Monkeying Around in Story Time

This week we resumed our story times and were up to the usual monkey business - literally.  Our theme this week was Monkeys and we had quite a bit of fun with it.  So, as you can see below, our letter of the day was M.  This is what I put out for story time.  We start with it covered up with the words to our hello song and then I pull  that away to reveal our letter and the theme.  For this session I also started adding some other words that begin with the same letter.
Instead of having Sparky my dragon reveal the letter today we had a guest monkey.  We talked about the words on the paper that start with the letter M and then talked a little bit about monkeys.

Our first book was Steve Haskamp's Eight silly monkeys.  In this version of monkeys jumping on the bed the monkeys the monkeys do a different action on  each page as you count down from eight to none.  So, you have monkeys that are spinning, dancing, sliding, and more.  The kids enjoy the repetition with this book and many of them were doing the 'mama called the doctor' part along with me.

After reading Eight silly monkeys we sang Five little monkeys by Eric Litwin and the Learning Groove.  This is a nice bouncy version of the rhyme and we jumped along with those five monkeys.

The second book that we read was Two little monkeys by Mem Fox.  This is the story of two monkeys, Cheeky and Chee.  When danger is nearby they have to scamper to safety.  This story has a nice rhythm and rhyme and the illustrations are great for sharing in story time.  The kids enjoyed trying to figure out what the monkeys were running from.  We were also able to discuss some new words as the monkeys 'scamper' and 'tremble' so hopefully a few kids went home with a bigger vocabulary.

We followed Two little monkeys with Hap Palmer's song Five little monkeys.  Another version of the song, but this one has the kids jumping, hopping, and turning.  It ends with all the monkeys jumping outside (because there is nothing wrong with jumping outside) and then they all fall down - a perfect landing for the start of the next story.

Our last story was a prop story.  The previous library I worked at had a stuffed palm tree with monkeys that could velcro to the leaves.  It was great for the rhyme Five little monkeys and the crocodile.  When I started planning a monkey story time I found myself missing it, so I had to make a replacement.  I decided to go big and make an almost life sized prop story.

I took my umbrella and made some large paper leaves that I taped on with book tape.  I taped them both at the top and underneath the bottom, though the bottoms pulled off in a few places. 

For the rhyme I had 5 monkeys with the hands that velcro together.  I pulled them out one by one at the kids counted as I velcroed the monkeys' hands around the metal bit on the underside of the umbrella.  I hind site I should have added some velcro to the underside of the umbrella and stuck the monkeys to that.  They went on fairly easy, but were a little hard when it came time to pull them off. 

So, here we have all monkeys on the tree and we did the rhyme:
5 little monkeys swinging in a tree,
Teasing Mr. Crocodile 'you can't catch me.'
Along came Mr. Crocodile, quiet as can be,
And SNAPPED a monkey right out of the tree.

Repeat until all the monkeys are gone.  We did have an alligator puppet, but I thought that would be a bit 'graphic' for 2 and 3 year olds.  We 'snapped' with our hands instead.

When I was doing the rhyme I just held the umbrella.  That worked fairly well, it was a little harder getting the monkeys on, but I was able to make them 'swing' in the tree.  The trunk in the picture is a roll of brown paper.  Next time, I might leave it on the trunk to put the monkeys on, then pull it off for the rhyme.

In addition to me doing the rhyme, the kids also had a version to use.  Someone who was here before me made a large number of these sheets:

So, each child in story time had their own sheet and they could pull off the monkeys with me.  They seemed to enjoy this, though many of them got ahead of themselves and pulled all the monkeys off as fast as they could.  They adults with them were great about stepping in to help and we worked on counting our monkeys that were left each time one was removed.

We had two monkey crafts.  The first, above, is made out of cardstock and pipe cleaners.  I put a monkey head on an oval and the kids colored it and taped pipe cleaners to the back.  They used 3, one for the arms, one for the legs, and one for the tail.  They bent the pipe cleaners for feet and the tail so that the monkey could stand.

The second monkey craft was a smaller version of the above monkey.  Instead of pipe cleaner arms and legs they folded paper.

We used the smaller monkeys to decorate the bulletin boards in our story time room.  The kids really liked being able to pick out a spot for their monkey and tape it up there.

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