They sure do take up a lot of storage space, but they are awesome to have!
I first pull them out when using "Johnny Works With One Hammer." First we sing the song as an action song.
After we know it pretty well, we form a circle and I go over procedures for the hammers, what it's resting position looks like, and what happens if you don't take care of the hammer (you will have to put it away and just use your hand!).
We pass them out so that everyone has a hammer, and we sing the song again tapping the floor:
Mending our shoes:
And tapping our neighbor's knees, which they love!
Then we move back to our seats and I put up the hammer icons on the board. I usually find that my beat visuals are the most successful after the kids know the song really well, so the visual preparation is usually the last thing I do. I use one of the hammers or a pointer to tap the beats while the students pat their knees.
Once they get the hang of this and know how I move from one line to the next, I invite them to come up and try to be the pointing maestro:
(Notice, my projector screen is too high, I think I am going to put in a work order this summer to have my projector point down so that I can use the board and not the pull down screen. There's lots of times that I would like to write on the slides and the screen doesn't work too well for that, plus it's a little high for my kids. When my kids point to this one, I erase the top two lines of hammers and say that when they get to the end, they go back and do it again. So we learn repeats early! :)
Sometimes I have my students who are not pointing at the board point to their own beat sheet or play "the hammers" on their rhythm sticks.