Rhythm experiences are vital. When we begin to understand the rhythm of the world, we can begin to understand ourselves.
Rhythm is something that happens over and over again in the same way. It is a pattern that repeats itself.
A room can have a rhythm in the way that the windows or ceiling follow a pattern. Clothes can have a rhythm in the way that stripes or dots follow a pattern.
Seasons have a rhythm: winter, spring, summer, fall. Night and day happen over and over again.
Children begin feeling and sensing rhythmic patterns at a very early age. As hundreds of parents have told me, “My baby adores music. Whenever I sing to him or play music, he jumps up and down in his crib, coos, dances, smile, and giggles.”
I have heard this and similar remarks over and over for many years. And it’s true! Children do respond to music. For them, it’s as natural as walking and talking.
From infancy, as babies develop, the sounds of rattles and musical toys intrigue them. Toddlers begin composing their own rhythmic patterns by banging on pots and other surfaces. A tune on the radio or television can spontaneously inspire a toddler to respond by swaying and bouncing his little body.
Here is a rhythm action poem that teaches self concept.
MY BODY HAS RHYTHM by Jackie Silberg
I use my brain to think, think, think
(touch your head with your index finger)
I use my nose to smell
(touch your nose)
I use my eyes to blink, blink, blink
(blink your eyes)
And I use my mouth to YELL
I use my mouth to giggle, giggle, giggle
(touch your mouth)
I use my hips to bump
(sway your hips)
I use my toes to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
(wiggle your toes)
And I use my legs to jump
Here are some additional ideas for playing this rhythm game.
1. Clap the rhythm of the poem. Notice that the rhythm is the same every other line.
2.Clap two lines and speak two lines
3. Clap two lines and stamp two lines
Here is another rhythm game.
1. What are some ways that you can make sounds with your body?
Hands – Clap, slap, beat chest
Feet – Stamp, jump
Fingers – snap
Voice – Talks, sing, hum, moan, bark, howl.
Mouth, Blow, sigh, click, whistle.
2. Choose a familiar rhyme or song to say. “Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star” is a good one to try.
3. Clap the first line of twinkle as you say the words ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
4. Help the children clap and say the next line “How I wonder where you are.
5. After you have done this a few times, try clapping and just moving your mouth to the words as you clap.
6. Continue on as long as the children are enjoying the game. Try using different parts of your body.
7. Soon you will be able to use different parts of your body to express the song.
8. Teaching young children to communicate with their bodies is a good way to help them get in touch with themselves.
The more rhythmic experiences that young children have, the easier it will be for them to move forward in their lives.
Two different websites feature my songs each month for a free download and activities:
1. http://www.naeyc.org/tyc/missjackie- Teaching Young Children magazine
2. http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/media.aspx – Early Childhood News Online
Please visit my website for books, music, keynotes, workshops, free articles to download and inspiring inspirations.