Itsy Bitsy Spider Nursery Rhyme-Lyrics, History, Video, Lesson Plans & More

If you’ve ever had to look up nursery rhymes for children, you must have come across the Itsy Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme. It is one of the most famous nursery rhymes with the spider’s tale intriguing generations of children.

It is a tale of persistence, resilience, and not giving up. All those are lessons every parent would love their kids to know.

animation picture of spider

Let’s look at everything there is to know about the famous rhyme.


Lyrics for Itsy Bitsy Spider As Sung Today

Although there are many other versions, this is the most popular.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

Sometimes, the words Itsy Bitsy are replaced with Incy Wincy.

Full Original Lyrics for Itsy Bitsy Spider

Oh, the blooming, bloody spider went up the spider web,
The blooming, bloody rain came down and washed the spider out,
The blooming, bloody sun came out and dried up all the rain,
And the blooming, bloody spider came up the web again

The lyrics above are from when the song was known as the Spider Song. It appeared in a 1910 publication by Arthur Walbridge as an adult song. Later, newer, child-friendly versions were created. These versions got rid of the words blooming and bloody.

They also changed the web to a spout to make the song rhyme better. That gave us the modern-day lyrics that mention the spider making the journey up a spout while facing the rain.

What are the Hand Movements to Itsy Bitsy Spider Finger Play

The Itsy Bitsy Spider is sung with several actions involving both hands. Here are the corresponding actions and gestures for each line.

LyricsHand Movements to Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspoutTouch the thumb of one hand to the index finger of the other, keep changing hands and move up in a climbing motion.
Down came the rainHold both hands up in the air and wiggle the fingers down like rain as the hands are lowered.
And washed the spider out.Sweep the hands from the middle out to the sides to indicate the spider being pushed out.
Out came the sun And dried up all the rainRaise both hands and sweep to the sides to form a semicircle as the sun.
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.Repeat the first action line


Who Came Up with the Itsy Bitsy Spider Nursery Rhyme?

Like other nursery rhyme writers, The Bitsy Spider’s author has also been lost in the mists of time. The first published versions of the rhyme are from 1910 and 1948. However, none of the publications’ writers claim credit for writing the original song.

They merely adapted it for their publications, meaning the original author is unknown. The Itsy Bitsy Spider song has been a popular nursery rhyme since the early 20th century.

Its first sighting was as the Spider Song in Arthur Walbridge’s 1910 publication Camp and Camino in North California.

Later, in 1948, it appeared in the American Folk Songs for Children by Mike and Peggy Seeger. Since then, it has become one of the most recognizable nursery rhymes.


Picture of child in deep thought

What Does the Nursery Rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider Mean?

The Itsy Bitsy Spider rhyme tells the story of a resilient spider that sets on a journey up a waterspout. Despite constant rain setbacks derailing the spider, it doesn’t give up its descent to the spout.

Although most people would want to think the song has some sudden meaning, it doesn’t. The words in the song mean precisely what you think they mean.

However, in some circles, the song is an allegory representing the struggles of lower-class people. Others liken the spider’s climbing effort to the American dream.

But all that is speculation since there isn’t an explicit meaning for the song. It’s only a spider on a journey up a spout—no hidden meanings.

What’s the meaning of Itsy?

Itsy means tiny. In the song, it means the spider is little. It magnifies the theme of a tiny spider going up against impossible odds. (Climbing the water spout). It also adds a certain ring to the song, don’t you think?

What Does Bitsy Mean?

Bitsy means the same as itsy, tiny. Both emphasize the spider’s small size.

What is the Meaning of Incy Wincy?

Incy Wincy also means tiny. It is only a different way of saying Itsy Bitsy. Versions of the Itsy Bitsy Spider sung in Australia and the UK use the words Incy Wincy instead of Itsy Bitsy.

If you’ve come across versions with the two words, know they mean the same thing. It’s only that they are popular in the UK and Australia.

What is a Spout?

A spout is the piping from the gutter on the edge of the roof of a house to the ground. Therefore the spout is an outlet for the water the gutter collects either from rain or other sources. Often it is a long pipe on the sides of a house as seen in the Itsy Bitsy Spider song videos. The pipe starts from the roof down the outside wall to the bottom of the house.

