Music games for kids help them to learn about rhythm, patterns, and so much more! Music brings so much joy to children’s lives and there’s science to back this up. According to a study recognized by the NIH, exposure to music and music education had positive benefits for “motor, language, social, cognitive, and academic abilities.” Not only do our kids love listening, dancing, making, and singing music, they also benefit greatly from it!
Knowing this, we wanted to explore types of music games to play with children that are not only fun for kids but also help with their development. We discovered a variety of music games for kids that allow them to dance their way to better understanding. So, what are the best games that involve music for kids? We’ve found all the best music games that are a blast but also educational. Time to get those little toes tapping!
Check Out These Fun Music Games for Kids!
Finish This Song
One of the simplest music games for kids is simply to start a song and allowing children to finish it. Start by singing the first several bars of a song and then ask participants to finish the song correctly. This works best for well-known songs like nursery rhymes for younger children.
There’s a reason musical chairs has become one of the most popular games for kids. It requires children to be attentive and active all while enjoying music. Simply put chairs in a circle (one fewer than the number of players). Play music and instruct children to find a chair when the music stops or they will be disqualified from the game. Stop the music. Any child or children without a seat has last and is “out.” Continue on until you have a winner or two!
Feel That Music
Another one of the music games for kids that kind of feels like second nature for adults is to ask kids to interpret and dance to the music they are hearing. Play an upbeat song and ask kids to dance their feelings as they hear it. Play a sad song and ask kids to interpret the emotions conveyed in the song through dance. Go through all sorts of songs with a variety of “moods” and let the kids get really dramatic with their interpretations.
Instrument Scavenger Hunt
If you have access to an array of musical instruments, you can do this with physical instruments. If not, you can print off images of different images for kids to find. Play the sound of a certain instrument. Think a trumpet or flute solo. Then, ask kids to find the instrument or image of an instrument that corresponds with the sound you’ve played. You can hide the instruments or put them or corresponding cards out for them to match the sound for each!
Make Your Own DIY Instruments
ScaryMommy has an excellent guide for kids to learn how to make their own instruments. It’s one of the best music games that incorporates arts and crafts into the mix. Have kids create their very own instruments and then have them play together as a band! How fun is that?
Build a Song
Crafting a song together is one of the best creative music games for young learners. Sit in a circle or partner up. One person creates a simple rhythm to start. Next, ask the next participant to make a sound with their mouth or a complimentary rhythm with their hands to further build the song. Go around the circle or get anyone else playing with you involved to compose your very own original song!
This is a fun game that does not require any materials. Simply sing the lyrics to a popular song but change one word. Ask the kid(s) to tell you the word that’s incorrect. You will be surprised how perceptive those little ears are!
Song Imposters Part II
Another way to play this type of music game for kids is to have them create a parody of a popular song. Ask them to create their own lyrics to substitute in. Who’s got a little lyricist on their hands? This is one of the music games that will really spotlight the most creative musical mind(s) in a group!
One of the most beloved music games is a good old fashioned round of limbo! Of course, this is best played with a group, but you can get creative and do so with only one child. How low can they go? Find out along with some great tunes for them to move to rhythm.
Now, you don’t have to use an actual potato for this but if you’ve got one around that you intend on eating, why not? Hot potato is one of the most beloved music games out there. Simply ask children to keep passing an object around as the music plays. When the music stops, whomever has the potato in their hands is “out.” This is another one of the music games that’s best played with a group.
Got a bored kid or two around the house? Instruct them to create their own drum kit! They can use found objects like buckets, pots, pans, and more to build their very own set of drums that they can gleefully bang on.
Can You Feel It?
You can go for a playlist or simply tune a radio or shuffle your music library, but the key to making this music game fun is dynamic songs. Ask your child or children to do some interpretive dancing to a ballad or sad song to start ask them to really try and feel the emotions conveyed in the song. Then, abruptly change the song to something more upbeat or intense and so on. Your kids should do their best to interpret and feel the emotions from the songs through dance.
This is a fun music game that only requires your child’s singing voice. Ask them to sing a song in various rooms of your home to determine which room they sound best in, with the cleanest acoustics. They will inevitably land on the bathroom as being the best place, but it will be fun for them to discover. You can also use a phone to record your child in each room for them to better hear the differences in quality.
What Does Music Look Like?
This is similar to interpretive dance prompts but instead, you’re requesting a visual interpretation of what your kid thinks the music looks like. Play a song and ask your kid to draw what they hear. You can be unspecific and leave it at that or you can ask them to use colors, symbols, and more to best represent the sounds and patterns they are hearing.
