Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, by Eileen Christelow

            Teasing is not nice as these five monkeys learn. This is a fun counting/subtraction book based on a popular finger play.


  • Drawing monkey directions
  • Number line 1-5
  • A basket the children can use for picnic play
  • A deck of cards.
  • Bits of tree parts (bark, leaf, stickbud, seed)


  • Snooze (a nap)
  • Scolds (to tell somebody off, to speak angrily to another)
  • Tease (to make somebody mad on purpose or to be purposely hurtful)

Before Reading the Story

            Tell the children that you want to talk to them about teasing.  Ask them if they know what it means to tease somebody?  Ask them how they feel when somebody teases them?  After the children have shared their experiences about teasing, tell them that you are going to play a game.  Have them make a thumbs up sign and tell them that when they hear a kind/friendly idea make a thumbs up.  When they hear a thoughtless or mean idea make a thumbs down.  Make up scenarios or use ones you have seen in your classroom and ask the children if it is a thumbs up or thumbs down?  After you have run several scenarios pass the children, older children might like to try making one up.  (You are playing in the blocks and another child comes in and goes right up to your building and knocks it down and laughs, is this a thumbs up, or thumbs down?  You are getting some water to put into the water table and you spill some on the floor by accident.  Another child comes over with a paper towel and helps you wipe it up, is this a thumbs up/down?  You fell down while running on the playground and someone laughs at you, thumbs up/down?)

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Control; develops growing understanding of how their actions affect others and begins to accept the consequences for their actions.

Reading the Story

            Tell the children that your story today is about 5 little monkeys who tease.  Hold up the cover and read the title.  Ask the children if anyone can guess who the monkeys might be teasing?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and poetry.

After Reading the Story

            Ask the children why the mother monkey was scolding her children?  Do you think teasing is nice?  Why should we not tease (it hurts peoples feelings, it could make somebody mad, sad, cry).  What should you do if somebody is teasing you?  Have the children practice saying “Stop It, I don’t like that!”  Have them practice saying it loud.  Tell them if you as the teacher hear a child say this (Stop it I don’t like that) that you will come over to where they are and help them.  Have everyone practice saying it again.  Say it again loudly.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Control; shows progress in expressing feelings, needs, and opinions in difficult situations and conflicts without harming themselves, others, or property.


            Bring in parts of trees and magnifying glasses.  Help the children to name the bark, branch, bough, leaf, bud, and seed of the trees.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Music and Movement;

            Count 1-5 and back again. Hold up your fingers as you count. Count 1-5 in Spanish (uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, quatro, tres, dos, uno) or another language that you would like the children to be exposed to.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequence to 10 and beyond.

            Do the Crocodile, Crocodile chant.

Crocodile, crocodile long and green

Crocodile, crocodile with teeth so mean

He snapped at a fish

He snapped at a bee

He snapped at a frog

And he snapped at me.

He caught that fish

He caught that bee

He caught that frog

But he did not catch me!


Creative Arts/Music; participates with interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

            Gather all the children into a circle and play Monkey See, Monkey Do.  One person starts off as the leader and everyone mimics their movements.  Take turns being the leader.

When (name) claps, claps, claps her hands

The monkeys clap, clap, clap their hands

Monkey see, Monkey do

Monkey do the same as you (point to the next leader.)

Begin again saying the person’s name and letting them choose the next action

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.


            Draw 5 monkeys, or let the children draw their own.  Cut around the monkey shapes and put a piece of tape onto the back.  The children can build with blocks and then add the 5 monkeys to swing from their structures.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.


            Put sand into the paint at the easel today.  When it dries the surface will be a rough texture like a crocodiles back.  Put out green, brown, and white paint to simulate a crocodiles coloring.

Creative Arts/Art; begins to understand and share opinions about artistic products and experiences.

Library and Writing

            Show the children the How to Draw a Monkey page.  Encourage them to try to follow the steps and make five monkeys. 

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; progresses in ability to put together and take apart shapes. AND Creative Art/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawings, paintings, models, and other art creations that are more detailed, creative, or realistic.

Sand and Water

            Put water into the table today.   Add several long blocks that the children can pretend are crocodiles.  They can bob these up and down or pour water over them. Add counting bears or similar manipulative, how many bears can the children float on the block/crocodiles back?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Dramatic Play

            Bring in a basket and a towel or blanket.  The children can pretend to go on a picnic.

Creative Arts/ Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations. AND Literacy?book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences,; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Math and Manipulatives

            Bring in a deck of cards.  Take out all the face cards.  Shuffle the cards and pass them out evenly between 2-4 players.  Have the children put their pile of cards face down in front of them.  On the count of three, everyone turns over their top card.  The person with the highest number gets to take all the cards and put them in a second pile beside them.  If two or more players turn over the same number, they must slap their card and say SNAP!  The one who says snap first gets to take all the cards and put them beside them.  Play until one person has all the cards or the children loose interest.

Mathematics/Number & Operations;begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and writen numerals in meaningful ways. AND Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation;develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions,; to take turns in games and using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive or directive.

Outdoor Play 

            If you have a tree or structure to climb, let the children pretend to be the monkeys and the teacher can go about snapping like a crocodile at them.

Literacy?book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences,; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.


            As children move on to the next activity, hold up 1-5 fingers and say 4-1=? (Four take away one equals how many?)  Do different combinations and have the children figure out the math equation.  Make sure to use only 1-5 unless your children are older then try 1-10.  Use your fingers as a visual cue to help the children.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing abilities to combine, separate and name “how many” concrete objects.


Monkey mask for dramatics
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.