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Children's Rhythm Games

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
Children's Rhythm Games
Three students play musical instruments in a classroom. Photo Credit moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images


Games are an effective way to get children involved in learning new things. According to Jerry Storms, author of "101 More Music Games for Children: New Fun and Learning with Rhythm and Song," playing games that incorporate rhythm many times can improve your child's rhythm skills. There are a variety of fun games that use chanting, dancing, singing and musical instruments to teach your kids rhythm.

Clap the Rhythm

Clapping is an easy way to teach your child to develop rhythm. Storms recommends this game because it uses clapping and pictures to teach your child to clap along to the rhythm of saying words with different numbers of syllables. Choose four different pictures that each have a different number of syllables from one to four. Make sure you have one picture for each number. Encourage your child to say each word and clap once for each syllable. As your child masters the game, Storms suggests adding longer words with more syllables.

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Elaine Commins, author of "Early Childhood Activities: A Treasury of Ideas From Worldwide Sources," suggests echo patterns as a good way for teaching rhythm because your child will need to listen and repeat what she hears. You clap a simple rhythm and your child claps it back to you. As your child masters the game, you can increase the difficulty of your pattern. You can also create patterns by snapping, tapping or slapping a rhythm instead of clapping.

Drum a Rhythm

Drums are another good tool for teaching rhythm, Storms says. You and your child will each need a drum or something to use as a drum. You start by drumming once, your child will drum twice, you will drum three times, and so on until you reach six. For the next round your child can drum first. Storms advises that this game teaches rhythm because the person drumming twice can choose the rhythm for the rest of the game.

Song Guessing Game

This game uses well-known children's songs that your child will recognize. Storms suggests choosing several different songs and telling your child what they are. Then play the rhythm of the song on a drum or other musical instrument and encourage your child to guess what song you are playing. Once she guesses, you can sing along while both of you play the rhythm together. Then switch places and let your child play a song and you guess.

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  • 101 More Music Games for Children: New Fun and Learning with Rhythm and Song; Jerry Storms; 2001
  • Early Childhood Activities: A Treasury of Ideas From Worldwide Sources; Elaine Commins; 1982
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