Author: Eileen Christelow

12 to 17 Months ConceptPoetry/SongsPredictable Text

Strengthen your toddler’s oral language and counting skills with the finger play Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. This long-time favorite introduces language patterns, rhythm and rhyme through repetition and song. Act out the story again and again to get your toddler moving, listening and learning all at the same time.

Before, During and After Reading

Oral Language

Use the front cover to introduce the story. Ask questions that get your toddler thinking. Even if she's not ready to answer the questions, you can show her how you think about the answers, which increases vocabulary and thinking skills.

You might say:    

Do you see a monkey? I see a monkey right here! How many monkeys do we see? I see one, two, three, four, five. Five little monkeys!

What are those monkeys doing on the bed? Are they sleeping? Are they eating? No! They are jumping? Is it safe to jump on the bed like those monkeys? I don’t think so. 

Let’s turn the page and find out what happens next. 

Oral Language

Add motions and movement. Encourage your toddler to imitate the actions that you do.

  • When you get to the pages that show the monkeys jumping, encourage your child to show you how she jumps.
  • Hold up five fingers when you read, Then . . . five little monkeys jumped on the bed! (Hold up four fingers for four monkeys, etc.)
  • Tap your head each time you read, One fell off and bumped his head.
  • Pretend to talk on the phone when you read, The mama called the doctor.
  • Shake your pointer finger back and forth when you read, No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

Phonological Awareness

For more fun with songs, rhymes and finger plays, try these easy at-home toddler activities:

Find more recommended children’s books for toddlers 12 to 17 months, or find an easy at-home activity designed to strengthen pre-reading skills in your toddler.