"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Syllable Clapping

There are many ways to teach children the natural rhythm all around them. One of these ways is to engage them in thinking about the rhythm in words.
When you break down words by syllables, it's easy to create a rhythm activity geared to the interests of your child.

Our guys are into all things spooky and Halloween-y currently, so my music-nerd mind thought "Bingo!!" - it's another opportunity to practice rhythm while having a Halloween activity (love those two-fer's).

So, this one needs a little bit of prep.
Your materials are:  construction paper, print-outs of Halloween (or fall-themed) pictures, coloring or painting supplies, scissors and glue.
Oh yeah, and one or two (or more!) adorable children.

To find images, do a search for whatever Halloween or Autumn pics you'd like by looking for coloring pages. Those are usually large enough and are usually free to print. Look for ones with nice, solid lines.

These are the ones we looked for:
3 syllables: skeleton
2 syllables: pumpkin
1 syllable: ghost (actually we called the ghost Boo! because both boys love to say that word whenever possible right now)  and bat.

If you don't want Halloween images, you can search for seasonal things like candy apple, pumpkin, scarecrow, candy corn, apple, leaf, etc...

1. Gather your pictures on your computer, adjust sizes, print and cut them out.

   2. Have child color or paint pictures. I printed mine on cardstock thinking they'd want to paint them, but they got a hold of these pictures before I knew it and started using markers. Whatever!
 3. Go over the name for each item and clap by syllables as you name them to get the child into hearing the rhythm of each word.
4. Tell child to arrange 3 in a row and clap the names in rhythm. It's helpful to point along as they go. Alternate this with clapping along also. Some may need one more than another.
5. Have child rearrange and clap as many times as their interest holds. Mom/Dad can help them to incorporate words with different patterns so there's a good mix.
These pics are blurry because K was jumping around back and forth doing his clapping, which I thought was hilarious. You can see my finger trying to keep him on track as he flies back and forth.

 6. Before they're spent, have the child arrange all the pics on the page, glue them on and then make a story about the pictures, and encourage them to clap along for the special Halloween words as they go. You can use your rhyming agility to make the stories rhyme if possible to continue in the musical component if you'd like.

 For example, J's story was something like.... "Along came Boo who saw skeleton too, and said "howdy Do!" Look, let's go scare pumpkin one and pumpkin two!" Not the most fluid, but it was something like that...

Proudly display their fine work and then go get a Halloween treat. :-)


  1. I love this idea. Mine may not be old enough to sit and color them, but I'm sure they would get into the clapping and saying the words. I'll definitely have to try this. Also, I'd love for you to share this activity at my Season's Best {Halloween} Link-Up:


  2. Thanks! I just entered it - Looks like some awesome stuff you have going on over there! Thanks for stopping by! :-)