip the clothespin with the sun side showing on the top of the paint stick.
  2. Slide the spider onto the stick.
  3. Sing the song.
The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout.
  • Child moves the spider up the waterspout.
  • Child takes off the clothespin and repositions so the rain shows.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
  • Child slides the spider down the waterspout.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
  • Child takes off the clothespin and repositions so the sun shows.
The itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
  • Child moves the spider back to the top just under the sun.

This activity can be modified based on the age and needs of the child.  As always, be aware of any choking hazards with very young children.

Children and parent/teacher can sing the song together and adult manipulates the spider as above.

Teacher or parent use props to tell or sing the nursery rhyme.  

Children can use the props to tell or sing the nursery rhyme.


This FUN kid's activity helps young children build fine motor skills when they open the clothespin to change from the sun to the rain and when they slide the spider up and down the waterspout (paint stick).  Some younger children will need help holding the paint stick while they switch from the sun to the rain and back again.  Be patient as they build their fine motor skills.  It's all about having fun, singing, and playing.  Practice, sing, play, repeat.


Young children build oral fluency and increase their spoken sentence length when they say or sing nursery rhymes.  This helps with reading fluency as they get older. When the children have learned The Itsy Bitsy Spider, try leaving off the last word, and let them fill in the word.


The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider ______.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout ______.


The itsy bitsy _______ went up the __________.
Down came the ______ and washed the _________ out.
Out came the _______ and dried up ______ the rain.
The __________ spider went up the ______ again.


Identify the rhyming words in the nursery rhyme.
  • Can they think of other words that rhyme with them?  sun-fun, rain-pain, out-shout, down-town
Count the syllables in the words.  
  • Clap 1 time:  went, up, down, rain, sun, out, spout
  • Clap 2 times:  itsy, bitsy, spider, again
  • Clap 3 times:  waterspout

As the children become familiar with the rhyme, use the props as an opportunity to teach new vocabulary.  Here are vocabulary words to teach when playing with props.
  • up, down, on, off, out - positional words
  • sun, rain, waterspout, spider - nouns or people, places, things
  • washed, dried - verbs or action words
  • itsy, bitsy - adjectives or describing words 
Use these positional words to have the children show the meaning.  
  • Say up and have the child move the spider up the spout.  
  • Say down and have the child slide the spider down the spout. 
  • Say off and have the child take the spider off the spout.  
  • Say off and have the child take the clothespin (sun or rain) off the paint stick (waterspout).

  1. Read the FREE PRINTABLE with your child or student. 
  2. Point to where you start reading.
  3. Model how we read from left to right and return sweep or start back again on the next line. 
  4. Children can highlight letters they know or look for letters in their names.
  5. Children can highlight words they can read.
  6. Children can draw a picture to match the nursery rhyme which helps with comprehension or understanding the text.
  7. Use the FREE PRINTABLE to make cards to use as sight words.  
  • Show the word up.  Have the child read the card and move the spider up the spout.  
  • Show the word down.  Have the child move the spider down the spout. 
  • Show the word rain.  Have the child put the clothespin to show the rain.  
  • Show the word sun.  Have the child put the clothespin to show the sun.  
Here are 3 versions of The Itsy Bitsy Spider on YouTube.  Remember to sign up by email at the top right corner of my blog, so you don't miss any posts or updates.


Questions or comments?  I would love to hear from you in the comment section.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. hi! kathy
    I am so happy to see your creative
    ITSY BITSY SPIDER PAINT STICK ACTIVITY.However, I am from Taiwan and not sure how to do this craft.
    May I ask what the child is holding, i mean that stick, what is that? Could i see a clear pic of that? by google link or ??? thanks a lot!
    my e-mail:

    1. Thank you. It is called a paint stick here in the United States. We use them to stir and mix paint before we paint our walls. You can see a clear picture on the previous post on my blog here Fall Leaves Activities for Teaching I will also send the link to your email. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  2. What is the spider being glued on? How can it slide?

    1. It is on a craft doll clothespin or pin. It doesn't close like a typical clothespin. It remains open so it can slide up and down. You can find them at Walmart or any craft store. I went back on this blog post and included a picture of the package and what they look like. It has a link to Amazon if you want further information. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  3. Hi, Kathy.
    I am Speech Pathology Student from Malaysia.Thank you for this wonderful and creative craft activity. Indeed, this blog is really helpful for me to create some materials for the therapy session. Thank you.

    1. Wow! Malaysia! It is a small world when we work together. I am so glad you are getting ideas to work with students. My daughter has Down Syndrome. Thank you for what you do for our children.

  4. Where does the sun go?

    1. The sun is on the opposite side of the clothespin that shows the rain. Put the rain on one side and the sun on the other side. The children turn the clothespin to go along with the nursery rhyme. It's great fine motor practice too. Thanks for visiting my blog :)