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Originally recorded as Live Broadcast November 2022

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Singing games where we take turns are lots of fun.

But they also develop key social skills in children, which are critical to building friendships.

Taking turns isn’t just about sharing toys or playground equipment.

A child who is unable to wait for their turn to speak will interrupt and may not be able to actively listen to others. Affecting not just their relationships, but their ability to access their education effectively.

Echo Games

Copy cat copy cat ss m ss m
Sitting on the doormat ss ml s m

For this game we have a leader, which can be the teacher initially, and the followers. The leader does an action while they sing, and the followers respond and copy.

The children, and adults – because I’ve used this in my teacher training sessions – find it very difficult to wait their turn. They might manage not to sing, but they can’t resist joining in the action before it’s their turn.

My Doremi piano and music students develop an understanding of beat and rhythm and how they differ, using my variation on this game. You can find more details in my blog post Teach Beat and Rhythm Successfully With This Simple 5-Step Game

Circle Games

There’s a lovely song I use with my music students and piano students called Apple Tree.

Apple tree apple tree ss m ss m
Will your apples fall on me ss ll ss m
I won’t cry and I won’t shout ss mm ss m
If your apples knock me out ss ll ss d

The simplest version of this game, which I do with my youngest musicians and my Beaver Scouts too, is a bean bag passing game.

It’s just like pass the parcel. But instead of unwrapping the present at the end, the child with the beanbag becomes the apple tree. They stand in the centre of the circle and make the shape of a tree.

They LOVE getting to be the tree! But they have to wait their turn, and they don’t always get a go.

Passing the bean bag around the circle also involves waiting, patience and taking turns. They might want to hold onto the bean bag because they’re so desperate to be the tree. But that’s not the rules of the game!

More Advanced Games

There are other turn taking games that involve singing different parts such as the perennial favourite Doggie Doggie and more.

I love playing these games with my students, AND teaching my Doremi Members how to play them with their students too.

Musical Benefits

What else is developed when you’re taking turns in a game?

The start of part work and inner hearing! So sophisticated musical skills are being seeded here too – a subject for another day.

What are your favourite singing games that involve taking turns? Had you thought about all the developmental benefits? You’re teaching more than just music!