Sharing the magic of music: games that make you move

IGS Head of Music Alison Housley shares ideas for families to enjoy music together.

Following on from our blog The magic of music: fun musical games to play at home, we would like to share a list of fun games that make you move for families to enjoy.

Games that make you move to music

1. Dance with props

A simple and silly music game for all ages, dance with props allows you to get creative too.

You will need:

  • Music player
  • Props such as hats, balloons, ribbons, pom-poms, wigs, teddy bears, flowers, and so on
  • Space to dance

How to play: 

  1. Create a dance floor – remove any obstacles and make the place child-friendly.
  2. Place all the props on a table, to the side of the room.
  3. As soon as you play the music, the children will have to run to the table and pick a prop. You can also ask them to pick any other accessory from the room (as long as it is safe) to dance.
  4. Then dance any way they want while using the prop as an accessory.
  5. Once the music ends, they put the prop back on the table.
  6. They go back and pick another prop when the music begins again, and continue dancing in that style.

This way, they can dance for as long as they want!

2. Tissue dance

A tissue dance is more like a balancing act and less of a dance form. But, it is fun!

You will need:

  • A box of tissues
  • Space to dance
  • Music player

How to play:

  1. Give each child a tissue and ask them to put it on their head.
  2. When the music starts, they should start dancing and moving on the dance floor, without letting the tissue fall.
  3. If the tissue falls off the child’s head and he or she catches it before it touches the ground, they can put it back on their head and continue dancing.
  4. But if the tissue falls on the ground, the child is out.
  5. The last one to stand dancing with the tissue is the winner.

3. Musical statues

A game for one or more people, musical statues can be enjoyed by children of all ages.

You will need:

  • Music player
  • Space to dance

How to play:

  1. Play the music and ask the kids to dance.
  2. When the music stops, the children should freeze like statues.
  3. The children have to stand like that for a minute or so, and anyone who moves, giggles, or even wobbles when the music is not playing is out.
  4. When the music is back on, they continue dancing.

The last person dancing on at the end is the champion statue!


4. Mood music

This is an excellent way to introduce children to different genres of music and the many emotions linked to them. This will help children connect actions with emotions.

You will need:

  • A collection of songs depicting different emotions – anger, happiness, sadness, and silliness
  • Music player
  • Space to dance

How to play:

  1. Make sure you pick songs that are appropriate for the child’s age.
  2. Then explain the game to the children and ask them how they would behave when they are happy, sad, cross, etc.
  3. Then tell them that they have to dance according to the mood of the song, which you will mention before playing it.
  4. So for a happy song, you want the children jumping and moving energetically, while for a sad song they might simply sway.
  5. They could dance silly or aggressively (not violently) when they are angry.

In short, whatever is the mood of the song, the children have to act it when they dance.


5. Dance like an animal 

This game will make the children dance like an animal.

You will need:

  • A chart of animals/birds/reptiles
  • Songs of different genres
  • Space to dance
  • Music player

How to play:

  1. Put the chart of animals at a place where all the children can see it.
  2. If the children are too young, you might want to explain the traits of each animal on the chart before you start the game. You need to tell them how the animal moves, how fast or slow it moves, the sounds it makes, and any other unique traits it has.
  3. For example, a child who picks a dog has to be on all fours and bark in between while dancing or swaying. A snake has to crawl on the floor and a bird will flap its wings when dancing.
  4. If need be, you could show them a few moves and get a few giggles in return.
  5. Play the music, keep shuffling between genres, from slow to fast and vice versa.       


6. Party island

You will need:

  • Music player
  • Space (a lot of it) for dancing
  • Newspapers

How to:

  1. This is a challenging game in which the child has to use his spatial intelligence and his ability to balance to win.
  2. Give each child a sheet of the newspaper and enough space between to dance comfortably.
  3. When the music starts, the children will put the paper on the floor and dance on it. They cannot step on the floor while the music is on.
  4. After a few minutes, stop the music and ask the children to fold the paper exactly in half and put it back on the floor.
  5. When the music starts, the children have to dance on the folded paper and not step on the folder.

After every few minutes, the children have to fold the paper in half and dance on it. The smaller the paper gets, the difficult it would be for the children to stay on it. The child who manages to dance only on the last folded piece of paper wins!


7. Strictly come dancing 

This is a group dance competition for children of all ages. All you need to do is give them some props and accessories, ask them to pick a song of their choice, and prepare a dance routine.

You will need to:

  • Music player
  • Space to dance
  • Props and costumes if any for the dancers

How to play:

  1. Divide the children into teams or groups. Give them props or accessories.
  2. Let them pick a song of their choice and prepare a dance routine using the accessories.
  3. Have a competition between the groups, and the team that performs best wins.


8. Musical limbo

Limbo is a game that tests how flexible the body is. Add music, and it becomes all the more fun. In musical limbo, you don’t just walk under the beam. You have to go dancing from under it!

You will need:

  • A long stick or beam
  • Music player
  • Space to play

How to play:

  1. Have two adults hold the beam at a height such that the children can pass from under it without a lot of effort.
  2. There are two simple rules to this game: the children have to dance to move, and they should not touch the beam.
  3. Play the music and have the children move from under the beam, one after the other.
  4. Whoever touches the pole or fails to dance while under it is out of the game.
  5. After one round, lower the beam a little and repeat the routine.
  6. Do it until there is only one kid left. The child who manages to last till the end wins!

We hope you try out some of these games and have some fun enjoying music with your loved ones. Stay tuned for our next blog on musical craft ideas!