- Rhythmic instruments, such as drums, tambourines, shakers, and rhythm sticks
- Parade music
- Masking tape
Objective: Children will use gross-motor skills and explore a variety of rhythms and movements as they parade around the classroom.
To Prepare: Adjust furniture, if necessary, and use masking tape to create an open path for marching around the room.
Warm-Up: Invite children to sit around you on the floor. Sing "A-Marching We Will Go" (to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell"). Sing the song again, this time clapping your hands to the beat. Encourage children to sing and clap their hands along with you.
Step 1: Pass out rhythm instruments to use while singing "A-Marching We Will Go." Encourage children to make sounds with the instruments by shaking, rattling, and hitting them. Discuss what kinds of sounds they hear. Use words such as loud and soft to describe the sounds.
Step 2: Explain to children that they will march like soldiers around the room. Ask them to stand up. Have children stomp their feet in place to the beat of the song. Invite them to stomp to the beat you create as you clap your hands. Encourage them to march, clap, or play their instrument as you sing.
Step 3: Divide children into two groups. Have one group sit down on the floor while members of the other group march along the path. Start the parade music. Encourage marchers to shake, rattle, and play their instruments. Invite members of the other group to clap as the marchers go by.
Step 4: Switch groups a few times. As children march, ask them to change direction or to jump, hop, and so on.
Remember: The main purposes of this activity are to practice rhythm and have fun marching to music. It isn't necessary for twos and threes to chant the words just right or follow the exact foot pattern (left, right, left).
Avoid accidents by making sure that children have plenty of room between each other, especially when carrying instruments.
- On a nice day, take this activity outdoors. Invite children to think of different ways they can march. can they march with high, bent legs? Strong, stomping legs? On tiptoes?
- Let children create and decorate their own instruments. Encourage them to pretend-play their instruments, creating their own sounds as they march along to music.
- Put out real and toy instruments in the dramatic-play area, along with other musical props, such as a microphone.
Books - Children will want to march and sing as you share these musical inspirations!
I Make Music by Eloise Greenfield (Writers and Readers Publishing)
Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi (Crown Books)
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Simon & Schuster Children's)
This activity originally appeared in the October, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.