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6 engaging music games for your preschooler to play

Music of all genres is wonderful to expose preschoolers to. Since preschoolers love to play games, pairing the two makes for an appealing activity the whole family can have fun with. It turns out music isn’t just enjoyable to listen to, either. Music actually has educational benefits, too. In addition to its mood-enhancing qualities, exposing young children to music has been shown to increase language, reading, and math skills.

This is one of the reasons expectant parents often play classical music to babies while still in the womb. As adults, we know listening to favorite tunes makes us happy, improves mood, gets us pumped for exercising, and can even help with concentration. Music has the same effect on kids and then some. Of course, music plays an essential part in most preschool classrooms, but parents and caregivers can play music games for kids at home, too. Here are six fun music games to try.

two preschool girls having fun playing a musical game
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Music games for kids

Freeze dance

Music makes people want to move and dancing is exercise, making music games like freeze dance a win-win for the entire family. Put on some toe-tapping music. Everyone dances until they hear the word “freeze” and the music stops. See how long participants can hold the silly positions before starting up the music again. Change up who controls the music to keep the game fresh for all the participants. Kids get a kick out of yelling freeze and stopping the music as well. So, be sure to give them a turn.

Dance with me

Like freeze dance, dance with me is a super fun way to exercise for the whole family. All you’ll need is an open area and some inviting props like scarves, hula hoops, balls, and even stuffed animals. Participants use the props to groove to the music. Try a mix of different musical genres like pop, rock, jazz, classical, and country.

Hot potato

This classic classroom and party game is a kid favorite and is ideal for multiple players. The game can be played with three, but it’s more fun with multiple players. Sit kids in a circle. Use a bean bag, ball, or small stuffed animals as the hot potato. Players take turns passing the hot potato around the circle while the music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the potato is out. In order to avoid tears, have the out person control the music for the next turn. When the next person is out, the two players switch places and the game continues.

preschoolers having fun playing a musical game
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Animal dances

Preschoolers love animals, and a way to get them moving, using their creativity, and listening to music is to hold an animal dance. Put on upbeat music and call out an animal name like an elephant. All the players have to try and dance like an elephant until the next animal is called out. Take turns having each player call out an animal to dance as.

Follow the leader

Add music to this classic game by having a dance leader. One person creates a simple dance step for participants to follow. Use different types of music and take turns being the dance leader. If you can’t think of dance steps, use popular preschool movement tunes like “The Hokey Pokey” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Draw what you hear

For a relaxing rainy day music game to get the creativity flowing, try draw what you hear. Many art teachers play music to encourage kids to draw. All you’ll need is a playlist of different songs, paper, markers, and crayons. While listening to the different types of music, everyone has to draw what the music makes them feel. This can be hard for younger kids at first. They will need parents and caregivers to demonstrate. For example for slow, somber music you might use darker colors while lighter tunes might inspire flowers and brighter colors.

Other fun music games

  • Musical chairs
  • Fast and slow (adjust dance moved to musical tempo)
  • Name that tune
  • Create your own band by making instruments out of things around the house like pots and pans

Music has so many educational benefits for preschoolers. Playing music around the home encourages language and overall literacy skills in kids. It’s also wonderful for a child’s social-emotional growth. Think about how music helps you feel. It can improve mood and charge up a workout. Music has the same benefits and more for preschoolers. Playing music games at home is an excellent way to expose preschoolers to the wonderful world of music. Since music ultimately leads to movement, musical games for kids also encourage physical activity. Freeze dance and animal dances are just two music games to get preschoolers moving and developing their gross motor skills. Try these six fun music games with your preschooler. They’re ideal for stuck-in-the-house days, parties and playdates, too.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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