Play this game with your child at home or with a group of children in the classroom.
Materials: Baton (wooden spoon, stick, or dowel) Instruments for each orchestra member
Directions: Let each child choose an instrument. You can use homemade instruments or pots and wooden spoons. Designate one person to be the conductor. When the conductor waves the baton quickly, follow by playing the instruments quickly. When the conductor waves the baton slowly, play instruments slowly. When the conductor sets the baton down, everybody freeze. Allow each child a chance to be the conductor.
Cooperative Musical Chairs
Materials: 5 floor mats or large paper cut-outs Music (CD or cassette tape)
Directions: Have a teacher, parent or older child play and pause the music. When the music plays, everybody dance around the room. When the music stops, everybody freeze and place one foot on a mat. When the music starts again, continue dancing and remove one of the mats. Continue the game until there is only one mat left. Before playing the game, discuss the importance of team work and cooperation.
Directions: Take turns playing the “leader” and the “copy cat.” The leader claps out a pattern. The copy cat tries to clap back the same pattern. As children are first learning this game, you can simplify patterns by counting the number of claps or clapping the syllables in your child’s name. This game will help your child learn to hear and mimic different rhythms. It will help develop listening skills, following directions, taking turns, short-term memory skills, and more!
Adapt this game for toddlers: Take turns making silly sounds. Imitate the sounds that your child makes and encourage them to make the sounds that you make.
Adapt this game for infants: Imitate the noises and cooing sounds that your infant makes and notice their reaction. As your infant grows and develops, their awareness of the sounds that you make will develop also. They may start to imitate you!
"I Hear" - Play I Spy with your ears!
Music is all around us! You can hear music in birds chirping, the vroom vroom of cars, and even the telephone ringing. On your next outing, help your child identify as many “musical” sounds as you can. If you’re feeling especially creative, put the sounds together into your own song (vroom, flush, whoosh-whoosh, tweet!) or use the following example: (Sing to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”):
The car goes “vroom.” The car goes “vroom.” I hear music all around, The car goes “vroom.”
The phone goes “ring…”
My feet go “stomp…”
Materials: Tape recorder Paper and crayons
Directions: Tape record different sounds around the house (sink running, toilet flushing, door bell, vacuum cleaner, telephone ringing). Play them back and try to identify each of the sounds. Draw pictures of the sounds on paper and cover or cross out each picture when you hear them. Try taping voices of family members and friends and see if your child can identify who they are! This is also a fun classroom activity! Record the voices of each of the children in your classroom and let them guess their friends’ voices!
Musical Simon Says
Materials: 2-3 different musical instruments* (bells, drum, pots and pans) *snapping, clapping, stomping, can be used in place of actual instruments
Directions: Take turns being the “leader.” Assign different actions to each instrument. For example, when the leader shakes the bells, everyone shakes their heads. When the leader beats the drum, everyone stomps their feet. Make the game more challenging by adding more instruments.
Adapt this game for toddlers: Try using one instrument to start. When the leader shakes the bells, everybody jumps. When the leader stops, everybody freezes. The goal of the game, when playing with toddlers, is to help them begin to listen and translate hearing music or sounds into moving their bodies.
Adapt this game for infants: Infants are not yet at a developmental level where they can fully understand the concept of Musical Simon Says. They can, however, learn to associate hearing sounds with body movements. Help infants kick their legs or move their arms as they hear a drum beat or bells ringing. Attach bells to their feet so that they can learn to create music and sound by kicking their feet.
Directions: Chant or make up your own tune and sing the following words:
Sleeping, sleeping, All the children are sleeping. And when they woke up they were frogs!
Help children pretend to sleep during the song and then allow them to act out the animal or idea. Encourage pretend play and abstract thinking by replacing the underlined word with animals, actions, and more!
Make a Flannel Board Story
Materials: Scissors Felt Squares in a variety of colors
Directions: Enhance your child’s favorite songs with a flannel board story. Cut characters out of felt (ie the Three Little Pigs, Old MacDonald’s farm animals) and use them to act out the song while singing or listening to a recording. Having a hands-on flannel board story adds another element to songs and makes the story more concrete. Allow your child to play with the pieces independently. They will be able to retell the story or make up their own stories and songs with their favorite characters!
Tip #1: Not a great artist? Find free clip art on the internet that you can trace to create your favorite characters or look at the free coloring pages on www.storytimesongs. com for ideas!
Tip #2: If you don’t have a flannel board, try using the back of your upholstered couch!
