Music Games


While looking through old Christmas cards from last year, a thought came to mind.  
Wouldn't it be great to recycle these cards and use them in music class?
The answer was "yes", so the journey began to think of the "how to do it" part.
Christmas Card Rhythms
The thought was to play a game called "Christmas Card Rhythms". Each student would take a recycled Christmas card from the decorated holiday gift bag. (You can use cards from past Christmas' from friends or family. Or you can buy seasonal cards at a discount after the holiday is over.)
 The kids who do not celebrate Christmas enjoy learning about the tradition of sending cards to family & friends for this holiday.
Once the student has taken a card from they bag, they are to look at the card and silently read the rhythm written on the inside.  After the students have practiced the rhythms in their heads, they will then choose a partner & share their rhythm.  
Christmas Music Game
This activity is a great way to have the kids practice rhythms & share what they have learned with their friends.  Here are some extension ideas that can be done with this game.
1. Students can partner with a friend to combine their card rhythms & create movements & share their creations with the class.
2.  As a mixer, students would keep saying their rhythm while walking around the room & try to find another student with the same rhythm. This would be a great way to have students to work with someone different than their best friends.
3. The teacher can play the rhythm on the drum & students can identify if it was their rhythm.
4.  Students can choose non-pitched instruments to play the rhythms. Or each card can have the name of a non-pitched instrument on the card for the students to play.
5. Students can add pitch to the rhythm on the card & play it on a pitched instrument. Maybe the students can be told to create ascending or descending pitches for the project.
Additionally, older students could have more challenging rhythms written on the cards.

Any of these ideas can be used in conjunction with the Christmas songs in the Making Music series.  
If you have any other ideas you would like to share for this activity, 
please comment so we can learn & share with each other. 
Merry Christmas!


Here's a fun station for students to go to that helps with note identification in the treble clef staff.  This game, (much like Ping-Pong Rhythms) was designed because my husband had this automatic putting system that was not in use.  (A Father's Day gift from me. Opps!)  Anyway, I was looking at this putting green trying to figure out how I could use it in my classroom and came up with this game.

First and foremost, it must be noted that I have been using this game in class for about 5 years (3rd grade & older for review), and prior to explaining how to play the game to the class, we discuss safety.  We talk about how this is not a "Tiger Woods Monster Drive", but a simple putt.  The kids giggle and then the game instructions continue.

music class ideas - music games  

To play the game, there are 10 golf balls with the a variety of treble clef staff notes written on them.  One ball has the word, "wild" on it.  These balls are placed in a bag and the first player with their eyes closed, takes out a golf ball from the bag.  While showing the golf ball to the other players, the student who picked the ball tells the group the name of the note.  If the student is correct, they then have a chance to putt the ball into the hole.  I have included a treble clef staff on the front of the instructions for the students to refer to if they get stuck and I ask that the kids help each other to learn the notes so that everyone is able to putt.  

music class ideas - music games
If the student makes the putt, the score keeper will give that student 1 point for that round.  If the student misses the putt, the score keeper will put a 0 for that round.  Sometimes a student is very lucky and retrieves the "wild" ball from the bag.  The student would automatically get 1 point for picking that ball and then has a chance to putt.  If they make it into the hole, they would then receive a total of 2 points for that round.  At the end of 10 rounds, the student with the highest score is the winner! 


Ping-Pong Rhythms is another game that a small group of students can play.  While others work with the teacher on instruments or on a specific music project, Ping-Pong Rhythm students are content with playing while learning about rhythms.  The idea for this game was discovered when we purchased a dog feeder, and shortly there after found out that our dog didn't know when to stop eating.  So, here we had a dog feeder with no real use.  My attention then quickly turned to music class!  How can it be used?  The beauty of the dog feeder is that because it has an incline, it offers an automatic return for a ping-pong ball.  This was great!  We went to the dollar store to hunt down some balls.

Here are the items that are needed to make Ping-Pong Rhythms:
~A Dog Feeder
~10 Ping-Pong Balls
~One large dice
~Instructions for the game

This next picture shows the instructions for the game.  It has been a great hit!
Music game for elementary age students.  DIY project from


Let's admit it.  Getting 30 elementary kiddos to work in harmony (both literally and figuratively), is quite a major task.  This is why the discovery of musical centers was very pleasing to me!  As most wonderful ideas, this came from a co-worker, who learned it from and co-worker and shared it with many.  (Thank you Shawna and Claire).  Although this specific idea came straight from my little head, it all came to be because of learning experience as a substitute music teacher.

Ducky Music Symbols Game can be played with 1 to 5 players.  Thus making it a great game for students to play while the teacher is working with small groups.
Here's a list of items used to make the game.
  • An old cologne box  (Any small box would do.)
  • 16 small rubber duckies
  • 16 playing cards
  • Sharpie Permenent Marker
  • Printer

The playing cards for the game were made from this wonderful link on

The rubber duckies were purchased at a party store. With a Sharpie marker, each music symbol was written on the bottom of each duck.  This could also be done with rhythms or notes on a specific clef.

Once all the ducks were labeled and flash cards were made, the instructions on how to play the game and a key was typed up and glued inside the box.  The key was added to the game for the students who might not remember what the music symbol looks like just by seeing the name. *There is an error in the key below. (mp should read mezzo piano, not mezzo forte)

The original plan was to have a small container with water to have the ducks float on top, much like a carnival game.  Unfortunately, these duckies continued to float face down, thus showing the music symbol.  So, if you would like to use water, make sure that the ducky is heavier on the bottom than the head.

The kiddos really enjoyed playing the game and it gave me time to work with a small group that needed  some extra help.  Extra time to help students and kids learning music symbols through a game is a win-win!  Have fun!

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