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9 Fun Music Games For Kids That Are Excellent for Development

Music is a wonderful activity for parents and teachers to engage in with children. It develops them physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally.

Here are 9 awesome music games for kids.

I have purposefully chosen simple activities that need little to no prep or fuss. They are not complicated games with lots of rules, but small activities with big educational benefits.

1. Musical Statues and Musical Chairs

Musical statues and musical chairs are excellent games for developing auditory discrimination. Children have to listen carefully for the difference between sound and silence and they engage their whole body during the game.

You can play musical statues alone with your child but musical chairs is best played with at least 3 or 4 family members or friends.

It is also one of the best music games for the classroom as you can involve many children.

Young girl playing the game musical statues

I have listed both versions because they both work different motor skills so you should try them both out.

Musical statues is great for developing control of the body and strengthening it while “freezing” in mid-air. It’s also a good first music game for toddlers.

Musical chairs, on the other hand, teaches children to move through things and get a sense of their position in space as they run around trying to find a chair to sit on, without bashing into others.

How to play musical statues:

  • Play music on a cd player or cell phone.
  • While the music is playing, everyone dances around the room.
  • Stop the music every now and then and everyone must freeze in the exact position they were dancing in when the music stopped.
  • If you move, you are “out.” For young children, it is lots of fun to just keep freezing without anyone going “out”.

How to play musical chairs:

  • Set out chairs around the room (one for each player).
  • Play music on a cd player or cell phone.
  • While the music is playing, everyone dances around the room.
  • Remove one chair while everyone is dancing.
  • Stop the music every now and then and everyone must run and sit on one of the chairs.
  • Whoever didn’t get to a chair in time is “out”.
  • Repeat, removing a chair each time until there are two people left and the one who sits on the remaining chair first is the winner.

2. Pass the Parcel

The pass-the-parcel game is an old favourite traditionally played at birthday parties. Play it at home and you will get your kids moving and listening carefully. The best part is that children will be crossing the midline each time they pass the parcel along.

It can be played in two (passing back and forth), but if 3 or more play, then children will be crossing the midline as they pass from their left to their right and vice versa.

How to play Pass the parcel:

  • Wrap any object (or small gift if it is a birthday party) into many layers of newspaper or wrapping paper. Make the layers easy to remove.
  • Play music on a cd player or mobile phone.
  • The parcel gets passed in a clockwise direction (teach your child this word while you’re at it!)
  • When the music stops, the person holding the parcel can remove one layer of wrapping.
  • When the music continues, the parcel keeps being passed around, until the music stops again and another layer is removed.
  • The person who removes the final layer to reveal the parcel is the winner.
  • Change direction for each new round (clockwise to anti-clockwise).
  • Make sure the parcel is received with both hands and passed to the next person with both hands (to ensure crossing the midline).

3. One Little Elephant

Act out the song One Little Elephant. You’ll be teaching your kids to count and understand how numbers increase in value by 1 each time, and you’ll also be practising the important skill of balancing and walking in a straight line.

Here are the lyrics:

One little elephant balancing
Step by step on a piece of string
Thought it was such tremendous fun
That (insert name) called for another elephant to come

Two little elephants…
Three little elephants…

Four little elephants…

Five little elephants balancing
Step by step on a piece of string
Then the string broke and they all fell in
No more little elephants!

Listen to the tune here.

How to play One Little Elephant:

  • Lay a piece of string down on the floor.
  • Start the game by being the first elephant to walk along the string, and use your arms to balance.
  • Everyone sings the lyrics together.
  • Pick a child to join you for the second verse and continue until all players are walking step-by-step on the string.
  • For the last verse, the string breaks and you all collapse on the floor.

4. How Many Instruments Do You Hear?

In this game, the object is to listen to and identify different instruments. Your child will need to have had some exposure to instruments to recognize the basic ones.

Young girl holding her ear and showing that she is listening to the music

You can also play clippings of instruments on YouTube to teach your child some of them, but real-life instruments will be far more meaningful.

How to play, how many instruments do you hear?

