Rhythm Play with Stix & Wooden Spoons

Each of us has a natural inner rhythm that corresponds to our own sense of personal expression. Young children thrive on connecting that personal sense of rhythm with physical action.

Offering fun objects to make sound with, and to create musical rhythmic patterns, gives valuable learning opportunities for exploration, rhythmic training, and eye-hand coordination. Tapping sticks and spoons together is both fun and instructive. Children love finding lots of ways to maneuver the sticks, and enjoy the freedom to experiment at their own pace while having physical fun.

Here’s a video clip of children (1 ½ – 3 yrs) in a PlayMove&Sing class with me in Nyack, NY. We’re singing If I Had Hands and tapping away. Click here to watch.

To join in the fun, place multiple pairs of wooden “stix” (or spoons) in a basket, pass them out, and watch the fun begin. When adding music, the rhythmic play event takes on a life of its own. Children can be invited to:

  • tap the stix together
  • tap them on the floor
  • tap high in the air
  • tap gently on the knees
  • tap gently on the nose
  • tap while marching
  • tap while dancing
  • tap behind the back, and so on

The song featured here, If I Had Hands, is based on the traditional tune “Skip to M’Lou”, and the lyrics have been changed up to create rhythmic training.

Click here to listen to song If I Had Hands – audio

Click here to download the song lyrics from I Like to Sing CD

To make your own rhythm stix:

  • begin with wooden dowels (3 ft, 6 ft, or 12 ft lengths)
  • cut the dowels down into 6 or 7 inch pieces
  • sand the ends of each stick
  • paint them (or leave them natural wood)
  • finish by covering them with a clear, child friendly, non-toxic coating


To make rhythm spoons, purchase plain, inexpensive wooden kitchen spoons, cut the handles down to 4 inches (6 or 7 inch total length with spoon end), paint them (or leave them natural wood), and coat them with a clear, non-toxic finish.