Take it Outside! 5 Outdoor Music Games to Play with Your Students

Camps and Workshops, Games, Group Lessons

I recently finished my summer camp a couple of weeks ago. This year I called it Music Theory Mania because it was all about playing a ton of music games. I knew I wanted to do some outdoor games but wasn’t sure how early the Arizona summer heat would rear its ugly head. Camp was scheduled for the end of May, but we have had some crazy years when that was just too late to be outdoors. I decided in our 4-hour camp, that our first hour (9am-10am) would be designated for outdoor games, and then we would make our way inside before the heat got to be too much. It worked out perfectly!

One of the benefits of playing games outside is students have the chance to be more physical and CAN use their outdoor voices. Ha! Ha! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has students who don’t understand indoor voices when they get together with their music friends. And by doing the outdoor games first, they are able to get a lot of energy out.

So what kind of outdoor music games can we do? HINT: You can take most indoor activities and put an “outdoor” spin on it.

For example… Indoors, I might want to play a “target” style game where students are aiming for the answer. We can do that outdoors too; just add in a water blaster and you are good to go! Here are 5 outdoor music games to get you started…

Music Notes Water Blaster Gallery

Grab some water blasters and a water bucket. Show students a music note flashcard. If they get it correct, students can then fill up their blaster with water and shoot the correct answer. (I just taped letter names on soda cans for the target)

How about instead of bean bag toss we do a…

Water Balloon Staff Toss or Water Sponges Staff Toss

In this game students can toss a water balloon or wet sponge onto a plastic keyboard or staff and then answer the note correctly. This can even be done with intervals (using two balloons/sponges).

The teacher (or helper) shows a flashcard and then the student answering can throw their water balloon or sponge that is on that note! OR better yet, have the other students be the notes like the picture you see! So fun!

Sidewalk Chalk

There are a lot of things you can do with some chalk and a sidewalk or driveway! A few ideas to get you started are: Rhythm Hopscotch, Sidewalk Music Dictation, drawing notes you call out on the staff, practice drawing music symbols, etc.

Rhythm Value Relay

Relay races are fun to do outdoors. You can make them as short or long as you want. You can include water, but you don’t have to. In this rhythm value relay, students were first given a (random) rhythm value. For example, dotted half note. They had to do everything in the relay with that value (3 beats) in mind. Bounce a ball 3 times, hula-hoop 3 times, jump rope 3 times, etc. Then after they went through all the obstacles, they grabbed a partner and did a 3 legged race to me and handed me the dotted half note from a pile of rhythms that were on the ground.

Musical Basketball

I have done this one several times with my students indoors, but if you have an outdoor basketball hoop, take advantage of it and move outdoors! You can review anything you want to. Students answer a question and have a chance to shoot to earn points! They love it!

I hope with these 5 ideas you can start to see that you can really take almost any indoor game and move it outdoors. Sometimes it takes a little adaption, but many times that can make it even MORE fun!

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