  • Play a song on a cd player or mobile phone.
  • Any song with instruments will do (try to search on YouTube for the instrumental version of songs).
  • You and your child each have a piece of paper and must draw the instruments you hear.
  • At the end of the song, compare drawings and see who heard the most instruments.

5. Match the Sounds

For this activity, you will need a variety of basic instruments (or even handmade or improvised instruments).

The objective is to listen to the music and try to find appropriate instruments that match or pair well with the sound.

Some examples:

  • Hitting a triangle (or two pieces of cutlery together) for small, high sounds
  • Banging on drums or a box for a slow, deep voice
  • Banging cymbals together (or pot lids) for a loud, high voice
  • Shaking bells or a tambourine for fast music

There are no rules here. Demonstrate a song first by making suggestions about what items could match the sounds and ask for your children’s input. Then play songs and let them freely play their choices to the music.

6. Draw the Music

In this activity children quite literally draw the music as they hear it.

Provide large pieces of paper and pencils or wax crayons and ask your children to draw what they hear.

They could draw:

  • How the music makes them feel
  • Wavy lines or zig-zags to represent slow, flowing music or fast, choppy music
  • The beats they hear (e.g. draw short and long lines for short and long sounds)

Keep this totally open and allow your kids to surprise you with how they interpret and draw the music. Draw your own interpretation at the same time and see how your pictures differ.

7. Hide and Listen

This game is about hearing the volume and making the correct associations (loud means close and soft means far).

How to play, hide and listen:

  • Blindfold your child and hide any instrument (such as a tambourine) somewhere in the room where you are playing.
  • Tell your child what instrument she must find.
  • Your child then searches for the instrument while you play music in the background.
  • Explain that when the music gets softer he is going further from the instrument and when it gets louder he is getting closer to it.

8. Dance to the song

This game involves using the whole body and using actions and props to represent the music.

Kids playing a musical game

How to play, dance to the song:

  • Use props such as scarves, streamers, ribbons, sticks to bang together, etc.
  • Use your body to make sounds – stamp feet, click fingers, clap hands, march, tiptoe, etc.
  • Play different types of songs – nursery rhymes, classical songs, pop songs from the radio, etc.
  • Dance freely together and let the creative juices flow by using props.
  • A classical song could work well with a scarf or ribbon, an upbeat song could be clapped to or the sticks could be banged together, a nursery rhyme could be marched to (e.g. The ants go marching), etc.
  • Demonstrate some examples and ask your kids to make up some of their own.
  • Finally, choreograph your own song together with instruments, props and movements.

9. Let’s Make Up the Words

This last activity is extra challenging as you will be teaching your children about rhyme as well as rhythm.

How to play, let’s make up the words:

  • Choose a well-known nursery rhyme with a fairly easy melody, such as Baa-baa black sheep.
  • Make up a new name for the rhyme together.
  • Taking turns and going line-by-line, make up new words for the song.
  • Try to get the lines to rhyme in pairs.
  • Try to match the rhythm of the song (e.g. My-name-is-A-me-li-a, My-bro-ther-is-much-ol-der).

And there you have it, 9 very easy music games for children!

Read more about the benefits of music in early childhood.

Pinnable image - 9 music games to play at home with your child

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Deury Nixan

Friday 25th of August 2023

you made me relax from preparing lessons. I am always thankful for you. lots of love from srilanka

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 25th of August 2023

Thanks for letting me know! I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Levi Malone

Thursday 20th of October 2022

It is so good and I like it too you are good at it.

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 24th of October 2022

I'm glad you like these, Levi!

Nyasha

Monday 19th of September 2022

I love everything its so educational end involving. I wish every parent had access to this information. Thank you so much for such initiative

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 19th of September 2022

Thanks, Nyasha! So pleased you're enjoying the content.

Rock Out Loud

Saturday 2nd of October 2021

Like all these music games ideas to help kids learn new skills! Thank you for sharing this useful post!

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 4th of October 2021

I'm glad you enjoyed these!

adip,

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

very very god for the development of a child. thanks lots.

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Thank you, Adip!

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