Musical Games

Musical Chairs

Elimination – 3-10 years – 

To play this old favourite, a number of chairs should be lined up, back to back, in a row down the centre of the room or, if the room is a large one, in a circle around the sides. There should be one fewer chairs than people playing the game. Someone should be responsible for playing the music. All the players should walk, or dance, in a circle around the chairs while the music plays When the music is stopped, each player has quickly to find a chair and sit on it. Each time the music is restarted one more chair is removed and, as there will be one fewer chairs than people playing when the music stops again, one person will be eliminated every time. The last person to stay in the game is the winner.

Musical Arms

Elimination – 8-10 years – 

This game is played in much the same way as Musical Chairs. Instead of chairs, however, the players are divided into two groups of equal numbers. The members of one group all stand in a tight circle with one of their hands on the hip and the elbow raised and pointing outwards. The members of the second group of players move around the circle and when the music stops each has to find an arm to hold on to. A player in the circle is removed every time the music stops, and the game continues like Musical Chairs until only one player remains.

Ownership Musical Chairs

Elimination – 8-10 years – 

This is a variation of Musical Chairs, where each player marks a chair as his or her own before the music starts. When the music stops each player has to find his or her own chair and sit on it. The last person to do so is eliminated and his or her chair removed. The organizer may make the game more lively by giving different instructions as to how the players should move around the chairs. For example, they could be asked to walk backwards or to move quickly or slowly.

Musical Hurdles

Elimination – 8-10 years – 

In this game, pairs of chairs with their fronts touching are placed in a circle around a room. The players also form pairs and stand next to the hurdles When the music starts they march around the room, stepping over the hurdles as they go. When the music stops, any pair touching a hurdle is eliminated. The winners are the last couple to be left in the game.

Musical Bumps

Elimination – 3-10 years – 

This is Musical Chairs without the chairs. Every time the music stops the players have quickly to sit on the floor. The last person to do so is eliminated.

Musical Blackout

Elimination – 8-10 years – 

This is played in the same way as Musical Chairs except that when the music is stopped the lights are also turned off and the players have to find a chair in the dark. When the lights are put back on, the player who has not found a chair is eliminated.

Musical Hotchpotch

Elimination – 8-10 years – 

Objects are used instead of chairs in this game. Beanbags, hats or shoes are piled in the centre of the room and the players dance around them in a circle until the music stops. There will always be one fewer objects than there are players, and the one person who is unable to pick anything up from the pile is eliminated. The winner is the last person to be eliminated.


Elimination – 3-10 years – 

For this game, newspapers, mats or pieces of cardboard are needed, as well as quite a bit of floor space. ‘Islands’ are placed on the floor around the room, and the players walk around them in a circle when the music starts. When the music stops, players must stand on an island. Anyone who is unable to get on to an island and consequently falls into the ‘water’ is eliminated. The music is started again, and islands are removed or made smaller during the game. The last person left on an island at the end of the game is the winner.

Musical Magic Patch

Elimination – 3-10 years – 

The more people who get involved in this game the more fun it becomes. The players space themselves around the room and begin to dance and move around in pairs when the music starts. The organizer of the game selects an area of the room as the ‘Magic Patch’ – without telling anyone where it is – and when the music stops the pair nearest that spot wins a small prize. The area chosen is changed every time the music restarts. The game is played until all the prizes are won.

Gods and Goddesses

Elimination – 5+ years – 

Slow and gentle music is required for this game. Each player is given a book (to ensure all is fair they should be the same size and weight) and balances it on his or her head. When the music starts the players slowly walk around the room, trying to keep the books in place. When the music stops each player goes down on one knee, and if his or her book falls off then he or she is eliminated from the game. The game continues until there is only one player left with a book on his or her head.

Musical Statues

Elimination – 3+ years – 

This game is a quiet variation of Musical Chairs. The players dance around the room to music, and when the music stops they make a pose like a statue. Any player who moves before the music starts again is eliminated. It is a good idea to get the eliminated players to help judge who is moving. The player who moves the least will be the winner at the end.