Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

This element is devoted to developing children’s beat competency. Put simply ‘beat competency’ means being competent at keeping a beat i.e. being able to clap along to a song on the beat. Research has shown that children who are able to identify and maintain a musical beat:

  • do considerably better in all academic subjects, particularly maths and literacy.
  • are more competent at fine motor skills, such as writing and cutting out. have more developed gross motor skills, such as running and skipping.

Children will listen to a typical piece of music from another country, with a distinctive beat, and either accompanies the beat with percussion instruments and hands, or children could stand and use their feet to stamp the rhythm. Children will be learning beat competency and will also become accustomed to a variety of different cultural styles and rhythms.

Equipment required

  • Around the world in rhythm music
  • Castanets, claves or other percussion instrument for each child if using.

Link to resources

How it works

If using a percussion instrument, distribute these to each child. Children will play along to 4 different pieces of music led by the class instructor.

What to do in the class

When the first piece of music is played, explain what country it is from and help the children to count the beats in the music and play along. Move onto the next piece of music once again explain which country the music comes from and also how it makes them feel. Once again lead the group into the rhythm counting and emphasising the beats with them. To make it interesting each week, vary the method you use to create the rhythm, for example use an instrument one week, then feet or hands the next. Or you can move around to the music or be seated depending on the mood of the class. You could even use a different method for each new piece of music.


Country Type of Music Seated Standing
Spanish Medium to fast with lots of castanets Use castanets to click the rhythm Combine stamps and claps to beat rhythm
Austrian Blue Danube 3/4 Clap time Sway from side to side for count of three, swing their arms
African Fast with lots of drums Drum on the floor Stamp really fast or beat knees
Great Britain 2/2 Medium tempo brass band march Clap March on spot swinging arms

Training Video

Around The World In Rhythm-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.