Spidey-Sense: A Storytime About Spiders

I had planned on doing this storytime way back in March, in honor of National Save a Spider Day on March 14, but since it’s an outdoor storytime, it kept getting cancelled due to rain. I had fun doing it today though, especially because we had a couple of older preschoolers, which allowed for some longer books.

I started by sharing photos of three types of spiders that are common here in the Bay Area: the California Tarantula, the Johnson Jumper, and the Cellar Spider (Daddy Long Legs). I also showed the kids how to do the ASL sign for Spider, which is a fun one to do.

Here’s are the books and songs that we did:


The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani

This is one of my favorite nursery rhyme adaptations. It takes the traditional “Itsy Bitsy” song and adds additional verses about the spider’s attempts to climb a wall, a pail, and a rocking chair, before finally spinning a web at the top of a maple tree. The illustrations are adorable.

Aaaargh, Spider! by Lydia Monks

Another all-time favorite picture book of mine. In this one, a lovable spider tries to become a family pet, but keeps getting put outside, until finally one of the family members notices her beautiful sparkling webs. The kids enjoyed joining in on the repeated “Aaaargh, Spider! Out You Go!” refrain. (The large text provides a great opportunity to point out the big words on the page, and help them make the text to speech connection). The ending got lots of laughs (and shudders!).

Are You a Spider? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

I love this Backyard Books series, which uses a simple conversational approach to teaching young kids about the life-cycle of small creatures like spiders and snails. In this one, the author explains that if you’re a spider, you will hatch out of an egg, spin a web, eat flies, and have to be very careful to avoid birds and wasps. It was a much longer book than I usually read for this storytime, but I was happy to hear the families talking about how spiders have eight legs and eight eyes during the Stay & Play at the end.


The Itsy Bitsy Spider

When I do this song with toddlers and babies, I usually tell them that they can do the traditional finger motions (as shown here in this video by Katie Cutie Kids TV), or just wiggle their fingers like spider legs, or creep their hands up their bodies (it’s fun to have the grown-ups do this with babies, which gets lots of giggles). I usually do a second verse about the “Great Big Hairy Spider,” which we sing in a low voice, and sometimes add in a verse about the “Teensy Weensy Spider” in a high voice.

The [C] itsy bitsy spider went [G7] up the water [C] spout.
[C] Down came the rain and [F] washed the spider [C] out.
[C] Out came the sun and [G7] dried up all the [C] rain,
and the [C] itsy bitsy spider went [G7] up the spout [C] again.

I’m a Hungry Spider

To the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot” (If you don’t know the tune, here’s a video by Sing With Bella). We used the ASL sign for Spider for the first line.

I’m a hungry spider (Sign for Spider)

Look at me! (Point to yourself)

Eight legs to walk on, (Wiggle eight fingers)

And eight eyes to see (Point to your eyes).

When a bug gets caught in my web (Move your finger in the air like a fly),

Here I come!

I wrap it up tight (Move your hands in circles),

And YUM! YUM! YUM! (Mime eating).

There’s a Spider on the Floor

To the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. This is an old Raffi song, although I usually change the lyrics a little. Claire mimed the actions with a spider puppet, while the rest of us made spiders with our hands.

There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
Who could ask for any more than a spider on the floor?
There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.

Now the spider’s on my leg, on my leg.
Now the spider’s on my leg, on my leg.
Oh, he’s really, really big, this old spider on my leg.
There’s a spider on my leg, on my leg.

Now the spider’s on my tummy, on my tummy…
Oh, I feel so very funny with this spider on my tummy!…

Now the spider’s on my neck, on my neck…
Oh, I’m gonna’ be a wreck, I’ve got a spider on my neck!…

Now the spider’s on my face, on my face…
Oh, I’m such a big disgrace. I’ve got a spider on my face!…

Now the spider’s on my head, on my head…
Oh, it fills my heart with dread to have this spider on my head!…

Spoken: But it jumps off!

Now the spider’s on the floor, on the floor…

Who could ask for any more than a spider on the floor?…

Un Elefante

This is a traditional Mexican children’s song, which you can hear below in this video from VideoKids TV Canciones. The Spanish lyrics mean “An elephant balanced on a spider’s web. When he saw that it ‘resisted’ (held his weight), he called another elephant.”

If you’d like an English version of the song (with a slightly different meaning to the lyrics), here’s a video of a cute one from Canticos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1XC8cuio24)

[C] Un elefante se balanceaba,
sobre la tela de una a-[G]raña.
Como veía que resistía,
fue a llamar a otro ele-[C]fante.

Dos elefantes se balanceaban,
sobre la tela de una araña.
Como veían que resistía,
fueron a llamar a otro elefante.

Tres elefantes…

Stay & Play: Paint Splotch Spiders

This was really simple and fun! Before the storytime, I folded pieces of white cardstock in half lengthwise (like a book). For the Stay & Play, I put out the folded cardstock, two colors of tempera paint, googly eyes (the kind with sticker backs), and markers.

To make the spider shape, the kids opened their folded cardstock and dropped a small drop of paint of each color along the center fold (it helps to have an adult supervise this, so they don’t end up with too much paint). They then folded the cardstock again, and pressed down on it to spread the paint. When they opened the cardstock again, they had a symmetrical shape that they decorated with googly eyes and markers.

In the two examples above, the kids (both preschoolers) were making an effort to count out eight eyes, although they got a little carried away on the legs. It was great to hear them counting though!

What are your favorite books about spiders? Please share them in the comments below.