Are you looking for fun, versatile games for the classroom?
I know I always am! My favorite thing ever is taking a super simple, low-prep game and turning it into something educational. The BEST games are ones that can be easily adapted to use for any subject. Today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite, versatile games for the classroom…
Yes! Musical chairs! Everyone knows how to play it, it’s SO low-prep (just need some chairs, music, and a worksheet). And the best part is you can play this game in ANY subject! I obviously used it in math, but since it’s a game that’s played with worksheets, and subject area will work.
Speaking of worksheets, they’re the worst right? But sometimes we just can’t avoid them. Kind of a necessary evil if you ask me. But just because using worksheets is inevitable, doesn’t mean it has to be boring! There are so many ways to make worksheets more fun, and playing musical chairs is just one example!
Why I Love this Classroom Game
Why do I love playing musical chairs in the classroom so much? Lots of reasons! To name a few:
- It makes worksheets so much more fun, as I already mentioned.
- It’s the lowest of low-prep activities.
- Students LOVE it. So much. I’ve never had a student complain and they are usually begging for more.
- It gets your students out of their seats and moving, without taking away instruction time. This is especially great if you have a wiggly class!
- Games for the classroom that can be done completely on the fly (whether you planned it or not) are SO my jam. As organized as I am, I actually do some of my best teaching when I don’t have a detailed plan and just, you know, go with it. (That’s not everyone and that’s okay! But if this is you – then definitely keep this game in your back pocket!)
- It’s principal-approved! I had my students play this as part of my formal evaluation one year and my principal loved it! She thought it was a great idea and could tell it kept the kids engaged more than just a traditional worksheet would.
So, how do you play?
Alright, take notes! This is super complicated and detailed. You might want to grab several pieces of paper in order to write it down because you’ll probably use them all.
I’m kidding, obviously. This game is the easiest of easy. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Give every student a worksheet.
Any worksheet. Doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as there are very clear numbers or sections to work on. Students will write their name on their worksheet, and nothing else.
Step 2: Students walk/dance around the room while music plays.
Students leave their worksheet at their desk (this is important), but grab a pencil and stand up. Play some music the kiddos love, and as it plays, students will walk around the room with their pencil in hand.
Step 3: When the music stops, students sit at the desk closest to them.
After a minute or so, stop the music. Students will then sit down at the desk closest to them. If possible, encourage students to not sit at their own desk. So, if their own desk is closest to them, they can trade with another student.
Step 4: Students answer 1 question on the worksheet.
Regardless of whose desk they are at, students will answer the first question on the worksheet in front of them. The point is for it to not be their own worksheet! (This is specifically how I play it; however, if you choose to skip the last step, then this isn’t as important. Do what works best for your class!)
I recommend setting a timer for this part so students work quickly!
Step 5: Repeat until all questions are answered.
When time is up, students will stand back up with their pencil and move around the room, leaving the worksheet behind. Repeat steps 2-4 until all questions on the worksheet are completed! Encourage students to try not to sit at the same desk more than once.
Step 6: Students return to their desk and check the work done on their worksheet.
This is a step I added from where I originally learned about this game in order to make the activity more meaningful. Once all questions have been answered, students will return to their own desk and check the work done on their worksheet. Allow them to make corrections as needed before turning it in.
I added this step in order to hold students accountable for answering the questions correctly. Obviously you can’t grade something when the student who is receiving the grade didn’t do the actual work – that wouldn’t be fair. But without any kind of accountability, this activity becomes meaningless. Of course, if you teach younger kiddos, this step may not work for them, or be necessary – they may not figure out that you can’t grade it as is, and do their best anyway! I have a feeling, though, that older kids may figure this out and take advantage. Use your best judgement!
Yes, that’s it! It’s really one of the easiest, but also most engaging, games for the classroom I’ve ever done! I love it so much, it’s even included in some of my Math in Motion games – but of course, you don’t need a special resource to pull off this activity!
Hopefully my sharing this activity with you was helpful, and that you’ll let me know how it goes if you use it in your classroom! I love hearing from you, so comment below and tell me about it!