The Bridge School


5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed


The staff carefully select songs with repetitive words and phrases and predictable actions. These songs are frequently re-written to increase repetition, simplify language, or add parts. While singing, the children practice using all communication modes including speech, gestures and use of augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology (AAC/AT). We emphasize actions and add fun sound effects to ensure children remain engaged as they learn the parts and sequence of the song in this therapist-led activity.

Children often naturally move their body in rhythm with the music, which makes it easier to encourage actions related to the words in the songs. Children love to sing songs over and over and this provides them more opportunities to learn the words. It also ensures that children using assistive technology (AT) have many chances to practice operational skills such as activating switches or retrieving messages. Once they learn their part, children have additional opportunities to practice timing their responses in a fun, engaging context.

The song ‘5 Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed’ is a favorite during the Doctor theme. Children enjoy the actions and gestures, and acting the parts of the monkeys, the mother and the Doctor. This song provides multiple opportunities to count from one to five and inspires the use props from the dramatic play. The actions in the song motivate children to be very active in their independent, upright, hands-free walkers.

Standards and Goals

We use multiple tools in the design and implementation of our preschool curriculum. This activity is guided by:

  • Language Focused Curriculum for Preschool by Betty H. Bunce
  • The California Department of Education Preschool Learning Foundations
  • Desired Results Developmental Profile Access (DRPD-Access)
  • The child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Language Focused Curriculum for Preschool by Betty H. Bunce (2010) serves as a resource for our staff in determining age appropriate expectations and a developmentally sound continuum of goals and objectives.

Learning objectives for all learners

  1. Participate
  2. Enjoy different melodies and rhythms
  3. Follow directions and patterns
  4. Learn and enjoy rhymes

Preschool Learning Foundations being addressed

The California Department of Education has adopted a set of learning standards or foundations that describe optimal growth, development and learning for all children and provides strategies for achieving each goal, best teaching practices and considerations for a well-designed educational environment. The Bridge School implements these standards in our preschool program. This activity addresses the following goals and objectives found in the California Department of Education Preschool Learning Foundations.

  • Visual and Performing Art
    • Music 1.2 – Recognize simple repeating melody and rhythm patterns.
    • Music 1.4 – Use body movement to respond loosely to beat and tempo.
    • Music 2.2 – Explore vocally, sing repetitive patterns and parts of songs alone and with others.
  • Social Interaction
    • Group Participation 3.1 – Participate positively and cooperatively as group members.
  • Listening and Speaking
    • Vocabulary 2.1 – Understand and use accepted words for objects, actions, and attributes encountered frequently in both real and symbolic contexts.
    • Vocabulary 2.2 – Understand and use accepted words for categories of objects encountered in everyday life.
  • Mathematics
    • Number Sense 1.4 – Count up to five objects, using one-to-one correspondence (one object for each number word) with increasing accuracy.
    • Number Sense 2.2 – Understand that adding one or taking away one changes the number in a small group of objects by exactly one.

Desired Results Developmental Profile Access (DRDP-Access)

This tool serves two purposes in the preschool planning process. It is used to monitor student outcomes and to inform curriculum development. As we rate the various measures or learning progressions, we can document the tools and supports being used to achieve progress. This activity addresses the following indicators from the Desired Results Developmental Profile Access (DRDP-Access).

  • Indicator
    Children demonstrate emerging literacy skills.
  • Measure 20
    Definition: Child shows interest in books, songs, rhymes, stories, writing and other literacy activities and seeks information in written text.

Sample IEP goals being addressed for each activity/content area

  • Participate in simple games with peers.
  • Use aided communication systems to participate in classroom activities and social interactions.
  • Vocalize in imitation.
  • Use an increased number of differentiated, unaided communication modes.
  • Understand and produce X number of targeted vocabulary words per play theme in structured classroom routines.

Materials and Preparation


  • Song scripted with parts for children.
  • Props or costumes from the Art and/or Dramatic Play Centers to support the language concepts targeted in the song.
  • Visual supports such as a short video of the song.


  • Simplify songs – Choose short, repetitive songs that use familiar words. Limit the number of targeted key words so as not to overwhelm the students. Follow a script (see words below) for this simple counting song and identify target actions, gestures, and words to engage the students in the activity. This action-packed song has many roles the children can play:
    • Counter – Student uses speech generating device (SGD) to recite numbers 1-5 to count how many monkey are jumping on the bed.
    • Monkeys – Students perform action: jump, jump, jump. Use SGD to say, “One fell off and bumped his head”, with gesture, speech, and more song lines using SGD.
    • Mother – Use SGD to say, “Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said,” while gesturing with phone. Use SGD to play fun sounds such as a telephone ring tone.
    • Doctor – Use SGD to say, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.” Accompany with a gesture such as shaking head no or waving hand.
    • Narrator/Director – An adult can take this part and facilitate the activity by filling in parts to hold the song together and providing cues so children know when it is their turn.
  • Select props – Children love to use the stethoscope, dress up in the doctor’s coat, and apply band-aids in every situation. Toy telephones are necessary props for the doctor and mother.
  • Select visual supports – We often choose a short movie clip that we watch on the first day to hear the song and to get an idea of the tune. We use YouTube clips such as, Super Simple Songs, 5 Little Monkeys: and other clips from children’s shows. We also make simple PowerPoint displays to highlight vocabulary or concepts such counting from one to five [PPT, 444KB] – counting 1-5

