I wrote a long while back about how Eensey Weensey Spider (or Itsy Bitsy Spider) was voted the most popular children's song in America in a poll conducted by ZeroToThree. org. Understandably so. Great melody. Fantastic images. Fun fingerplay. And a nice, concise message about perseverance.
However, for some young learners, the combination of singing and doing the fingerplay can be a little intimidating and frustrating. Some toddlers may become frustrated when they can’t make the spider gesture with their fingers, so make sure that you take your time with this song. Before actually singing, sit down to talk about spiders. If you have a stuffed animal spider, or toy spider, sing the song for your kids once using the spider as a prop. Or, read an “Itsy Bitsy Spider” picture book first.
Then say, “Can you make a spider with your fingers?” Show them how to put their thumb and forefinger together and walk their fingers up. Put the tip of your index finger on the right hand on the tip of your thumb on the left hand…walk your fingers up…putting the index finger of your left hand on the thumb of your right hand.
Don’t worry about exactly how you put your fingers together. Most children won't gain the manual dexterity to do the fingerplay just right until they are 4 or so. Younger children without the dexterity to do this yet can just twist their hands next to each other. Or, as Tanja-sensei recommends, just walk two fingers up your arm.
Here's a fun, step-by-step post from Thingamababy.com about how to perform the Itsy Bitsy Spider. When you are finished with that get ready to do the Eensey Weensey Spider with Jeremy-sensei: