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Here are some music and percussion activities you might like to try with your class.

Rhythm Work

  • Repeatedly count out aloud together 1, 2, 3, 4, – 1, 2, 3, 4, – 1, 2, 3, 4, – 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Continue to count out aloud, only this time add a single clap to each number that’s called. The children can progress to counting in their minds whilst making the rhythm beats only.
  • 1, 2 and 3 is represented with a single beat and the 4th beat can be given x2 quick beats continuing and expanding. The first count has x2 quick beats while 2, 3, and 4 has a single beat.


A Stormy Beginning

Recordings of natural sounds can add a sensory dimension to studying the rainforest. A tropical thunderstorm is a particularly good ice-breaking activity or the end to a day of rainforest activities. There is a wide selection of environmental-type tape recordings on the market today that you may wish to purchase, but the following activity is a way that you and your students can create your own indoor thunderstorm.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain constantly in the rain forest. Some tropical areas have distinct wet and dry seasons, while in others rainfall is more even year round.

Rainstorms often follow a daily pattern. After the cool hours of early dawn, the air starts to heat up rapidly. Thunderstorms grow during the heat of late afternoon.

When the storm breaks, very heavy rains drench the landscape. A few minutes later, the sun may be shining brightly.

Have students sit cross-legged in a circle or semi-circle. Have them imagine that the air is becoming quite humid and still. Start by quietly rubbing your palms together, making a soft rustling sound. Begin on one side of the group, make eye contact with the students one by one, and have them imitate the action. When everyone is rubbing his or her palms, begin snapping your fingers. Again, begin at one side of the group, cueing people into action one by one. Have the action sweep over the group in a wave. Follow finger snapping by patting your hands on your legs and finally by stamping your feet.

As the storm subsides go through the first three steps in reverse order, patting legs, snapping fingers, rubbing palms. Emphasize that it is now quite cool and that the storm you just created is part of a daily cycle in many forests.

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