I noticed the other day that my little Elli had discovered her belly's potential for use as a drum. She has moved from randomly flailing her arms to more purposeful swinging which usually lands her hands on her belly with a loud, echo-y thump. She wiggles with excitement and swings her arms again.
From that stage children learn they can bang on something other than their bodies and create different sounds. If you don't have formal drums, many household items work great: plastic or metal bowls turned upside down, boxes, or empty food canisters (oatmeal or coffee). Children can use their hands or other instruments such as wooden spoons or plastic utensils.
Letting your child explore the different sounds made by different combinations of drum and drum sticks allows them to learn more about cause and effect as well as the properties of different materials.
Now for the drumming! A strong beat is the basis for most songs. The ability to identify the beat and then keep it could be considered the basis of rhythmic development! Turn on some energetic music and start drumming to the beat. Invite your child to join you (though I'm sure they won't need much invitation.) Try to follow the volume of the song. Beat louder during loud parts and quieter during quiet parts. Switch up the style of song for a variety of beats.
To get you started, our favorite song to drum to is Mahna Mahna by Cake on For the Kids