The Drum is the King

By Activity Bank on Nov 27, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Judith E. Bevans and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, Volume 2, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Improved attention and listening skills are an important benefit of this activity, which also emphasizes learning to follow directions, starting and stopping at an appropriate signal, and improving auditory processing. Lessons include English Language Arts and Social Skills.


Drum and drumstick


  • Have the students stand in an open space.
  • The teacher gives the direction to walk when the drum says “walk” and stop when the drum says “stop.”
  • The teacher then plays walk beats on a drum and the students walk until the drumbeat stops.


  • Add verbal directions to walk and stop at first, but withdraw them as soon as possible so that the drum provides all auditory cues.
  • Use fast taps as the cue for running.
  • A tap on the rim provides a different sound, which can be a cue to walk backwards.

Hints: Observe the student’s normal walking pace to determine the appropriate tempo. Provide enough space to avoid bumping, or let the students take turns. Extra staff can be very helpful in this activity.

Additional songs: “Fast and Slow March” by Hap Palmer; “Pause” by Hap Palmer; “Teacher Who Couldn’t Talk” by Hap Palmer; and “We Sail and We Sail and We Stop!” by Esther L. Nelson