All About Rhythm

All About Rhythm

From the Activity Guide: Tempo and Rhythm – Let’s Jam!

Rhythm in music is patterns of long and short notes combined together. Rhythm is what gives the music it’s groove. Rhythms can be simple- a song like Twinkle, Twinkle Litte Star has the same quarter note rhythm throughout the whole piece. Or rhythms can be complicated like The Rumble from West Side Story. Let’s learn about rhythm!

Rhythm Video

Babies through Middle School

Check out this video introducing two simple rhythms to kids in an easy way for them to understand. If your kid(s) enjoyed it, check out part two with additional rhythms.

Rhythm Activities

Preschool through Middle School

In the video, we learned about two different rhythm patterns using the words “beet” and “cherry.” Let’s take that yummy fun a little further with more fruit and veggie rhythm words.


  1. Say the name of each fruit and vegetable out loud. Clap out each syllable. For example, “beet” gets one clap, “lettuce” has two, and “watermelon” has four.
  2. Once you’ve practiced each word through, point to an image and have your child say and clap it. As soon as they finish that rhythm, point to another.
  3. Have your child draw out fruit and veggie patterns and then perform their rhythms for you. They’ll be composing the yummiest music you’ve ever heard.

Going Further:

  • Find other objects around your house to turn into rhythm words. Line them up in a row and say and clap their names and rhythm. For example, you could line up: Block – Crayon – Frying Pan – Tooth Brush. Let your kid get creative with the items they pick.
  • For a more advanced version for older children or those with previous musical knowledge, flip those steps around: give them a rhythm pattern and send them on a scavenger hunt to find items that match.
  • Older children or those with previous musical knowledge can create patterns and compose their own rhythm music using the note values instead of just the food name. Each of the images has its music notation symbol in the bottom corner.

Online Rhythm Composer

Preschool and Older

Get creative with our online rhythm composition activity to compose your own rhythm pieces at home.

Going Further

  1. Play along with your music as you play it back.
  2. Practice with the recording until you’re able to play it on your own.
  3. Give your piece a title and write words that go along with the rhythms.

Find activities about rhythm in the full Activity Guide: Tempo and Rhythm – Let’s Jam!

Find other interactive online musical games here.

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