Recently I was heading to my back yard with a 5-year-old friend, and she dropped a ball, which then bounced down the steps to the lawn. She looked at me and without missing a beat, she said, in perfect rhythm:
What’s that bouncing down the deck?
A ball, a ball!
Oh, what the heck.
It made me laugh, so I replied:
What’s that bouncing off the tree?
It’s coming after me.
That was the start of our rhyming game. For probably twenty verses we invented rhymes about balls bouncing off things around us or things we just imagined. They were not wonderful poetry, but they were rhythmical.
What’s that bouncing off the dog?
It’s a ball.
It’s not a frog.
What’s that bouncing off the plants?
It’s a ball
That squashed the ants.
I could go on! Afterwards, I remarked to my friend’s mother that she could be a budding rapper. After all, couldn’t this be the very beginning of freestyle rap? It made me wonder if there were resources online to help children learn to construct rap-style verse.
The first site I found was perfect for young children who are learning what it means to have a beat and speak in rhythm. British poet Simon Mole has a Learn to Rap video to help you get started.
For young people who are just a bit older, this website has 6 Steps for Kids to Start Creating Rap Music. It includes some examples of kid made videos to inspire you. Finally, for a step-by-stop option, particularly for middle or high school students (unfortunately with embedded ads) take a look at How to Write A Rap: Your First Verse in Under 11 Minutes by rap coach Drew Morisey It has content that would warm the heart of any English teacher, including writing in first person, placement of rhymes, etc., and was clear enough to almost inspire me to give it a try despite my complete naivety about hip-hop. The video has watchers stop the video to complete each step—what a perfect summer afternoon challenge. Maybe someone you know will want to give it a try! If so, I’d love to hear about it.