Itsy Bitsy Spider

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This article is about the nursery rhyme. For other uses, see Itsy Bitsy Spider (disambiguation).
"Itsy Bitsy Spider"
Roud #11586
Language English
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer Traditional
Language English

"Itsy Bitsy Spider" (also known as "Incy Wincy Spider"[1] and several other similar sounding names) is a popular nursery rhyme and fingerplay that describes the adventures of a spider as it ascends, descends, and re-ascends the downspout or "waterspout" of a gutter system (or, alternatively, the spout of a teapot or open-air reservoir). It is usually accompanied by a sequence of gestures that mimic the words of the song. Its Roud Folk Song Index number is 11586.


A commonly used version uses these words and gestures:[2]

Words Fingerplay

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.

Alternately touch the thumb of one hand to the index finger of the other.
Hold both hands up and wiggle the fingers as the hands are lowered.
Sweep the hands from side to side.
Raise both hands and sweep to the sides to form a semicircle (the sun).
Wiggle fingers upwards.
(as in the first line)


The song can be found in publications including an alternate version in the book, Camp and Camino in Lower California (1910),[3] where it was referred to as [the classic] "Spider Song".[4] It appears to be a more adult version of the song using “blooming, bloody” instead of itsy bitsy. It was later published in one of its several modern versions in Western Folklore, by the California Folklore Society (1948),[5] Mike and Peggy Seeger's, American Folk Songs for Children (1948),[6] and The Growing Family: A Guide for Parents by Maxwell Slutz Stewart (1955).[citation needed] In 2013 Maziar Bahari's company Off-Centre Productions created an animated version of the song featuring an animated mouse character called Journo.[7]

Lyrics as described in 1910, as being from the 'classic' "Spider Song":[4]

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 song is sung by and for children in countless languages and cultures. In Germany the melody is used for the song "Spannenlanger Hansel (de)".


The popular nursery rhyme has been covered and sampled a number of times. Bart Simpson sang the rhyme in the tenth episode of season four of The Simpsons, "Lisa's First Word". It was featured in the children's program Dora the Explorer and in the South Park episode "Something You Can Do with Your Finger". A child singing the rhyme twice can be heard in the opening of the Criminal Minds episode, "Gatekeeper".

  • Patsy Biscoe (as "Incy Wincy Spider") CD: 50 Favourite Nursery Rhymes Vol. 1, also available as 3-CD set 150 Favourite Nursery Rhymes
Songbook: Biscoe, Patsy (1980), Patsy Biscoe's 50 favourite nursery rhymes, Rigby, ISBN 978-0-7270-1366-8 


  1. ^ "Watervale Notes.". Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) (Clare, SA: National Library of Australia). 21 December 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Words and gestures to "Itsy Bitsy Spider"
  3. ^ North, Arthur Walbridge (1910). Camp and Camino in Lower California. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company. 
  4. ^ a b North, Arthur Walbridge (1910). Camp and Camino in Lower California. pp. 279–280. 
  5. ^ Hansen, Marian. "Children's Rhymes Accompanied by Gestures," Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 53
  6. ^ Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Online search, retrieved 19 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Itsy Bitsy Spider". YouTube. 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 

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