Do you have memories of playing hand clap games as a child? I remember singing the rhymes on the playground and in my spare time with friends.
Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back
Now it’s my privilege to introduce them to my children. My girls and I have spent hours clapping, singing, and laughing together. I have introduced them to many of the rhymes. Sometimes they learn a new one from a friend or cousin and teach it to me. Regardless of who is teaching whom, there are a lot of great reasons to teach hand clap games to your children. Here are my favorite 20 reasons.
20 Reasons I Love Hand Clap Games
Develops hand-eye coordination
Hand clapping games require children to observe their hand movement and that of their partner’s, thus improving their hand-eye coordination.
Allows their eyes to practice tracking
When playing hand clapping games, children’s eyes are continually moving to follow their hands. You can read more about how hand clapping games improved my daughter’s reading ability.
Provides opportunities to cross the midline
Some hand clapping games require children to cross the midline while other games have them bring their hands together at midline.
Develops bilateral coordination
Hand clapping games utilize a variety of motions that enhance all three types of bilateral coordination (performing the same activity with both sides of the body as in pushing a rolling pin, performing alternating movements such as skipping, or performing a different movement with each side of the body such as holding a sheet of paper and cutting it with scissors).
Provides practice in motor planning
The repetitive nature of hand clapping games provides practice in motor planning.
Encourages rhythm and beat awareness
Hand clapping games often are performed to a specific rhythm and beat and provide a wonderful opportunity for practicing this skill.
Provides practice with sequencing and patterning
Many hand clapping games involve a rhyme that follows a sequence and pattern such as Miss Mary Mack got dressed, then asked for fifty cents, then saw the elephants jump high, etc.
Develops spatial skills
Clapping games allow children to improve their spatial skills as they learn their part and interact with their partner.
Provides an opportunity to practice self-control
Hand clap games allow children to improve their self-control as they make their hands follow specific clapping patterns, stop clapping in the middle of the rhyme, and change speed during the game.
Is an unstructured play activity
Teaching children hand clapping games provides a self-sufficient tool to utilize spontaneously with friends at any time.
Promotes cooperation and communication
Many games are designed as a competition. Very few exist to encourage cooperative efforts. Hand clapping games not only encourage, but require cooperation to master the rhythm and beat in unison. They also provide an opportunity for children to teach a new skill to others.
Promotes patience and perseverance
When children play hand clapping games, one partner is usually faster than the other. This provides the faster child an opportunity to practice being patient as the slower child improves his speed and ability. On the flip side, it provides the slower child an opportunity to persevere as he works to improve.
Encourages making eye contact
Playing hand clapping games can provide opportunities to practice making eye contact with a friend in a fun and non-threatening situation.
Enhances auditory Development
Memorizing and saying the rhyme, hearing the beat, matching the clap to the rhyme, and saying the rhyme in cadence with your partner all enhance auditory development.
Provides an opportunity to spend quality time together
It can be difficult for many adults, myself included, to sit down and “play” with children. Having a focused activity such as playing clapping games makes the play time easier for the adult.
Creates shared experiences
Have you heard the phrase, “Families that play together, stay together.”? Sharing laughter and fun creates a bond that can help you weather difficult times with your child.
Rewards children with a sense of accomplishment
Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you learn a new skill? After learning a new hand clapping game, it is not uncommon for my daughter to shout, “I did it!”
Provides a brain break opportunity
Because a hand clapping game can be completed in just a few minutes, it is a good way to provide a break between lessons.
Creates generational memories
Clapping games tend to be passed down from generation to generation. Chances are you learned at least one hand clap game from an older cousin, a sibling, a parent, or a grandparent.
Finally, hand clapping games are just fun.
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