Rhythm Bug Circle
The Let's Play Music method of introducing rhythms with bugs my favorite. It makes learning the more difficult eighth and sixteenth patterns seem like a cinch because the bug analogy provides both a visual and auditory memory aid.
As a parent of a Let's Play Music student and as a Connections teacher I have been amazed at how very young students really get a firm grasp on rhythm relationships.
For this group lesson game I used the Let's Play Music rhythm cards and had students sit in a circle of five and each selected a rhythm bug card equivalent to 1 beat (no Slugs allowed!). They clapped and chanted their rhythm 3x and then "tagged" another person's rhythm to clap and pass the beat to. (Bug, Bug, Bug, Grasshopper - Grasshopper, Grasshopper, Grasshopper, Beetle - etc.). After they were comfortable with the sounds of the "bugs" we flipped the cards and reviewed the traditional rhythm symbols & their names. I love how this combines the Sound-Feel-Sign-Name learning sequence all into one short activity.
At Halloween time I like to do a similar Rhythm Circle Game but instead I use some of the Candy Bar Rhythm Cards from Layton Music that have the same number of beats in a measure. With these longer patterns, students have to repeat their measure 3 times before clapping out another person's candy bar rhythm.