Itsy Bitsy Spider – the ultimate itsy bitsy fingerplay video

61DM0Kgvi-L._SY355_A shining example of music video’s power as a teaching tool in a storytime context.


Bibliographic Info:  Babypants, Caspar  Itsy Bitsy Spider from More Please!  Baby Pants Music (2009)  Format: CD, MP3, Children’s Music Video  Platform: YouTube  Channel: Caspar Babypants on YouTube  Interest Level: babies, toddlers and preK  Genre: Sing-along, Fingerplay  Themes: Movement (fine motor), Musical Instruments

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Itsy Bitsy Spider was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on March 23rd, 2015 and has been selected for the MusicVideoWOW collection.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.

itsy5Summary:  In his expanded musical video fingerplay version of Itsy Bitsy Spider from his CD entitled “More Please!“, Caspar Babypants begins with the song’s traditional lyrics and fine motor movements.  He then invents new lyrical verses with fresh corresponding movements.  All this is portrayed onscreen for children to watch, follow and learn.

Review:  Itsy Bitsy Spider proves that music video can be used as an effective teaching tool for children’s storytime.  The video’s concept is both simple and smart.  Babypants expanded the traditional storytime sing-along by inventing brand new lyrics and movements.  Watchers get to learn both the vintage and new.  For children, the effect of experiencing new pieces to this sing-along is both surprising and engaging.  For those who already know the song and fingerplay, Babypants takes this activity goes from an old routine to a new challenge. 

itsy2Storytime:  Have fun helping children learn the lyrics and fingerplay movements while watching Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Then turn off the video and use the CD version of the song (or sing it a capella).  Watch children, acknowledge their accuracy and applaud their success.

Itsy Bitsy Spider meets the StorytimeWOW Standards for Music Videos. This video:

  • is a vintage favorite with universal appeal
  • has that “WOW” factor (singing and moving-along with the fingerplay is enjoyable for groups of children)
  • is well-suited for repetition (once you teach it to groups, this video may be regularly utilized as a storytime element)
  • provides viewers with an educational takeaway (children learn Itsy Bitsy Spider’s old and new movements and get to practice vocalizing along the way)
  • is free of squirmy moments
  • hits the storytime target audience’s interest level (young children)
  • includes participation or lends itself to group interaction (the entire sing-along invites participation)

itsy3Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  Fingerplays can be a useful way to re-engage with groups.  Their familiarity is comforting so they may be useful in re-establishing a lost connection.  Itsy Bitsy Spider can be used to reach out to shy or uncertain kids.  Repetition, always with a kind and gentle smile, can become an “I love you and your safe” ritual.

Significance:  This children’s music video shows how video may be used effectively in a teaching context for young children.

Watch-alikes:  Mister Rabbit by Caspar Babypants  Butterfly Driving a Truck by Caspar Bapypants   ABC Song, by LittleBabyBum

Links:  Official Website   YouTube Channel   YouTube link to video   Amazon

itsy1Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1.  This video provides young children with the opportunity to practice the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Knowing the names of things (vocabulary)
  • Being able to hear and play with smaller sounds in words (phonological awareness)
  • Being able to describe things and events (narrative skills)

2.  This video provides opportunities for caregivers to utilize the early literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Singing helps children learn new words and vocalize.
  • Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about how the world works and learn language.

3.  This video supports the following Kindergarten Readiness Skills (see full list here):

  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories
  • Start to follow rules
  • Begin to control oneself
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words

4.  This video follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Integrate more new media materials and technology.  Cultivate media literacy by modeling media literacy behaviors.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

Why I Chose to Review this Video:  This video is highly engaging for big and small groups.

3Make Reading More Fun

Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!