Here are my favorite rhythm games. I have never used them for melodies, but if your kids are good at singing melodies alone why not try it? Most of my older kids are fine when reading a rhythm alone, but get nervous when singing alone for the class- even if it is only 4 notes. I am hoping to bring up the little ones to be comfortable no matter what I have them do! (most of these activities were learned in Undergrad or Grad School)
Most of these games are used as transitions between songs. I plan it so that we always end on a rhythm (or melody) that is in the next song and the students have to find it. OR- the rhythm starts the next song, etc.
1. Beach Ball Rhythms- Write rhythms on a beach ball- toss it to a kid- kid reads rhythm.
Sometimes for fun, I also play our listening example for the month and have them bat the beach ball around, and who ever has the ball when I stop the music reads the rhythm. This version takes longer though- or you get a lot less people. It's a fun version for right before a break or something. I buy all my beach balls at the dollar store and write on them in Perm. Marker. My PTA gives us a little money each year to spend on classroom things, so this year, it was beach balls and tennis balls. :)
2. King of the Mountain- students are sitting in a circle each with a rhythm card in front of them. Designate one side of the circle Royalty, and the other Normal People. The "king" (sometimes me, sometimes a great rhythm reader) reads their card, then someone elses. Person two then does the same- reading their own card and then another- so on and so forth until someone messes up. When someone messes up (usually just by forgetting their own card) the have to move to the end of the circle (I know... weird right?) on the side of the king that was designated Normal People. All between the person who got out and the King skooch one slot closer closer to the King. The goal is to be as close to the King as possible. If you mess up the King, you automatically become the King! The goal of this game is to read fast so I say that students "mess up" if they take too long to choose a card to read. They are supposed to have one chosen at all times. The kids love this game!
3. I Have- Who Has? - This game has a little more prep than the others. On a card- you write I have: II II II I Who Has? II II I I (or any other rhythms). The next card must say I have: II II I I who has? --- so that the cards always come full circle. This is easiest once the students learn more difficult rhythms so you have a lot for your set. Basically then the students read the card- matching the last rhythm someone read, with the first on their card.
I also use Poison Pattern, Rhythm Tik-Tak-Toe and plain old flashcards A LOT.