These Christmas Rhythm Game flash cards can be used in various ways according to the age and musical experience of the child. Below are some suggestions of how best to use them for three age groups from 2 yrs to 5 years+ (the ability for each age group should of course always be flexible according to each child). You don’t need any extra equipment, although some wooden tone blocks or a tambourine might come in handy – and if you need a little help with reading the music notes, take a look at Introducing The Note Family from the First Piano Lessons Series. These games work very well as accompanying activities to our Kids’ Songs For Christmas series, where you may recognise all the familiar characters!
Free Printable Christmas Rhythm Game Cards
(print the sheets, mount them on card, and cut into separate flash cards – keep them in a special box or bag which is decorated for Christmas.)
For little ones, this activity is more a recognition and naming game. First read through the cards matching the title to the picture and clapping the rhythm together as you go (you’ll have to this plenty of times for them to get to know them). Then you can play a guessing, pointing and naming game (if they can’t quite manage to name them, then pointing will do!) Toddlers might not quite grasp the exact rhythms and names, but it is all excellent practise and part of the learning process.
2 1/2 – 5 years
These activities can be introduced once the child can name each card and character confidently. First spend some time clapping the rhythms, as you say the words together. Once familiar, you can then play a guessing & recognition game, where you tap the rhythm but don’t say the word and the child has to guess which character the rhythm belongs to. You can also reverse the game by inviting them to tap the rhythm when you show them the picture (don’t expect a perfect rendition at first – and praise all attempts!)
5 Years +
These rhythm games are intending for children who can read, and have had some music lessons already, or who are starting to learn to play an instrument. First, you still need to practise reading and tapping the rhythms together several times. Then you can play a matching game where each picture, name and rhythm is correctly matched together. Next, you can test them by tapping the rhythms and asking them to guess which character it is. Finally, you hold up the pictures, and they can tap the rhythm that matches it.