Creating music enables children to use a multi-sensory approach to learning (listening, seeing, moving and feeling). The use of rhythm instruments and music as learning tools enhances the development of auditory skills, fine motor skills, sense of rhythm, body awareness, and coordination of mind and body.
Rhythm sticks are easy to hold and manipulate – perfect for young children!
Here are some ideas for using rhythm sticks in your classroom:
1 ) Have everyone sit in a circle on the floor. Pass one pair of rhythm sticks around and ask each child to tap the sticks together in rhythm with his or her first name. This activity makes a great icebreaker!
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Na- than Car -o- lyn
2) Ask everyone to sit in a circle on the floor. Give each child a pair of rhythm sticks. Play a rhythm pattern on the sticks and ask them to echo the pattern with their own sticks. Let each child have a turn at being the leader.
3) Variation on above: Play a pattern and keep it going. Ask each child in turn to make up their own patterns and play along with you. Go around the circle until all children are playing their sticks.
4) Set several different items on a table, e.g. a book, ruler, plastic tub. Let everyone take turns tapping the sticks on each item. How do they sound different? Do any sound similar?
5) Bring several metal pans or pots of varying sizes. Let the children tap each one. Notice that the larger ones produce a lower sound, the smaller ones a higher sound.
6) Try imitating other sounds with the sticks. Tap on a desk—it sounds like rain; on a window—a woodpecker. Try other surfaces, like a shoe or the floor. What do these sounds sound like?
7) Pair each child with a partner. Have one child tap out a pattern on the sticks and the other child echo it. Switch “leaders” and “echoes.”
8) Teach the class a simple song, like Bingo. Tap the sticks on B-I-N-G-O; substitute the sticks for the actual letters.’’
9) Tap the stick loudly three times on the floor, saying “LOUD, LOUD, LOUD.” Then tap softly and say “soft, soft, soft.”
10) Teach the class about different meters (number of beats) in music. Have them count each beat as they tap and repeat the following pattern several times:
Example: Play waltz music and have the children count out the rhythm as they listen. Johann Strauss is perfect for this exercise!
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One Two Three
11) Have the class say the following while they tap: “TAP, TAP, TAP, WAIT.” Tap only on the word “TAP.” Rest on the word “WAIT”. Change the pattern: “TAP, WAIT, TAP, WAIT.” After they have learned the patterns, leave out the words and use only the sticks.
This post was contributed by Jackie Silberg, who has an M.S. in child development. An early childhood advocate and popular keynote speaker, Jackie has given workshops, keynote addresses, seminars, and family concerts throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, and in Singapore. Currently, Jackie lectures at Johnson County Community College and owns Miss Jackie Music Company. She is one of the trusted experts on the Barnes and Noble Kid's Expert Circle. Books by Jackie Silberg: Games to Play with Babies; Games to Play with Toddlers; Games to Play with Two Year Olds, Revised; Reading Games for Young Children; 125 Brain Games for Babies; 125 Brain Games for Toddlers & Twos.