Just Added: Rainy Rhythm Game

I’ve mentioned before that during grad school, I took an Early Childhood Music course.  One of the things we discussed was using the “sound before sight” philosophy – where the student is exposed to and experiences the concepts before being taught the name or the written notation.  I’ve been doing my best to use this philosophy of teaching music with my Piano Readiness students.

I was reminded of a raindrops & rainbows rhythm game one of my classmates created for an assignment during that course when I saw Anne Crosby’s recent post, which mentioned an activity involving finger-painting raindrops/rainbows.  It immediately occurred to me that the girls in my Piano Readiness Class would LOVE a game involving rainbows, so I put together this printable.  It’s nothing groundbreaking; I’m sure teachers before me have done similar things.  But hopefully this printable might be as useful and convenient for some of you as it was for me!


This game is intended for 1 or more young beginners students as a first introduction to the idea of rhythmic notation.  The raindrop flashcards represent the short note values and the rainbows represents the long note values.  (They can be half notes and quarter notes in your mind, or quarter notes and eighth notes; it really doesn’t matter.)  After the teacher claps/chants a rhythm, students clap/chant it back and then notate the rhythm on the floor using the raindrop and rainbow cards. Students may work alone, or in pairs/groups — just be sure to print enough cards for everyone!

My Piano Readiness students gasped in delight when they saw the colorful rainbow clip art on the cards!  Lamentably, most of my Printables are usually black and white (partly because I don’t own a color printer, but also because I don’t have any experience with creating my own vector clip art).  I’m proud to say that today, I DO have a colorful printable to share!  I found the clip art on a couple of public domain clip art sites, so they are legal to use here.

Below are the full instructions.  It’s all explained on a card included in the printable, too, for convenience.  To download this printable, visit the Printables > Games page and scroll down to the R’s to find the RAINY RHYTHM GAME.  Enjoy!

Rainy Rhythm Game: a music game for 1 or more players


  • Print the Rainy Rhythm Game pdf.  The second page should be printed at least 3 or 4 times.
  • Cut out each card on the dotted lines, leaving about a half-inch margin around each box.


  • Clap a short rhythm to the student(s) that involves only two different kinds of note values (choices are: either quarter and half notes; or, eighth notes and quarter notes).  Repeat if needed.
  • Note: with young students, you may wish to chant something like, “Drip, drip, rain-bow,” as you clap.
  • Ask the student(s) to clap it back.
  • Ask the student(s) to notate the rhythm they heard using the raindrop and the rainbow cards.  Students may work alone or in pairs/groups, depending on how you wish to divide them up.  (Just be sure to print enough cards for everyone.)
  • After a minute or two, check the student(s) work and correct if needed.  If desired, you can make it a competition by awarding points for correct answers or for the fastest correct answer.  Continue gameplay as long as desired.  If desired, you can ask students to take turns being the “clapper” and come up with rhythms for the group to notate.
UPDATE: Check out my friend Loretta’s seasonal twist on this activity!
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in northwest Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1131 posts here.

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This entry was posted in beginners / elementary Level, games, games, group classes, music camps, other resources, Preschool / Early Childhood Music, printables, private lessons, rhythm and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted 22 September 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    This is too cute! I hear where you’re coming from on the color printables. I don’t have a color printer either – that’s still on my studio wish list!

  2. Posted 22 September 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the nod to my post on first lesson activities, Joy. Glad to hear your drips and rainbows were a success! My Drip and Rainbow finger painting idea came from the Music Discoveries program, here’s the link along with a printable that includes the High, Middle and Low cards too: http://pianodiscoveries.ca/MusicDiscoveries/page01content.html. Happy teaching!

  3. Posted 23 September 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    It would be fun to see what other sort of colorful cards you could make … perhaps a clear blue sky for ‘rests’ and lightning for ‘accents’ or clouds for ‘whole notes’

    It’s so colorful, I’m sure young students would just love playing with them!

    I really need to check out the rest of your site … so many links!

    • Posted 30 September 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I chose raindrops and rainbows because the images themselves naturally lend themselves very well to short rhythmic values and long rhythmic values. Drips are vertical and quick. Rainbows are horizontal and long. Even chanting the words “drip” and “rainbow” while clapping the rhythms works very well.

      But the sky is the limit (pun intended) — so feel free to modify the activity in any way you choose, using lightning or clouds or whatever you wish with your students.

  4. Posted 25 September 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I love it Joy! My five year olds will also see this soon!

  5. Liz
    Posted 1 October 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Your website is AMAZING! Thank you so much, I’m using it now as a constant resource!

  6. Posted 3 February 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I am just starting out and only have a few students but this game has been fun! I have a student that doesn’t like to count beats but she will now count “drip” and “rainbow” because of this game- helping her rhythm so much!! I also did this with my 4 year old daughter and it was a huge hit!

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