Kitchen utensils make fantastic rhythm instruments for preschoolers.

Fun Ways to Teach Rhythm to Preschoolers

by Tania K. Cowling

Are you looking for entertaining ways to get your preschooler to shake, rattle and roll? That’s fun, but remember that rhythm is all around us. It's not just in the beat of music. Rhythm can be seen, heard and felt during our daily experiences. Teaching your kiddies about rhythm is an important element in childhood education because rhythmic activities engage children in sensing concepts of order, organization and discipline.

1. A Name is a Rhythm

Little ones just love hearing their name called aloud. What if you add some rhythm to it? They can use their hands to clap out the syllables in their first and last name. For example, if the child’s name is Patricia Smith, she can clap her hands five times; four for Patricia and one for Smith. Continue this activity by clapping out names for other members in the family. Does anyone else have the same name rhythm as your child?

2. Rhythm in Art

Show your preschooler drawings or pictures and try to find a pattern that has been used repeatedly. This is known as rhythm patterns in art. An easy way is to look at wallpaper samples. Discuss how shapes, stripes, and colors repeat to form a pattern. Why not let your little one create rhythmic art by having her cut shapes from construction paper and glue them in patterns on a large sheet of paper? You could also make patterns by using dried beans or pasta shapes on paper to show another dimension of rhythm in art.

3. Rhythm in Our Environment

Rhythm can be seen, heard and felt in our environment. For example, we see patterns on clothes, walls and flooring. Clocks, windshield wipers and motors create a rhythmic sound. And, can you feel your pulse? Play a game by first making drawings on index cards. Draw items that make a rhythm such as a frog, clock, car, piano or washing machine. Put the cards on the table face down. Take turns picking a card and acting out the rhythm. Who can guess the object? This is an effective game to teach rhythm and it develops imagination and creativity in your preschooler, too.

4. Listen to the Beat

When it’s time to shake those sillies out and get the kids moving, this game is tops and teaches rhythm patterns of fast and slow. Use a drum or sticks to beat a cadence. Encourage your child to listen to the beat to instruct their movements. When the beat is slow, he should walk or crawl very slowly and when the beat is fast (watch out) your preschooler can run, jump, and dance quickly across the room. This game promotes listening skills for learning how to recognize different rhythms.

References

  • The Great Big Book of Rhythm; "Miss Jackie" Weissman; 1986

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images