You can make a playlist of songs of different moods, meaning pick a song that you think sounds sad, pick another that sounds happy, pick one more that feels angry. Play each song and ask your kids to do some interpretive dancing as they listen to each. After a song has finished, ask your kid what mood they think the song conveys. If they match what you have in mind, they’re doing it right!
Karaoke is fun enough on its own but it becomes way more interesting when you turn it into a competition. Ask your kids to prepare a performance to a certain song and give them some time to practice. Next, ask them to perform their songs for you and friends (if you’ve got charitable ones around). What kid did the best job with their song? They win a prize!
What Instrument Makes This Sound?
YouTube will be your friend with this musical game. Find different videos with a solo instrument in each. Without allowing your kid to see the video and to only listen, ask them to identify it by sound. Each correct answer gets them a point. After all guesses have been made, you can show them the video so that they get a better idea about what instruments make what sounds.
Here is one of the most fun music games because it leaves plenty up to chance. Using a toy microphone (or pretend one that can just be a brush or wooden spoon), spin the object in the middle of a group of kids in a circle. Just like with spin the bottle, the person the object points to after spinning is “it.” They then, must perform a song for the group.
Keep Them Up
One of the most fun music games to play if you’ve got some balloons around is Keep Them Up. Simply write a music-related action like “play air guitar” or “lip-sync” on pieces of paper. Fold the pieces of paper and place one in every balloon. Blow up the balloons. Now, instruct the kids to keep the balloons in the air for the duration of a song. If a balloon touches to floor/ground, the kid must pop the balloon and perform the task you’ve written on the piece of paper.
What Am I Humming?
This is one of the “name that tune” music games that are so fun for kids. Simply hum a familiar song and see which on your kids can correctly identify it first. The person who does so first is the winner of that round. You can keep points and even award prizes.
This is one of the music games that’s similar to musical chairs. Instead of chairs, however, it’s a bag of clothes. Fill a bag full of the weirdest clothing items you can find. Think big floppy hats, loud patterns, oversized items, and more. The weirder the better! Now, play a song and instruct the kids to pass the bag around until the music stops. The person holding the bag must choose an item from it and wear it for the duration of the game. The game is over once all the clothes have been picked and the bag is empty. The winner is the person with the most bizarre outfit!
Dance My Dance
One of the most fun music games to incorporate dancing involves asking kids to stand in a circle. Pick a person to go first and then turn on a totally danceable song for the little ones. The person who starts does an original dance move. Then, the person to their right must replicated the move and add another after it. Then, on to the next person who adds their special move. The routine should get fairly complicated the longer the game goes on. If anyone messes up the routine, they are “out.” The last players standing are the winners!
Battle of the Lips
Devise a lip-sync battle for your kids by asking them to prepare performances to a song or songs either solo or in groups. The team or singer with the best lip-sync performance wins the battle or round. It’s one of the music games on this list that requires very little to prepare but kids absolutely love it!
This game is very similar to the classic telephone game we’ve all played but instead of a phrase or word, the kids pass along a tune. Divide kids into two teams and ask each team to form a line. Hum a tune into the first person in line’s ear and ask them to pass the tune to the next. The person at the end of the line must hum the tune and correctly name it for the team to win that round. For the next round, have the last person in line come to the front of it to start all over again.
Write the names of well-known kid songs on pieces of paper and place the papers into a hat. Ask the first player to draw a song. They then must act out the song just like they are playing charades. The kid who correctly names the song first wins that round and gets to pick the next song to act out for the group.
Here’s one of the classic music games that’s very adaptable and can be played with one child or a group and almost all ages can participate. Simply play a great dance song and ask the kid or kids to dance their heart out! Next, pause the song and say “freeze!” The children must freeze in place, if anyone is still moving, they’re out!
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Freeze and Transform
As we mentioned the “freeze game” is one of the most adaptable music games and one way to make it even more interesting is to give special instructions for each freeze. For instance, you can instruct kids to freeze like a monkey when the music stops. In addition to freezing in place, they must also pose like a monkey. The kid or kids who forgot what animal or thing they were supposed to freeze into are “out.”
Zoo Dance Party
Another one of the best music games for kids, involves you playing music and shouting different animals at the players. Simply put on a fun sing (bonus points if it is animal themed). Shout out different animals for the kids to dance as and do impressions of. It’s a way to get very silly and also to get some exercise!
