3-5, Elementary Music, Games, K-2, Lessons

Monkey Game for Crescendos and Decrescendos

Is there a game at your school that your students beg to play? Like all of the time? That’s the Monkey Game for me. I know that it teaches piano and forte to the littles and crescendos and decrescendos to the older students, but they do not care. They want to play it all the time.

Seriously. I’ll say, “We’re going to play a game!” and they’ll say, “The Monkey Game?!”

No. It’s not always the Monkey Game.

It actually got to the point where I was so sick of it that I started telling them we couldn’t play it because it took too long to get the drums out.

Anyway, this is a game that teaches crescendos and decrescendos (or piano and forte, if you differentiate). I learned it from my mentor teacher during student teaching, and I do not know where she came up with it. But it is so much fun.

Why do I call it the Monkey Game? Because we use a stuffed monkey. In your class it could be the bear game or the owl game or whatever depending on your stuffed animal collection.

Also read: Extra Beat, Take a Seat

The Monkey Game: Free music game for crescendo and decrescendo. Perfect for teaching elementary music, or even middle school band and choir. It can be adapted to teach kindergarten and first grade by switching it to piano and forte. Your kids will be begging to play it-- at least mine do! Becca's Music Room.

 

The Monkey Game

Materials:

Instructions:

  • First, discuss what crescendo and crescendo are. I like to have the students say the words with a crescendo and decrescendo. So when we say crescendo, we crescendo. When we say decrescendo, we decrescendo. I also like to have them move their hands up and down to show the dynamics. Then I project them onto the board so that we remember them.
  • Then, have a few students come up to the tubanos in the front. (After the long discussion about how we do NOT LEAN ON THE DRUMS, of course)
  • Have one student hide the monkey. They are the hider. (We always let a piece of the monkey stick out to make the game go a little bit faster.)
  • While that person hides the monkey, another student goes in the corner and closes their eyes. They are going to be the finder. Once the hider is finished, have the finder come out and open their eyes. They are now going to walk around the room and look for the monkey.
  • The people at the drums help find the monkey by playing with different dynamics. If they are close to the monkey, they play forte. If they are far away from the monkey, they play piano. This causes lots of crescendos and decrescendos. Throughout the game, ask the students, “Was that a crescendo or a decrescendo?”
  • The students at their seats watch, and I usually tell them they can help by playing on their legs or the ground if they want to. This helps those friends who just cannot sit still have an outlet.
  • Once the monkey is found, switch out the people. I usually let the drummer stay for two rounds before switching them.

 

Easy peasy! It’s kind of like hot and cold but with music. I know some people play Lucy Locket in a similar way (I don’t– you can see how I play here)

Note– if you do not have tubanos, don’t stress. Use whatever you have– hand drums, bongos, rhythm sticks, egg shakers. If you can play crescendos and decrescendos, then you can play the game.

Also read: Sempre Libera Scarf Routine

There you have it– the most requested game EVER in my elementary music room. I think I am going to break down and play it right before Spring Break…. They always need a little extra incentive to do a good job around Spring Break.

What is the most requested game in your elementary music classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

 

The Monkey Game: Free music game for crescendo and decrescendo. Perfect for teaching elementary music, or even middle school band and choir. It can be adapted to teach kindergarten and first grade by switching it to piano and forte. Your kids will be begging to play it-- at least mine do! Becca's Music Room.

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Children's Church, Games

My Kids’ Favorite Church Games

We play a lot of Children’s Church games. We always have one or two games at the beginning of the class, and a few at the end. Why so many? We strategically do them at the beginning to help get some of the wiggles out, and to make our Children’s Church more high energy.

We recently restructured our Children’s Church to include more volunteers and make it feel separate from Sunday School. Having church games allows the students to have a concentration break between Sunday School and Children’s Church—and helps them learn more! At the end of service, we play games because I am honestly never sure when the parents will show up. Church could end at 12, or the first parent could come at 12:30. You just never know.

