I’m sharing some easy and effective steady beat activities with bean bags you can use in your elementary music classroom to help students feel the steady beat.
This post is part of a five part series with steady beat activities for the elementary music classroom using chants, scarves, action words, body percussion and bean bags.
You can find the links in the post and all the videos are on the Sing Play Create Teaching Tips channel. The podcast is the full version with all the steady beat ideas in one podcast.
PASS THE BEAN BAG ON THE BEAT
I love using bean bags in my classroom. And I’ve found them to be an effective and fun movement prop to help students learn many different music concepts.
Here are some ways you can use them in your elementary music classroom.
I usually play the drum to keep us all together.
First learn the chant or song.
You can get this free resource when you SUBSCRIBE TO THE SING PLAY CREATE NEWSLETTER.
Then each student will have a bean bag and toss it in the air on the beat.
Or, you have them toss side to side from one hand to the other.
Next, you can try pairing students up and have them toss to each other on the beat.
If you have an odd number of students, then you can have one group of three.
Now that students can say the chant and toss the bean bag you can play a circle game.
Everyone can sit in a circle and pat the beat while singing or listening to the song.
You may want to establish some rules or guidelines. Here are some suggestions.
No holding the bean bag, no throwing. Keep the bean bag moving.
Then start with one bean bag and pass it on the beat.
You may want to play a drum as students pass the bean bag to help them stay on the beat.
Kindergarten tip: I’ll have them slide the bean bag on the floor instead of passing hand to hand. It’s a bit easier for them to keep the beat this way.
ELEMENTARY MUSIC BEAN BAG GAMES
UPPER ELEMENTARY BEAN BAG GAME
These activities are best for upper elementary students.
If the students haven’t done the activity before, you can begin with the easy game and then progress to more difficult activities.
One way to make the activity more challenging is to keep adding in more and more bean bags for them to pass on the beat.
You may want to choose a student to play the beat on the drum and have them switch out during the game. They will need to switch out without the bean bag stopping.
Or you can play the beat as they play the game.
Allow them to pass the bean bag around at least one full time before adding in another bean bag.
Continue to add in bean bags until everyone has one, or you run out of bean bags.
If you don’t have bean bags in your classroom, I highly recommend BEAR PAW CREEK bean bags.
Here’s my link to their products.
Bean bag games make a great station activity.
You can have a drum and some bean bags set up at the station.
It helps if you have a beat chart or a chant too.
Then students can say the chant and pass the bean bag on the beat.
The drum is optional!
BEAN BAG BEAT TEMPO ACTIVITY
After you’ve played this game a couple of times, then you can use the activity to teach TEMPO.
The easiest way is to use a drum.
The students will need to listen to the drum beat and adjust passing the bean bag around the circle.
It’s important to keep the same tempo for a while before switching. The goal is for the students to be able to pass on the beat-not trick them or have them make mistakes.
CHALLENGING BEAN BAG GAMES
Now your upper elementary students are ready to pass the bean bag standing.
Begin with everyone standing in a circle.
Start with 1 bean bag. If students can do this, then you can add in more bean bags.
You can vary this activity using different music styles, tempos, and numbers of students in the circle.
The next level would be for students to toss the bean bag across the circle, but still have to keep the beat.
Divide your class into small groups and have them compete to see who can keep their bean bag going on the beat the longest.
You may want to use a drum beat for these activities.
Sing Play Create offers a variety of fun bean bag activity and games resources.
There’s always room for more steady beat activities in music class. Young children need a variety of experiences feeling the steady beat.
If you’re looking for some more elementary music steady beat activities, this post has 12 different ways to play the steady beat that are easy to implement and can help your students feel the steady beat using the instruments and props you already have in your classroom.
I hope you’ll try these steady beat activities with bean bags in your elementary music classroom.
Let’s Move and Learn with Music!