Kids Move & Learn… The Why’s & How’s
Are you looking for a way to give your students a movement break during the day but have limited options due to social distancing restrictions at school? Or are you doing home instruction with your kids and need a fun fitness alternative for your whole family?
Fitness Drumming may be your answer!
I have been taking DrumsAlive® and POUND®, two commercially available fitness drumming classes for adults, at my local wellness center for years. At the same time, I have been creating my own fitness drumming routines as an early childhood music and movement activity. The kids absolutely love it!
Today I will be sharing with you the why’s and how’s to create your own fitness drumming fun.
The Why’s of using fitness drumming as a learning tool include: enhances the development of auditory (listening) skills, gross and fine motor skills, sense of rhythm while maintaining a steady beat, body awareness, coordination, and following directions. In addition to being a good fitness option to promote heart health and whole body fitness, it may promote mental wellbeing by relief stress and give you and your child’s mental health a boost.
The How’s of using fitness drumming starts with gathering your materials and tapping into your creativity. To get started, you do not need a lot of fancy equipment. Basically, you need something to drum on (you can use an exercise ball inside a bucket, a bucket, a desk, or the ground) and something to drum with (drum sticks, heavy cardboard tubes, rhythm sticks/lummi sticks, pool noodles). Check out our YouTube video to see fitness drumming in action.
It’s most fun to drum along with music. Need fresh music options? Purchase the ABC’s of Movement Music CD or stream the album on your favorite music streaming platform.
Once you have made sure you have enough room for everyone to safely do their own fitness drumming, you are ready to begin!
Instructions For Young Children
When fitness drumming with young children, start out extremely basic and guide them through simple movements. Just by using one drum stick (whatever it may be) in each hand, they are enhancing their bilateral coordination, a foundational skills for early learners.
You may want to first teach the routine sitting in a circle where children receive ample visual, auditory, and motor feedback from each other.
Drumming downward using both sticks at the same time, drumming alternating their sticks, drumming to the sides, and drumming overhead can all be basic movements set to music.
For Older Kids..
More advance movements would include squatting, bending, twisting, crossing one stick over the other, and moving around the item you are drumming on.
To increase the experience, you can do free movements where everyone does their own drumming routines to the music. Or everyone can take turns leading the class or family in a routine.
Kids love fitness drumming and when I show up with my big bag of pool noodles cut in 1/3 pieces, they know they are in store for a fun, exciting whole-body active learning experience!
For similar active learning activities, check out our other blog posts!