Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Water play STEM activity to go with your toddler's favorite song

This toddler water table activity based on the Itsy Bitsy Spider song is a fun STEM activity to go with one of your child's favorite books.

My daughters have done this twice and loved it both times.

My littlest recently found her first favorite book at the library.  She pulled this book out at every reading time, and other times,  for the whole six weeks we were allowed to keep it. 

My toddler loves this book!!
Annie Kubler's Sign and Sing Itsy Bitsy Spider

The other thing my toddlers love right now is "dumping"."Dumping" is an imprecise term my three-year-old also uses to mean pouring. Milk is dumped at the breakfast table. Water is dumped on sister's head at bath time. The toys are dumped while Mommy is cleaning up. We love dumping.

Toddler water table to go with the Itsy Bitsy Spider

 I gave my toddlers a chance to act out the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and indulge their pouring impulses at the same time. When toddlers do an activity repeatedly, it's the signal that they're brain is ready to master a new skill.

My girls (ages 1 and 3) have done this water play activity twice so far, and it's been a big hit both times. If you like doing activities in the bath tub, this would be a good one. It also works as a bin activity or a water table activity. My older toddler is really motivated to learn to pour. My younger toddler was more interested in the sensory aspect. They're working on learning Newton's Laws. "A an object at rest stays at rest...until acted upon by an outside force."

Materials for Itsy Bitsy spider water table play 

  • tub
  • plastic pitcher of water
  • water bottle with both ends cut off (I actually used two pushed together.)
  • pipe cleaner spider

Your toddlers will love this water table activity that goes along with the Itsy Bitsy Spider song.
Make the spider by cutting a pipe cleaner in to four pieces and twisting them together.

Introducing Itsy Bitsy Spider water table play

I introduced the activity by singing and playing through the song once.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the water spout.

Your toddlers will love this water table activity that goes along with the Itsy Bitsy Spider song.

Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.

My daughters really enjoy this water play
My three year-old was completely focused on pouring the water.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain.
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the spout again. 

My girls have really enjoyed this pretend Itsy Bitsy Spider

After I acted it out once, I set them loose. My one-year-old mostly enjoyed playing in the water, but my three-year-old enjoyed singing the song as she took the spider through the motions of climbing and being washed out by the "rain." 

I've added the Kubler's Sign and Sing to our wish list. I think my little ones will enjoy signing it even more now that they've had the chance to play it.

More Bug Learning Ideas

Interested in a whole unit of  preschool bug learning ideas? Check out this unit that I coauthored with 11 other teacher/mom bloggers.  

Purchase Bugs and Butterflies Preschool Lesson Plans

More sensory learning play

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Perfect project for gardening with your toddler

Or checkout our complete list of captivating preschool science activities

Get seasonal science ideas

This would be a great summer time play activity. To be informed about more seasonal STEM ideas, sign up for the Thriving STEM newsletter.

More Storybook Science

For even more awesome story book science ideas for kids of all ages, check out the story book science project hosted by Inspiration Laboratories.

Tons of great science projects matched with children's stories!
My daughter loves the Itsy Bitsy spider book, and both my girls were really excited to do this activity repeatedly.


  1. My daughter loves Annie Kubler's book. It's fun to act out the song along with the kids in the book. I love the exploration you set up. Anything to do with water play is a hit at our house!


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