Children love percussion instruments, so the first ones we use are rhythm sticks. They are easy to hold and simple to use. And there are so many benefits! So now you are looking for easy ways to use rhythm sticks in the classroom.
I’ve got you covered!
Over the years of using rhythm sticks in our toddler and preschool classrooms, I’ve found that simple is best. The children are working hard to listen to the beat and/or words and also following my lead. I wanted activities that involved changing tempo and direction, but not too quickly.
Rhythm sticks are also a great way to help active children slow down and focus. (This is probably my #1 reason for loving them!)
If you have an extra wiggly group of children, hop on over to this post to see our favorite songs that burn energy!
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Rhythm sticks are a good instrument to start with because they are so versatile. Part of the percussion family, these sticks are tapped together to make sounds.
Using rhythm sticks helps develop:
- Fine motor development and hand-eye coordination
- Language development and listening skills
- Rhythm, beat, and tempo
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Early brain development
- Directionality (up, down, forwards, backwards, etc.)
Start with the basics: Show your children how to use rhythm sticks with these basic motions that start with one hand and then two. (Source: Learn, Play, Imagine)
I have our toddlers sitting on our oval rug and our preschoolers sitting on their stools, as they do during circle time.
As I pass out each set of rhythm sticks, I have the children place them on the floor in front of them. I first demonstrate how to use the sticks, making sure they understand not to hit another child with them. (This is an excellent lesson in spatial awareness.) When I pick up my sticks, they pick up theirs and we place them in our laps. We don’t start using them until the music starts, and we follow along to the beat and words (if applicable).
Easy Ways to Use Rhythm Sticks in the Classroom
- Clatter, Clatter, Clackity, Clack: This little chant is short and to the point, and perfect for younger children. (Source: Listen and Learn Music)
- The Umbrella Song: You can use rhythm sticks to tap while singing this rainy day song. (Source: Let’s Play Kids Music)
- Tap Tap Your Rhythm Sticks: Tap them so soft, tap them so loud. (Source: Songs for Teaching)
- Red Red Robin Sticks Dance: A good song to practice listening and then doing. (Source: Macaroni Soup)
- Jean Warren shares 7 songs that work well with rhythm sticks. You can find them all in this collection.
- Nancy Stewart shares songs to use with rhythm sticks.
Rhythm Stick Articles
- Shake Up Your Music Curriculum with Rhythm Instruments (Earlychildhood NEWS)
- 11 Ways to Use Rhythm Sticks in the Classroom (Kaplan Early Learning Company)
- How to Use Rhythm Sticks During Lap Time and Story Time
More ideas for young children: