Fire Safety Rhythm Sticks


It’s fire safety month, and I have been inspired by this important topic to come up with a musical activity to both promote fire safety in the home and to teach a great Top 10 musical activity.  This week’s lesson will involve rhythm sticks.  

You will need a good pair of sticks for this activity.  To view them on for purchase, click HERE and you will be connected to the Amazon site.

This activity is intended for children who are 5-years-old (late Pre-K children are fine) through 3rd grade.  It will involve beginning musical notation reading, so I would not try it with younger children.  It will also ingrain the numbers 9-1-1 into each child’s brain, and hopefully, those numbers will stick while they are learning an important musical concept at the same time.

To begin the activity, show your child a picture of a quarter note:  

— Explain to you child that the quarter note = 1 beat.  Therefore, every time they read a quarter note, your child should hit their rhythm sticks together one time.

— Also explain to your child that a quarter rest = 1 beat, as well.  Only, when they see a quarter rest (see picture below), they should not hit their sticks together.  Instead, they should rest their sticks for 1 beat.

The quarter rest:

— Next, talk to your children about the significance of the numbers 9-1-1.  Explain that these are the numbers to dial when there is an emergency and there is no grown up around to help.  You dial these numbers on the phone when you need the police, an ambulance or the fire department.  Show them the numbers on the telephone.

— The following pictures illustrate one way the numbers 9-1-1 could be notated musically.  Ask your child to hit the rhythm sticks together as you point to each note and count out the numbers.  At the rest, your child should not hit the sticks together.  Instead, they should rest them by pausing for 1 beat.


(1 -2 -3-4)



(9 – REST – 1 -1)

–Repeat the activity over and over again until your child can count and play the quarter notes on their own and can recite the numbers 9-1-1 to you by rote.

To continue this activity one step further, I highly recommend the book “Born to Wear Blue” by Tucson, AZ author and philanthropist, Patty Vallance.  All proceeds for this book benefit the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, and the story, as well, is about fire safety.  The book keeps an excellent rhythm, so as you read the story to your child, they can be playing a 4-count quarter note rhythm along with you.  Click HERE to go to the “Born to Wear Blue’s” website for more information about the book and to purchase it.

To learn more about helping kids learn the numbers 9-1-1, there is a great website called  I was impressed with all of the non-musical activities and lessons they have for kids on this site to help teach all about the services 911 provides.  It is a great site to explore especially during this fire safety month, so go check it out!  You can click HERE to get to 911 For Kids.

Thank you so much for coming to visit The Tucson Songstress site, too, for this week’s Top 10 musical activity.  For a complete list of all of my Top 10 musical instruments under $40 that will help to promote music education in the home and to learn more about Top 10 Tuesdays, click HERE.  Together, we can help kids learn some music in a time where music education is one of the first budget line items cut in the public schools systems.  I hope to see you back here every Tuesday for some great musical fun!  Have a great Tuesday!


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