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25 Music Games for Kids: Teach Music In a Fun Way

There’s joy in learning, especially when it comes to music.

Most of us know the classic musical games, such as musical chairs or musical statues. If your child is a fan of these rhythmic games, then you might be looking for more ideas.

We’ve put together a list of 25 music games for kids, including ones you can do for free with minimal equipment and ones you can buy in-store or online. We’ll also share the benefits of music for kids and top tips for teaching music.

Get ready to boogie, move, and get groovy with these exciting (and sometimes loud) musical games.

Teaching Musical Skills to Children

If you are a teacher or a parent interested in teaching musical skills to children, it is important to know that there are different types of musical skills. These include listening, notation, singing, playing instruments, learning pitch and rhythm, reading music, understanding harmonies, and many others.

For young kids with little experience, the first few skills include:

  • Listening: Developing a sense of listening allows children to understand pitch and rhythm and can set the foundation for recognizing various musical instruments and elements.
  • Singing: Anyone can sing, and encouraging your child to do so can help them learn songs, understand music better, and build confidence.
  • Dancing: Dancing is a proven way to teach music to kids. Kids love moving, so encouraging them to dance to their favorite songs is a terrific way to keep the spark alive!

If you’re keen to teach your children musical skills, the following 25 music games for school are a great starting place or a stepping stone to keep them engaged between classes or musical lessons.

25 Music Games for Kids

We cannot emphasize the importance of music enough. Even if your child never becomes a talented musician, life is better with music! As an adult, they may grow up excited to go to the theater, rock out at concerts, or spend weekends at festivals. To introduce your child to a love of music, check out these 25 harmonious games.

1. Musical Chairs

Starting off with a classic but easy game, musical chairs is excellent for honing children’s listening skills. To play, line up two rows of chairs back to back, with one less than the number of kids playing.

When the music starts, the kids must walk in a line around the chairs. When the music stops, everyone needs to hurry and sit in a chair. The last person standing is out that round. One chair is removed, and the game continues until there is one winner.

Mix It Up

Introduce various styles of songs across different genres and tempos and encourage kids to walk to the song’s rhythm.

2. Musical Statues

Similar to musical chairs, this game also hones listening skills, as well as dancing. When the music starts, kids must dance around. When the music stops, everyone must freeze. If anybody moves or freezes too late, they are out, and the game continues until there is one winner.

3. The Cup Song

Older kids will love this one. Made famous from the Pitch Perfect movie, the Cup Song can be played solo or in a group. If playing in a group, everyone gets a cup, and you pass the cup along to the next person after each routine.

Before playing, you may need to spend a bit of time learning the cup song routine. It might take some kids 20 minutes, and others might need a few days to practice. Once the kids have nailed the routine, pair it with the cup song: “Cups” by Anna Kendrick. This game encourages rhythm, timing, multi-tasking, teamwork, and hand-eye coordination.

4. Stinky Pig

Stinky Pig is a fast musical game that involves the PlayMonster Store pig. You can purchase this online. This is a great game for preschoolers and toddlers, as well as older kids if they’re interested. A bit like pass the parcel, but without the expensive presents, this game teaches listening skills and musical recognition.

To play, gather a group of kids into a circle. Then start by poking the pig, and he will begin singing a song. Roll the die to discover which way to pass the pig.

Quickly begin passing him around the circle. Whoever is holding the pig when he stops singing and does a big fart (yeah, gross!) takes a token. Whoever has the least amount of tokens at the end is the winner.

5. Musical Masterpiece

Next up on our list of music games for kids is Musical Masterpiece. Combine musical and art skills with this fun game. This is best played in a group of at least three children, making it a fantastic one for elementary students. Give each student a sheet of paper and a few coloring pens. As the adult, play music to begin the game. When the music is on, kids begin drawing.

When the music stops again, they also stop. They must leave their creation at their desk and move to another desk. When the music begins again, they start drawing again, adding to someone else’s creation. Once the game is over, kids return to their own desks to see what musical masterpiece has formed.

6. Super Simple — Kids Songs App

If you’ve had a toddler, you’re probably familiar with Super Simple Songs, a popular YouTube channel with quality kids’ songs and nursery rhymes. Well, did you know they also have an app?

This app is packed full of musical games for kids, making it a great choice for kindergarten ages. If you’ve got a long road trip ahead of you, you might want to download it to keep little ones entertained in the car while still encouraging their musical skills.

7. Bop It!

Bop It! is an epic game for any childhood and is more of a percussion-style music game. Perfect for group or individual play, this game involves following instructions at super speed to try and beat your personal record or compete against others.

