Almost everyone knows the rhyme Five Little Monkeys. This is a great little rhyme to use for both music and dramatic play. Rhymes help preschoolers develop a sense of beat - keeping a steady beat as well as being able to feel the internal pulse of music. Because of the simple, repetitive nature of Five Little Monkeys, this rhyme makes learning the words of the song/rhyme very easy.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed"
Four little monkeys...
Three little monkeys...
Two little monkeys...
One little monkey...
When you first introduce this song, instruct the children to patsch their legs in time to the beat. Once they are comfortable with speaking and patsching, you can introduce rhythm sticks, hand drums or wood blocks for the beat keeping.
When the children are comfortable with speaking the rhyme, it's time to make a simple play out of it. You will need:
- 5 children to be the monkeys (of course, you can always modify this number - 6, 7, 10 monkeys, whatever you need!)
- 1 Momma
- 1 doctor
Designate a space to be the bed and if possible, have a couple of play phones for the doctor and Momma. If phones aren't available, no problem, just let the children pretend to speak on the phone. You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you like. Costumes? Up to you. Props? Up to you. I like to keep things as simple as possible because it encourages children to develop their imagination more - but I'm not opposed to making it more elaborate either, especially if you want to do a special presentation for parents.
You will want to establish some rules for safety.
- Monkeys must keep their hands and feet to themselves
- When you "fall" off the bed, you must do it gently so no one gets hurt
- Once a monkey is off the bed have an area that they can go so that they will be out of the way of the other monkeys falling off the bed
If you want a recording of this song, let me recommend this one by Old Town School of Folk Music
Five Little Monkeys from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms
And of course, there are several picture books that you can use at story time:
The Original Five Little Monkeys by David Martin
Five Little Monkeys with CD from Twin Sisters Productions