There is far more to imaginative play with monkeys than simply scratching under armpits (which is actually what is used in American Sign Language to represent this animal), and making their funny sounds. As children grow, you may see they get far better at their monkeying around skills, especially when they are interested in learning about monkeys.
In two of our summer Kindermusik adventures, we have a wonderful song about monkeys that helps us explore more, in an age appropriate way: Zoo Train, our Level 2 and family style class (1 – 3 years). AND, Wild Animal Park, our Level 3 for independent 3 – 5 year old children both take our imaginative wild animal play to the next level.
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO
The monkey clap, clap, claps his hands.
The monkey clap, clap, claps his hands.
Monkey see, monkey do.
The monkey does the same as you.
Of course, this song is meant to enjoy copying what one person is doing. In class, we especially like actions that keep a beat, like clapping, jumping, or stomping. Make sure to TAKE TURNS being the leader. When your child is ready to explore more monkey business, try these ideas.
Ideas to try for Monkey Actions
Elbows out wide & scratch sides Swing arms side to side Shake head and laugh
Bouncing Hop on one foot Scratching body parts
Reach down low Reach up high Hands down on ground, flip feet up
Turn Topsy-turvy (look between legs) Climb a tree Swing / dangle
Swing from a branch (parent’s arm) Pick banana & Peel Grab things with toes
- If your child is… Jumping Can she try to… Jump high or low; fast or slow, jump over a twig, jump up on a step, hop on one foot…
- If your child is… Hanging from a bar Can he try to… hang with the knees, or just one knee, or an elbow
- If your child is… Pretending to climb a tree Can she try to… swing from branch to branch, or sit hunched down on a branch, pick a banana and eat it…
Of course, a trip to the zoo, or watching a video of a monkey can greatly enhance the ability to understand the way a monkey acts, and add elements to this imaginary play. Imaginitive play is also enhanced by the parent, an older sibling, or another creative partner becoming a monkey themselves, adding what they know to the world of the monkey that is being created. Instead of setting up a fort, check out the exhibits for monkeys and recreate it in your backyard, taking the pretend play to the next level.
Follow the interest of the child to learn about DIFFERENT TYPES of monkeys and what they may do differently, or how differently they may sound. A chimpanzee is what most children think of first, but there is also much to learn about the gorilla, the orangutan, the lemur, and the baboon. What is their difference in size, bigger or smaller than the child? Where do they live? Find it on a map. Where do they make their home… in trees, What do they like to play with? It is just fun to google images of monkeys and look at all the pictures, talking about the differences they can see.
Actually, there are over 260 types of monkeys worldwide, check out Monkey Worlds Website for details and pictures of many of them. But just choose an appropriate number of types that your child can handle, start with THREE, and go from their as their interest expands.
Pretty soon, you may have a little monkey next to your head pretending to pick off fleas and eat them. Monkeys do that, and for good reason… they take care of each other. They even cuddle and give kisses. Pretend play with monkeys is full of fun and laughter, as they are typically very active, smart, interactive with each other and creative. We do NOT encourage any aggression in our pretend play. In real life, monkeys can be, but that doesn’t have to be a part of the play.
Pretend play allows us to explore the real world in a safe way. It expands our understanding and empathy towards others, even animals, who are different from us. And it allows us to explore different parts of ourselves.
Please share your monkey play with us, so we can see how other families enjoy Monkeying around.
2018 SUMMER Adventures