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Barrel of Monkeys facts for kids

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Barrel of Monkeys is a toy game released by Lakeside Toys in 1965. It was created by Leonard Marks and Milton Dinhofer in 1961, and in 1964, Herman Kesler partnered to sell it to Lakeside Toys. Lakeside Toys released it in 1965 and today it is produced by the Milton Bradley Company within the Hasbro corporation. Milton Bradley's editions consist of a toy barrel in either blue, yellow, red, purple, orange, gray or green. The barrel contains 12 monkeys but can hold 24, their color usually corresponding to the barrel's color. The instructions state, "Dump monkeys onto table. Pick up one monkey by an arm. Hook other arm through a second monkey's arm. Continue making a chain. Your turn is over when a monkey is dropped." In addition to these basic instructions, the barrel also contains instructions for playing alone or with two or more players.

Time magazine ranked Barrel of Monkeys at No. 53 on their 2011 All-Time 100 Greatest Toys list.

Use in models

These Monkeys have also been used for modeling of polyhedral structures, including virus particles and other protein structures In brief, a pair of monkeys can hook around each other in more than eighty different ways, forming quite stable links. The links may be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. Repetition of an asymmetric link generates a helix. A symmetric link is self-limiting, so that the structure cannot grow further unless a new link is used to join symmetric pairs. It is possible to generate structures with point, line, 2D or 3D symmetry by choosing two or three different links (from the 80 or more possibilities) and repeating them systematically. An enormous number of compatible combinations can be found by trial and error. Many are shown in the sources quoted above.

Any repeating unit can in principle be assembled in this way. The only unusual characteristic of the monkey is that its arms, legs, hands and feet are able to twist around each other to form many stable links. In this, they resemble protein molecules which can also link together in many ways. The resulting assemblies simulate biologically important structures, but their symmetry follows general geometric principles. The monkeys provide a 'hands on' approach to understanding these principles. Barrel of Monkeys is also called as Bandar Keela and is famous in south Asian countries.

Media appearances

  • A Barrel of Monkeys set appears the Toy Story series of animated films, which takes place in a world in which sentient toys pretend to be lifeless when humans are present. In the films, the monkey toys belonged the character Andy during his childhood.
  • In May 2012, Dartmouth College student Parker Phinney led a fundraising group that built a chain of 5,990 monkeys, the longest ever.
  • In the game show Family Game Night, a show featuring many Hasbro-owned game brands, families play the game for a prize by arranging the chains of monkeys from shortest to longest.
  • The logos and posters for 1995 film 12 Monkeys and 2015 TV series' borrow Barrel of Monkeys' imagery.
  • In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark likens an air rescue to playing Barrel of Monkeys.
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