Image of a sitting monkey.

International Monkey Day: December 14th

These Monday Day activities are 'more fun than a barrel of monkeys'!

“A day when monkey business is actually encouraged!”

Origins of Monkey Day

Yes, December 14th has been a recognized day since the year 2000. According to Wikipedia, Monkey Day was created and popularized by contemporary artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin, who were students at Michigan State University. The story goes that Sorrow jokingly scribbled “Monkey Day” on a friend’s calendar. They then celebrated the holiday with other MSU art students by creating monkey artwork, wearing monkey costumes and imitating monkey behavior. The holiday continued to gain notoriety every year as Sorrow and Millikin included Monkey Day in their artwork along with other artists.

Since then, Monkey Day as been widely celebrated across numerous countries. The Washington Post described Monkey Day as a day to “learn something about these adorable and highly intelligent primates. Or you could use this day to act like a monkey.”

Monkey Day celebrates monkeys and other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers and lemurs. Many Zoos and animal sanctuaries hold annual Monkey Day events along with animal rights/environmental activists such as Jane Goodall. In addition, artists continue to create art exhibits in honor of Monkey Days.

Monkey tactile graphics

How many varieties of monkeys are there? According to Reader’s Digest, monkeys are divided into Old World species and New World species. There are 160 Old World species and 174 New World species. Does your student know what a monkey looks like? Most people think of monkeys swinging from trees by their tail. However, some monkeys do not have tails! Monkeys can be very active – walking, leaping, climbing, hanging, swinging and sometimes sitting. This image has 6 silhouette images of monkeys doing a variety of things. Use the image to create tactile graphics using a tactile graphic machine (PIAF or Swell machine) and ask your student to identify the various characteristics of the monkeys and what they are doing.

Silhouette images of 6 monkeys in various positions, hanging, climbing, walking and sitting.

Download the 6 monkey silhouettes image here.

The monkey in the Monkey Coloring page is hanging by its tail from a limb. The monkey’s face including the eyes, nose, mouth and ears are detailed. This coloring page can also be used with a tactile graphics machine.

Monkey hanging by its tail from a limb coloring page

Download the Monkey Coloring page here.

Monkey idioms and phrases

Idioms are expressions or sayings that mean something different than the literal words used. What ‘monkey’ idioms or phrases can your student come up with? Do these understand the meaning of these idioms? Here are some examples:

Monkey idiom activities

These monkey activities include comprehension skills, internet search skills and writing skills.


by Diane Brauner

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