Directions: Help your child develop early literacy skills and learn to understand music notes with these easy games! Start by having your child clap the syllables in their name (ie “Kris- ten” = clap-clap, “John” = clap).
When your child is able to relate clapping to the syllables in their name, you're ready to start learning notes! Make your own rhythm cards or print these free cards. Help your child count the number of syllables in the name of the animal (or object) on the card. Notice that the number of syllables is the same as the number of notes on the page! (Cat = 1 note, Turtle = 2 notes). Clap or play your favorite homemade instrument in time while looking at the cards and chanting (ie "Cat, cat cat").
Directions: Get out your dancing scarves and have a dance party! If you don’t have dancing scarves, make your own! Visit the fabric department in your favorite craft store and buy leftover scraps of material. Cut them into large squares and rectangles.
Paper Plate Skate
Materials: 2 paper plates per participant
Directions: Put one paper plate under each foot and skate around the room to your favorite songs! This activity encourages awareness of others and self control. Put cones or other obstacles around the room and try to maneuver through a homemade obstacle course! Paper plate skate works best on a linoleum floor or thin carpet.
Directions: This is a great game to play with a small group of children or even with your family at home! Play the “Freeze Game” with your favorite dance music! Designate someone to “pause” and “play” the music. Everyone dances until the music stops. When the music is paused, find a partner to hug! Continue dancing when the music resumes. This variation of musical chairs encourages positive interactions!
Directions: Now that you have your jingle bell bracelets ready, let's try the jingle jive! Have children put their bracelets on their wrists and ankles and dance around. Try stomping, skipping, hopping, and moving in slow motion. Take turns conducting with your body! Watch as the conductor shakes a foot, an arm, or their whole body and try to follow along! This game is sure to make everyone laugh and it's a great activity to work on gross motor skills, coordination, following directions, turn-taking, and more!
Jingle Bell Art
Materials: Box Paper Paint Jingle Bells*
Directions: Have you ever painted with marbles? This is a fun and easy musical variation on marble painting. Put your paper in the bottom of the box. Dab paint onto your paper. Place jingle bell(s) into the box. Shake the box from side to side and listen to the music you create while the jingle bells roll around and spread the paint. Enjoy your musical art! *This works best with large jingle bells. Small bells become easily filled with paint.
Name that Hum!
Directions: Help children develop their music ability through listening. Listening helps children develop a sense of rhythm and pitch. Hum (or whistle) a familiar tune and see if they can guess what it is! If they have trouble, add a few words for clues. Let children take turns humming too!
Roll us a Song!
Materials: Square box Paper Markers or crayons Tape or glue
Directions: Help your child draw or color six pictures representing their favorite songs. Glue or tape each picture to one side of the square box. Let your child roll the song block to choose what song to sing next!
*Teacher tip: This is a variation on using a songbook (visit www.storytimesongs.com for songbook instructions). If you are short on time, a song block is a great way to involve children in selecting songs.
*Fun tip: Put bells inside your song block to hear a fun jingle every time your child chooses a song!
Use your classroom drum, an upside-down plastic container, laundry hamper, or even a sturdy box for this activity! This activity is great for at home or in the classroom.
Activity #1: Learning names and syllables.
Pass the drum around the circle and help each child drum the syllables of their name. (ie “Char-lie,” “Juan,” “Me-lin- da”). Count the number of syllables together. Other children can clap along and help count while waiting for their turn. Some children will be able to easily differentiate between syllables, but for others it will take a lot of practice!
Activity #2: Feeling the beat.
March around the room together while a teacher beats the drum. When beating slowly, have children move slowly. When beating quickly, have children move more quickly. This activity helps practice listening skills and following directions! Let children take turns beating the drum. They will enjoy beating quickly and slowly and watching their friends move to their beat.
Activity #3: Body beats.
Like activity #2, this game helps children learn to listen to different rhythms and follow directions. Choose a child to start as the drummer. Let the drummer choose a body movement (ie clap hands, shake head). As the drummer beats the drum, help the other children clap or shake quickly or slowly along with the beating of the drum! Pass the drum around and let the next drummer pick a new movement! This is a great way to get inside exercise on a rainy day!
Materials: Paper Crayons or markers Your favorite music
Directions: On your marks, get set, draw! Turn on your favorite music and scribble along. Try drawing along to fast songs and slow songs. Do you notice any differences in your drawings? Let the music you choose inspire your artwork!