Pass the Present
This is one of the music games that requires a bit of planning. Pick a small object to award as a prize for the winner of this game. Wrap ht prize in multiple layers of wrapping paper (the more you wrap it the more fun it will be for kids). Now, have a group of kids sit in a circle. Play music and ask the kids to pass the present around the circle until the music stops.
The person holding the prize when the music stops gets to unwrap one layer of paper. Keep it going until the final layer of wrapping paper has been removed and the prize has been revealed. The person who unwraps it last wins the prize!
You can teach young children the concept of music theory with music games! Simply ask your kid to come up with symbols for the sounds of music they are hearing. Make sure they understand that the symbol should be repeated with each repeated sound. After they have mapped out a song with their symbols, ask them to write their own song with symbols and ask them to perform it!
This game is best played with a group. Simply ask the kids to create their own percussion routine similar to Stomp. They can use things like a broom or pots and pans to create their own unique sound. Give them about 15 minutes to put together their original composition and then, ask them to perform.
The Bad Claps
Another one of the music games that is best played with a group is sometimes referred to as the “poison rhythm.” Also, we should note, that this is also one of the music games that requires some ability from you! You will need to start by clapping a four-beat rhythm that is the “bad” one. Demonstrate it a couple of times so the kids can get it in their brains. Tell the kids that anytime they clap the “bad” rhythm that they are “out.” Now, clap other four-beat rhythms and have the kids repeat each. Throw in the “bad” rhythm every once in a while.
The kid or kids who do not clap the “bad” rhythm after several rounds wins!
A Good Rap
Rap is such an excellent form of music that often uses an ABBA or AABB rhyming scheme. Teach kids about that and ask them to give examples of each. Once they understand and can demonstrate it, have them compose their own rap songs. You can find a beat or beatbox yourself to give the kids something to spit some sick rhymes to!
Compose a Jingle
Another one of these music games that’s best played with a group involves composition of an original jingle. Pick a random item from your home. It can be a cleaner, a brush, a fork, anything! Next, divide kids up into groups (or just have a single group) and have each one create their own original jingle for the product. Encourage them to really make the song as catchy as possible. You can provide them with instruments if you have some on hand or just have them sing the jingle.
Here’s one of the music games for kids that requires a little bit of planning. Split kids into teams or have them play individually against one another. Compose a few dozen music trivia questions. Now, give each child or team a bell or other fun way to make noise. Ask the question. Then, the kid or team with the answer should ring their bell. The first team or child to answer the question correctly, gets a point!
Pass It to the Beat
Another one of music games that’s best played with a group involves using an that the kids can pass on beat. Put on a song with a particularly strong beat to it. Now, use a stuffed animal, a ball, or any other object you have on hand to play with. Ask kids to identify the macro-beat by clapping it together. Instruct the children to pass the object to the beat. Next, ask the kids to discover the micr-beats in the song. Pass the object accordingly!
Do the Conga
If you love music games for kids that incorporate plenty of dance and movement, this game will be a winner for you. With a group of kids, ask them to form a conga line. The person at the front of the line gets to pick a dance that the kids behind her in line will need to repeat. Change the song every so often and put a new person in the front of the line each time you do.
Complete the Drawings
Yet another one of the music games that’s best for groups, Complete the Drawings involves visual art and music! Give each child some crayons and a piece of paper. Ask the kids to start a drawing and tell them they must drop their crayons, markers, or pencils whenever the music stops. Stop the music. Then, have the kids move to a drawing that another child has started. Now, they must try and add even more to the composition. Repeat with stopping the music and starting it several times.
At the end of the game, take a look at their drawings! You can even have a contest for the best one. The best part about this is that they will all be winners as each person had a hand in creating the artwork!
Find the Music
This is one of the music games that can be played with one child or a group. Simply find a toy that makes music. Once you’ve found the perfect toy, hide it where your kid(s) can find it. They will need to listen to the music the toy makes to locate it. So, it’s like hide and seek except the kids are responsible for all the seeking and none of the hiding.
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Dancing with Props
This is one of the music games that’s way more fun in a group. Gather a whole bunch of fun props like hats, costume jewelry, and anything else you feel comfortable allowing kids to dance with. Put the items in a pile or on a table. Instruct the kids to go grab a prop the moment the music starts and to return the prop as soon as the music stops. They can dance as they want but they should try and highlight the prop that they’ve chosen each time. Stop and start the music several times to keep it interesting for the little ones!
There you go! We hope you have some ideas for music games for kids. These games are part educational but mostly they are just fun for kids. Music is such a powerful teaching tool and a great uniter. Let kids experience pure musical bliss with these fabulous music games for kids!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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