Rhythm is an important concept for many activities and children need lots of rhythmic experiences for math, language, memory, kindergarten readiness, and more. So much of our bodies have a built-in rhythm, such as breathing, heart beat, walking, day-night cycles and others, that adults do not realize that children need to develop an understanding of rhythm. Music is certainly one way to help children learn about rhythm and so is playing at the playground.
One of children’s favorite activities is to swing. Whether kids are small enough for the baby seats or big enough for the regular ones, they all like the back and forth, back and forth, fast or slow, motion of the swing. This is a rhythm. No matter if the swing is going low or high, there is a simple pattern. Tetter-totters or see-saws, although there are not many left on playgrounds, also have this same rhythm, this time by an up and down motion, instead of back and forth.
Some playgrounds have riding equipment such as dragons, ducks, tractors, horses or more . Again, to make these pieces work, there needs to be a rhythmic motion, this time not just felt, but created by the child. Walking, running, jumping, climbing, and hopping are a few other activities that will be based on a rhythm. Sometimes, there will be drums or other noise-making instruments on a playground for more rhythmic actions and to stimulate the creating of different kinds of rhythmic patterns.
The pattern created by rhythm helps learning and memory. Language and math have more complicated rhythms than these simple ones on the playground. Nature also has a rhythm with day-night and seasons. Playing in the playground and having fun will provide your child with some full-body experiences based on rhythm. Can you and your child swing by a playground today?