Instructions include bopping the middle button, pulling or twisting the ends, or more (depending on your chosen model). If you make a mistake, the game is over. This game is for ages eight and up, making it a smashing choice for teens.

8. One Little Elephant

If you’re looking for school games, this interactive activity is excellent for teaching music-related skills and counting. Put a piece of string on the floor and walk along the string while singing the “One Little Elephant” song. The lyrics are:

One little elephant balancing

Step by step on a piece of string

Thought it was such tremendous fun

That (insert name) called for another elephant to come

Once you’ve sung the first verse, pick a second child to walk along the string with you. Each time you add a new player, increase the number of elephants in the song. Continue until all the kids have joined in.

For extra fun, on the last verse, change the lyrics and pretend the string breaks. Everyone must fall to the floor — very dramatic! The lyrics are:

(Insert number) little elephants balancing

Step by step on a piece of string

Then the string broke, and they all fell in

No more little elephants!

9. Boom, Snap, Clap

This rhythmic secret-handshake-inspired game is fantastic for teaching in the classroom. Or if your kiddo is bored at the weekend, why not learn it together? This cool hand game involves keeping the rhythm and memorizing the steps with a partner.

Facing one another, you have to boom your chest, snap your fingers, and clap each other’s hands in a particular sequence. Check out the video above for the steps, and slow it down to follow along.

10. Dance Mat

Some kids prefer learning about music through movement. In that case, a dance mat is a great thing to keep at home. Dance mats can teach much about music, such as rhythm timing and hand-eye coordination, and can generally boost a kid’s confidence.

You can connect the dance mat to your phone or TV, and the mat will light up, prompting kids where to step or place their hands to create a funky dance routine!

11. Yes/No Game

The Yes/No game is typically used as a warmup for music class or a choir group. The teacher will sing a few notes in a rhythm with the words “yes” or “no” as each note. For example, they might sing a scale with the words, “yes, yes, no, no, yes, no, yes.”

The music group then must repeat the phrase back to the teacher with the opposite words: “no, no, yes, yes, no, yes, no.” Tricky! This game is exceptional for warming up vocals, teaching scales, and encouraging musical memory. Perfect when looking for new music games for school, too!

12. Simply Piano: Learn Piano Fast

Does your kid want to learn the piano, but lessons are too expensive or hard to come by? The Simply Piano: Learn Piano Fast app is a huge hit. With 4.6 stars on the app store, this app teaches piano quickly. All you need is a piano, a keyboard, and a smartphone. Suitable for kids four and up, this is great for preschoolers, teens, and even adults.

13. DIY Band

This totally free game is good for toddlers, older kids, and siblings. If your kids are bored one day, encourage them to make a DIY band using objects around the mouse as musical instruments. For example, they can use pots and pans for drums, somebody can sing or whistle, and someone else can tap a spoon against empty glass bottles. This game not only teaches creativity but also sparks an interest in musical instruments.

14. Guess the Instrument

This is another music game for kids that doesn’t require any equipment. Simply put on a few songs you and your kids love, and ask the children to guess which instruments they hear. This is a classic one for doing at home or in music class. Over time, kids will become pros and will recognize which instruments are in a song and be able to choose their favorite!

15. Whoosh Bang Pow

An exciting and energetic game, Whoosh Bang Pow is great for drama classes, especially for older students. The idea of the game is to pass energy around a circle, encouraging students to warm up before rehearsals or shows.

Stand the children in a circle and start with one person to whoosh to the next person. Send the whoosh around the circle a few times. Then, introduce the bang. Any student can flex their muscles and shout “bang!” to reverse the whoosh the other way around the circle.

Next, introduce pow. When it’s your turn to whoosh, bang, or pow, and you choose pow, simply clap your hands in the direction of someone else in the circle. It doesn’t have to be the person on either side of you — it can be anyone! It’s their turn to continue the game, sending the energy in the direction it was already flowing.

This game is excellent for encouraging teamwork, confidence, and rhythm and is a fantastic improv warm-up.

16. Name That Tune

An oldie but a goodie! Name That Tune is a fun game for two players or more. If you have lots of players, try splitting them into teams. To play, simply play a few seconds of a well-known song and have kids guess the song title and the artist. This game is excellent for teaching listening skills and musical recognition.

17. Draw the Music

A more abstract exercise, this activity encourages children to think creatively and use their imagination. Give each child paper and crayons or markers and play a song. Ask the children to draw how the music makes them feel or what they think the sounds would look like. There’s no wrong or right here — it’s just a bit of fun. But it’s a great way to encourage a child’s love of music and highlight how music can evoke emotions.

