Song: Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Here's how we gradually developed one of the kid's favorite songs into a class drama activity.



Ten (or more or less) little monkeys jumping on the bed. (Hold up and bounce 10 fingers.)

One fell off and broke his head. (Hold heads.)

Daddy (Mommy) called the doctor, (Pantomime dialing and talking on the phone.)

And the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” (Chanted while shaking finger in air as reprimand.)


1. Sing the song as a group using finger play and motions described above.

2. When the song is familiar, start expanding and elaborating it:

a) Several children may act out monkeys jumping up and down in middle of circle while group sings along, doing the gestures. Teacher taps one child who acts out "One fell off..."

b) At a later time, divide the group into monkeys, parents and doctors to sing and pantomime appropriate parts of each verse. Point to and sing along with each group at appropriate parts of the song. (Don't forget female physicians.)

c) Add props and costumes (play phones, blanket for bed, hats, stethoscopes, etc.). Station three groups of actors in three distinct areas and allow each to sing and act independently with minimal direction.

d) Take photos for bulletin board or scrap book and arrange a time for parents or another class to watch the class perform.


Acting out nursery rhymes is a good introduction to acting out songs. Seat children in a circle and try these:

4. “Jack Be Nimble”

(Child’s name) be nimble (Child who is named comes to the center of circle.)

(Child’s name) be quick

(Child’s name) jump over the candlestick! (On “jump,” child jumps over candle or facsimilie.)

5. “Little Ms. (or Mr.) Muffet”

(Props: Pillow or stool in center of circle; bowl; spoon.)

Little (Child’s name) Muffet

Sat on a tuffet.

Eating his/her curds and whey. (Child who is chosen acts out sitting and eating.)

Along came a spider (Child acting as spider comes out.)

And sat down beside her/him

And frightened (Child’s name) Muffet away! (Muffet drops bowl and runs back to seat in circle.)