Peace Songbook 35 / 113

Five Little Monkeys

Music & lyrics by Barb Tilsen

©2000 Barbara S Tilsen

www.barbtilsen.com

In 1995 I wrote "Five Little Monkeys" to use in my musical programs with pre-schoolers. I love fingerplays and was inspired by the familiar traditional format of those five little monkeys sitting in the tree teasing Mr. Crocodile 'you can't catch me!' It was always fun to snap and clap with the crocodile but I wanted a happier ending with a meaningful message about friendship and getting along. 

In my experience, young children easily get immersed in the rhythm, the story and the drama of this little monkey figuring out how to get along and be a caring respectful friend.

Lyrics

FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS by Barb Tilsen

© 2000 Barbara Tilsen

Five little monkeys swinging on a vine

A little monkey said, “This vine is mine!”

He pushed and he shoved the monkeys all around

‘Til one little monkey tumbled to the ground.

 

Four little monkeys swinging on a vine

The little monkey said, “This vine is mine!”

He pushed and he shoved the monkeys all around

‘Til another little monkey tumbled to the ground.

 

Three little monkeys swinging on a vine

The little monkey said, “This vine is mine!”

He pushed and he shoved the monkeys all around

‘Til another little monkey tumbled to the ground

 

Two little monkeys swinging on a vine

The little monkey said, “This vine is mine!”

He pushed and he shoved the monkey all around

‘Til the last little monkey tumbled to the ground.

 

One little monkey swinging on a vine

The little monkey said, “This vine is mine!”

He pushed and he shoved but no one was around

All the other monkeys were playing on the ground.

 

And all the monkeys said, “You must learn to share!

You push, you shove, it’s really not fair!

If you won’t share, then we won’t play.”

And they climbed up the tree to a branch far away.

 

The little monkey thought for a very long time

“Hmm….it’s not so fun to swing alone upon the vine”

So he called to his friends on the branch far away

“We can take turns, come back and play!”

    {Let’s call with the monkey:  We can take turns, come back and play!}

 

Now there’s five little monkeys swinging on the vine

Together they sing, “Both yours and mine!”

They play, they share, swaying in the breeze

Swinging high, swinging low on the vine on the tree.

The fingerplay motions/actions are suggested naturally by the words--I begin with my hand raised in front of me, fingers/thumb up and gently sway my hand back and forth for the first line, hands on hip for 'this vine is mine!'

Next line hands push and shove and then roll hands high to low for the monkey tumbling down. Repeat until only one monkey is left and on 'no one was around' just hold hands straight out, and then point and look down.

When all the monkeys on the ground speak out, point up to the last monkey up high and then let motions follow along with the words pushing, then hands on hip when they say 'we won't play.'

Point up when they climb back up to a different branch again. I usually put my hand on my chin as the little monkey thinks, and then cup my hands to call out 'we can take turns...'

It ends as it began with fingers/thumb straight up swaying back and forth, high and low, with the gentle breeze.

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