Turn by turn script for 5 Little Monkeys song

  1. Teacher cues Counter: Asks, “How many monkeys on the bed?”
    Counter uses SGD: Count 1-2-3-4-5 (Monkeys can be children, children and teachers or monkey finger puppets).
  2. Teacher repeats number: “5”, cues monkeys: “5 Little monkeys are…”
    Monkey uses SGD“Little monkeys are jumping on the bed.”
    Monkeys perform action: Go to center of circle and jump, jump, jump.
    Monkeys uses speech or SGD: Make monkey sound “ah-ah-ah “.
  3. Teacher cues: Points to a monkey, says, “oh, oh, what happened?”
    Monkey uses SGD: “One fell off and bumped his head.”

    Monkey gestures: Hold hand to head.
    Monkey uses speech or SGDMake “ow”, “ah”, or “oh-oh” sound.
    Monkey uses SGD: Play recorded ‘bang-crash’ sound effect.
  4. Teacher cue: Point to Mama, some children can say this word; repeats “and mama…”
    Mother uses SGD“Mama called the Doctor and the Doctor said” 
    Mother gestures: Put hand to ear or hold toy phone prop.
    Mother uses SGD: Play telephone ring sound effect (or use a toy telephone to make
  5. Teacher cue: Points to Doctor.
    Doctor uses SGD“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
    Doctor gestures: Shakes head or wags finger.
    Doctor uses speech: “No, No.”

Repeat with 4,3,2 monkeys then 1 monkey jumping on the bed. Monkeys who ‘fell off’ can join circle and do parts from circle. When there are no more monkeys they can pretend to go to sleep and Mama and the Doctor can take a turn jumping on the bed!

Actions and gestures

  • Jump
  • Count (hold hand out to count fingers)
  • Touch hand to head
  • Bring hand to ear imitating a phone call
  • Shake head, wag finger/hand (‘NO’)
  • Hold hand out (‘STOP’)

Possible speech targets

  • Mama
  • Ah-Ah-Ah (monkey sound)
  • Oh-Oh
  • Ow
  • No

Sound effects to record on SGDs

  • Real monkey sounds
  • Bang-crash sound effect
  • Telephone ring tone

General responsibilities of adults in preparation for activity

  • Record or program parts of the song, music clips and sound effects on AAC devices. Children who have siblings often bring the SGD home and their sibling can record their part.
  • Select props in advance. Have basket or bin available so you can access them without disruption in activity.
  • Make, print and laminate overlays for AAC devices.
  • Bookmark website with video used to orient children to song.
  • Clear a space for music time. Children use their walkers in music so they can march, dance, move in and out of the center of a circle and perform song-related actions. Clear a space for a circle so all children can see the teacher leading the class and have enough room to move to the center to jump like monkeys at specific parts of the song.
  • Follow assistive technologist’s directions for attaching switches and other AAC devices on students’ walkers or chairs so they can actively participate in the activity.

Instructional Plan

The instructional routine for Music Time is:

Students hear a preview of the song

  • During the preview, the teacher shows a gesture or action that goes along with the song, emphasizing key vocabulary or specific a role.
  • After viewing the song, the teacher asks, “Who can jump like a monkey?” and demonstrates the action.

The teacher sings the song and demonstrates actions

  • The lead teacher demonstrates how to participate in each part (could be performing an action, using a SGD, vocalizing, etc.).
  • Give students the time and tools to practice each part several times.
  • The teacher talks through the song, emphasizing fun actions to engage children in this activity:
    • Teacher cues to begin, “And a 1 and a 2 and ready, set, sing”
    • Teacher tells children, “Now we’re going to sing 5 Little Monkeys! Who knows what monkeys like to do?” Teacher shows action ‘jump’.
    • Teacher asks a question to illicit another action, “These monkeys love to jump on the bed! When it’s time to go to bed the monkeys jump on the bed! Do they go to sleep?” Teacher shows action ‘sleep’ by closing eyes, putting head on hands, as if sleeping.
    • Wait for responses. If none are forthcoming, prompt with, “Guess what they do?”
    • Pause and watch for children who respond by jumping. Reinforce those who are performing.
    • Move to next portion of the song, “Mama says, ‘stop’. Do they stop? Noooo”. Model action by shaking head no or waving hand for stop. “What do they do?” Pause and watch for children to do ‘jump’ action.
  • Follow script for 4,3,2,1 monkeys. Invite children to act like the monkey, the mother, and the doctor. At the end of the activity time, teacher announces that music is all done and makes ‘finished’ gesture, sweeping hand out flat over lap.

