Rhythm is a universal language in which all human beings participate. Children are naturally drawn to rhythmic sounds and activities, making drumming a highly accessible avenue for creative expression. Drumming can also promote fine and gross motor development, social awareness, and cognitive and emotional support. Several methods can encourage your child's enthusiasm for rhythmic activity.
1. Homemade Drums
Get creative with your child and make your own handmade drums. Find an empty coffee can or oatmeal container. Line the opening with a thick paper such as card stock or construction paper. Use a rubber band to secure the paper around the empty container. Your child can use a small wooden spoon or chopsticks as drum sticks. Another simple project for you and your child is making shakers. Find an empty, clean, dry soda bottle. Fill the bottle with dry rice or beans, recap and your child has his own homemade rhythm instrument. You can also use an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll to make a shaker. Simply cap off one end of the roll with thick paper and a rubber band, fill with dry rice or beans and close off the other end with paper and a rubber band.
2. Drumming Games
Children can be creative with thinking up various ways to mimic rhythms from the world around them. Rain, popcorn popping, the tick-tock of a clock or the clippety-clop of horses hooves are all examples of rhythms your child can experiment making on his drum. Teach your child the Secret Drum Code game. Explain how throughout history different cultures around the world have used secret drumming codes to communicate messages to their people. Your child can invent his own secret drum code for different ideas he wants to communicate such as "I am hungry" or "I'm ready to change into my pajamas now."
3. Drum Circles
Participating in a group drum circle is a beneficial way for your child to explore his creativity. He will also gain exposure to a sense of community and learn about values such as respect, teamwork and cooperation. Children gather with an adult facilitator to experience a variety of rhythms in conjunction with one another. The adult typically leads each drumming activity, while children have the opportunity to express themselves individually through drum solos. Drumming in a group setting teaches children about taking turns, following directions and impulse control in addition to providing an outlet for their creativity.
4. Poetry In Rhythm
Encourage your child to pick up his drum or other rhythm instrument during story time. He can follow along with the events of the story, creating specific rhythms to mirror what is happening in the story. Poetry is another outlet through which your child can explore rewarding rhythmic expression. Choose poems that incorporate movement and bold imagery that will inspire your child to create accompanying rhythmic pulses. Children also enjoy drumming along with their favorite music or songs. Have a basket containing a variety of rhythm instruments such as a drum, rhythm sticks, shakers and a tambourine available for your child's use.
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