- Ages 3+
- Players 2 – 4
- 10 minutes
- Counting & Math
- Emotional Coping Skills
- Hand/Eye Coordination & Dexterity
- Strategy & Tactics
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- … and one fell off and bumped is head! (you know the rhyme)
- Father Geek approved (for the little geeks ages 3-5)!
- Child Geek approved!
Lets get this over with. Sing along with me and get this little verse stuck in your head:
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed”
If you have kids, then it’s a good bet you have heard this little jingle and have had it stuck in your head. You simply cannot escape this sing-song while raising kids, unless, possibly, you are Amish or something. It’s about time somebody thought to put this to a board game!
The centerpiece of this game is the bed that comes with it–so much so that the packaging is designed to make the bed visible when boxed. The bed itself functions as a mechanical variable timer that might pop up and knock a collection of monkeys off the bed.
Players take turns placing a monkey on the bed, then spinning to move around the board. Where they land can allow them to place more monkeys or give them the opportunity to act out 1 of 4 activities, charade style. These activities include:
- Taking a bath
- Putting on PJ’s
- Brushing teeth
- Going to bed
Upon acting out the activity in question, they receive a chit signifying their successful completion of that activity. The player then presses the red bedpost to advance the ticking time bomb that is the mechanical bed. The bed might, or might not spring. If the the bed does spring, a bunch of monkeys go flying through the air. Play then passes to the left.
The first player to complete all four activities and have at least 4 monkeys still on the bed wins the game. Huzzah!
My kids absolutely love playing this game. It is the 2nd most requested title in our household (Candy Land gets the #1 spot) and for good reason, as it is right up their alley. It has a large colorful bed, it has colorful monkey pieces that are easy to grasp, it provides them with the opportunity to act silly when miming the actions, and, best of all, it has mayhem. What more does a little geek want?
This game gets my approval for a number of reasons. First, like all games for little kids, this one is not going to have you make any difficult decisions and is largely luck based, but there are a few surprising strategic and tactical decisions to be made. For example, a player does get a small benefit from placing monkeys in the center of the bed, as they are less likely to fall off when the bed upsets. Second, and on an even deeper level, you can manipulate the monkey mayhem by paying attention to the domino effect. The monkeys are flat and wide, and when placed the same direction, one tends to tip over the other creating a cascading domino effect. However, if you criss-cross them, you have a better chance for stability overall. Finally, one can be devious and set up monkeys more central to the bed that are near another players monkey, and positioned such that it has a better chance of knocking their opponent’s monkey off the bed.
I also approve of the activities that are used to get the chips for victory. This is a completely unnecessary to the game mechanic, but it offers a fun way to burn off some of that extra kid energy. Plus, they love doing this charades aspect of the game. The obvious benefit we get as parents is that it makes these activities fun for the kids, and that helps reduce the typical battles we might face when the real bedtime rolls around or we pull out the real toothbrush.
Despite its simplicity, the kinetic nature of the bed in Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, coupled with the ability to act out chores as a fun activity, makes this game a vast improvement over what would be a typical spin-and-move affair. It gets my approval for little geeks, but the game will start to fizzle out when they get old enough to read and apply more logic. I give it a thumbs up for 5 and under.