This project provides sensory stimulation through the use of the cabasa. The cabasa is rolled across the child’s arms and legs for tactile stimulation. The lyrics reflect the movement of the cabasa and body parts while also providing the opportunity for choice. This can also be used for distraction or relaxation. It is a good activity for children up to 10 years.

What You Need

  • Cabasa (Latin American Instrument), or any hand-held instrument (shaker/maraca, tambourine, bells, etc.) that creates vibro-tactile stimulation.


  • Play the cabasa so child can hear the sound and then offer to show child how it can be rolled on the body.
  • Allow child the choice to roll and play the cabasa themselves to explore sounds they can make.
  • Introduce the song, using the melody of “Over the River and Through the Woods” with modified lyrics that reflect movements:

Over your shoulder and down your arms while rolling to your hands

The cabasa goes up and down your arm, tickling your hands

Over your fingers while in your hand, oh feel the beads move by

It rolls along to make this song

The cabasa ch–ch-aye

Over your thigh and down your legs while rolling to your toes

The cabasa goes up and down your leg, tickling as it goes

Over your toes while on your foot, oh feel the beads go by

It rolls along to make this song

The cabasa ch–ch-aye

  • Provide child opportunity to follow directions within song, or complete actions on child or using hand-over-hand as child directs.
  • Add in additional body parts (tummy, head, etc.) as child desires.

Possible modifications:

  • If the child is able to use cabasa independently, change the lyrics to reflect how they are using the cabasa.
  • If the lyrics are too challenging for the child to follow, then they can be altered to be shorter and simply reflect what is happening. For example, “Rolling the cabasa over the arm and up down it goes, rolling the cabasa over the arm, up and down it goes”.

All activities should be supervised by an adult.

PPCC is not a health care provider and does not give medical advice or treatment. PPCC does not endorse or recommend any listed facilities, service providers, or support groups herein. PPCC offers the list and information as a resource only. PPCC does not pre-evaluate, or consider the Medicare/Medicaid status of the providers.

384 Fox Chapel Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238