One of the most important jobs we have as music teachers is to teach our students to develop a strong sense of rhythm in music. When teaching rhythm in music, it’s not enough to repeat a single rhythm exercise. Repetition is key, but it needs to be the right type of repetition that allows your students to explore and enhance their ability to recognize varying rhythms in music.

Below you will find a variety of music activities that can be used with your elementary and middle school students to master rhythm, while having some fun along the way. 

1. Roll a Rhythm

Check out this rhythm reading dice game.

This music activity includes eight different Roll-A-Rhythm cards, and can be used for multiple grade levels. A variety of rhythms and note durations are included, such as:

  • quarter notes and rests
  • half notes and rests
  • whole notes and rests
  • eighth notes
  • sixteenth notes
  • dotted quarter notes and rests
  • dotted half notes and rests


How to Play

Give students 1 of the 8 Roll-A-Rhythm game cards. Each player rolls two dice and must match the number on the dice with the number for each box on the card. The player will clap the rhythm in the box, and if the rhythm is clapped correctly, they get a point.

An image of the roll a rhythm activity

2. I Have, Who Has?

Check out this I Have, Who Has game bundle
With 28 cards in each game, this activity is a super collaborative way to engage a whole class of learners whether in person or through virtual learning.
How to Play
Give each student a card and give them a  minute to clap and hear the rhythms on their card. Have one student start (or have the teacher start). Say ‘I Have’ and clap the top rhythm. Then say ‘Who has’ and clap the bottom rhythm. Whoever has the bottom rhythm responds next in the same way. Once you have gone through all the cards in the loop, shuffle them and play again! 
Image of I Have, Who Has? activity

3. Compose a Rhythm

Check out this Rhythm Composing Worksheet freebie.

Get your music students composing with this printable worksheet. Improve your students ability to compose rhythms while strengthening the concept of beat and note duration. With two templates available, just print and go!


4. Add it Up

Create your own music dice and play this simple Add it Up game. Here’s how you can create your own music dice:

Get some blank wooden cubes (I got mine from Dollarama, but you can get them on Amazon too) and draw musical symbols on them with a black Sharpie marker.

Tip: Use different colour dice to differentiate between grades. For example, my orange dice are geared towards grade 1 and 2 students, and the yellow dice are better suited for my grade 3 students. 

How to Play

Each student rolls the music dice for each note they get, and records the number of beats on a piece of paper. Students continue adding up note values, and the first student to 20 points wins.

An image of dice with musical notes

5. Rhythm Popsicle Sticks 

Create your own rhythm popsicle sticks by drawing different rhythms on each one, and try this fun game with your students. 

How to Play

Get your students to work in pairs. Then get each student to pull out a popsicle stick. Each student will clap and say the rhythm to their partner.

An image of popsicle sticks with musical notes

For more music teaching ideas and activities like these, make sure you are following me @teachfromthestage on Instagram!

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