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Singing games for Social Distancing

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Singing games for social distancing: How to keep students engaged while socially distancing

Are you wondering how to play games with your students while social distancing? In this blog post, I’ll detail five singing games that could work well with social distancing.

Before I begin, a disclaimer: when I say “singing game,” I don’t necessarily mean that students are singing while they play. Typically, they would, but in this age of COVID-19, they likely won't be able to. Instead, you might be having them sing inside their heads or hum along (if that has been deemed safe.) You might also have them play the game in person while watching a video of you singing, or if they are distance learning at home, they are free to sing along…but they won’t have people to play with, unless they ask their family to play along!

Here are five singing games that could be adapted for social distancing:

Apple Tree

Here is the notation for “Apple Tree.”

Typically with this song, I’d have students holding hands in a circle while playing the game, in which they are “caught” by a tree. With social distancing, that won’t work, but this could:

We are dancing

Here is the notation for “We are dancing”:

Usually, we’d play with students holding hands, and a wolf outside of the circle, telling us whether or not he/she is there. Once he/she says “yes,” the students all run away from the wolf. This involves close proximity and lots of touching. Instead, we could have all students stand six feet apart. When the person who is the wolf, or “it,” is turned away from everyone, the students all “dance” in the forest. Once the person who is “it” turns towards them, they have to freeze! Whoever is not frozen can be told they are out and sit down. The game continues until only one child is out, and then that child becomes the wolf!

Who's That Tapping at the Window?

Here is the notation for “Who’s that tapping at the window.”

Typically, we’d play a solo singing game, in which students sing solos on “Mommy’s tapping at the window” and “Daddy’s knocking at the door,” and then the other students guess who it was singing. We could do that, but virtually. You could invite students to do a Flipgrid, in which students who are willing could record themselves singing the solo, but then put an emoji on their faces. Other students would have to guess who it was singing! In order to do this, you would have to let students know to use a different name when posting, and you would have to set guidelines that students be kind to one another.

I've been to Haarlem

Here is the notation for “I’ve been to Haarlem.”

I love the “cup game” with this song, which can be found here. You could easily have students do this cup game, but instead of sitting at a circle, they do it at their desks, and then having them put the cup back in front of themselves at the end of each round. You would have to sanitize the cups after you are done.

Sei Sei Sei

Here is the notation for “Sei Sei Sei,” a Japanese folk song.

Usually, we’d have students do a rock, paper, scissors game with a partner while standing on a newspaper. Every time they lose, they have to fold their newspaper in half, until the newspaper is too small for them to stand on! With social distancing, you could do this, with partners standing at nearby desks, and students still using newspapers. You may want to recycle the newspapers after you are done with a class, so that you don't have to worry about spreading any virus by sharing newspapers.

If you are looking to index other singing games for social distancing, sign up for my list below to receive a singing game index with these five singing games indexed, and room to index other singing games!

This index is also in this long-range planning set for distance learning.

Looking for more songs for distance and blended learning? Check out this set for “We are dancing”:

I hope you are able to find other games that students can play while social distancing, so that they can be engaged, have fun, and stay safe! Happy planning!

5 Responses

  1. Thank you!! Can you tell me how to pronounce the words in “Sei, Sei, Sei” ? I am unfamiliar with that one and would love to learn it!

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