Fun Music Activities for Preschoolers

The beat is on with these fun-to-play games!

Want to increase your preschooler's learning power? It really is as simple as turning on the radio or tapping your toes. When a young child listens to music, plays a musical instrument or even dances, lots of things start happening. The brain starts forming connections that pave the way for learning opportunities such as vocabulary building and math comprehension. Not only that, but music can be fun. So one day when your little one is looking for something to do, try some of these music activities for preschoolers that will get you both moving.


Freeze Dance

music activities for preschoolers
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It's as simple as it sounds. Blast some of your preschooler's favorite tunes (or heck, even some of your own) and dance to your heart's content. Then, when they least expects it, yell "freeze!" and stop the music. See what funny positions you both wind up in. How long can you hold them?


Strike Up the Band

We starting a band baby!!!!!
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Gather up all the music-making instruments you can find. Don't have a piano or a drum at the ready? No worries, homemade is always more fun anyway. Pull out pots, pans, bowls, empty milk cartons — whatever you have on hand — and let your little one go to town on them with a wooden or plastic spoon. Fill closed containers like sealable bowls with buttons or pebbles and give them a shake. 


Draw What You Hear

Adorable little boy, writing in a book, lying
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Cue up different types of music on your CD or MP3 player — pop, kids, classical, country, etc. Give your child some paper and different colored markers or crayons. Start the music and ask them to draw what they are hearing. If they are having trouble, demonstrate. For example, with slower music, you might draw long, loping lines in a dark color. With a faster tune, shorter, sharper angles using a brighter shade. There's no wrong answer here, just what you feel.

An alternative would be to play the music outside and hand your little one some chalk to draw on the pavement.


Name That Tune

Caucasian mother and daughter playing clapping game
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Clap or tap out your child's favorite nursery rhyme or song. See if they can figure out what it is. Once they've mastered that game, make it a little more challenging and try to do it in less time or fewer beats.


Make-Your-Own Xylophone

Mother and daughter playing xylophone
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Fill an assortment of glasses or jugs (or both) with varying levels of water. Line them up in order from least to most full. Give your child a mallet (a wooden spoon works well) and have them experiment with the different sounds.

For a pretty variation, add food coloring to the water and make a rainbow.


Music Mania!

Children dancing under mother with sheet
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Bring out a variety of songs with a variety of tempos. Ask your preschooler to dance accordingly, encouraging them to speed up if the music is fast and take it easy when the beat slows down. Join in the fun, setting an example on how your child should follow, for instance slowly sliding on your belly during a ballad or doing jumping jacks while a dance song plays. See who can come up with the most interesting move.


Singing in the Shower

Laughing sisters playing in bubble bath
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At bath time, encourage your little one to experiment with the acoustics in the bathroom. What happens when you open or close the shower curtain or door? Can they sing louder than the running water? 


Just Dance (With Props)

Daughters in costumes dancing on feet of fathers
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It doesn't get any easier than this. Clear a large space and crank up the music. Bring out an assortment of fun toys — hula hoops, bean bags, rubber balls, scarves — and start dancing!

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  1. Degé F, Schwarzer G. The effect of a music program on phonological awareness in preschoolers. Frontiers in psychology. 2011 Jun 20;2:124. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00124

  2. Elofsson J, Englund Bohm A, Jeppsson C, Samuelsson J. Physical activity and music to support pre-school children’s mathematics learning. Education 3-13. 2018 Jul 29;46(5):483-93. doi:10.1080/03004279.2016.1273250