6 Best Song Games

Singing games are the best and the end of the year is a good time to get out the students most favourite ones to enjoy again.

Year 1

Bow Wow Wow

Bar 1 Sing and march

Bar 2 Sing and point to partner

Bar 3 Sing, join both hands and swap places

Bar 4 Sing and march

On the last beat jump round 180 degrees and to find new partner.

Children find it hard to predict who will be waiting to be their new partner because of the swapping places element. This song game does not grow old!

I usually teach this with actions straight away but standing still. We then progress to partners but do not jump on “Woof!”. That part is added when children are secure with swapping places.

This game was originally taught to me by Dr James Cuskelly on a Kodaly Level 1 course that we hosted here at Bangkok Patana.

Year 2

Chicken on a Fence Post

Lots of fun to be had with this game in different ways and at different levels. I have a pet plastic chicken called ‘Hunter’. Hunter has fallen off the fence post and needs rescuing. Here are the steps to play:

  • Put Hunter the chicken in the middle of the circle
  • Choose 2 children to stand in the corner and not look
  • The class is the fence around the chicken. Choose 2 people to be the ‘gate’ which opens at the end of the song. This means that 2 children who are holding hands lift them up to allow children into the circle
  • Everyone holds hands and walks in a circle singing the song (beat in their feet)
  • At the end of the song the gate opens, the 2 ‘rescuers’ turn around and look and race to be the first to get to Hunter
  • First one there wins

Here are some ways to extend the game:

  • The children keep walking after the gate opens at the end of the song
  • Have 2 fences – 2 concentric circles going in opposite directions each with their own gate
  • 2 circles is even more fun when the 2 circles don’t stop walking at the end of the song

I’m not sure where I first learned this song but it may have been from Deb Orley when she worked at our school.

Year 3

March, March Soldiers

This is just good fun. I haven’t taught Year 3 for a few years but I can remember that they loved this and also that they could manage the length as it’s a lot of words. The children sing and march around the room in single file like soldiers. 2 children form an arch that they have to pass under. On the last beat the children shout “Boom!” and one person is caught as the arches come down. They can choose a friend and start a new arch.

Again, this game was originally taught to me by Dr James Cuskelly on a Kodaly Level 1 or Level 2 course that we hosted here at Bangkok Patana.

Year 4

Oh Dearie Me

This song is in Lucinda Geoghagan’s ‘Singing Games and Rhymes for Middle Years’ book.

Lyrics:

Oh dearie me,

Me mammie caught a flea

She salted it and peppered it

And had it for her tea.

The children stand in lines (maybe 4 or 5) and hold hands. At every beat rest in the music they do a 90 degree jump and face a different direction and hold hands in a line that way. One child is the ‘mammie’ chasing the ‘flea’ in the constantly changing grid of children holding hands.

I highly recommend the book (and the others in the series) by Lucinda Geoghagan. It is available from Amazon here and from the NYCoS shop here.

Year 5

Fire in the Mountain

Half of the class sit in a circle with a drum in the middle. The other half stand in a circle each person stood behind a sitting person. One person goes in the middle and plays the beat on the drum.

All sing the song. At the end, the drummer comes and stands behind one person and everyone else also stands behind a sitting person. Like musical chairs, this means that there is someone left over and that person goes in the middle and plays the drum.

Remember to swap the sitters with the other half of the class. This game can get a little raucous so do put in boundaries such as ‘no running’, ”no crossing the middle of the circle’ when appropriate.

I first found this song on the internet when I was searching for ‘ti-tika’ and ‘tika-ti’ repertoire. I don’t know where but my students have loved it ever since.

Fire in the Mountain

Year 6

Four White Horses

Excellent clapping game. The song needs to be reasonably well known before the clapping is introduced.

The clapping pattern moves in groups of 6 beats whereas the song phrases are 8 beats.

Clapping pattern:

  1. Clap own hands
  2. Clap partners hands high
  3. Clap own hands
  4. Clap partner’s hands at middle height
  5. Clap own hands
  6. Clap partner’s hands low (one partners palms facing up and the other facing down)

Students can do this in pairs but the real fun comes when they progress into 4’s. Pairs sit opposite each other and sing clap at the same time. One pair reverses the clapping pattern to be:

  1. Clap own hands
  2. Clap partners hands low (one partners palms facing up and the other facing down)
  3. Clap own hands
  4. Clap partner’s hands at middle height
  5. Clap own hands
  6. Clap partner’s hands high

The middle level changes into clapping the hands of both the people sitting next to you.

The song has 48 beats. The songs moves in 8’s, the clapping moves in 6’s and it all stops together on beat 48.

Some teachers do an 8 beat clapping pattern to fit in with the phrases. My experience tells me that the students find the 6 beat pattern much more thrilling.

I first came across this song in the Musicplay curriculum. A colleague showed me the 6 beat clapping pattern though I can’t remember which colleague! If it was you – please let me know.

What are the most popular singing games at your school?

5 thoughts on “6 Best Song Games

  1. Favorite games: Cobbler Cobbler Mend My Shoe, Black snake ( played with an old blue scarf 🤷🏻‍♀️), Chop Chop Chippity Chop, Piggy and the Farmer ( much like Oh dearie Me).

    Like

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