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I love using body percussion in my music classroom and I know that it’s an effective way to reach a lot of kids. So here are my easy body percussion activities you can use in your classroom too.

Easy Body Percussion Activities

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I love using body percussion in my music classroom and I know that it’s an effective way to reach a lot of kids. So here are my easy body percussion activities you can use in your classroom too.

EASY BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITIES

There’s something amazing about a classroom full of kids singing or chanting, clapping, snapping, or patting, -on the BEAT and ALL TOGETHER! 

I use Hand clapping activities at the beginning and the end of the school year because they are a great way to practice BEAT and RHYTHM at the same time.

And they keep kids hands busy.

Initially, I start with easy hand actions like clapping and patting and then as the year progresses challenge my students with more complex combinations.

Ultimately, I move at the pace of my students.

I truly believe that body percussion activities are also a great way to encourage classroom community, keep everyone engaged and build skills at the same time.

I begin with my Kindergarteners on the Steady Beat and work up through the grade levels with more difficult and challenging patterns and rhythms.  

I also use this song to help my Kindergarteners figure out what is body percussion anyway?

I promise you that Body Percussion activities are going to change your teaching game!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Chants, Nursery Rhymes, or short song lyrics.

Here’s some easy ones to use that are in the FREEBIE.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Peas Porridge Hot

GET THE 3 NURSERY RHYME LYRICS AND BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITY when you SUBSCRIBE to the Sing Play Create Resource Library.

STEP 1

Begin with a simple hand clapping pattern.

Teach students to count the beat as they perform the pattern.

  • 1-PAT
  • 2-CLAP
  • 3-STOMP
  • 4-CLAP

Here are some teaching tips I’ve learned from doing body percussion activities.

Try practicing with a steady beat drum or piano.

Change the tempo from slow to fast to medium.

Have some students play and others count then, switch.

Choose a student to be the leader and the class follows that students’ tempo.

Then I have them play using music tracks.

I like instrumental music tracks because the students don’t sing along and can focus on playing the patterns.

Play the pattern using instrumental music like the Sing Play Create instrumental music tracks selections on SPOTIFY, AMAZON MUSIC, YOUTUBE MUSIC AND APPLE MUSIC.

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY:  

LISTEN ON APPLE MUSIC: 

LISTEN ON ITUNES:  

LISTEN ON AMAZON MUSIC

Or purchase your music tracks here:

PATRIOTIC INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
SPRING THEMED INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
HOLIDAY INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
VALENTINE’S DAY INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
PIRATE THEMED INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS
ST. PATRICK’S DAY INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TRACKS

BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITY STEP 2

Now that everyone can play the pattern on the beat, it’s time to change up the activity.

I have found it’s important to keep the students challenged with new things and harder things.  So, I usually incorporate LEVELS into the activity.

Of course, these steps happen over the course of four to six weeks depending on the other activities we are doing in class. 

If we’re preparing for a music program, I’ll use the body percussion activities as a transition or a break activity.

Anyway, here are some ways to “level-up” body percussion activities.

You can add in more patterns and play them as a RONDO or ABA, ABBA song.

This video and set of activities is perfect for challenging your students to play 2 patterns in a song form.

Body Percussion Activity “Get Movin’ to the Beat” Steady Beat Action Patterns

STUDENTS PAIR UP

Next have students buddy or pair up.

If there are uneven numbers -make one group of three.

I then have them repeat the process of playing the pattern and counting, playing with a drum and then playing with music.

And, it’s super fun to switch up the partners.

Eventually, you can have several patterns that you want students to play and they have to change groups and or the patterns when you give the signal.

I have found these activities to be extremely engaging if you lead the students through the steps carefully and give them time to learn the basics first.

CHALLENGE PATTERNS

This video activity is a great follow-up to the Moving to the Beat activity.

Students are actually moving their entire bodies on the beat.

I also like it as a transition activity for my classes that need movement before we get into our music lesson.

