When you repeat a sequence, mathematically speaking it is called a pattern. Drumming is a natural way to teach children repeated patterns.

In this Play Invitation, we keep it simple by using a pattern of fast and slow beats. Children can develop listening skills like auditory discrimination, motor skills like coordination of hearing with eye-hand responses, a sense of rhythm, and regulation of emotions.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about movement, speed and velocity;
  • Children are excited about running and racing;
  • Children have been exploring rhythmic games, songs and poems.

Materials Needed

  • Crayons in a variety of colors
  • Construction paper or large bulletin board paper
  • A drum (or bucket to use as a drum)

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Set the paper on the floor.
  2. Organize the children in pairs.

How to Create the Marks

  1. Invite one child to play a drum beat while the other children make marks.

Fast drumming – fast mark making.
Slow drumming – slow mark making.

2. When the drumming stops, the mark making stops.

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to dwell in mark making as long as they need, before being introduced to formal writing. As mark making is the precursor to writing, this time allows for important development of the fine motor skills needed to write. It is not in the best interest of the child to introduce formal writing of letters before they have the physical capacity to do so. Give children space and time.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Recognize patterns and become aware of time, rhythm, and sequence.
  • PHYSICAL: Strengthen upper body control, fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, and arm movement, and increase eye-hand coordination.
  • SOCIAL: Develop listening skills and impulse control.


Play a game of moving the body to the beat of the drum. One child plays the drum and the rest of the group moves around, claps their hands, and makes silly moves. When the drum stops, everyone freezes in position.

Book Recommendations

Purchase book here.

Sweet story about Pokko who receives a drum and her parents quickly regret it.

Purchase book here.

An amazing book about a boy who finds two sticks and begins tapping out a rhythm for everything he sees.

Purchase book here.

A tiger discovers friendship when he finds a drum.