Cardio Drumming Activity for Grades K-5 – “Baby Shark” Theme

Jennie Graves at MSA West Elementary School here with another one of my lessons I wanted to share. This time I wanted to let you know how awesome Cardio Drumming is for students. I teach kindergarten through fifth grade.

There are many different routines you can do with cardio drumming; however, “The Baby Shark Song” has been my students favorite. The fifth grade students even loved this routine as a warm-up. The routine did take a little longer to teach for my kindergarten and first grade students. I have included the lesson plan as well as the video of one of my kindergarten classes performing the routine.

You can print this lesson plan here.

Suggested Grade Level: K-5 (depending on students). My 5th graders used this as a warm-up and loved it.

Purpose: I will work on my rhythm while maintaining a steady beat. This basic routine will prepare me for more challenging ones in the future.


NOTE: For this activity, I purchased 17.5 inch exercise balls and used 10 gallon buckets that are about 18.5 inches wide. As an alternative, you can use a laundry basket OR purchase smaller exercise balls or beach balls and use smaller buckets.

I also used an electric inflator to pump up each of the balls. This high volume compressor was powerful enough and made it easy.

cardio drumming

Instructions for Cardio Drumming

I teach a cardio drumming unit once a year; however, once the routine is taught it can be used as a warm up throughout the year. Below are the written steps I use for the Baby Shark song.

To teach the actual routine, we usually sit in a circle and I teach the students the routine while they are sitting. This allows me to help any of the students are are struggling. This is where I also teach the students rhythm and how to count. I only do this at the start of the cardio drumming routine. I use the steps below. Here is a printable version.

Baby Shark
Hit sticks together not on the ball. Switch from right to left side.

Mommy Shark
Hit sticks at the same time on the top of the ball (alternate right and left side to make it harder).

Daddy Shark
Hit the sticks at the same time on the side of the ball (cross arms to make it harder).

Grandma Shark
One hand behind your back, hit only one stick on the top of the ball (alternate right and left side to make it harder).

Grandpa Shark
Hit only one stick one the side of the ball. The stick needs to stay still to hold the ball on place (alternate right and left side to make it harder).

Let’s Go Hunt
Hit sticks together above you head while walking around the ball and base.

Run Away
Hit the sticks on the top of the ball while sliding (shuffling) around the ball.

Safe at Last
Hit both sticks on the right side of the ball and make a rainbow to the other side of the ball. Repeat on the left side.

That’s the End
Alternate right and left stick hits on the top of the ball. Alternate right and left sticks hits of the side of the ball. Repeat.

Variations: If necessary, students can be seated or kneeling during the routine or 2 students can share one ball.

Additional Cardio Drumming Activites

Gummy Bear:

Whip and Nae Nae:

Uptown Funk:

Chicken Dance:

About Jennie Graves:

I am a Physical Education teacher in Plaquemine, Louisiana who loves crafting, my students, my family, and riding on the back of my husband’s Harley Davidson. I currently live in Addis, Louisiana with my husband Chris and our three kids: Abby, Wyatt and Kameron. This is my 15th year as an Elementary P.E. teacher. I got my Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from LSU. Go Tigers!

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28 thoughts on “Cardio Drumming Activity for Grades K-5 – “Baby Shark” Theme

  1. I totally love this !!! I am a preschool teacher and I am so in to this type of fun-ness! I am a big kid at heart ,I am always doing fun stuff like this. I also work in a nursing home and this is something I would love to do with my students and my residents.

  2. Could you please send me an example of your unit plan? I’ve done a cardio drumming unit before… but I’m always looking for new ideas.


  3. I am also wanting to start incorporating the cardio drumming this year but not sure how to get it all going. I would love to get a copy of your plans if possible?
    Also, did you just get equipment from Walmart or something like that?

  4. loved the videos. Got the lesson plan on the shark song. Could you send some of the others? I could not get the videos to play.

  5. Hi I am a music teacher and believe students should be up and moving when at all possible. I’ve done bucket drumming and now have access to balls. This site is just what I need to get started with the students. Would you please send me your PDF of your lessons plans? Not only is this a fun activity but it gets the students up and moving and incorporates elements we use in the music class. Would love to incorporate this into an upcoming concert! Thank you!

    • Hi Sue! We recently updated this blog post to include a printable PDF of the entire blog, and also a printable PDF of the routine for the song. If you have any other questions or need any other information, let me know. Thanks!

  6. These are fantastic! Do you have plans for the ‘choreography’ for the drumming songs? Would love more information. I am the youth coordinator at a community recreation program for individuals with physical challenges. Thanks!

    • Hi Linda, we have updated the blog post and added a printable PDF of the entire blog, as well as a printable PDF of just the instructions for the drumming. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

  7. Hi Jennie,
    I just watched your videos and they are fantastic!!! I want to put this into my P.E. curriculum. Would you please send me your lesson plans? I have never done cardio-drumming before, so lesson plans would be a great help to get started. Thank you

  8. The music teacher and I are are going to try cardio drumming for the first time. Would you please send me a copy of your lesson plan. We are starting from ground zero.

    Thank you.

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  10. HI,

    I LOVE THIS! I am starting it with my kiddos tomorrow. I wrote out my lesson and how I plan to go about my class but do you have a typed copy of the other dances? I so appreciate how the baby shark is written out.

    Thanks in advance!

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