Get Your Beat On


  • Musical instruments that you can shake or tap (like maracas, bells, and cymbals)
  • A list of multisyllabic words (like the children’s names or their favorite colors)
  • Nursery rhymes (like London Bridge and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
  • Just your hands and feet!

Step by Step Fun!

When using instruments: Say a word aloud and tap/shake your instrument as you say each syllable. Then encourage your child or student to repeat it along with you. Try different words and then sing nursery rhymes, tapping the instrument for each syllable. Use songs and words that are familiar to the children to draw them in, keep it relevant to them, and maximize their ability to recognize and recall it at various times.

When using just your hands and feet: Model a beat created by clapping hands and stomping your feet in a pattern of movement. Do this on a hard floor surface with shoes on or off to create different sensory experiences and sounds.

Activity Alternatives:

  • Complete these activities standing or sitting.
  • Use an instrument that works with just one hand.

Challenge Boosters:

  • Model a beat created by stomping your feet as you tap/shake the instrument in your hand. Encourage your child to imitate you or to create a stomping pattern along with tapping their instruments for you to imitate.
  • Hold duplicate instruments in both hands and/or use an instrument best activated with two hands while stomping out a beat or singing a song.

Benefits of Play:

  • Encourage phonological awareness when you break up words into syllables. Syllables are the building blocks of words. Breaking words up into syllables helps children decode words, improve their reading skills, and learn how to pronounce difficult words.
  • Cognitive organization is developed as children learn to organize the information and respond.
  • Strengthen whole body coordination through patterned, rhythmical whole-body movement.