Subtraction can be a tricky little subject when you’re just starting out, and so we are practicing this week with a 5 Little Monkeys Subtraction Activity. We’ve all heard the 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed song, and for some strange reason my children always have a crazy urge to break into the guest room, mount the bed, and bounce the cover and pillows all over the floor while they sing it. True story, my daughter actually broke her head open doing it once. We had to get staples and the whole works. It was not awesome.
That being said, 5 Little Monkeys is a great way to start teaching take away one subtraction. Each time you take one monkey away, you have to announce how many are left, and it’s great practice for preschoolers and kindergartners. On one of my recent trips to the dollar store, I happened to find the cutest little package of rubber monkeys. I think they’re supposed to be party favors, but we’ve turned them into the perfect learning tool.
This morning we brought out the very pink doll bed from the playroom and broke out the monkeys. My preschooler and toddler loved it. They bounced the monkeys on the doll bed, and then got to help them fall off which was probably the most exciting part. Each time we counted down out loud together. Five little monkeys – take one away. Four little monkeys – take one away. Three little monkeys – take one away. Subtraction! Subtraction with colored objects, movement, and a bit of old fashioned fun.
This is obviously pretty beginning stuff, but once they master it you can certainly make it a bit more complicated. Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, three fell off… and so on. If you start with 10 monkeys, and mix up the number falling off the bed, this becomes a fantastic kindergarten level subtraction activity that could be used both in classroom math centers or at home one on one.
Thank you for letting me share our 5 Little Monkeys Subtraction Activity with you. I hope you get a chance to try it, because it was pretty high on my kid’s fun scale. Happy counting, and seriously, don’t jump on the bed. 🙂