Skin and bones is a fun song to sing in the fall and a great one for incorporating instruments into your lesson!


This song is a great excuse to dust off your Orff instruments, handbells, or Boomwhackers™. Ask students to play only the highlighted section.


  • Have students listen to the song. During the highlighted section, ask students to use their bodies to show the melodic direction. This could mean swaying back and forth as they sink to the ground. Or they could use just their arms, floating them from high to low.
  • Ask students to sing the highlighted portion as they move.
  • Give students the instruments. Model how to play the highlighted section.
  • Practice playing that section with the students.  Using Orff instruments, students can practice on their own by playing with the handle, which creates a softer sound. This also gives you a chance to walk around the room and correct grip and technique.
  • Sing and play with the song.
  • On the word “BOO!”, you can have students play all together at once loudly (as with handbells and Boomwhackers™). Or you can have them quickly glissando on their Orff instruments.


If your students can already play B, A, and G on their recorders, this would be a great time to add E. You can use the same sequence as above. I would suggest splitting your class into two groups, the players and the singers. This way you can alternate on each verse to keep students engaged.

I found a video on Youtube where a teacher used this in a concert. For some fun effects, add dark lighting, glow necklaces, glow bracelets, or other props.


Split the students into two groups: singers and players (recorder, handbells, Orff, etc.) For the singers, create spooky masks with cheap paper plates and some glow-in-the-dark paint. Or you could have each students create their own. Ask them to hide the masks behind their backs as they sing. Then, have them quickly raise the masks to their faces as they shout “BOO!” at the end. This way, you can highlight the students who excel at recorder, while still letting your awesome singers shine (and scare).