Playground Games With Clapping

Written by bryan cohen
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Playground Games With Clapping
Clapping can be the basis of fun interactive games. (applause image by Alexey Klementiev from

Children enjoy making noise, whether it is with their mouths, by hitting toys into other objects or, as soon as they can move their hands together and keep a beat, by clapping. Clapping can be an interactive exercise that helps children learn rhythm and music. Playground games related to clapping can also inject some fun energy into a long school day.

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Clapping Rhythm

Clapping to a rhythm accompanied with a rhyme is a traditional and popular clapping game. In this game, two kids create a rhythm together by clapping each others' hands. The rhythm accompanies a traditional rhyme that is spoken or sung. The kids start the rhythm slowly and then quickly accelerate the rhythm until the beat becomes too fast to handle. Clapping patterns can include right hand to right hand, left hand to left hand, both hands together or a combination. Popular rhymes used in this game include Miss Mary Mack, I Had a Little Puppy, and Short Legged Sailor.

Rhythm Machine

In this clapping game, one child begins a clapping rhythm of his choice. After the beat has been established, another child begins a completely different clapping rhythm. Slowly, all of the other kids likewise add their own clapping rhythms until the rhythm machine they have created is loud and crazy. The kids can select a conductor if they wish who will fade in some rhythms and fade out others to make the game a true rhythm symphony.

Pass the Clap

This clapping game involves a group of students who form a circle. One child starts the game by facing the child next to him in the circle and making eye contact. The two children then clap their own hands together. The person who has been clapped at then claps to the next person in line. If at any point a pair claps twice the clap goes back the other way. This game can be added to by passing different motions around the circle. For example, the kids can pass a bear around the circle by making a claw motion and growling at the same time as a partner. The speed of the game can increase until the kids can no longer handle it.

Clapping Song

This playground game is suited for students who enjoy music. One child starts by clapping whole notes (one clap for every four beats). Another child starts clapping half notes (two claps for every four beats) and a third child claps the crotchets (four claps for every four beats). Other kids can join in and clap eighth notes and sixteenth notes, if they are fast enough.

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