Ideas for Musical Games

Looking for a few new, easy activities for your family? Music activities are perfect to get everyone up and moving! Try one of these from Music Together teachers the next time you want to bring a little music into the day. (And when you join a Music Together class near you, you’ll learn dozens of new music activities each semester, plus 25 songs to share! Find a class in your neighborhood at the Class Locator.)

Try a game of “freeze dance”

Enjoy a game of "Freeze Dance" with one of the songs from your collection. Invite children to dance as the music plays. You can press the pause button at any time, and once the music stops, the children get to freeze in dancing positions! Up-tempo songs present different challenges than smooth and slow songs, so use a variety of songs whenever you play!

Tip: "Freezing" also builds inhibitory control, one of a set of important skills known as executive functions that develop rapidly throughout early childhood. (Learn more about how music supports executive function.)

Play musical charades

Write down the names of some well-known songs on slips of paper and put them into a container. When it’s their turn, each person pulls a piece of paper and acts out the song so others can guess what it is. 

Tip: Print out the Music Together song collection cards from the Family Music Zone to use in this game.

Play a prop-passing game

For this game, use scarves or shaker eggs if you have them—or pass balls, tissues, or small stuffed toys or figurines. Sit in a circle, put on some music (or start singing!), and pass the object around the circle on the beat. Start with the song’s “big beat” (macrobeat), then try to divide it into the “small beat” (microbeat) and pass twice as many times per song measure. Changing directions is a fun development!

A variation, especially for older children? Try to throw and catch a ball on the beat! If the music you're playing speeds up, it's a lot of fun—so choose wisely.

Form a follow-the-leader Conga line

Dance in a Conga line to a favorite song. Try a Music Together song (check out the Hello Everybody app). After each refrain, choose a new leader and ask them to share a new way to dance during the verse.

Play Homemade Drums

Children will love playing their very own drum! Ask parents to collect coffee containers, large dairy tubs (yogurt, sour cream, etc.), and oatmeal containers. Clean them thoroughly and glue lids on (if possible). Cut construction paper to fit each container and decorate with yarn, glitter, stickers, markers, and other craft items. Once decorated, adults can affix the paper to the drum for them. Use your newly made drums to play along to any drum song or play-along!

Musical Hot Potato

Play “musical Hot Potato” to help your children share something about themselves to get to know one another! Sitting in a circle, play any song as the children pass an egg shaker, ball, or another prop around the circle to the beat. Pause the music at any point during the song; the student holding the prop gets to answer your question of the day (e.g. What is your favorite animal? Favorite color? Favorite food?). Keep the game going to give multiple students a chance to share.

Musical Drawing

Choose a song or chant with lyrics. Give each child a piece of paper and, using your classroom decorating supplies (crayons, stickers, glitter glue, etc.), ask them to create a picture based on the lyrics of the song. Invite the children to be creative in their choices, giving them free reign to be artistically expressive! You can even send their pictures home to encourage parents to listen to the song and sing along.