Category Archives: Holiday Activities and Worksheets

Autumn Rhythm Tic Tac Toe

Autumn Rhythm Tic Tac Toe

Autumn Rhythms Tic Tac Toe

Today I am posting a seasonal game to review note values such as dotted quarter notes and eighth notes.  I included stems going up and down to help students become familiar with that.

This game is  played like Tic Tac Toe using bingo chips. It is for two players, but it is easily modified for more students and played like Bingo.

Regular readers will notice this is similar to the Bats and Cats Rhythm Game. However, I remade the small cards to include more patterns and I changed the levels some.  Now I need a year round theme so I’m taking suggestions!

There are two levels included. The second level  is a great game to reinforce dotted quarter notes. Some children don’t know how to add fractions, so adding 1  1/2  +  1/2 is too much for them.  Of course we all have those students who seem to understand anything related to math without the teacher having to explain it!  They like this game, too.

There are 5 pages in this PDF document: a game board, 2 levels of cards to cut out, and the backs for each level.

I advise printing the backs to the small cards to help you quickly distinguish the levels for fast set-up.


  • To quickly add beats in rhythm patterns


  • Bingo tokens, a different color for each player. [Suggestions for tokens include inexpensive colored erasers or pieces of cut out construction paper. Colored bingo chips are available online. ]
  • One game board for two players. If playing in groups, 1 card for each player.
  • Calling cards with the appropriate level for the student.


  • Print the game board on card stock or photo paper and laminate, if desired.
  • Print one page of the calling cards. Turn the page over and print the “back” of  the calling cards. Check out my FAQ for hints on how to do it.
  • Cut the calling cards along the dotted lines. Place in a stack face down.
  • The calling cards contain notes and/or rests worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 beats (in 4/4 time.) The game board has squares with one note or rest worth 1, 2, 3. or 4 beats.
  • Player one draws a calling cards and counts the notes/rest value. He places a bingo chip on a square with that note value.
  • This is repeated by the second player, with a different colored bingo chip.
  • Play continues in this manner until a player has a chip on 3 squares in a row in any direction, including diagonally, as if the players are playing Tic Tac Toe.
  • An alternate way to play is to give each player a game board. Players take turns drawing a card and putting a bingo chip on the correct square. The object is to be the first player with all their squares covered.
  • Note: If a player draws a card that has no note left with that rhythm value, he is not able to place a chip on the board and it becomes the next players turn.

Why I like it:

This is a simple game and it’s easy and fast to play. But it really works and you will see your students improve their ability to count rhythms and to quickly add them up. One teacher, Louise, who played the Halloween version, left this message a few years ago:

Thank you so much for this game, Susan. I have played it with my Grade 2 students and found that although they were hesitant at first, when adding up the dotted notes and the grouped semiquavers and quavers, after a couple of games they were seeing at a glance how many beats were in the groupings. Such a useful game. I may bring it out even when it isn’t Halloween!


Filed under Games, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Rhythm

Pumpkin Music Math and Other Autumn Activities


Pumpkin Music Math

Today I am posting two Thanksgiving rhythm worksheets that you can start using right away.

My students seemed to know instinctively how to do these worksheets. Students add the quarter note in the middle to the patterns in each group and write the answer as a note in the blank. Try to remind them to use a note instead of a number. This way it is not as difficult to learn 6/8 meter later on.

Dotted notes are tricky to explain, but if you remind them that a dotted quarter note equals 3 eights (and keep reminding them), it makes it a lot easier.

  • “One and a half beats” is confusing to young students who may not have learned fractions in school.
  • “A dotted quarter note equals 3 eight notes” is easier to understand.

That is why the Kodaly method uses 3 eighth notes tied together to teach a dotted quarter note.

Are you looking for more autumn activities? Try these.

Hide the Pumpkins – a worksheet to identify notes and piano keys in several levels.

The Pumpkin Patch – a fast board game.

Kandy Key Signatures – students construct key signatures with candy corn. They can also draw them.

Pumpkin Notes – write the names of notes on the staff.

It’s October – 2 composing activities – on-the-staff composing and pre-reading composing.

Pumpkin or Leaves – a fun, very fast game using the piano keys to review or learn the names of piano keys.

For Thanksgiving games and worksheets, check out this link. 



Filed under Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Rhythm, Thanksgiving, Worksheets

Hanukkah Music Printables


No one wants to feel left out during the holidays, so I’m posting some Hanukkah printables. One of them, Color the Hanukkah Gift, is already on my site, but this is a new version.

Menorah Candles – Students draw lines from notes to letters in the music alphabet. This includes a few ledger line notes, so it’s not for beginning readers.

Color the Hanukkah Gift – Students color the sections of the box according to note names. The notes are for beginning readers.

Name the Dreidel Notes is a way for students to practice writing notes on the staff.

Golden Menorah Composing Activity is a composing sheet that is a way to involve students in the process of notating their own music. The notes above the staves show the student the correct rhythm of the song.  All the student has to do is sit at the piano and write a melody line. Older students can add chords. To help your child get started, suggest they start and end on middle C.

If you know of anyone who can use this material, please send them a link or share on Facebook. Thanks!


Filed under Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification

Bats and Cats Rhythm Game


Bats and Cats Game

If you have a group lesson coming up or you are looking for a Halloween game, here is one I posted a few years ago. I’m reposting it today in case you have forgotten about it.  A lot of teachers think this game is just for beginners because the game board has only easy note values. But there are 3 sets of cards for this game, and each set gets progressively more difficult. The third set has 16th notes beamed with 8th notes which is in the 4th level books of most modern method books.

Print out just the levels you want to use. The first page has directions to the game, so there is no need to print that page on card stock. This game looks really lovely printed on photo paper, which I buy at Dollar Tree. At 8 pages for $1.00, it is very reasonable and really makes the color pop out. I also laminate the game board. Be sure to print out more than one page of the rhythm cards if you use this with a group.

[Last year I made a companion to this game, but for notes instead of rhythm.  Students enjoy it, too, and I also made keyboard cards for beginners to use with it. You can find the note game here.]

Bats And Cats Notes

Directions to Bats and Cats Rhythm Game

  • Print two game boards, one for the student and one for the teacher. If playing with a group, print one game board for each student.
  • Print out the bat rhythm cards on cards stock and cut them into squares. If playing with a group, print more cards. Using your printer’s settings, print the cards with the rhythms that are appropriate for your student and omit the rhythms the student has not learned.
  • Divide the cards equally among the players or use a common stack for the cards, depending on how many cards you use.
  • Players take turns drawing a card, counting the rhythm, and placing it over a corresponding rhythm on the game board. If a player draws a card with the corresponding rhythm already covered, place it in a discard pile to be shuffled and used again.
  • The game is over when the first player covers all 9 squares.


Filed under Group lesson ideas, Halloween, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Rhythm