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8 Benefits of the Musical Statues Game (and How to Play)

Also called “freeze dance,” the musical statues game is a fun party activity that you have probably played at some point in time. 

Beyond pure enjoyment and giggles, this game offers numerous benefits for children. Play it often, both at home and at school, to reap its many rewards! 

Musical Statues Benefits 

There are many benefits of music in early childhood and that includes playing music games.

Other than having fun with friends or siblings, the musical statues game has various positive effects. The following benefits vary, depending upon the developmental stages of your children.

1. Concentration/Focus

Playing musical statues is a great way to develop your child’s concentration and focus.

While playing the game, a child must pay attention to the music and movement of those around them while dancing. 

If they get too caught up in the fun of dancing and ignore the signals, they could continue moving after the music stops. 

2. Listening Skills 

Little ears must listen closely while the children are dancing. As soon as the music stops, their feet should follow suit.

It is important to develop listening skills in early childhood, and games like this are a fun way to achieve this. 

Broken Telephone, Simon Says and Odd One Out are other great listening games.

3. Gross Motor Skills 

As they dance, kids exercise the large muscles in their legs, arms and entire torso. 

These skills also relate to coordination, control and balance.

8 amazing benefits of musical statues games for your preschooler - pinnable image

4. Extra Energy Use 

The movement in playing musical statues helps kids expend some of their pent-up energy. This can make it easier for children to later settle down, listen, and deal with a quieter learning activity.

Beyond the fact that not bumping into others is one of the rules, children want to avoid injury caused by knocking into someone else while dancing. 

Children take several years to learn, via movement and their sense of proprioception, how to move their bodies in space.

They gain a realistic feel for how much distance is necessary to ensure safety. 

6. Self-Regulation 

In general, kids do not like to lose or be called “out.” This game presents practice in dealing with losing gracefully. 

Introverted children often have trouble handling the idea that others are “looking at them,” so this offers experience in managing those feelings, as well. 

7. Musical Appreciation 

Expand children’s exposure to various types of music with musical statues. Try different types of music they might not have as much exposure to, such as classical or jazz. 

8. Self-Expression 

Free dancing offers children the opportunity to express their emotions. 

Two young sisters dancing in the living room

Feeling sombre? Maybe ballet fits the bill. Having a wild day? Maybe they could try “the twist!” 

Musical Statues Game Rules 

So, how do you play musical statues? 

These are the rules to the basic game: 

  • Start dancing when the music begins, without bumping into others.
  • Stop moving and “freeze” in position as soon as the music ends.
  • Anyone who keeps dancing or moves is called “out”.
  • Don’t feel upset if you are “out”; you will have another turn later.
  • Begin dancing again when the music resumes.
  • Continue this cycle until one player left dancing at the end is the winner.
  • Not being the winner is okay; the important thing is to have fun!

NOTE: For very young children, you can skip the part about being “out” until they are ready to tackle the “self-regulation” aspect of the game. 

Musical Statues with a Twist Game Variations 

Other similar games have many of the same features and benefits. You can also try some of these fun musical statues variations:

Musical Chairs Game 

To play musical chairs, set up chairs in two rows, back-to-back. Kids circle around them, walking to the music. When it stops, they quickly find a chair to sit on. 

Children in a circle playing musical chairs game

With the youngest children, have a chair for each. For older kids, offer one less chair than people so one is “out” each time. 

Melting Game 

Kids dance when the music starts. When the leader stops the music the children stop and say, “Melllllllllllllt,” as they melt down into a “puddle” onto the floor or ground. 

Musical Bumps Game 

Begin like the basic musical statues game. Instead of just stopping when the music ends, however, players sit on the floor or ground. The last one down is considered “out.” 

Name the Actions / Animal Actions 

Instead of dancing, players are directed by the leader to perform certain actions, such as hopping, crawling, crab walking, flying like birds, or galloping like horses. 

Children dancing to a musical statues game song

They stop all movement when the music ends. 

By the Numbers 

This variation works best in a larger group of older children. 

Children dance as the music plays. When it stops, the leader calls out a number. Players quickly join groups with that number of players, in total. 

Children in a circle holding up numbers with their fingers

Box It! 

Dancing children stop moving, sit down, and close their eyes when the music ends. 

The leader places a large cardboard box over one child, challenging the other to then open their eyes and guess who is missing!


Musical Statues Songs          

Use any type of tunes the kids like or new kinds of music you want them to experience. Play your favourite CDs or streaming options available through your devices of choice. 

Always check song lyrics for acceptability. Here are a few musical suggestions that can be found on YouTube: 

Musical Statues Music with Stops 

Pop Music with a Beat 

Based on the ideas above, you and your children can discover other musical start-and-stop activities like the musical statues game. 

One dance step leads to another, and some of the variations could be combined for added fun!

Are you a preschool teacher or working in Early Childhood Education? Would you like to receive regular emails with useful tips and play-based activity ideas to try with your children? Sign up for the newsletter!

Looking for more ideas? Try these listening activities for kids.

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