Rhythm is an integral part of playing any piece of music, and it's important that students get a solid foundation in rhythmic notation from the beginning. Often times, rhythm is explained in a mathematical context (i.e "two 8th notes are equal to one quarter note). Although it is key that students understand these mathematical relationships, they can be complicated to translate into the context of sound.
I came across this cool method created by Michiko Yurko that uses stick notation and word association to teach rhythm. The method uses a specific word for each type of rhythm as well as a hand symbol. The pronunciation of the words naturally fit the rhythm of the notation. Michiko has created a word for almost every rhythmic notation imaginable. You can find Michiko's books/games/workshops at MusicMindGames.com.
Quarter Note= "blue"
Two 8th Notes= "jello"
Triplet 8th Notes= "pineapple"
Four 16th Notes= "huckleberry"
Check out this video by Andrew Ingkavet for a demonstration!
The 11-year old uses "Blue Jello" To Learn Mozart