Preschool age children love music time. What could be better than being given permission to bang, shake and make lots of noise? Most preschools and daycares have a cool collection of children’s instruments but many teachers have shared that too often they stay sealed in the plastic bin. Many teachers confess that they just aren’t sure how to organize music time with instruments in a way that leads to meaningful learning instead of chaos.
As a seasoned preschool teacher, I am not afraid of a little chaos but I lean toward what I call “organized chaos.” I love to lead noise into joyful noises. Over the years I have developed a repertoire of preschool music games.
Music Games to Teach the Names of Musical Instruments & New Vocabulary:
Most kids will be very familiar with drums and bells but there are opportunities to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary as children learn the names of maracas, triangles, symbols, tambourines and more.
Once children are sitting in the floor in a circle call each one up and hand them a musical instrument. Does the group know what this instrument is called? Makes sure that each child hears and repeats the name of their instrument.
Tell the children that we will be listening and taking turns playing our instruments. Ask them put their instruments in their laps until it is their turn. Place an instrument in your lap and model putting your hands together in your lap. Let them know they will need their hands for applause when it isn’t their turn. Now the music begins. Here are some examples.
“Please play your instruments if you have a piano. Let’s hear from all the piano players.”
“Thank you piano players. That was lovely. Now only the drums should play. Who has a drum?”
“Thank you drums. How enthusiastic our drummers are today. It’s time for a solo from the triangle. A solo means one person is playing alone. Can we hear from our triangle player?”
“Thank you triangle player. That was beautiful. Let’s hear from just the maracas now. Some people call the maracas “shakers” because we shake them to play.”
“Way to go maraca players. That was really fun. Lastly we need to hear from tambourine players. Can we have a concert from the tambourine players please? We have two tambourine players. They will be a duet.”
“That was excellent. Now we can be a band. It’s time for all of us to play together on the count of three. Are you ready?”
Notice that in addition to learning the names of musical instruments you can also expose preschoolers to new vocabulary such as applause, solo, duet, band and concert.
In this music game, children are learning new vocabulary, practicing listening skills, taking turns and yes, making music. This game is fun, educational and great example of organized chaos.
If you’re getting excited about preschool music time and you’d like more ideas, try A Favorite Preschool Music Game: Red light, Green Light.