Don’t be scared by the lack of pictures in this post! I think you will really like this activity despite its lack of visual interest!
Here’s why this activity is so great:
- Everyone will be engaged (trust me, your kids will want to be allowed to make this much noise in church, however organized)
- It’s a buildable activity so it can go on forever if you keep changing up the patterns
- You can make it REALLY simple for the younger kids and REALLY challenging for the older kids
- Keeping beat and knowing how to separate beat from rhythm is a great skill to have especially for studying music or dance
- Everyone participates all at once, so there’s no hurt feelings over turn-taking
- If you have special needs kids, they will probably LOVE this
- You can use this with ANY song
It seems like there’s a much bigger difference in age and maturity in my junior primary right now (probably because we’ve still got screaming sunbeams!) I’ve been having a little bit of a hard time keeping all of them engaged with age-level appropriate activities for all of them. My solution? Rhythm. Most kids can keep rhythm even at a really young age (not promising every single one, but MOST), and a lot of kids think and learn better when they’re doing something with their bodies that reinforces what they’re learning, and this activity will keep everyone engaged.
We’ll start with the everyone just clapping the beat. Then I’ll add a different pattern to the 4-5 & 6-7 year old classes like – lap clap lap clap – (since it’s in 4/4), and once they’ve got that down, I’ll add a different pattern for the 6-7 year old class like – lap clap snap clap – and we’ll have all of these patterns going at once! I’m only going to be singing the second and third verses since those are the ones that are new to most of my kids. We’ll probably do a couple of different patterns (lap lap clap snap – snap clap clap clap, you get the idea) and then we’ll move onto the rhythm. So instead of clapping the beat, we’ll clap the rhythm of I Am a Child of God. We’ll sing it all the way through once just clapping, then the Sunbeams will stay on that (I’m guessing a lot of them will still be clapping the beat instead of the rhythm, but that’s ok) the older kids will move on to – lap clap lap clap – but with the rhythm, and then the oldest kids will do a – lap clap snap clap – pattern.
In Senior Primary, we’ll sing a verse once through and I’ll challenge them to find the beat on their own, without my help. We’ve done a couple of rhythm activities in the past, so I’m hoping that they’ll be able to find it! Once they’ve got that down, we’ll do another verse where we just clap the rhythm. Then, I’ll split them into two groups and one will do the beat and the other will do the rhythm. Then, we’ll trade which group is rhythm and which is beat and throw in some different patterns in each group like we did in junior primary, singing each verse at least once. Now the real fun starts. In one hand, they’ll be tapping the beat against their laps and in the other, they’ll tap the rhythm. My senior primary loves activities like this where they are challenged and even some of the adults have trouble keeping up!
If your kids enjoy this rhythm activity, check out my post on Blue Jello that I used with Keep the Commandments. If you get really into rhythm activities, you may want to look into getting some rhythm tools like these rhythm sticks,