Maracas are musical instruments with a bulb-like hollow end filled with beans. They have handles to shake and are typically used in traditional Mexican music. These shakers provide a unique sound children love to hear and play. Usually maracas provide a rhythmic beat, but sometimes musicians use them for colorful accent sounds. Whether in school or at home, these unique instruments make learning music and understanding rhythm fun for children young and old. There are several games parents and teachers can play with kids using maracas.
Children love to actively play and interact with their environment. Music and dance engage the mind and body. Parents or teachers can make a playlist of contrasting songs. For example, slow lullabies, conga music, love songs and rock song samples can play side by side. Have children shake their maracas depending on the mood of the song. This teaches them to listen and analyze music. Rock music, for example, might have the children play their maracas fast and loud. A lullaby, on the other hand, could require soft, slow instrumentation.
Incorporate a story with maraca play, suggests Disney Family Fun. Find a favorite book with at least as many characters as children. Then each child gets a set of maracas and a character's name. Each time their particular character's name is said during the book reading, they shake their maracas as loud as they can. This is a fun way to teach listening skills.
If you have a larger group of people, a fun game with maracas is a dance routine contest. Break everyone up into equal teams and give them each 10 to 15 minutes to come up with a routine involving both dance and maracas. Shaking behind the back and between the legs are easy, fun ways to engage young children. The team with the most unique routine wins.
- a pair of maracas image by Wayne Abraham from Fotolia.com