Last spring, I bought some pipe cleaners for our school’s “Celebrate the Arts Night”. In order to get the amount I needed, I ended up buying a whole bundle full of crafty stuff. Along with the pipe cleaners, came several packages of these:

I figured I would make use of them somehow, and as I was packing up boxes for our upcoming move, an idea struck me. I took the large-sized puffballs, some *garden-variety glue*, and added googly eyes to make this:

They’re cute, in a creepy sort of way.

*Edit: You cannot use garden-variety glue. Hot glue is necessary for the googly eyes to stay attached. Thanks to Tina from The Totally-Tuned-In Teacher for figuring this out!*

The puffballs serve as the beat, and the googly eyes are the number of sounds on the beat. I created only two types, just to give you an idea of what they look like. However, with the variety of sizes in the package, I could’ve easily made rhythm monsters that represented three or four sounds on a beat. I think this would be a great activity for rhythm review or a fun craft project for private lesson students.

I loved this project so much that I even created a slideshow and worksheets to go along with it. You can see them HERE.

What do you think? Can you imagine rhythm monsters making an appearance in your classroom? If so, please take a picture and leave it in the comments. I’d love to see your creations!

14 Responses

  1. I used "music monsters" in my classroom last year. I gave them to students that we're showing positive behavior (for kindergarten and first). This really helped with entering my room and hallway lines. I love the idea of using them for rhythm! My students LOVED them even though they are just puff balls and googley eyes! Great idea!!

  2. Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! It was a wonderful surprise 🙂 I love manipulatives and these are so cute. Let me know how your beat buddies go. My students love them, even up to 5th grade. Can't wait for the next TweetChat!

  3. I just can't thank you enough for this ADORABLE idea! I had so much fun making these little guys (my kitchen island turned into a puff-ball "eye-land!" hahahahaa! They're adorable and I can't wait to use them with my students when we go back to school. I can see composing short melody patterns with them as well…maybe making a two line staff or boxes for Sol-mi! So many great possibilities and it all starts with just a spark of inspiration….sooooooo…THANK YOU!!! 🙂 "Sing"-cerely, Tina Jones (a.k.a. The Totally "Tuned-in" Teacher)

    1. Thanks Tina! I hadn't thought of using them for melody, but it makes perfect sense. Gayle Haggen Dantone mentioned using them with Boomwhackers, and I thought that was a great idea too. Yours especially would work with the rainbow of colors you have 🙂

  4. Oh my gracious, these are so cute! I seriously want to run out to Michael's right now and grab some puff balls and googly eyes! I'll be presenting ta and titi to my firsties soon and I will definitely have making these be in the lesson plans. Thanks for sharing the great idea!

  5. When I came across your idea (posted on FB, maybe?), I made sure I picked up puff balls and googly eyes on my next stop at Hobby Lobby. My plan is to use them in my classroom next school year. However, I also teach piano lessons to a couple of girls. I decided today to use the "music monsters" (as someone called them) with my student for a composition lesson. Because she is a beginner, I limited her to an 8-beat rhythmic sentence. She arranged and rearranged her monsters, speaking and clapping the rhythms, until she settled on the one she liked best. Next I had her assign note names to the rhythms. Again, I limited her to using right hand only with notes C,D,E,F,and G. Once she had labeled the notes, we checked it out on the piano. Once she was happy with her song, she transcribed the melody to the staff. It was fabulous! What a great lesson! I sent her home with a new composition sheet and asked her to do one all by herself (with Mom's help, of course). I am so excited to see what she comes back with next week. AND I am even more excited about using these little monsters in my music room next school year, because I now my students can do this exact same thing! Thank you for sharing this idea!

    1. I LOVE how you modified this for your piano students! I've been doing some informal music lessons with my nephews, and I'm looking forward to the day when I make some rhythm monsters with them. Thank you for commenting and sharing your modifications with us!!

  6. I made them many moons ago but call them quiet critters! They don't have ears so we must be quiet and still so they can use our ears to hear. We work on being good listeners… No, they don't have mouths either but I try not to point that out until we talk about what we listened to.. And I tell them that quiet critters get upset when someone talks while they are listening and have to go back to bed.
    Now I have another way to use them!! Thank you!!

  7. I'm using these rhythm monsters today at my piano group lesson to help students practice rhythm dictation. Thanks for the fabulous idea! I'll be posting pictures next week at