Drum Play with Hands & Mallets

Sukey, Kids, and a Drum!Drum play is inherently a magical activity and seems to attract children young and old. Drum play creates an invitation to touch that allows children to explore sounds and rhythm all on their own. With a little guidance, drums are wonderfully responsive instruments for play and learning, and are very versatile particularly for little hands.

I offer drum activities in my mommy & me and preschool PlayMove&Sing classes, and I include a variety of drum play options for children to try.  Children find drumming exciting and satisfying, and I believe it’s in part because they’re able to impact directly on their environment, and receive immediate feedback with instant response.

I invite children while seated to:

  • Pat the drum with two hands
  • Rub the drum in circular motions with one hand
  • Scratch the drum with finger tips
  • Tap on the drum with pointer fingers
  • Pat the drum with hands alternating R/L

And while standing to:

  • Pat the drum while marching in place
  • Pat the drum while marching around the room

Then seated with mallet to:

  • Tap the drum with one mallet (or two, one in each hand)
  • Circle the mallet(s) around the top of the drum in circular motion
  • Tap the drum with mallet(s) alternating R/L
  • Turn drum on its side and tap the top with mallet(s)
  • With drum on its side, tap the side(s) of the drum with mallet(s)
  • Stand and tap drum on sides or top with mallet(s)
  • March in place, then march around room tapping side or top of drum

The song melodies I use are taken from Ten Little Indians and Skip to M’Lou. I’ve recorded them as Pat the Ball and Rocking in My Rocking Chair on my CD’s. You’ll simply need to modify the traditional lyrics to direct the drum activity. It’s fun to try! (See lyric recommendations below).

Here’s video clip of a PlayMove&Sing class in Nyack, NY and we’re drumming away. Join us!

To the tune of Skip to M’Lou

If I had a drum, what would I do?

What would I do what would I do?

If I had a drum, what would I do?

This is what I would do, do, do.

I would tap and tap and tap on the drum,

Tap and tap and tap on the drum,

Tap and tap and tap on the drum,

That is what I would do, do, do.

…and so on!


To the tune of Ten Little Indians

One little, two little, three little children,

Four little, five little, six little children,

Seven little, eight little, nine little children,

Ten little children go pat, pat, pat.

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat the drum today.

…and so on!