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Making up Games

"We're dances looking for good music!"
Authenticity is part of the code of Kodaly.  If the game is not authentic, don't do it.  Games that are folk games are easier to learn, more logically married to the music, and ultimately, more fun.  I whole-heartedly agree with this,but, what if you come across an awesome song that is just screaming for a game?  What if that song is too short to stand on its own?  What if the game is not in any sources you can find?  What then?

Adopt a game that has no song.

Where do you find these games?


Watching children play at recess

Asking teachers what kind of games the children naturally play for indoor recess.  Finding out what kinds of board and card games kids are doing so that you might adopt the structure of the game to a known rhyme or song.

Example:  Shoo Turkey
This classic song is from Step it Down.  Traditionally it is sung while students crouch and gracefully sweep the turkeys away.  I adopted it for preschool so that two songs are linked together into one game.  I saw children playing a game where the whole class hides their eyes and a single student goes into a "fort" and sticks out one foot.  The rest of the students open their eyes and guess whose foot that is.

I begin the song with the call-response song from the Bessie Jones book.  Then, when the children's heads are down I sing "As I was walking yonder hill I spied a mighty turkey" from Folksongs North America Sings.  During that, I go among the students and touch two heads, those children go to the hiding place.  When heads are called "up," children take turns guessing who is missing.  It's great fun.

A Kodaly teacher (purist) enjoyed the game but urged me not to use it since it was not authentic.  I'm going with the joy of the children on this one.  The game is an authentic children's game, though not usually with this song.  Since the game is not adult-made, it's fun.  Kids know best!

Challenge:  Listen to this song and make up a game!


Anonymous said…
Sheep sheep don't you know the road.
I am a music specialist in Perth Western Australia. I just used the song in two classes with younger children and it was really great. We have been looking at some songs and culture from Africa and this was so easy to use with the children. They absolutely warmed to it. Thank you.

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