I almost didn’t print this new game, not because it is embarrassingly simple since that has never stopped me before. No, the problem is that in the easy version, the player who goes first always wins. But then I remembered that the reason we play these games is to reinforce music theory in a hands-on way, not to learn a life lesson. 🙂
Besides, as I played it with my younger students, I didn’t tell them and they didn’t notice. If they did, it didn’t bother them because I always let them go first anyway.
When I played the harder version with my older students, we usually tied, and that is fine, too.
I also want to share how I made the printed dominoes strong and sturdy so they will last a long time.
So here is my version of Rhythm Dominoes, a simple way to reinforce or even teach, rhythmic values in 4/4 meter.
- Page one is for early elementary and the second page is for late elementary.
- White card stock
- Two different colors of colored card stock
- Glue Stick (I used Elmer’s Xtreme®)
- Strong scissors
- Optional: Laminating film
- Use sturdy card stock to print the page you plan to use.
- Spread glue on the entire back of the printable. I used a liberal amount of glue stick. Do not leave any spots glue-free.
- Carefully glue the printed page to a blank sheet of colored card stock.
- Laminate the pages that are glued together and cut out the dominoes.
- Repeat with the second level of the printed page, using a different color of card stock to help you keep the levels separate.
- If you want to use this in group lessons, consider printing 2 pages of each level.
- Mix up the dominoes and divide them between the players.
- The youngest player goes first and places a double domino on the table.
- The second player places a matching domino next to the domino on the table, connecting the two. Players may match with a note, number, or rhythm pattern.
- Two numbers (inside the colored circles) cannot be matched together.
- If a player doesn’t have a match, he/she skips a turn.
- Continue taking turns placing dominoes on the table, snaking them around the table.
- The first player to run out of dominoes is the winner. If neither player has a match, the player with the fewest remaining dominoes is the winner.
- You can certainly make up your own rules to this game. Variations include passing out 5 dominoes to each player and putting the remainder in a pile to draw if the player does not have a match.
- Students will learn to quickly identify rhythm patterns and notes of equal value in 4/4 meter.
- Students will match rhythmic note values in 4/4 meter.
This is a remake of a very old game because I wanted to add a page of 6/8 rhythms and also update the art. This is a very fast activity with very simple instructions and good for older students.
There are 3 pages in this PDF. The cards have one beat missing in a measure and students have to identify the missing note.
Have you ever had an adult tell you they took music for years and never learned how to figure out rhythms? This happens not only to students who take performing classes such as band and choir, but also students in private lessons. Many times we think our students can count when actually they are just really good at learning rhythm by ear. This game will identify students who need some extra help.
One of the cards in 4/4 time is missing a dotted quarter note. I’m just letting you know so you can pull that card if you wish. Or you can do what I do; just go ahead and tell them a dotted quarter plus eighth equals a half note. Later on you can teach it in detail. Sometimes we hold our students back because they have not progressed to a certain page in a method book.
- To review 4/4 meter
- To review 6/8 meter
- To reinforce counting rhythm
- Shamrock Rhythms game board, printed on card stock
- Rhythm cards printed on perforated business card paper or card stock
- Place the cards upside down near the game board. The student will draw a card and place it on the note or notes that are missing in the measure.
- If a quarter note is missing from a measure in 4/4 time, students may put it on either 2 eights or the quarter note.
- Use your phone clock and time the student.
- Print more game boards and cards and use at a group lesson.
- Use as a file folder activity.
- Hand draw extra cards.
Autumn Rhythms Tic Tac Toe
Today I am posting a seasonal game to review note values such as dotted quarter notes and eighth notes. I included stems going up and down to help students become familiar with that.
This game is played like Tic Tac Toe using bingo chips. It is for two players, but it is easily modified for more students and played like Bingo.
Regular readers will notice this is similar to the Bats and Cats Rhythm Game. However, I remade the small cards to include more patterns and I changed the levels some. Now I need a year round theme so I’m taking suggestions!
There are two levels included. The second level is a great game to reinforce dotted quarter notes. Some children don’t know how to add fractions, so adding 1 1/2 + 1/2 is too much for them. Of course we all have those students who seem to understand anything related to math without the teacher having to explain it! They like this game, too.
