Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about percussion instruments. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Percussion Instruments topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About Percussion Instruments

Class Percussion
Invite students to bring in their favorite music, or select different songs to play for the whole class. Then have children tap their feet, clap their hands, or tap their desks lightly with pencils to follow the beat. Explore different genres of music (including hip-hop, rock, and classical) and compare the beats. You may want to share West African, Indian, or Native American folk music to explore rhythms not typically found in modern Western music. Challenge students to drum the beat of each song.


Have students create their own percussion instruments. Encourage them to be creative. They may want to shake rocks in a can or fill glasses with water and tap them gently. They may want to clap together their shoes or strike a pencil against a ruler. Have students share their instruments with the whole class. Compare the pitches and volumes of their instruments. Then sing a song together and play the percussion instruments along to the beat!

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Percussion Instruments

Music Night

Each night for a month, listen to a different genre of music. You can scan the radio or stream music on the Internet. If possible, explore music from other cultures. Tap your feet along to the beat and compare the music. Which music seems happier and more exciting? Why? Have your child take notes and describe the music as he or she listens.


Explain to your child that some people have traditionally used drums to communicate information. For example, in West Africa, people have drummed messages and warnings to nearby communities. During the American Revolution, musicians drummed orders that could be heard over the battlefield. Together come up with a musical “language” to share. You may want to set up pots and pans to tap out messages that can be heard through your home. For example, you may want to create a drumbeat to signal dinnertime or a time to do homework. Be creative with the drumbeats!