There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I’ve seen on Pinterest various props for “There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.” My favourite is the garbage can dressed up as an old lady, but if space and storage is an issue – then it’s not a practical prop to make. Here’s something I came across and did my own take on it. They used a Kleenex box, but we decided to use a baby wipe container instead for durability.

Cost of project: $2.80 + coloured printing

You can also use a recycled baby wipe container if you know of a parent or caregiver that uses them too!

I used Publisher to find clipart for the song and found the old lady template somewhere in cyber space! I’d love to track down who made it so that I can give them credit!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly


  1. Print the old lady template on cardstock for durability. Laminate if you have access. If not, just use packing tape. Cut out shapes.
  2. Print the animal template. Laminate if you have access. If not, use packing tape. Cut out shapes.
  3. Rip off flap for the baby wipe container. You may need to cut some of the inside silicone for a deeper mouth.
  4. Use a hot glue gun to adhere the old lady to the container.
  5. Optional: use construction paper to decorate the outside of the container.

When you’re performing, just throw the animal into the mouth of the old lady!

Lyrics to the Song

My coworkers and I were discussing the lyrics to “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and consensus is that it’s a little grim to sing perhaps she’ll die. I’ve been in a storytime where the programmer has used that lyric, and I thought it wasn’t such a good idea. We decided that perhaps she’ll cry sounds much better!

Programmers, what do you use?

4 thoughts on “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

  1. Jane Whittingham says:

    I usually just finish with something like “oh my, oh my” – I agree, it’s definitely a grim song! I actually have a picture book version where the little old lady dies at the end – not exactly the cheeriest of story time selections πŸ˜‰

  2. Marcia Strykowski says:

    Very cute idea! There are several versions of this book out, now. Such as “There was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie” from a Scottish publisher. Maybe their lyrics would end a little more pleasant. πŸ™‚

    • Chelsie A. says:

      Even with “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” – there’s so many variations “…who swallowed a pie” is another one I made a printable of!

      If you have access to Publisher, just select “Clipart” and search for images and print!

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