This classic tale told and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina was first published in 1940! Yet it still remains a favorite of young children. The subtitle explains why children love the book: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business. What child would not like to see some monkey business?
As you begin to read the book to your students in a soft, gentle voice, you’ll notice that the fifth word of the book is “peddler". But don’t tell your students what it means yet! Wait until the third or fourth page and ask them what they think a “peddler" is. The story remains calm and quiet until the peddler confronts the monkeys. Now it’s time to become animated as you read! By the time you are finished, the children will beg to hear the book again.
Use paper plates for the caps. Glue cut-to-size pieces of construction paper to one side of the plate: 1 checked, 4 gray, 4 brown, 4 blue caps, 4 read caps (make more if you have more students)
Children Pole Playing:
This time the children will be the monkeys and respond to the peddler–the teacher. Give each “monkey" a paper plate cap to balance on his or her heads.
1.See if the students can work together and put the caps (paper plates) in the same order that the peddler had on his head: 1 checked, 4 gray, 4 brown, 4 blue, 4 red.
2. Next make a different pattern with the caps. Students need to complete the pattern. For example: 1 brown, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 brown, 1 red, ______ . What comes next? Increase the difficulty, as students get better.
3. Make a pattern of four or five caps. Then ask a student or group of students to copy the pattern.
Bring in a cap
Have the students bring in a cap. Use them for sorting activities. Sort by color, size and type. Sort those with buttons and without. Sort those with writing or without.
Pass the Cap
A version of musical chairs: Students stand in a circle and pass a cap quickly from one person to the next as the music plays. When the music stops the person with the cap sits in the middle. Last one standing is the winner.
Follow the Leader
"Monkey See, Monkey Do"
Make a face, jump around, do a dance and so on. Everything you do the children must imitate. Then choose a student to be the leader.
These activities are easy to prepare and fun to do. Your students will have a chance to act out part of the book, work on patterns and play games. Use this great book as just another opportunity for you to reinforce a love of reading in your classroom.