Why are music games great for kids?
Music games are great for kids because they combine many different senses (sight, sound, touch, awareness of space, awareness of the body, etc) and require both sides of the brain to work together. Some of these games might even use up all that excess energy, leaving your kids, dare I say, tired! I especially like playing these music games with toddlers.
This list is organized by prop, so you’ll see a picture of the prop and then right below that will be the musical games and activities you can do with that prop.
Which musical game will you try next with your family?
Music games featuring steady beat
Our first round of music games will help you practice a steady beat. Steady beat refers to the ongoing pulse of the music (like a heartbeat). This is a very important foundational concept of music education and often takes some practice to get the hang of it. Once you master steady beat, you’ll be able to advance to more intricate, rhythmic practice. These music games will help you and your child fine-tune the meaningful skill of steady beat.
Sing a song or recite a rhyme while your child bounces on the trampoline. Try to sing at the same speed as the bouncing. Experiment with different speeds. This game is excellent for toddlers!
Listen to music (I love classical music for this) and wave scarves around to match the mood and style (fast, slow, peaceful, frantic, loud, soft, etc). Explore different types of music and try new ways to move the scarves (high, low, hold it with your neck, balance it on your head, etc). This music game is another big winner for toddlers.
Sit and sing a favorite song while passing the bean bag on the beat. Add more people and/or bean bags to your group. Sing faster/slower and adjust the bean bag speed to match. Try standing and passing for an extra challenge.
Line up the rings flat on the ground, then hop from one to the next on a steady beat while singing a song or chanting a rhyme. Try Hopping on one foot. Hop with both feet. Can you hop like a frog? Add your own.
Music games featuring movement
After practicing music games with steady beat, we’ll move on to free-form movement. This group of games is directly opposite to what we just practiced with steady beat, and encourages more freedom of expression and reaction to music.
If your child has more verbal skills, it would be a great idea for you both to compare and contrast the steady beat games versus these open-movement games. For example, you could try asking, “What are the different ways your body moves in each type of musical game?” These types of questions will start to build musical awareness and increase your musical vocabulary.
This is definitely a silly prop, but can make a fun music game for kids! Listen to some classical music, ask your child to show what the music sounds like while wearing the body sock (move, dance, crawl, etc). Experiment with different styles and speeds of music.
Take turns blowing bubbles to set the scene. Play a slow piece of music (I love "Aquarium" from The Carnival of the Animals) and move around the room like a bubble (slow, light, airy, floaty). Then you can "pop" your bubble at the end of the music (aka fall down). Toddler-approved game.
Twirl, dance, spin, spiral, run with these ribbon sticks. Pure joy on a stick. Listen to various types of music and dance with the ribbons. Bonus game: how long can you keep the ribbon off the ground? Another great game for kids of all ages.
These songs are great for the car, or for listening around the house. Have a sing-a-long party. Dance and groove. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, march with the beat.
Musical games featuring instruments
So far, we’ve covered music games that focus on steady beat and music games that focus on freedom of movement and expression. Now, we can’t have a list of music games without talking about actual musical instruments! So, our final section brings us to musical games highlighting musical instruments.
These mini instruments are great for pretend play. Kids can "play" their favorite instrument, pretend to march in a marching band or pretend they're in an orchestra. Listen to each instrument and try to match it with the mini toy. Print out pictures of each instrument for a matching game. Try to draw each instrument.
This interactive orchestra pairs well with the mini instruments we just talked about. You can hear what each instrument sounds like on its own, or all together in the orchestra. Try to identify different instruments from their sound only, or from their picture only, or from their name only.
Music and movement: a perfect match
As you can see, these musical games for kids and toddlers are the perfect match of music and movement. Plus, as we said earlier, these musical games will also strengthen the neural connections in the brain, in between a few bouts of laughter, of course. The games that require a good amount of physical energy tend to make the perfect activity for those amped-up kids, I mean days… the perfect activity for amped-up days. Can’t wait to hear what music game your family loves!
Now, I'd love to hear from you
Leave a comment and tell us which game you want to try next!
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