Mar 06, 2021

Musical Fun for All Ages

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Music is not just for listening: It’s for dancing, jumping, frolicking, and having a good time with family and friends of all ages! Turn on your favorite tunes, and have some fun with these activities.

If you don’t share the same musical tastes, look for common ground by finding musical genres you all enjoy. Experiment by listening to different kinds of music together: rock, polka, reggae, jazz, bluegrass, calypso, rap, marches, opera, jigs, country, classical, Latin, African, etc.

  • Play Freeze: Everyone starts dancing to music, while one person is assigned to stop the music unexpectedly. When the music stops, everyone must “freeze” in whatever position they are in. Or try the classic game of Musical Chairs.
  • Plan a karaoke party. Many songs are available in free karaoke versions online. With a small group, you don’t need an actual microphone. For fun, the singer can hold a flashlight or cardboard tube instead. For those who don’t feel like actually singing, let them lip sync instead.
  • Music inspires many emotions. For a fun physical activity, play a variety of music – both fast and slow – and encourage everyone to move to the beat. If it is slow, classical music, float along like butterflies or pretend to be like the wind. If it’s fast music, bounce up and down, hop on one foot, march, etc. Encourage everyone to choreograph a sad dance, a happy dance, an angry dance, a funny dance or a dance to fit whatever mood they are in.
  • For added fun, give each dancer a silky scarf to swing and shake along with the music. Or have them dance with stuffed animal partners.
  • If someone in your group plays an instrument, have a sing-along. One or more people – young or old – can play instruments together while the rest sing the lyrics. Everyone should be encouraged to sing, even if they think they can’t hold a tune. It’s important for children to see adults who love to sing no matter what.
  • Tell one person to hum the tune to a popular song, and ask others to guess what the name of the song is. Whoever guesses correctly can hum the next tune. If just two people are playing, they can take turns.
  • Bring out craft supplies, then play some classical music and ask everyone to draw, paint or color on a piece of blank paper with the music providing inspiration. Instrumental music is best because lyrics can sometimes be too distracting. If young artists don’t understand what to do, explain that they can draw boldly when the music becomes fast, or create gentle strokes when the music turns slow. Encourage them to select colors that match the mood, tempo or volume of the music. Label the name of the song on each drawing, then compare drawings for different types of music.
  • If you have a piano or keyboard but don’t know how to play it, you can still provide musical accompaniment to stories. Select a note for each character in a favorite children’s book that matches the mood of the character. For instance, the villain in a story can be matched to a low bass note at the far left of the piano, while a sweet baby can be a treble note at the far right of the piano. Other characters can fall somewhere in the middle. Each time a character’s name is mentioned in the story, the proper note is struck by an adult, child or both.
  • Hand out simple instruments – such as a kazoo, a covered container filled with rice, a pot and wooden spoon, or an empty plastic food container “drum” – to create music that matches certain moods or scenarios: a ghost story, a rainstorm, a windy day, a day at the ocean.
  • Try this easy on-the-go musical game: Take turns clapping and tapping out a rhythm with your hands and feet (fast, slow, loud, soft) and challenge others to copy it exactly. As they succeed, create new rhythms that are longer and more elaborate. For variety, slap your knees, rub your hands together, hit your puffed-out cheeks, etc.