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  • Rachel Pessah, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO

Fun Friday - Barrel of Monkeys

4 Fun Ways to Build Language Learning Opportunities

1. Build use of single words:

Hold the monkeys "hostage" so that your child has to ask for them.

  • Each time your child wants another monkey model the word "more"

  • If they are just starting to use single words model "more"

  • If they are beginning to combine 2 words model "more monkeys"

  • If your child is not yet using words, you can model the "m" sound.

  • After you have modeled the word several times, WAIT about 5 seconds to see if your child will use the word/words/sound to request more monkeys, if not, give them the word and try again next time. ​

2. Build your child's understanding of basic vocabulary and understanding of concepts:

Start by having both you and your child build your own chain of monkeys.

  • Talk about:

  • Who has more monkeys.

  • Who has the "longest" chain and who has the "shortest" chain (or big and small for kids starting to learn basic concepts).

  • Whether to hang the monkeys up high or down low.

  • Count each monkey as you hand your child another monkey. Do this the first few times. Once they have learned the routine, WAIT about 5 seconds to see if they will fill in the missing number.

  • When it is time to clean up, give your child simple directions such as, "Give me some/one/all of the monkeys" "Clean up as fast as you can" "Let's clean up as slow as we can" "Have the monkeys jump/fly/dance on their way into the barrel."

3. Work on understanding "Where" questions:

  • Ask your child "Where" you should hang the monkeys (you could hang them from a door handle, coat hanger, etc.). Be creative!

4. Develop your child's ability to make predictions:

  • Ask your child:

  • "What will happen if we add one more monkey?"

  • "What do you think will happen if we hang keys from this monkey?"

  • "What do you think will happen if we hang the monkeys in water?"

  • "What do you think will happen if they start swinging?"

I hope you have lots of fun incorporating language into play. Remember play is supposed to be fun! Don't worry if your child does not give you the answer you wanted or expected. Keep practicing the same routines, the more you repeat the activity the easier it will be for your child. If your child isn't interested in playing with monkeys, that's ok, move to an activity that they are interested in and try the Barrel of Monkeys activities at another time.

Happy Friday! Let the fun begin!

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