Music and Movement Activities


Music and Movement Activities


Music and Movement Activities
For Your Classroom

Children of all ages express themselves through music. Even at an early age, children sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music.  To get you started, check out over 60 creative ideas to get your kiddos up and moving to music.


We play a game that we call Musical Hugs. We dance to lively music, and when I pause the music, the children have to find a partner to hug. Often 2, 3, or more children hug each other until I turn the music back on. We dance again, until the next pause in the music. Very fun!


Group Games for Threes

Somebody’s Sitting in the Ring

Have the children make a circle by holding hands. Tell them to put their hands to their sides and sit down. They are in a circle and ready to begin the game. Ask a child to sit in the center of the circle or “ring”.

There’s someone sitting in the ring, ring, ring. Her name is _______ in the ring, ring, ring. So move from your seat, and point to someone sweet, And bring them to the center of the ring, ring, ring. Last two lines to sing for the last child in the group: So move from your seat, and go back to your seat, For this is the end of our game, game, game!

This is a good way for the children to learn each other’s names. At first, your children may need help choosing a child and saying his/her name. After you have played it several times they will remember what to do by themselves. Make sure every child gets a turn every time! Children like to play the same games over and over again. Play this as much as they show an interest in it. You can play it again after several weeks of not playing it.


Pass the Hat

Children hold hands to sit in a circle. Give a child the hat to put on his/her head.

Johnny has the hap. What do you think of that? Take it off and pass it to _______. To sing for the last child in the game: Take it off and put it away.

Before playing the first time show the children how to slowly pass the hat to the child beside them. This game is another good game for learning names and following simple directions.


Here Today

Children join hands to make a circle and then sit down. Before playing this game the first time show the children what they will need to do. You may need to physically guide the children to stand up, turn around, and sit down during the song the first time.

(Child’s Name) is here today, (Child’s Name) is here today. Turn around, and then sit down, (Child’s Name) is here today!

This is a good way to learn children’s names. I often will sing their first and last name to help them to learn their last name. It is also good for following directions. Make sure all children get a turn.


I use this activity for my fours but have had good results with the threes as well. You need a substantial area (gym or large room) to work in. Place four cones of different colors in the four corners of the room, leaving ample space around the cones. The children gather in the middle of the room with a very large vinyl ball. The teacher calls out a color cone. The children must decide how they will get the ball from the middle of the room to the cone. They must choose a way that involves the cooperation of everyone. (My children have rolled, kicked, carried, thrown, passed (relay style), etc.) They come up with some amazing ideas! When they have reached the first cone, the teacher calls out another color cone and they repeat the process, but cannot use the same movement twice. (i.e. – We already carried the ball together, now we must think of something new.)

This cooperative movement game is packed with life skills lessons and is a joy to watch! The idea for this game came from my watching the children interact while playing with the big red ball.


Shaking a shaker gently sing: “Go To Sleep. Put on your pajamas. Get under the covers. Good night.” Then keeping a lively beat on two rhythm sticks, chant: “I’m gonna jump with my toes, jump with my feet, jump with my nose, jump with knees, jump with my bones, jump with my feet, jump with my heart, beat, beat!”

Then switch to the shaker and start again. The kids feign sleep, then jump.

This is off my CD/tape, MOVING TO THE BEAT. You can listen to it free at www.RobertTheGuitarGuy.com . Thanks, Robert.


You need a large sheet of newspaper print to cover a table and any music from CD or tape. Allow the children to walk around the table with marker or crayon in hand, making movements on the paper to the beat of the music. Vary types of music, or play a stop and go “freeze” game. Combines art, music, and movement together. Ask children to draw what the music sounds like!


Disco Dancing! Disco lives on in my school. We dance to the music of Chic, KC and the Sunshine Band, Village People, Kool and the Gang, just to name a few. These are all readily available on CD. I recommend that teachers preview the lyrics of any contemporary dance music to be sure that they are appropriate to use with young children. The children love the music and it is a great way to get them to be active in a constructive way. We show them simple dance steps and encourage the children to create their own. We often take photos of our dancers and put them on display. All we need now is a mirror ball!


A Variation on musical Chairs: No child likes getting out. This game eliminates this problem as well as encouraging name recognition. Set up the chairs as in a normal game of musical chairs, but fix each child’s name card on a chair with blue tack so they can see it. Start the music with the children moving around the chairs. When it stops they must find the chair with their name on it. Move the names each turn ( you may need the help of your aide to do this speedily). For beginners add an individual sticker on the name card to aid recognition. My kids love this game!!! Have fun trying it with yours.


Teaching tempo and beat to 3-year-olds. In order for the students to learn the definitions of tempo and beat, taking turns putting a child on your lap as you recite a poem with a definite beat and bounce the child on your knees varying the tempos and beats. The children watching may either choose the tempo or guess whether the tempo you used was fast, medium, or slow. This activity allows the child on your lap to feel the beat and produces lots of giggles. Fun and learning combined! That’s why I love pre-school!!!!!

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.