18. Upbounders Musical Crossroads

If you’re looking for a quieter musical game, check out Upbounders Musical Crossroads. A matching memory musical game is fantastic for toddlers three and up. There are 24 card pairs, and the kids follow the rules to match each pair.

The cards contain musical pictures such as a radio, a piano, a dancing couple, and more. Not only does this help them connect musical images together, but it also improves their focus and memory.

19. Musical Hide and Seek

Music Hide and Seek had to make it onto our list of music games for kids. A twist on normal Hide and Seek, this game is super fun for music lovers. Have all but one player gather in a corner of the house, like a closet or bathroom, while one person hides a musical device, such as a phone or Yoto Player, somewhere around the house.

They must start a song before returning to the group to let them know it’s time to seek. Then, the kids must follow the music’s sound to find out where the device is hidden.

20. Finish the Song

Finish the Song is excellent for kids of all ages, but if you’re mainly looking for something for preschoolers and younger elementary kids, this might tick your boxes. The teacher (or parent) sings a song and then stops at random times. The children have to continue the song and get the lyrics correct. This game reinforces listening skills, ensuring kids pay attention while being taught songs so they get the lyrics right.

21. Rock Band

Rock Band is a fun console game that involves lifelike instruments, including a guitar, bass guitar, drums, and a microphone. We grew up playing this game, and it was so much fun, but it also taught us invaluable musical skills. In fact, the drumming and the singing roles actually help to teach these skills properly! This game is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii.

22. Karaoke Party

Whether your class is bored or it’s a rainy day at home, a karaoke party is always a fun idea! Go to YouTube, type in karaoke versions of your favorite songs, and sing along. Add in a wireless microphone, and voila! You’ve got an exciting afternoon sorted while helping kids learn about singing, pitch, and rhythm.

23. Musical Note Coloring Book

If your kid is interested in learning how to read music, a coloring book can help. This one from Chef Home Cookd has nice clear graphics to encourage children to color in the notes while learning how to read music. With 97 pages, this will keep them busy for a while.

24. Musical Trivia

Here’s another game for parents who are tired of noisy activities. Put together a list of musical trivia questions and split kids into teams. Questions can include historical music questions, song samples, or instrument facts. This is a great way to encourage a proper understanding of music across a variety of topics.

25. Musical Storytime

Whether reading a book to kids, working on creative writing, or playing a storytelling game, try adding music to the narrative. Ask kids which songs they think would accompany the story’s theme, a particular moment, or a character. This helps jog kids’ memories of certain songs while encouraging them to pay attention to the lyrics.

Benefits of Music for Kids

Exposing music to children has so many amazing benefits. Research has found that it can support their education and development (1). There are also links between music and language, cognitive, motor, and social skills.

Music provides children a way to express themselves and their emotions. Here are some more benefits of music for kids:

  • It’s enjoyable.
  • It helps them communicate with others.
  • It exposes them to different sensory experiences.
  • It helps with behavioral difficulties.
  • It improves memory.
  • Understanding rhythm and time can help with math skills.
  • It can regulate one’s mood.
  • It helps with coordination.
  • It encourages creativity and imagination.
  • It exposes kids to different cultures.
  • Practicing music helps with self-discipline.
  • It builds confidence.
  • It can improve SAT scores (2).
  • It prepares a child for school.
  • It builds problem-solving skills (3).
  • Children with musical training have a “larger growth of neural activity” than those without (4).
  • It improves spatial intelligence.


How Do You Teach Music With No Instruments?

If you don’t have instruments for all your kids, don’t worry! — there are other ways to teach music.

First, you can use soundtracks, voices, and bodies. Movement activities, singing, and listening to music are excellent ways to teach kids how to sing, keep a rhythm, and even work on percussion using their bodies (e.g., clapping).

You can also find instrument substitutes. For example, you can make a drum kit using buckets and dull pencils. Plastic cups are also great (especially for teaching the cup song). Many of our games don’t use musical instruments, so you can certainly use them to teach various musical skills.

What Age Do Kids Start Learning Music?

Children as young as a few months old can learn various music skills, like song recognition or clapping. You can take your little one to music classes as young as a few weeks old. Even my 2.5-year-old can keep tempo, sing songs, and dance in time to the music.

More formal classes usually begin around age three. By age six, they can start learning an instrument properly, although they might need more time to get the hang of it. But it’s better to start earlier than later if they are truly interested.

What Is the Simplest Musical Instrument to Learn?

This is an age-old question that varies depending on who you ask. However, there are a few basic instruments that are great for beginners as they are more simple to use. This includes the recorder, a ukulele, and the piano. A harmonica and guitar are also considered quite easy to learn, and there are many ways to modify the use of the instrument so that it doesn’t become too technical.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.