Here’s an update of an old favorite! This Build-A-Measure Rhythm Game isn’t original to me – I picked up this idea years ago and have used it with my students at many, many group lessons. It’s a fun, simple way for students to drill rhythm values, and practice counting and clapping rhythms.
Here’s how it’s played:
To start, each student will need a time signature card and a set of barline manipulatives (popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, etc.). Designate the number of measures you will use (this determines the length of the game), and ask students to lay out their barlines accordingly. Don’t forget the double bar at the end!
The deck of game cards should be shuffled and placed face-down in the middle of the players. The first player draws a card from the top of the deck and may place it in any measure. Players continue drawing cards one at a time and adding to their measures. The object of the game is to be the first player to complete all 4 measures.
If a player draws a card that he or she cannot use, it is discarded. Players may re-arrange the cards in their measures at any point in the game.
Each time a player completes a measure, he or she should clap and count the rhythm out loud for the group. Likewise, when a player completes all 4 measures, they should clap the entire rhythm.
You can download the game cards from the games resource page, or from the link at the bottom of this post. The game file includes instructions for play and suggestions for variations and other activities to do with the cards.
Note: This game may look familiar to many of you – I uploaded an earlier version of this last year that included only elementary rhythms. I updated the file this spring to include more difficult rhythms so I could use it with more advanced students. The full set now includes triplets, compound time and sixteenth notes. If you’ve previously downloaded this game, you’ll want to download the new file and expand your card collection!