A while back, I needed to come up with a quick method to teach the kids how to play some basic rhythms. After a bit of experimentation, I settled on using fruits. I've enclosed a copy of one of the sheets we use.
In our percussion class, we use these "fruit rhythms" as a starting point to teach basic music notation. We don't stop there, however. By the end of the semester, the kids are transitioned to counting rhythms using the traditional 1e&u, 2e&u... method.
I also use these rhythms with my youth and/or adult choirs occasionally when I need to quickly teach "non readers" a rhythmic section. It's a nice bit of technique to have in one's proverbial back pocket.