There was one time that I was still giving a lesson and church got over early. After that, I decided that we would plan to be done with the lesson at 11:55, so that when parents come, we will be done with the important part.

So we play games at the end.

Read all about how I structure Children’s Church here.

Here are some of our favorites. Some of these church games are actually church-related (or could be) and some are not. Granted, if you think hard enough, you could probably make any of them relate to a Bible story. My Kids' Favorite church Games. What we play in Children's Church to help us take up time or energy! These could work for Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, homeschool group, elementary schools, etc! Becca's Music Room

Church games that are church related

Resurrector

Students sit in a circle. Everyone receives a paper with a “d”, an “r”, or a number on it. The d is the detective, the r is the resurrector, and numbers are people. Detective stands in the middle. The resurrector winks (or points, depending on how old your kids are) at people. When someone is winked at, the stand up and say “I’m alive!”. The detective has to decide who the resurrector is. I found this game on Ministry-to-Children. They call is Wink, Alive! Click here for the full instructions. Goes with: Jesus’ resurrection, Lazarus raised from the dead, Dorcas raised from the dead, talking about being spiritually awakened from the dead, etc.

You can see this game in action here.

Four Gospels

This is really four corners but with the names of the four Gospels instead of numbers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. One student stands in the middle and closes their eyes. They count to ten. All of the other students go into a corner. Once after counting to ten, the student who is it calls out a corner name. Students in that corner have to go sit down. Goes with: Learning the books of the Bible

Lazarus wrap up

This is really a bridal shower game. Students get into groups and wrap up a student in toilet paper to look like a mummy. You can judge how good they look, or see who can use the most toilet paper in a set amount of time. Goes with: Lazarus, Jesus being raised form the dead, or Dorcas raised from the dead.

Also read: The Beginner’s Guide to Children’s Church

My Kids' Favorite church Games. What we play in Children's Church to help us take up time or energy! These could work for Children's Church, Sunday School, Awanas, homeschool group, elementary schools, etc! Becca's Music Room

Church games not church related

Obstacle course

This can be related, depending on how you do it. One of my favorites has been to draw on the sidewalk with chalk that says things like “spin 3 times” or “hop on one foot”, etc. one student does it all ant then comes back and tags the next. You could also like set out hula hoops and have them hop though them. These will help with the obstacle course:

Relay race

This is similar. Basically, a whole group of students has to go through the race, come back and tag the next person. You can do this in any way—walking like a crab, carrying something on a spoon, hooked onto someone else, with a balloon between the legs, etc. this is my go to for when I am not sure what to do, because there are so many options!



Riverbank

This one sounds so simple that when a student explained it to me, I thought it was going to be a dud. Boy was I wrong. You put a line on the floor with tape or chalk outside (my room has a line in the carpet anyway, so I don’t have to worry about it). Designate one side as “river” and one side as “bank”. One person stands at the front and says either river or bank. Students jump to that side of the line. If they are on the wrong side, they sit down. As they get it, you can start saying more than one thing at a time, like “river, bank, river” to make it more difficult. Super simple and surprisingly fun.

Freeze dance

This is always a hit. Students dance when the music is on and freeze when it is off. You can use pretty much whatever music you want. Not sure what to use? Toby Mac is usually a big hit and he has enough songs that it will entertain them for a while.

Also: How to Structure Children’s Church in 6 Easy Steps

Museum

AKA my kids’ favorite church game ever. One person is the museum guard. The close their eyes and count to ten. When they come out, all of the students are “statues”. The kids must freeze when the guard is looking at them—but only if he is looking. They are able to move as long as they are not caught. This is particularly great because it keeps them quiet. And if you wanted to, you could tie it into a lesson if you were talking about Lot’s wife turned to salt.

Cat and Mouse

This one is super fun, and you can see exactly how it is played here!

Since it is this time of year, read: Church Christmas Program: What do I Choose?

So there you have it! My kids’ favorite church games. What are your kids’ favorite church games? Let us know and add a link to instructions in the comments!

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