Playing a rhythm game is a wonderful way to introduce your child to the world of rhythm. Music is composed of three basic entities: rhythm, melody, and harmony. Establishing rhythms within a young child helps develop coordination, as well as prepares for singing and instrumental skills in the future.
Here’s a fun game to start with! Can knock on a door, kitchen table, etc. You can also use rhythm sticks, if you have them; otherwise, wooden spoons, drum sticks, or even chop sticks are fun to tap together. Here’s a game which can be played anywhere, including if you’re stuck in traffic!
Knock out the rhythm of the child’s name with him with one knock per syllable.
Say his name, first and last, as you knock it out.
“Yan-kee-Doo-dle” long-long-long-long or 4 long knocks
“Old Mac-Don-ald” becomes long-short-long-long
Start by doing the patterns together, then have the child echo the pattern back to you.
After some successful tries together:
Say, “Hey, _____! Can you hear the rhythm in your name? What’s the rhythm in my name? In your dad’s name? In your brother’s name? In the dog’s name? (You get the picture.)
Then you could add:
“I wonder what rhythm we get when we add your middle name?”
The next time add his middle name: you tap and say it, then he taps and says it. Next, tap out your name in the same manner, and have him copy. Now ask him for suggestions for names.
“Wow! We can hear rhythm everywhere! What part of your body creates a rhythm?”
He’ll guess different things, but the answer that you’re looking for is “heart.”
You can then go on into a conversation about how the heart beat, literally the heart rhythm, changes when he’s sitting, running, starting to go to sleep, etc. Rhythm also shown through breathing (long and short breaths) and how a person walks.