Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Activities

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.  One fell off an bumped its head. Chants, nursery rhymes, and poems are the cornerstone of early childhood classrooms.  They help children play with the rhythm of language, build oral fluency, and build number sense.  They cover important skills such as rhyming, fluency, and cardinality.

It's never too early or too late to introduce children to these classics. My granddaughter is only 7 months and she squeals when we say these to her. She is listening to our pitch, volume, and tone while learning about language. My 3 year old grandson is learning about rhyming words and counting.  Pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st grade students are learning about one-to-one correspondence, number sense, subitizing, and decomposing and composing numbers (adding and subtracting).

I love to use paint sticks to make these hands-on props for story retelling. The children can hold onto the handle with one hand while manipulating the clothespins with the other.  Anytime we can build in natural fine motor practice it's a win-win situation. I've included directions for turning this paint stick into a bed along with a FREE printable.  Don't forget to sign up by email in the top right corner to receive notification of my new blog posts.

I used felt monkeys that I found at Michaels craft store to glue onto the clothespins. They have removable stickers on the back.  Leave the backing on the monkeys and glue to the clothespin.  If you remove the backing it will make the whole back part sticky.  I also made a FREE printable with monkeys in case you can't find the felt ones or prefer to use the paper ones.  I also included the words to the rhyme.  The printable will be towards the end of the post.



Disclosure: Amazon links are included in this post.



Glue the monkeys onto the clothespins as seen in the picture below. Your project is complete!  Keep reading for ideas for teaching and learning. 


  • Children hold with one hand.
  • Children open and close the clothespin with the other hand, which will require using a pincer grasp.
  • Children cross the midline (body position) when they remove the monkeys closest to the handle.

  • Teach the rhyme to the children.
  • Use pitch, tone, and volume (be dramatic) to engage the children.
  • Play echo-repeat.
    • Teacher/adult says one line.  
    • Children repeat.
    • Vary the tone, pitch, and volume.
    • Children repeat.
  • Do a choral version (everyone says it together).
  • Leave off the last word of the sentence.
    • Children fill in the missing word.
  • Talk about how the words bed and head sound the same at the end.
    • Tell them that the words rhyme.
    • Think of other words that rhyme with bed. 
      • fed, head, led, Ned, red, said, wed, bread, fled, Fred, shed, sped
  • Clap the syllables in the rhyme.
    • five, bed, fell, off, bumped, head, called, said, no, more = 1 syllable
    • little, monkeys, jumping, mama, doctor = 2 syllables

  • Children put the monkeys on the bed one at a time while counting.
    • one-to-one correspondence
  • Talk to the children about ordinal positions.
    • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
    • Have the children take turns touching the first monkey.
    • Have the children take turns touching the last monkey.
    • Continue with the 2nd through 5th.
  • Children say the rhyme and remove one monkey at a time.
    • one-to-one correspondence
    • number sense or cardinality 
  • Children say how many are left after removing one monkey.
    • Counting which will lead to subitizing.
    • Subitizing is knowing how many are in a set without counting.

  • Through repetitive play, children understand that the numeral 5 represents a set of 5 monkeys.
  • By removing 1 monkey off the bed, children will build number sense
  • Children will work on taking the number 5 (monkeys) apart and make other number combinations sets (decomposing numbers).
    • 5 & 0, 4 & 1, 3 & 2, 2 & 3, 1 & 4, 0 & 5.

  • What do you notice about our monkeys?
  • Can you put the monkeys into sets or groups?
    • 2 monkeys are on the bed
    • 3 monkeys are NOT on the bed (or on the floor)
  • What will happen when one more monkey falls off?
  • How do you know?
  • What will happen if one monkey jumped back on the bed?
  • How do you know?
  • Model mathematical conversations with children so they will use math conversations with their peers during play.

No felt or no time?  You can use duct tape or painters tape to decorate your bed.  Or give the children some dot markers and let them create their own bed out of a paint stick.
CLICK HERE for the FREE Five Little Monkeys which includes a book, math sheet, and monkey manipulatives for the clothespins.

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  1. Awesome! I love it.

  2. This is adorable! I wonder if you could do this with 10 in the Bed, put the little one on the handle and the other 9 on the blue part. then roll the paint stick over each one until the little one is the only one left.

    1. Great minds think alike :) I have a blog post scheduled for this tomorrow doing 10 in the Bed just like you mentioned but I made the monkeys smaller. Thanks for visiting my blog. Check back tomorrow and print out the smaller monkeys!

  3. I'm making this right now for my grandson. Thank you

  4. Very good ideas!thanks for sharing

  5. Thanks for the cute idea!! I cannot wait to make this one! Btw, you can take thr backing off place it on the clothespin and then put some baby powder on the unused portion. It will cover over the sticky part. Thanks again for sharing! gina:)

  6. I just love your paint stick ideas with repetitive rhymes. I am a teacher turned Mama of five of which I homeschool my little guy with Down Syndrome who has speech difficulties and love repeat hands on games we can play. Thanks so much for sharing and hope your creative brain designs some more:)

  7. Hey Kathy! I absolutely love this lesson and plan to use in it my Kindergarten classroom where I am Student Teaching. I am having a hard time thinking of individual practice that I could have my students do after teaching this lesson. Do you have any ideas that would directly relate back to the book?