Lyrics to Little Miss Muffet may confuse us. What is a tuffet? Why was Miss Muffet sitting there in the first place? What do curds and whey taste like? Then adding a spider to the poem makes the nursery rhyme scary. It doesn’t have to be. We’ve used the traditional rhyme and changed it up to teach children all about spiders and insects.
The traditional lyrics of Little Miss Muffet are:
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Where did the lyrics of Little Miss Muffet originate?
The poem dates back to the early 19th century in England. Thomas Muffet was a scientist from the 16th century who studied insects and spiders and their effects on medicine. Consequently, many believe Little Miss Muffet is about his stepdaughter, Patience.
We will never honestly know if Thomas Muffet had anything to do with the lyrics of Little Miss Muffet. Meanwhile, we can still use this rhyme to help young children understand the difference between a spider and an insect. As a kindergarten teacher, I discovered that my students could learn to read with nursery rhymes. They could easily recite the rhyme, making it easier to track the text.
Making the lyrics useful.
Creative teaching resources were hard to find back then. TpT Stores and teacher blogs did not exist. States were beginning to develop common core and learning standards. As they did, it was decided that every kindergartener’ should know the difference between a spider and an insect. Therefore, I worked with another kindergarten teacher and changed the lyrics of Little Miss Muffet. That way, our students could learn the differences between a spider and an insect while learning to track and read a memorized text.
The words of Little Miss Muffet Learns About Spiders are:
Little Miss Muffet Sat on her tuffet To see if the spider returned. She studied real hard By observing her yard, And wanted to share what she learned. “You’re not a bug,” She said with a shrug, “Compare the two bodies and see.” “On spiders like you The parts number two, but all of the insects have three.” The spider said “Grand. But please understand, Here’s the best way to separate.” “When it comes to feet, We have them all beat. Bugs have only six; spiders: eight.” “And look at my eyes; Is that a surprise? I hope you will think it first-rate.” “If you think I’ve two, Then I have tricked you. Look closely and you will see eight.” “I know that,” she said, “Your body and head Have eight wiggly legs and eight eyes.” “And the web that you spin, Strong, sticky, and thin, Is useful to catch little flies.” Many books have told About spiders, so bold, Who carry a poisonous bite. But most will not harm Your leg or your arm And usually come out at night.
From these lyrics, children learn the following five facts.
- Spiders have two body parts. Insects have three.
- Spiders have eight legs. Insects have six.
- Spiders can have eight eyes. Insects have two.
- Spiders spin webs. Some insects spin webs too.
- Only a few spiders and insects are poisonous.
You can read more about each fact here.
These lyrics are illustrated inside a downloadable book. Therefore, teachers can print and make a copy for each student to use in a small guided reading group. The book is also available as a PowerPoint for whole-class activities.
As I created the illustrations for the book and teacher’s guide, I’ll admit the drawings made me squeamish. I am not as brave as the Little Miss Muffet in our version. Thinking about Thomas Muffet using spiders in medicine makes me very glad I did not live back then.
After sharing these books with teachers and home-school parents, we discovered a need for a teacher’s guide and additional activities to help teach about insects and spiders. Subsequently, we created the teacher guide that includes spiritual, social, and academic growth sections.
Little Pot’s method to grow the fruit of the Spirit
Little Pot is a vessel that grows fruit for the potter. It believes that children should be holistic thinkers. Therefore, the Little Miss Muffet teacher’s guide includes spiritual, social, and academic growth sections. These three areas lead to growing the fruit of the Spirit. You see, Little Pot follows a fruit-bearing cycle as its strawberries grow. That process mirrors how we can grow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This process is better explained in the 7 steps to become a fruit-bearing vessel. Sign up below to receive the steps. Additionally, you’ll receive a fruitful Friday email each week with more creative teaching resources.
More Nursery Rhyme Lyrics That Teach
This creative teaching resource uses Little Miss Muffet to teach children about insects and spiders. It is a part of The Mother Goose Meets Mother Nature book series. The series includes other nursery rhyme books teaching different scientific and mathematical concepts.
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