Rhythmic Activities

Rhythmic Activities

With all the focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic, it is easy to overlook other areas of study that are equally important for your child’s development and education. One of those areas is music. Young children don’t need formal music instruction, but they benefit from listening to a variety of music and experimenting with sounds and rhythms. Here are some ideas for strengthening rhythmic awareness.

☞ What you need:

Sticks or other items for keeping time, music with a strong, steady beat (a march makes a good first choice)

✩ Activity 1:

Demonstrate, and then invite your child to clap her hands or tap sticks in time to the music.

✩ Activity 2:

With no music playing, clap your hands or stamp your feet in different rhythmic patterns. Invite your child to clap with you, then try the pattern herself. Ask her to make up new patterns of her own.


One slow clap (hold hands together for two counts) followed by two quick claps (one count each). Repeat three times.

Three quick claps followed by two slow ones (hold for two counts each). Repeat three times.

✩ Activity 3:

Sing a rhythmic pattern of notes with words describing daily tasks:


✩ Activity 4:

Ask your child to clap like someone . . .

  • Walking: slow and steady claps
  • Running: quick claps
  • Skipping: slow, fast, fast; slow, fast, fast; etc.
  • Marching: firm and steady claps
  • Hopping: slow, loud claps
  • Playing hide and seek: slow, quick, quick, quick; repeat

Or imitate an animal’s movements by clapping like a frog hopping, mouse skittering, horse galloping, dog trotting, or turtle crawling.

✩Activity 5:

Provide some instrument (drum, piano, sticks, oatmeal box and wooden spoon) for rhythmic exploration. If your child finds a rhythm she especially likes, invite her to play it to announce a family activity such as eating dinner, getting in the car, watching a favorite TV show, or to signal when a project is completed.

Download PDF: Rhythmic Activites

Talita Paolini

Talita is the mother of Christopher and Angela Paolini, whom she homeschooled with her husband, Kenneth.