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We've Got the Beat

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

This week we are exploring drums and rhythm with three books paired with lots of interactive activities! We will also have an awesome drum circle and finish with a make-your-own tupperware drum craft.

Note: Two of our books are about rain, so these suggestions can also work with a rain storytime. Otherwise, just talk to the kids about how we can hear beats all around us in our day-to-day lives.

Quick Suggestion: Storytime Bucket


Problem: Attendance for scheduled storytime has been odd this summer because we no longer have a regular class that comes. So, we have had anywhere from 0 to 46 for our storytime attendance.

Solution: To reach more kids and advertise storytime, I put all of our things together in a bucket and set it out on the front desk. This has already attracted the attention of a group of teenagers who decided to do some of the activities, but it will also come in handy for the camp that comes in sporadically throughout the week. When they come, myself, a coworker, or one of the camp staff can simply grab the bucket and do an on-the-fly storytime.

Brilliant Books With Beat!


I Make Music (Eloise Greenfield)

This simple board book goes over different ways that you can make music (hint: you don't need a musical instrument.)

Before Questions: What musical instruments do you know?

What can you use to make music besides instruments?

Ex: Your hands, pots & pans, your feet, a ball

Make a beat by bouncing a ball or playing a pot.

Read-Along Activity: Have the kids mime the different instruments (trombone, piano, xylophone, drums) and make beats with the different body parts (thumbs, thighs, toes).

Rain Song (Lezlie Evans)

Before Questions: How do you stay dry when it rains?

What do you see when it storms? What do you hear?

Have the kids make different rain sounds.

Reading Note: Highlight the speed of the storm by starting slow, speeding up during the height of the storm, then slowing down as the storm diminishes. By the end, you should be reading slow and calmly to demonstrate the peaceful state after the storm.

Read-Along Activity: Have the kids make sound effects and mimic the motions. Read through once then read through again with the sound effects. If you have a storytime assistant, you can have them model the motions and make the sounds for the kids to repeat.


1. “Stomach grumbling” – hold stomachs and make grumble sound

2. “leaves swirling” – swirl hands around and make crunchy noises

3. “’Run, dear!’” – have the kids stomp their feet quickly.

4. “Thunder’s sounding” – clap your hands hard

5. “Rain decreasing” – wiggle your fingers down slowly, making pitter-patter sounds

Vocabulary words to review: While reading, review the following words as they come up.

1. Sighing – demonstrate a sigh, how might you feel when you sigh?

2. Flailing – flail your arms, when might someone flail?

3. Cymbals – show picture, video, or real example

4. Slicker – rain jacket, bring an example

5. Galoshes – rain boots (bring in a pair of rain boots)

6. Gutters – Show them a gutter outside and ask them if they know what they do. Demonstrate the sound of rain in the gutters by using a PVC pipe or video.

7. Refrain – When a line in a song repeats. Asks them for examples from songs they know.

Tap Tap Boom Boom (Elizabeth Bluemle)

Before: Explain that the refrain tap, tap, boom, boom will repeat throughout the book and every time you read it, you would like them to help you make noise. For each tap, have them pat a knee. For each boom, have them stomp a foot (or hit the ground with open palms).

Reading Note: You can also read this book like Rain Song, varying the speed of your reading based on the severity of the storm.

Optional: Hand out drums and/or drumsticks.

Read-Along Activity: Every time you read the refrain, have them tap and stomp along. You may need to remind them by performing the actions as you read or having an assistant do it.

Activity 2: Repeat the Beat/Poisonous Beat

Sit in a circle and have each kid make a beat (5 seconds are less) to have the other kids repeat. Poisonous beat: Play a beat to start off with. They cannot repeat the beat.

Challenge: None of the beats can be repeated.

Drum Along Activities


Stomp & Clap Along with “We Will Rock You”

Play the familiar song by Queen and invite the kids to keep the beat with you and sing the refrain (keep using this word). Play the song until at least the end of the first chorus.

Can You Repeat the Famous Beat?

Play clips of famous drum and bass beats and have the kids attempt to repeat it using their hands or drumsticks on the carpet, drum, or hard surface.

I made a video which contained a medley of popular songs. For each song, I showed a clip of the music video and had the kids listen, then I showed a video of a drummer playing and we tried to drum along. Surprisingly, there are a lot of kid drummers on YouTube so I used as many of those as I could find.

I ordered the songs from easy to hard, as follows:

1. The Go-Go's - We Got the Beat

2. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

3. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

4. Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight

5. Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

6. The Knack - My Sharona

7. Outcast - So Fresh, So Clean

8. Rush - YYZ

Craft: Make Tupperware Drums!



- Plastic containers

- Paint or paint markers

- Washi tape

- Stickers

- Sharpies

- Foam Sheets

- Optional: sand, beads, rice, bells, etc. to fill

Drumstick Materials (courtesy of some of our teens):

- Popsickle sticks

- Glue

- Cotton balls


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