Are you looking for some fun music activities for kids of all ages?
Do you want to spice up your classroom or home?
I’ve been blessed to get the chance to work with students and kids of all ages for the past decade (and maybe a bit more), and in this time, I’ve picked up a few activities that are always a hit.
In this article, I’d like to share 13 of my favorites for all ages, including dance, songs, instruments, rhythm, melody, and more!
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13 Awesome Music Activities For Kids
Music activities for kids should be engaging first and teach a musical element second. They should be appropriate to the age level, use quality musical material, and use different modes of play such as dance, instrument, songs, and more. Some of my favorite musical activities include:
- Freeze Dance
- Draw What You Hear
- Music Decoding
- Mystery Song Puzzle
- Move Like The Animals
- Marching Band Movement
- Compose Your Own Song
- Build An Instrument Crafts
- Family Song Rondo
- Musical Instruments Bingo
- Favorite Song Presentation
- Musical Chairs
- Al Citron And Other Passing Or Hot Potato Games
Let’s dive into a brief description of each of these activities, including sheet music where applicable, videos, directions, and links to similar resources.
Freeze dance is always a blast and simple to play. It’s often great fun for younger kids, but older ones like it too.
The basics of the game are as follows:
When you press play on a music player of some kind, the students move or dance to the music.
Then, you click stop on the music player randomly, and the children have to freeze.
I play it after a while where students are out if I catch them moving after I pause the music player.
This game is great for providing exposure to classical pieces they may not be interested in listening to otherwise.
Consider offering specific moves to do in order to help those who are a little self-conscious.
Check out the dedicated article on freeze dance for more tips.
Draw What You Hear
For this activity, all you need is a music player, pieces of paper, classical music, and a library of other contrasting songs or pieces.
This activity may be as simple as playing the music and asking students to draw what they hear.
I often ask them to draw what they feel or what they imagine the story is the music is telling them.
I like to have the students fold the paper in half and draw four pictures based on contrasting pieces.
I take a break between each piece on the music player to show off what students have drawn.
A little piece of advice: don’t pick music that would be on somewhere as background music. It needs to have a clear feeling for it to work with this activity.
Background music is usually a little too passive for this.
My favorite to do these five with is the following playlist:
Music decoding is when you listen to a pattern and figure out what it looks like.
It’s an essential skill for all musicians and usually developed in music lessons.
Still, it’s fun to do on your own too.
Check out the Rhythm Trainer for a fun way to play this activity online.
Otherwise, I do similar things as a challenge in person.
Mystery Song Puzzle
This takes a little bit of prep work, but kids love this one.
Take a song they know or have heard pretty well.
Now, print it off measure by measure. Each measure gets its own little card.
Mix up the cards and give them to the kids. They have to rearrange the cards back into the right order and figure out which song it is.
If your kids are great at reading rhythm or melody, hand out cards with only those.
Otherwise, find where your students are and go from there.
Move Like The Animals
This is a fun music game for kids to do with movement. It’s not dancing, but it’s a good lead-in to it.
Pick from your library of quality musical selections apiece.
Ask students to move the music like a specific animal (I usually don’t allow the animal sound).
Start the music player and let them move the music like that animal.
Periodically while the music player is going, use some signal or visual to give them another animal to move like.
Younger students love this fun music game, but older students aren’t typically big fans.
Marching Band Movement
I love this one a lot. Literally, all you need is a music player.
Marches, such as Sousa marches, work best for this activity.
One person is the drum major, and the others are their marching band.
They need to copy the moves to the steady beat of whatever march is coming from your music player.
My favorite one to do this with is Pride of the Wolverines.
Compose Your Own Song
Nothing engages students like making up their own song.
Depending on the level and resources available to your kids, there are a lot of different ways to do this.
With the advent of better technology, there are many simple ways to get this done online. Here are a few of my favorites:
Flat.io – Free browser-based writing software. Best for older students and adults.
Music Play Online – Easier to use melody and rhythm writing tools.
Chrome Song Maker – This is a visual-based song maker great for all ages, including younger kids.
Build An Instrument Crafts
I’ll be the first to admit: I’m not the best at crafts.
Many music teachers, parents, teachers, etc., come up with awesome crafts for homemade instruments.
I still do my best to let students explore.
Instead of providing specific plans and ideas, I’ll give my kids more freedom to create their own after we discuss vibration and how instruments are made.
Here are some materials I provide:
- Rubber bands
- Tissue boxes
- Plastic tubs
Kids come up with awesome things, but they do usually gravitate toward the tissue boxes and rubber bands to make guitars.
It is one of their favorite instruments.
With soda bottles and water, another idea is to make a soda bottle organ.
Kids love the soda bottle organ, but I find it a bit complex for me to allow the kids to make it.
Still, even with the mess, it’s one of my favorite music activities.
Family Song Rondo
This activity only works if you’ve taught about form.
Check out this guide to songs in rondo form.
I ask students to come up with a rondo form song using different rhythm patterns and instruments to represent their family.
They can either make their personal rhythm the refrain or make a separate whole family refrain to use as the refrain.
I always ask them to make each rhythm more like mood music to represent their family.
Musical Instruments Bingo
Bingo is fun. Musical instruments are important.
Putting the two together is a win-win.
Make your own, buy one from Teacher Pay Teacher, or use this FREE one.
Favorite Song Presentation
This works best with older students as they can do research more independently and effectively.
Ask students to find some facts about their favorite song and the artist or artists that have performed it over the years.
Make sure you approve the song first.
Use this SafeWiki search to ensure the material is appropriate for kids.
It may seem silly, but everybody loves musical chairs.
Here’s where a good library of music songs comes in handy.
Take a look at what musical chairs teaches and tips in this dedicated article.
Al Citron And Other Passing Or Hot Potato Games
Passing games or hot potato games like Al Citron and many others are a blast to play.
It reinforced the steady beat, meter and develops better hand-eye coordination.
All great things while having fun with music!
Check out these songs with dotted quarter notes for Al Citron notation and other songs too.
I hope you enjoyed these 13 fun music games for kids.
There are obviously thousands more, but this should be enough to get you started or fall back on when things get busy.
Enjoy your music-making!
Get more amazing songs and activities with our eBook, 30 Favorite Songs, Dances, and Activities for Elementary Music.