Once students are familiar with the sequence

  • Begin activity in a consistent way to prepare children for the first turn. Once children are in circle, teacher announces: “And a 1 and a 2 and ready, set, sing.” Teacher claps hands on lap in a 1-2 beat that children join in and follow over time.
  • Give students roles/parts in the song and make it clear how they can participate to take their turn.
  • Slow down the pace of the activity to allow time for everyone to participate.
  • Stress key words: sing them louder, repeat and/or prolong word.
  • Pair key words with actions. Teacher should exaggerate actions when they demonstrate.
  • End each activity consistently.

Throughout the week

  • Students may try out different roles, different tools or props and have opportunities to practice the same gestures over and over.
  • Music time is ideal for teaching gestures. As we know, our students’ gestures may look very different from a typically developing students’, but because all partners have the shared knowledge of the song during Music, the adults know how to interpret a young child’s gesture and help shape it into a functional communicative mode over time; and with multiple opportunities for practice.


Music is designed to extend over several days.

Sample pace of music over 3 days

Day 1: Watch movie clip 
Introduce song by talking through script with children trying all the parts. Show and repeat actions and gestures, and emphasize sound effects. Watch for preferences; note who likes to count, who likes to jump and who prefers to talk on the phone. Be aware of what gestures the children naturally use and determine which may need adapting.

Day 2: Give children parts
Provide simple SGDs. Cue children to take turns. Children may begin to anticipate and initiate turns.

Day 3: Repeat previous days script and reduce cues
Children might want to switch roles and they may begin to perform more actions, gestures while also performing their part. Children may enjoy varying song. Try picking a different part of the body to ‘bump’.

Responsibilities of adults to support students in music activity

  • Supportive walkers and wheelchairs will need to be available. Children may start activity in their walkers and move to their wheelchairs if they become tired. As stamina builds and they become more proficient moving around, children often choose to spend more and more time in their walkers.
  • Support staff should position themselves behind or to side of children, on the outside of circle, so children can see lead teacher and each other. Watch for children’s focus of attention, gently and positively re-direct to teacher or peer.
  • Know when and how children are expected to take turns so you can support use of SGD, props, and gestures.
  • Watch for children’s interest, imitation and initiation of targeted gestures, speech, use of SGD, etc. Be ready to interpret and point out children’s actions and responses during music and throughout the day. Children often perform actions and gestures learned in music during dramatic play center as the same props are used. Staff can be on the look-out and draw attention when they see children remembering what they learned.
  • Monitor attention. This is always a concern in small group activities. Look at how the children are using props. Determine whether are they supporting attention or diverting attention away from the focus of the activity.


Low-tech AAC/AT may include

Communication books

This child is pointing to a photo of parts of the body. In the 5 Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed song, the monkeys bumped their heads, but children may like to sing another version where they pick what part they bump (e.g., 1 fell off and bumped his leg).

We use this display in the dramatic play center and for different songs like the Hokey Pokey.

This is an example of a visual support for counting. The student points to the number card as she recites numbers.

Some students may use an SGD to count.

Number cards

Simple SGDs like Step-By-Step™ switch or CheapTalk

Lines and sound effects to record:

Monkeys’ part

Depending on skills children could have more than one part and also perform gestures. This part is most dynamic and requires most coordination between performing actions, gestures and speaking parts.

  • “Little monkeys jumping on the bed”
  • Monkey sound
  • “One fell off and bumped his head”
  • Bang, crash sound
  • “Ow-ow-ow”


This part is more predictable and repetitive, good for children with less experience taking turns.

  • “Mama/Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said”
  • Ringtone sound effect


This part is the most predictable as it follows the mother’s part and comes at the end of the stanza, good for children who need the most support.

  • “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”


  • Children use SGDs to count in numerous activities across the day, this is another opportunity. Depending on group size, this can be a separate part or children can take turns. If all are very experienced, they can do choral counting.
  • Children can use pages with numbers that they use for different activities.
  • Digital audio files recorded with child’s voice.

Resources and References

Amory, H. The Usborne First Thousand Words (Revised Ed.). Tulsa: Educational Development Corporation.

Bunce, B.H. (2008). Early Literacy in Action: The Language Focused Curriculum for Preschool. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Pub. Co.

California Department of Education Preschool Learning Foundations –

Christelow, E (1989). 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. New York: Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt.

The Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) Access –

Mama Lisa’s World of International Music and Culture 5 Little Monkeys –

Musselwhite, C. (uploaded 2009) Singing to Learn –
CDs available at

Simple Songs (uploaded 2007) 5 Little Monkeys! –

Source for sound effect sounds: Audio Sparkx –