Monkey see, monkey do!
This week’s Storytime theme is all about monkeys! You may be familiar with these popular chants:
“Monkey see, monkey do, I’m a little monkey too!”
“Monkey see, monkey do, the monkey does the same as you!”
Like monkeys, children learn and imitate behaviours by watching and listening to others. This is sometimes called “observational learning”. Children learn from models all around them. It may be something they saw at home, on television, in the grocery store, at a friend’s house, in the playground or at the library. You can help your child to discover positive behaviours through observational learning. By coming along to Storytime, children develop early literacy skills and essential school readiness skills. One of the key literacy skills is “print motivation” – if children believe they will find fun and excitement in stories, they will want to read books. At Storytime, they will observe other children engaging with books and stories and will learn by copying. Skills such as sitting still for an extended period of time, how to pay attention to an adult other than their parents, and how to take turns.
Monkeys can be funny, cheeky, mischievous and naughty, just like the monkeys in this bright and humorous picture book. The monkeys are very naughty indeed, because they have stolen the peddler’s caps. What ensues is a game of ‘monkey see, monkey do’. The peddler shakes his finger at the monkeys, the monkeys shake their fingers back at him. The peddler shakes both hands at the monkeys, the monkeys shake both their hands back at him. The peddler stamps his foot in frustration and the monkeys stamp their feet back at him. The peddler becomes so angry that he throws his own cap on the ground. What do the monkeys do? The simple text encourages participation and children enjoy mimicking the monkeys. This timeless and classic tale celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015!
Monkeys are one of the funniest animals in nature. They are full of curiosity and mischief. And they seem to enjoy being naughty! They will annoy a lion or tiger just for the fun of it. It’s like an extreme sport for them called “Big Cat Tail Pulling”. This bright and lively picture book by Jeanne Willis was an unexpected hit at storytime. The children were captivated by the rollicking read aloud rhyme and enthralled by what would happen to the baby monkey who was naughty enough to blow a rooty tooty raspberry at a lion and then silly enough to tug the lion’s rufty tufty tail! The look on the lion’s face when his tail gets pulled is priceless. What will happen to the cheeky, waddly toddly baby monkey?
Spunky Little Monkey will be a new addition to our storytime resources. It has been designed to get preschool children up and moving. Using rhythm and rhyme the text is catchy, and simple enough to learn quickly. The illustrations are big and bright. There are four simple actions: an upper body sway (“First you get the rhythm of the head: Ding-Dong!/Have you got the rhythm of the head? Ding-Dong!”), followed by clapping, stomping and hip-shaking. The call-and-response text encourages participation and is peppered with humour and silly interjections. It’s energetic and swinging vibe is sure to make it a storytime hit.
A Monkey Rhyme or Two
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey at the zoo
Monkey, monkey in the tree
Can you jump up high like me?
(Additional actions: swing your arms, scratch an itch, eat a banana, clap your hands, stamp your feet, make a funny face, turn around)
Three Little Monkeys
Three little monkeys sitting in a tree
(hold up three fingers)
Eating bananas just like me
(pretend to eat a banana)
One had a frown
(make a frown face)
One had a grin
One had banana all over his chin!
I’m a little monkey in a tree; swinging by my tail so merrily!
Method: Print or copy a suitable colour-in page of a monkey swinging by its tail from a branch onto white card. Colour-in and cut out. Replace the monkey’s tail with a pipecleaner and tape one end of the pipecleaner to the monkey and wrap the other end around a drinking straw. Cut out some leaf shapes from green paper and tape these to the straw. Now you have a swinging monkey!
Joke of the Day
Q. What kind of a key opens a banana?
A. A monkey!
You might like to check out some of our children’s joke books.
And Remember: Reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. Happy reading!
PS Any comments on observational learning, early literacy skills or the benefits of children’s storytime are most welcome.
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