After these past few days of cool weather, we can officially say: Fall is here! This time of year makes us want to light all the pumpkin candles we can find, wrap ourselves in sweaters, and drive through the mountains to see all the beautiful leaves. While us grownups are sipping on pumpkin spice lattes, let’s bring the fall spirit to our kids as well! Here are three fun, fall-themed activities that teach children some rhythm and note-reading basics. Each activity is just a bit harder than the one before.
1) Words naturally have beats or rhythms, depending on the number of syllables they contain. These image cards picture different fall items. First, practice saying the words out loud with your child. Then, have them clap on each syllable to sound out different rhythms. Once they’ve got that down pat, you can expand upon what they are learning: point randomly at different pictures for them to clap, ask them which images have the same rhythm, cut out the images and have them “compose” a song out of the rhythms, et cetera. There are so many things you could do!
2) This activity builds on the activity above. Again, prompt your child to clap a rhythm based on the number of syllables in the image they see. Then, get even more visual with the images. In the grid, have your child glue pictures into the boxes based on their corresponding rhythms to make a song. Single-syllable objects, like a leaf, get glued once, while double syllable objects like an apple or a pumpkin get glued twice. Visit the website for print outs of the grid as well as the fall images to be used in the activity.
3) For more musically advanced children, you can extend the idea of rhythmic words to include the actual notes that correspond to the rhythms. Start with a simple match-up game. Have your child draw lines to connect each word to the corresponding note pattern. Then, take it even further. You could speak to them a string of words and have them write down how that would look rhythmically. For example, if you were to say “Falling leaves, hay stack, corn” they would draw “two eighth notes quarter note, two quarter notes, quarter note rest.” Or, have them compose a rhythm and then speak it back to you saying the corresponding fall items.