PLAYING BODY PERCUSSION AND SINGING

Now it’s time to “level-up” and have students play and sing/chant together.

One way I’ve done this is using simple nursery rhymes.

First, teach students a simple nursery rhyme.

Have them chant and/or sing it until they know it!

Remember, you can get the 3 songs and the activities in this FREE RESOURCE.

FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBE LINK

And, I’ve created many Body Percussion activities you can use throughout the school year with your students.

Most of these resources have videos, google slides and flash cards along with the teaching presentation.

 Students will love to play and move to the beat using the video activity. Then students create their own body percussion moves using the FLASH CARDS and GOOGLE SLIDES activities.

This way you can integrate movement with digital and classroom activities.

BODY PERCUSSION RESOURCES FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR

My students are loving this ANIMAL BODY PERCSSION ACTIVITY!

HALLOWEEN
TURKEY

Holiday

WINTER
VALENTINE’S DAY
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
SPRING
Ocean Friend Body Percussion
Dinosaur Body Percussion
BACK TO SCHOOL
Hello Song & Body Percussion Play Along
Clap! Pat! Snap! Body Percussion Basics

There are more body percussion activities in the Sing Play Create Store too!

I really believe that doing these activities throughout the year helps your younger students, especially kindergarteners, get a great sense of the steady beat.

BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITY STEP 3

Now put it all together!

Have students practice in the air until they can say the words and do the pattern at the same time.

Then have students pair up and practice together.

Try playing the drum on the steady beat as the students practice.

(This may take the whole class time.)

LEVEL UP LEARNING CHALLENGE STEP 4

Organize students into 2 circles by having the buddies stand facing each other around the circle. (This means one circle on the outside facing into the center and one circle facing out of the circle).

The outside circle is Buddy #1, the inside circle is Buddy #2.

Ask the #1 Buddies to sit down. Explain that they will NOT be moving.

Have all of Buddy #2’s raise their hands.

Show them how to move 1 Buddy over to the RIGHT. (clockwise) and then practice moving before you begin body percussion patterns.

Play the drum and have them move on beat #1. Ask students to count aloud with you.

Begin with a 4 beat count and then start the chant.

Have the students count 1-2-3-4 and then begin.

When they finish the chant, have them say “SWITCHEE-ROO-ROO” which means to move over 1 space.

This will keep the activity going and encourage students to be leading the activity.

MORE BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITIES

You can tailor make your body percussion activities to suit your students.  If they like to create things, then ask students to make up their own clapping patterns.

I’ve had groups that like to write and work in groups on projects.

So, I’ll ask students to write their own chants and create patterns for them.

Then they practice and perform them for the class.

Incorporate the activity into a music program or concert. Using body percussion as part of the music program keeps everyone together and keeps eyes on you too.

Many times, I’ve had the students create the moves for songs we are singing.

I also like to use these activities to prepare students for PITCHED instruments. Using the nursery rhymes as chants first and then singing or playing them, or referring to the experience of “saying” the words as they “played the beat” helps them understand the difference between BEAT and RHYTHM.

Here is a great blog post with some more body percussion activity ideas!

BODY PERCUSSION ACTIVITIES FOR THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM

GAMES ARE GREAT

Divide students into smaller circles and have them perform.

Or, you can have groups compete with each other to see who can perform their patterns the best.

Finally, as a teacher, I want the activity to be student lead instead of teacher lead.

By showing them the steps and taking the time to work through the process, students can gain confidence and then they become leaders.

I’d love to hear your experiences about using these Easy Body Percussion Activities in your classroom. I hope you’ll share these ideas with your teacher friends.

Sandra from Sing Play Create

I love using body percussion in my music classroom and I know that it’s an effective way to reach a lot of kids. So here are my easy body percussion activities you can use in your classroom too.

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Meet Sandra

Hi there!  I’m Sandra, one of the authors behind Sing Play Create.  My goal is to provide teachers with interactive resources and activities to improve the effectiveness of their teaching and enhance student learning.

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