(Sept. 14, 2012) So we got the old classic “Barrel of Monkeys” game the other day during our visit in the States (we probably have it here, too, never looked, just saw it there in passing and grabbed it). I knew Nico probably wouldn’t be able to grab monkey to monkey but I was sure he would figure out a way to play with it.
Last night he wanted to open it, so we did and I was right, he couldn’t do it but he was able to hang them one by one to each other if one of us held the chain. Figuring out the way to hook them made him focus hard. Which arm/which way it should go to be able to hook it, is pretty tricky for a small child. I also told him he could hang them on the side of the barrel, so we could give our arms a rest, lol. He worked a lot on patience and dexterity with those little monkeys.
Alex was looking online to see about the original game, as I remembered it being more than one color per barrel, while looking he found a review of someone saying it was fun but totally non-educational. I thought that wasn’t very nice but true, she just would need to make it so. I was already thinking this could help him with his numbers, which he seems to be resisting of late (just a general “no” phase when I ask but I hear him count to himself when I’m not next to him).
So after he was in bed, I grabbed white stickers that I cut to monkey belly size and my trusty fine point sharpie and wrote the numbers 1-12 on them. I stuck them on their bellies and voilà!
I used old wood dice, put stickers on them & wrote the numbers for another game option. And they fit right in the barrel Now the monkeys had numbers on their bellies (also their names for Nico’s mind) and we could hang them in all kind of orders He especially liked when I called numbers, I would say, in a monkey voice of course, something like: “Monkey number 8 here, I’d really like to play with monkey number 9, can you get him for me, please?” and when he hung the monkeys together I would add: “Yay, my friend is here! We can play now, thank you!”
1) You can have the child hang them from 1-12 or reverse.
2) You can have the child find the numbers you call out.
3) Make number dice with 1-6 and 7-12 numbers on them, so you can roll and hang what the dice say, smallest number first or vice-versa.
4) You could do all those with shapes or colors as well.
And all this took me about 5 minutes to make, providing an additional educational side to a classic fun game.
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