Tambourines are great instruments because they give instant feedback and are easy to use. This Fall, I taped different pictures of items we see during the season to the front of each tambourine. I used a fantastic new tape I found at our local teacher’s store, The Chalkboard, called Mavalus tape. It has awesome holding power, but comes off without destroying anything.  For individuals who may have visual impairments or who would benefit from a more textured surface, I placed felt stickers on top of the other pictures or on the tambourine surface.

You can use this set up to work on many different types of goals:  FullSizeRender-1

  • “Wh” questions – “What’s on your tambourine?” or “Whose tambourine has the red leaf?” You can sing songs with lyrics embedded with these questions, have clients play along to live or recorded music and then ask the question in a V-I progression at the end.
  • Impulse control – Use the song, “It’s So Hard to Wait”, to encourage waiting to play until cued.  Another idea, which can be difficult, is using the pictures on the tambourines to indicate who should play while the others wait.  Don’t forget to print out and use “wait” signs for visual cues if necessary!
  • Turn taking – Pass one of the tambourines around the circle until the music stops and/or pass all of the tambourines.  Then sing, “Who has the tambourine?” or “Who has the tambourine with the pumpkin?”.
  • For clients with more severe and profound needs: the visual pictures combines with the sound of the tambourine are a great way to work on eye gaze, encouraging hand or arm movement similar to working with a switch, and providing sensory input.
  • Change the pictures on the tambourines to correlate with goals, seasons, holidays, etc. For example, kids love looking at themselves, so place a photo of them on the tambourine for added motivation. This activity can be extended in a group setting to learn names and/or interests of peers.

These are just some ideas of fun activities you can do with your clients. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section!

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