From Taiwan ... Jumping Monkey

Taiwan is an island located about 100 miles off the coast of China. Taiwan actually has two names: Taiwan and Formosa. When the island was first discovered, the explorers heard the word "Taiwan" repeated many times. For this reason, they assumed that was the island's name and officially named it Taiwan. Taiwan actually means "terraced bay." The second name it is often known by, Formosa, may actually be more accurate because it means "beautiful island." Anywhere you travel on the small island you can be sure you will see people because it is very heavily populated. Although it is crowded, the Taiwanese get along together very well. The Taiwanese are known to be extremely kind and considerate toward foreigners who come to their country.

The weather in Taiwan is usually warm, which makes it a great place to grow bamboo, one of the materials used to make this Jumping Monkey. Suggested Age for Child: 8 years and above. An adult should help in splitting the piece of bamboo and drilling a hole in the bamboo.

Materials Needed:
1. One drinking straw (the wider the better).
2. One thin dowel or straight, smooth stick between 12 and 14 inches long. This stick should slip easily inside the drinking straw.
3. One piece of bamboo, a half an inch wide and five inches long.
4. Four thin strips of heavy paper, about two inches long and half an inch wide. These will be the arms and legs for your monkey.
5. A piece of thick styrfoam. You will make the monkey's head and body from this.
6. Glue
7. A very small piece of wood, about half an inch long and a quarter inch wide.
8. Paint, small scraps of paper and a marker to decorate the monkey.
9. A drill with a bit the same diameter as the long stick.

1. Have an adult drill a hole about of an inch from one end of the piece of bamboo. Make sure the drill bit goes all the way through.
2. Have an adult split the piece of bamboo through the middle from one end of the bamboo, stopping an inch from the other end.
3. Pry the piece of bamboo open and push the tiny piece of wood almost all the way to where the adult stopped cutting. This will hold the bamboo "open." Don't push it all the way or the bamboo will be too "open." Your piece of bamboo should now look a little like a clothespin.
4. Push one end of the stick through the drilled holes in the bamboo. If the stick does not stay tightly, you may want to apply some glue.
5. Now you make your monkey! Cut a piece of styrofoam about four inches long, one inch wide and half an inch thick. This is your monkey's body.
6. Take one of your scraps of paper and cut it into the shape of a tail. Glue it on the back of your monkey.
7. Cut a smaller piece of styrofoam and make the monkey's head. Glue this to the top of the body. You can cut pieces of paper for the monkey's ears and even cut a funny hat for your monkey to wear.
8. Pain or color your monkey any way you want. Use your marker to outline the monkey's eyes and mouth.
9. Glue a strip of your heavy paper on one side of the money at the bottom, so that it looks like his leg is sticking straight out. Do the same for the other leg.
10. Glue the other two strips of paper up higher, right below the head, also sticking out. All four of your arms and legs should be sticking straight out.
11. Cut four inches off of the drinking straw.
12. Glue the ends of the arms and legs around the straw, like you can see in the photograph.
13. With your marker, you can draw toes and fingers where the paper meets the straw.
14. You're done!

How to Play:
To play with your Jumping Monkey, hold the closed end of the piece of bamboo in one hand. Take the thumb of your other hand, flick the top piece of bamboo downward and release it quickly. The bamboo should snap upward and send your monkey up the stick. Great fun! Be careful, though, if you flick the bamboo too hard, your monkey might fly right off the stick!

If you know any additional information abut this toy or have a toy you've made or seen made please contact us! We'd love to hear form you.

Photo taken by Rick Strebe copyright 1997,1998