It’s April, and your preschool classrooms are probably doing a weather unit. This was always one of my favorite themes in the Spring, but, also with Spring time comes the end-of-year sprint with 5,000 evaluations, between annual IEPs, birth-to-three services initial evaluations for kids turning 3 in the spring and summer, kindergarten transitions, etc… which leaves basically no time to plan!
Using Itsy Bitsy Spider as a theme within your weather theme is an easy way to incorporate some simple activities for some of your students who have earlier language goals, when targeting things like weather vocabulary may not be appropriate as a target!
Here’s some ideas for you-
Book: “Never Touch a Spider” – Who doesn’t love a good tactile book?! These books are my 7 month old’s favorite, and they’re great to use at work, too, for introducing literacy to kids who don’t necessarily “enjoy” books. I’ve found that a lot of these kids are also sensory seekers, and the tactile component of these books gets them interested!
I also always seemed to get a lot of new late talkers on my caseload in Spring from the birth-to-3 service transitions, so working on exclamatory words like “ew!” “yuck!” “ick!” “ooo!” is something you can do with these books, too.
Music: probably a given, but sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider!” Fingerplays are a great way to work on joint attention, vocalizing, fill-ins, and motor imitation! Show a picture of a spider and another item and see if they can identify “spider” for a receptive ID task before you sing the song.
Early Language Concepts: Target “up” and “down” concepts since the spider went up and down the spout. If you have any spider toys from Halloween, have the spider go up a ramp of some sort- it can be as simple as a large book you hold at an angle, a tote lid, a piece of cardboard, etc… Walk the spider up the ramp and use “up up up” as your verbal routine each time. Taking turns making the spider walk up is great motor imitation, too! Once it’s at the top of the ramp, let go so the spider slides down your “spout”. You can add “whee!” to your verbal routine, too-
“Up, up, up! Whee!” or…
“Up, up, up! Ready, set…. go! Whee!”
“Up, up, up! Down! Whee!”
(Don’t forget to model “up” and “down” on AAC devices!)
Send other toys up/down a ramp or a toy slide, too, to work on these concepts.
Little kids need to move, too, so if you have access to a mini trampoline (like borrowing one from your OT or PT), you can model “up” and “down” while they take a turn jumping on the trampoline. Something I’ve done in the past is exaggerating “UP” when I lift them off the trampoline and “DOWN” as they’re coming down.
Water play: Put your plastic spiders in a little bin of water and do some water play. Dry them off and work on concepts “wet” and “dry” since the sun came out and dried up all the rain in the song.
Other verbal routine ideas: Do thumbprint art with a stamp pad- target motor imitation and use a repetitive verbal routine of “dot, dot, dot” “poke poke poke” or “push push push” etc..
Need a simple activity for your kids with speech sound goals? Use this raindrop artic craft with the Itsy Bitsy Spider base page instead of the umbrella base page! Do a quick cut out of the sounds you’re targeting and have them glue each rain drop on the page. Perfect way to keep parents up to date on what you’re working on, and they can do practice at home, too!
Want to be able to refer back to these ideas year after year in a printable version in your files, or saved somewhere like Google Drive? I’ve made an outline available for you to download! Get your outline here.