6 MORE Best Singing Games

There are far too many good singing games to put in one post and these kept coming into my mind. I hope you enjoy them!

Year 1

Apple Tree

Students sit in a circle and sing the song. One person walks around the outside carrying a (plastic) apple. At the end of the song, they tap someone on the shoulder with the apple and then that new person chases them around the circle back to their place.

Two interesting things: firstly, what happens when a player gets caught? With my Year 1’s I give the catcher the option of having a go themselves or having the other person take a second go. This mostly ends up with the catcher taking their turn (as they would have done anyway), but the ‘choice’ is prize enough for Year 1.

Secondly, I use this game and others to practice ostinatos in many forms. In Year 1 we would start with the beat on our knees whilst singing each time, but then progress to a 2-beat body percussion pattern and then a 4-beat one.

In Year 2 it would become a rhythm ostinato. A good environment to be practising doing two things at the same time.

Another way to play is by passing the apple on the beat: the person holding the apple on the word ‘out’ is out.

What other ways do you know to play?

Year 2

Cut the Cake

Children always seem to like this more than I anticipate. Here are the instructions:

  1. Make a circle not holding hands
  2. One person walks around the outside of the circle whilst everyone sings the song.
  3. Clap hands on first phrase, shake body on second, hold hands on third phrase.
  4. At the end of the song, the person walking around stops and make a cutting motion where two people are holding hands.
  5. Those two people have to race in opposite directions around the circle to get back to the person who stands waiting for them with their arms outstretched.
  6. Whichever of them taps the outstretched arms first, wins.

Be careful of crashes between the two racers. On thing I do to avoid these is have the racers shake hands wherever they meet around the circle and say “How are you?”.

Example way to play:

Year 3

Draw a Bucket of Water

Instructions

  1. Learn song briefly
  2. Sing with a partner holding two hands and rocking back and forth slightly
  3. Move into fours, partners facing each other and one pair holding hands across the other pair’s hands
  4. Sing song whilst rocking back and forth
  5. At “Let this person pop under” one pair holds up one pair of joined hands and the person from the other pair moves inside them
  6. Do this four times for each person to move under. Rocking becomes increasingly tricky!
  7. At the end chant: “Shake up the pepper pot. Shake up the pepper pot. Shake up the pepper pot. All fall down.” And everyone falls on the floor!
Draw a Bucket of Water

This video shows a slightly different variation of this. I might use the scarves next time the children play this.

Year 4

Mon Son Pa

Traditional game from Thailand

Mon Son Pa   Tukata Yu Kang l.ang.

Wai Noon Wai nee   Chan ja Tee Gon Ter.

Literal translation: Mon is hiding a piece of cloth round the back. Hide it over here or over there, I’m going to spank your bottom!

Instructions:

  1. Students sit in a circle and sing the song
  2. One person (Mon) goes around the circle and drops the fabric behind someone at the end of the song.
  3. The person with the fabric behind them gets up and chases the first person, but if the first person can get to the second person’s place first then they are safe and it is the second person’s go.

Example video – although please note that in this example they chant not sing.

Year 5

Oh Dearie me

After including this song in my previous blog post on 6 Best Song Games, Lucinda Geoghagan kindly offered that I could share the notation of the song.

The instructions are kind of tricky, so I thought it would be much better to see the song in action. Here is one of my Y5 classes playing earlier this week.

Oh Dearie Me

This song is in Lucinda Geoghagan’s ‘Singing Games and Rhymes for Middle Years’ book. 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 6

Obwisana

Obwisana na nana, obwisana sa

Obwisana na nana, obwisana sa

This is a stone passing game, which roughly translates to “The stone hit my hand, grandma, the stone hit my hand.”

I play it as a stick passing games using claves. We start by practising ‘pick and pass’. There’s always a few who wish to pass ahead of everyone else! Once we’re good with that, we might try opposite directions, changing directions in the song, different speeds of passing (double speed and half speed), changing speed within a song and of course changing directions and speeds whilst singing the song.

What are your favourite ways to play these games?

3 thoughts on “6 MORE Best Singing Games

  1. Thanks for posting these. I have used Apple Tree with a passing the beat around the circle-right hand circles over to ‘hit’ neighbour on left’s right hand etc. Whoever ends with the beat on the word ‘out’ is out. We have also sung Apple Tree with Bounce High this week and had a rhythmic ostinato to clap. Great fun and not easy for the Year 3 classes.

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  2. The game I learned with Apple tree is: Two students link hands in an arch to make a “tree”. The rest of the class goes “thorough” the tree in a very large circle. At intermittent times the teacher hits a drum (I hide it behind my back)and the “branches” go down, potentially catching a squirrel. If no squirrels are caught the game continues. If one is caught, they become a tree branch too and put their arms up and down like the others. Even without a partner, they form the arch until they acquire one. Even my 6th graders (11 year olds) love this.

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