There are 5 pages in this PDF document: a game board, 2 levels of cards to cut out, and the backs for each level.
I advise printing the backs to the small cards to help you quickly distinguish the levels for fast set-up.
- To quickly add beats in rhythm patterns
- Bingo tokens, a different color for each player. [Suggestions for tokens include inexpensive colored erasers or pieces of cut out construction paper. Colored bingo chips are available online. ]
- One game board for two players. If playing in groups, 1 card for each player.
- Calling cards with the appropriate level for the student.
- Print the game board on card stock or photo paper and laminate, if desired.
- Print one page of the calling cards. Turn the page over and print the “back” of the calling cards. Check out my FAQ for hints on how to do it.
- Cut the calling cards along the dotted lines. Place in a stack face down.
- The calling cards contain notes and/or rests worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 beats (in 4/4 time.) The game board has squares with one note or rest worth 1, 2, 3. or 4 beats.
- Player one draws a calling cards and counts the notes/rest value. He places a bingo chip on a square with that note value.
- This is repeated by the second player, with a different colored bingo chip.
- Play continues in this manner until a player has a chip on 3 squares in a row in any direction, including diagonally, as if the players are playing Tic Tac Toe.
- An alternate way to play is to give each player a game board. Players take turns drawing a card and putting a bingo chip on the correct square. The object is to be the first player with all their squares covered.
- Note: If a player draws a card that has no note left with that rhythm value, he is not able to place a chip on the board and it becomes the next players turn.
Why I like it:
This is a simple game and it’s easy and fast to play. But it really works and you will see your students improve their ability to count rhythms and to quickly add them up. One teacher, Louise, who played the Halloween version, left this message a few years ago:
Thank you so much for this game, Susan. I have played it with my Grade 2 students and found that although they were hesitant at first, when adding up the dotted notes and the grouped semiquavers and quavers, after a couple of games they were seeing at a glance how many beats were in the groupings. Such a useful game. I may bring it out even when it isn’t Halloween!
Rhythm Race Game Board
Intermediate Rhythm Race Cards
Easy Rhythm Race Cards
(I reposted these files to include the “sentence” cards that I accidentally left off. You will need to reload the page to see the new files.)
Rhythm Race is a quick game for 2 or more players. I made the game for students who are learning to count more difficult rhythms, such as dotted eighth notes and triplets. Students count the rhythms on their card, and then move to a note on the game board that equals that value. After my intermediate students played Rhythm Race, I noticed they were noticeably improved in their ability to count difficult rhythms.
I designed this game for older students, but when some of my younger ones saw it, they wanted a version, too!
The cards are designed for a business card template, but you can use card stock and cut them out. I found a good deal on photo paper at a discount store, so I laminated that for the game board, and it really pops out the colors.
Print only the front (the rhythm cards) for the level you need. Then reinsert the cards and print the back design, – the cards with checkered flags. I find it necessary to have the backs of each level a different color so I can quickly get the correct cards ready for a student.
If you are playing with different ages in a group lesson, students can draw from their theory level and still play together.
- To review rhythms, including dotted eighth notes and sixteenths notes
- Grades 1-7, using the appropriate level cards
Number of Players
- Two or more players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in a group lesson
- Game board and rhythm card printables
- A small token for each player
- Print the game board. Print the cards on one side and then Mui and print on the back of the cards. Separate or cut the cards.
- Mix the cards up so that the sentence cards are mixed evenly with the rhythm cards.
- Each player puts their token on “start”. The first player draws a card and counts the rhythm. Moving clockwise, the student moves his/her token to the first note on the board with the same value as their card.
- Decide how many “laps” are need to win. One lap takes about 5 minutes. Remove some of the penalty cards to speed up the game.
- Players take turns drawing cards and moving their token on the board.
- If all the cards are used, shuffle and keep playing.
- The first player to pass “start” is the winner.
Why I Like This Game
- It doesn’t take much lesson time.
- When I play this game with students, I discover right away what they know and what they need work on. So it is like a worksheet or achievement test, only a lot more fun!