Sanity Savers: 12 Drummers Drumming Activity

Written by Jacalyn Slingerland
Lead Play to Learn Facilitator

Download a printable PDF version here.


  • A piece of craft foam
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • A recycled, clean cylinder plastic container (such as a coffee can)


Art, Music, Literacy VA: CR 1.2. 1,2,3a

DEVELOPMENT SUBJECT AREAS: Fine Motor Skills Gross Motor Skills

• Stickers • Ribbon • Glue


10 minutes

This lesson allows your child to create a working drum! They will be able to create their own rhythm or drum along to a song.

“On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 drummers drumming”. You can be a drummer too! Once you build your drum, can you drum along to the 12 days of Christmas? Can you make up your own rhythm? After decorating your drum, you may also write a wish list to Santa; or a thank you note. Is there anything special that you wish for? What are you thankful for this holiday season?

The 12 Days of Christmas was published in England in 1780 without music. It was instead a rhyme or a chant. The “12 days of Christmas” began on December 25th and would end January 5th.


STEP 1 Take your piece of craft foam and place it over your coffee can or similar object.
STEP 2 The foam should fall over your can by a few inches.
STEP 3 If your foam is too long, trim it. I’m making mine into a decorative shape.
STEP 4 Secure the foam top with glue, and ribbon.

STEP 5 Decorate your drum with stickers and/or by using markers.

STEP 6 Your drum is finished! Time to drum!


RHYTHM: A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

CUMULATIVE SONG: A song with a simple verse structure modified by progressive addition so that each verse is longer than the verse before.

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