Movement Activities in Early Childhood: Rhythm

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Circle Time

Get the momentum going with this “snap, clap” activity, as rhythm, one of the elements of movement in early childhood, is implemented in circle time. Have the children sit in a circle, begin the rhythm of snapping and clapping, as each child says their name. Continue until everyone has had a turn.

Remain in the circle and read the story Rum-A-Tum-Tum by Angela Shelf Medearis. This story is about a young girl caught up in the rhythm on the streets of New Orleans. As you read the story with a sense of drama, help the children to “feel” the rhythm.This will prepare them to move into the next movement activity.


For this project, you will need plastic eggs and beans to make shakers. Tape the eggs together and allow the children to decorate their shaker with markers or stickers.

Turn on the music and let them flow into the rhythm of Johnette Downing’s “Music Time” or songs from Greg and Steve’s Music and Movement in the Classroom cd. Even the shyest child will join in, as this group activity fosters self esteem and social skills.


To practice the concept of 10’s and units, within reach of the children, display on the wall, a train engine pulling 2 cars. Pre-cut and laminate 4 " circles to represent the 10’s family and 2" by 4" rectangles. For example, place a flashcard, 34, on the engine, have the child place 3 circles on the first car, then 4 rectangles on the second car. Explain that there are 3 tens plus 4 ones in the number 34. As the child comes up to answer, have the class chant “choo,choo,choo”, etc., in rhythm until the objects are placed on the train.

Suggested books to read:

Whoosh Around the Mulberry Bush by Jan Ormerod

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Carolina Shout! by Alan Shroeder

This post is part of the series: Elements of Movement in Early Childhood

The Elements of Movement in Early Childhood Unit, is a series of lessons on space, shape, time, force, flow, and rhythm.

  1. Elements of Movement in Early Childhood: Spatial Awareness
  2. Elements of Movement in Early Childhood: Shape and Time
  3. Elements of Movement in Early Childhood: Force
  4. Elements of Movement in Early Childhood, Part 4: Flow
  5. Elements of Movement in Early Childhood, Part 5: Rhythm