What Lessons Can You Learn from the Itsy Bitsy Spider Nursery Rhyme?

The enduring lesson in the song is resilience and not giving up. As the spider shows, obstacles will always be in someone’s path. But that doesn’t mean giving up. The spider gives it several tries.

Such lessons are helpful for kids since it helps teach them about the trials of life.


Are There Any Songs that Sound the Same as The Itsy Bitsy Spider?

The Itsy Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme sounds like another nursery rhyme: Sweetly Sings the Donkey. They share a melody and a tune, but the lyrics are different.

Listen to Sweetly Sings the Donkey and see for yourself.

One distinct attribute of the song is its use in popular culture. There are many nursery rhymes, but few have appeared in as many films as this one. Multiple songs have been written with the inspiration of the song. Its use in movies is also quite widespread.

The use in films might owe to most people’s phobia of spiders. Therefore, you are more likely to hear it during a chilling moment in a movie. That sets the stage for the song to be used chiefly in horror movies.

If you’ve watched Dead Calm, an Australian horror movie, you must have heard it in one of the many soundtracks.

The famous Spiderman film franchise has also apparently not been left out. There’s a subtle reference to the song (Incy Wincy) in two Spiderman Movies. Can you tell which ones they are?

More recently, Jordan Peele’s chilling horror film, Us, used the song to drive up an important scene crucial to the main story. Many famous singers have also recorded the song in various adaptations.

Nicole Kidman sang it for the Dead Calm soundtrack, and famous Canadian children’s songs singer Raffi also has an adaptation of the song.

It has also appeared in shows such as The Simpsons, Dora the Explorer, and Criminal Minds. Perhaps all these uses in films, tv shows, and adaptations by famous artists make this song withstand the test of time.

Incy Wincy or Itsy Bitsy?

Is it Itsy Bitsy or Incy Wincy? That depends on where you are in the world or which country you choose to follow. In the United Kingdom or Australia, you’ll hear Incy Wincy. But if you’re in the United States, it’s Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Whatever adjective you use to describe the spider doesn’t matter, though. Provided it doesn’t change the rhyme and make the children enjoy it less, why should it matter?

Some people might even use different adjectives to describe that spider’s adventures. So long as they make sense, people will add in new words.

Whatever option you choose, the song is guaranteed to entertain you.

Has the Itsy Bitsy Spider Song Been Translated into Different Languages?

The Itsy Bitsy spider has been translated into many other languages and isn’t a preserve of the US, the UK, or Australia.

It has been translated into the Filipino Ilonggo and Visayan languages, the Dutch language, Swedish, and even Finnish. That proves that the song isn’t only famous in English-speaking countries.

Is Itsy Bitsy Spider in The Public Domain?

The Itsy Bitsy Spider song has no known author. That means it is available in the public domain. It also helps that the first publication of any version of the song was in 1910.

Songs published before 1925 are usually available in the public domain. However, you need to understand that copyright laws vary in different places. So, while you might want to use it in public without asking anyone, it is best to ask about your local area’s copyright laws.

How Do You Sing Itsy Bitsy Spider in Sign Language?

You can sing the song in sign language. Here is a resource from YouTube that can help you learn or teach children how to sing the song in sign language.


The following is a selection of Lesson Plans. You need to click on the images to learn more and download the resources from their websites.


What Time Signature is the Itsy Bitsy Spider Song?

The Itsy Bitsy spider song has a time signature of ¾. If you want to play it, you’ll do that at 112 beats per minute. It doesn’t take an experienced musician to sing the song in whatever style they want.


It’s also possible to play the Itsy Bitsy Spider song on different instruments. Here are some resources you can use.


Samantha Bellerose has a Bachelor of Education as well as a Diploma in Performing Arts. She is a mom to four children and is passionate about education and learning. Samantha created Nursery Rhyme Central as the go to place for parents, teachers and carers about all things to do with Nursery Rhymes. She is also the Main Author and creator for websites Dance Parent 101 and Move Dance Learn, where she shares her knowledge and expertise for dance and learning through movement.

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