My Top 5 Favorite Circle Games for Elementary Music


This circle game and song is fantastic for teaching barred sixteenth notes, and my kids always loved the dance that went along with it. You can read about how I taught the dance and download free rhythm cards for differentiation HERE.   You can also teach this song as a circle game. The video below features Robert Amchin sharing his melody and rhythm lesson with Tideo. I would highly recommend subscribing to his channel. He has amazing content!  


This circle game is awesome for teaching tempo and teamwork. Your kids will have to stay extremely focused to keep up with the song and to place the object correctly each time. Plus, it’s a really fun way to introduce them to music from Mexico. You can use any objects you have on hand to play the game, so it’s extremely versatile. You can read more about it HERE.  


This is a duck, duck, goose style chasing game that kids always love to play. It’s an excellent piece for teaching call and response forms in music. It also gives you a chance to assess students as they sing the solo portion of the song. You can read more about the game HERE.  


This game is FANTASTIC for solo singing, especially for younger grades! You can learn more about the game and song HERE.


There’s something about a good-natured hide and seek game that kids absolutely love. This game gives students a chance to try and fool the person in the middle by secretly passing a key behind their backs. Some of my classes were so good at this that they often fooled me too. As for the teaching aspect, this song is great for practicing do, re, mi. You can also sing the song as a call and response, giving you another chance to assess your students’ pitch-matching skills. You can read the full blog post and learn how to make your own Solfége magnet manipulatives HERE.

10 Responses

  1. This is an awesome round-up of some great circle games (see what I did there?)!! Tideo and Chicken on the Fencepost are my favorites from this list, and my other favorite is Bump Up Tomato 🙂

  2. Love these games. For Closet Key, I have a key on a string that students pass secretly around while we sing. It's hard to be sneaky with grade two students! Person in the middle gets three guesses to see who has the key,

  3. My kids loved Al Citron (although I used the song version with them). They thought that "triki triki torn" was the funniest thing ever. Excited to try the others in your list.

  4. Do you know “Button you must wander?” It sounds similar to Closet Key, but kids stand in a circle while passing a button along a string. At the end, everyone pretends to hide the button and the person in the middle(whose eyes were closed during the Song) gets 3 guesses to find it. My 1st and 2nd graders love it

    1. I'd heard of it, but never played the game myself. Yes, it sounds exactly like Closet Key. I feel like that's the type of game that could be played with almost any song, and it's so much fun for the kids! Thanks for commenting. I may have to add that song to my list of blog topics for the future 🙂