I almost didn’t print this new game, not because it is embarrassingly simple since that has never stopped me before. No, the problem is that in the easy version, the player who goes first always wins. But then I remembered that the reason we play these games is to reinforce music theory in a hands-on way, not to learn a life lesson. 🙂
Besides, as I played it with my younger students, I didn’t tell them and they didn’t notice. If they did, it didn’t bother them because I always let them go first anyway.
When I played the harder version with my older students, we usually tied, and that is fine, too.
I also want to share how I made the printed dominoes strong and sturdy so they will last a long time.
So here is my version of Rhythm Dominoes, a simple way to reinforce or even teach, rhythmic values in 4/4 meter.
- Page one is for early elementary and the second page is for late elementary.
- White card stock
- Two different colors of colored card stock
- Glue Stick (I used Elmer’s Xtreme®)
- Strong scissors
- Optional: Laminating film
- Use sturdy card stock to print the page you plan to use.
- Spread glue on the entire back of the printable. I used a liberal amount of glue stick. Do not leave any spots glue-free.
- Carefully glue the printed page to a blank sheet of colored card stock.
- Laminate the pages that are glued together and cut out the dominoes.
- Repeat with the second level of the printed page, using a different color of card stock to help you keep the levels separate.
- If you want to use this in group lessons, consider printing 2 pages of each level.
- Mix up the dominoes and divide them between the players.
- The youngest player goes first and places a double domino on the table.
- The second player places a matching domino next to the domino on the table, connecting the two. Players may match with a note, number, or rhythm pattern.
- Two numbers (inside the colored circles) cannot be matched together.
- If a player doesn’t have a match, he/she skips a turn.
- Continue taking turns placing dominoes on the table, snaking them around the table.
- The first player to run out of dominoes is the winner. If neither player has a match, the player with the fewest remaining dominoes is the winner.
- You can certainly make up your own rules to this game. Variations include passing out 5 dominoes to each player and putting the remainder in a pile to draw if the player does not have a match.
- Students will learn to quickly identify rhythm patterns and notes of equal value in 4/4 meter.
- Students will match rhythmic note values in 4/4 meter.
Lady Bug Game Board
LadyBug Game Cards
This is one of my favorite games. It’s fast and fun and I think it’s a good game to play this time of year. I’ve revised it and remade the keyboard cards.
- I suggest printing the colorful game board on photo paper and then laminating it so the colors really come to life. It can also be taken to an office shop. MTNA members, use Office Depot/Max and receive a big discount.
- Before you print the cards, decide which pages you want to use. Please don’t print all the pages at once because the last page is the optional backs.
- Print on card stock. They do not have to be laminated.
- There are 5 pages of cards.
- Pages 1-3 are notes on the staff.
- Page 4 has keyboard cards.
- Page 5 is the optional back of the cards. After printing the cards on pages 1-4, insert the pages back into your printer to print the back of the cards. Please see my FAQ for a tutorial on how to do this.
- This game can be played with students or teacher and student.
- Each player has a token.
- The cards are placed face down next to the game board.
- The first player draws a card and moves their token forward along the path to the closest letter that matches the note on their card.
- The next player draws and moves in the same way.
- The game is over when someone draws a card that takes them to the last G or any note after the last G at the end of the path.
- There are many games you can play with this game board. Use your own ideas and I hope you have fun!
- To learn the music alphabet.
- To learn to recognize notes on the grand staff or keys on a piano keyboard.
- To reinforce learning steps and skips.
- Early childhood and elementary ages.
Why I like this game
- It’s fast, under 3 minutes, students always like it.
- Children learn faster if they are having fun.
- It’s a great game for beginners to learn piano key names.
- The game is so fast, you can play more than once.
This is a remake of a very old game because I wanted to add a page of 6/8 rhythms and also update the art. This is a very fast activity with very simple instructions and good for older students.
There are 3 pages in this PDF. The cards have one beat missing in a measure and students have to identify the missing note.
Have you ever had an adult tell you they took music for years and never learned how to figure out rhythms? This happens not only to students who take performing classes such as band and choir, but also students in private lessons. Many times we think our students can count when actually they are just really good at learning rhythm by ear. This game will identify students who need some extra help.
One of the cards in 4/4 time is missing a dotted quarter note. I’m just letting you know so you can pull that card if you wish. Or you can do what I do; just go ahead and tell them a dotted quarter plus eighth equals a half note. Later on you can teach it in detail. Sometimes we hold our students back because they have not progressed to a certain page in a method book.
- To review 4/4 meter
- To review 6/8 meter
- To reinforce counting rhythm
- Shamrock Rhythms game board, printed on card stock
- Rhythm cards printed on perforated business card paper or card stock
- Place the cards upside down near the game board. The student will draw a card and place it on the note or notes that are missing in the measure.
- If a quarter note is missing from a measure in 4/4 time, students may put it on either 2 eights or the quarter note.
- Use your phone clock and time the student.
- Print more game boards and cards and use at a group lesson.
- Use as a file folder activity.
- Hand draw extra cards.
Steal A Heart Game
I created this game about five years ago for a group class I had near Valentine’s Day. It was an older group with middle school and high school age students. I told them it was a game to test them on the dreaded ledger line notes! But I also included all the notes so I could use it with more students.
They had a lot of fun playing it, stealing the same cards back and forth and trying to figure out the really hard ledger lines. They laughed a lot and I was glad that I had a game this group enjoyed.
There were really only two problems with this game in the original form:
- It used a whole lot of red ink.
- I could never remember the rules!
With that in mind and with Valentine’s coming up, I remade it. I cut the amount of red ink by about 80%. If you don’t want to use all the difficult ledger line cards, you don’t have to print them because they are on a separate page. And the game directions are included in the PDF file, so you can print them and keep it with the game.
I hope these revisions will encourage more teachers to try it. It works well with any age student and it is lots of fun.
It can also be modified for use in a private lesson.
- To review the names of notes on the grand staff.
- To learn identify ledger line notes in the bass and treble staves.
- Print a game board for each player.
- Print and cut the small note cards along the dotted lines.
- Place a stack of the little heart cards face down in reach of everyone.
- The first player draws a card, names the note, and places the card on an empty heart on his/her game board.
- Give students time to figure out the note.
- If a student draws a “Steal a Heart” card, he may take a heart card from the game board of the person on his right, but he must name the note he is stealing.
- If he draws a “Be Mine” card, he puts it over a card he has already placed on his board to protect it, and then draws another card. The other players cannot steal a card that is “protected” with the “Be Mine” card.
- If the player draws a “Give my Heart” card, he gives one of his cards to the player on his right, who must name the card before he can accept it.
- Feel free to modify the rules or change the way the game is played.