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3 Activities for Rhythm and Math



Guest post from Abigail Flesch Connors, author of Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Rhythm Activities and More for Young Children.

Rhythm activities are a great to teach preschoolers and young children lessons across a variety of topics. From music to language to science...and math!

Rhythm activities are a great way to teach preschoolers and young children lessons across a variety of topics. From music to language to science...and math!

Music, movement and…math? Yes!

Music and movement activities are a natural, developmentally-appropriate way to introduce math concepts to young children. These activities are based on musical forms that repeat in patterns, so they’re an auditory and kinesthetic way of patterning, an important part of early math learning. Here are some fun activities to try in your classroom.

 

Clappety-Clap

In “Clappety-Clap,” the first three lines of each verse are the same, and the fourth is different – an AAAB pattern.

  • Stand in a circle and clap to the beat, while singing to the tune of “Jimmy Crack Corn”:

                        Clappety-clap and pat your knees,

                        Clappety-clap and pat your knees,

                        Clappety-clap and pat your knees,

                        And clappety-clap again

Additional verses:

                        Clappety-clap and jump up and down…

                        Clappety-clap and kick your feet…

  • Then comes the fun part – ask the children to think of other movements we could do after we “clappety-clap.” They’ll love to come up with inventive and fun ideas.

 

Flies in the Buttermilk

This activity has a two-part, or AB, pattern.

  • Begin with the group singing “Skip to My Lou” in the traditional way, while clapping to the beat. Then choose two children to be “flies” who fly and buzz around the middle of the circle while you sing:

                        Flies in the buttermilk, shoo fly, shoo,

                        Flies in the buttermilk, shoo fly, shoo,

                        Flies in the buttermilk, shoo fly, shoo,

                        Skip to my lou, my darlin’

  • Sing “Skip to My Lou” again, then you can continue with more children taking turns to be flies. Or you may decide (or the children may decide for you) that it would be fun to have other animals in the buttermilk – maybe frogs, or bunnies, or bears!

 

Jumping Friends

This activity also has an ABAC pattern – the first and third lines are the same, the second is different, and the fourth is different from both of them.

  • Jump while singing to the tune of “Do You Know the Muffin Man”:

                        We are all the jumping friends,

                        The jumping friends, the jumping friends,

                        We are all the jumping friends,

                        We jump and jump and jump!

  • Invite the children to contribute other movements. You could be the marching friends, the waving friends, or whatever your students come up with!

These easy and fun music activities introduce auditory patterns, and also allow the children to share their own creative ideas, which helps them to become eager and confident learners.

For more great activities read Abby's other guest post, Rhythm Instrument Activities for Preschoolers, and check out Shake, Rattle, & Roll!

Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Young Children




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