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It was so close to winter break that I could almost feel it. But we weren’t there yet, and the kids were bouncing off of the walls. I needed something fun to keep my fourth graders engaged while still working on rhythm. That’s where the rhythm ornament relay race came in.
This easy holiday music game was the solution to all of my problems, and the kids had a blast. We’re going to play it every year now!
This rhythm holiday game is very simple, only requires a few materials, and can be used to practice any rhythm pattern you’re currently learning. It’s flexible enough to work with any grade level too, although I prefer playing it with the older students.
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Before the Holiday Ornament Rhythm Relay Race
First, you need to prep a few things. You’ll need:
- Pine tree cut outs. You can make these and laminate them, or give the students poster paper and have them draw their own (this is what I did).
- Ornament shaped rhythm cards. Any cards will work, but it’s much more fun if they are ornament shaped. You can get the 4 sets of rhythm ornaments (from quarter and eighth note to sixteenth notes) in my TPT shop, then just print and go! They come in color and black and white.
We were working on sixteenth notes with fourth grade, so that’s the set we used. They also come in color and black and white. I just did the black and white.
Optional: have students learn Oh Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree) before the game.
To play the holiday relay race:
- Spread the ornament rhythms along the floor on one end of the room.
- Split students into teams. Each team gets a tree.
- One person from each team lines up on the wall opposite from the ornaments.
- The class sings a verse from “Oh Tannenbaum” (optional)
- At the end of the song, the teacher reads off one of the ornaments.
- The representative from each team walks quickly across the room and tries to find the ornament that the teacher read.
- The first person to find the correct one wins the ornament for their team.
You can have students tape the ornaments or just set them on the tree.
The most ornaments at the end of the time wins!
Optional: Have students play their rhythms on instruments afterwards.
This is a simple game, but your upper elementary music students will love it!
Click here to grab the rhythm ornaments for the game (they also make great bulletin board sets).
Need more holiday lessons? Click here to see some of my favorites!