Parachute Songs, Games, and Activities In the Music Classroom

Successful parachute songs, games, and activities teach musical and movement concepts, let students explore through creativity and improvisation, and provide a physical activity for fitness, a brain break, and a social-emotional learning (SEL) outlet.

On This Page…

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Whether the Weather | 6/8 Meter Rhyme for Barred Instruments With Orff Arrangement

If you are looking for an accessible instrumental piece in 6/8 meter for barred instruments with an Orff arrangement, this is it! Taught step-by-step, this classic tongue twister rhyme is perfect for winter, spring, or really any time of the year there is weather 🤣.

An added plus is the language arts lesson on synonyms. Put that on your end-of-year evaluation!

For grades 3-6, this over 50-slide resource is in both PowerPoint and Google Slide versions.
Listen to the music on TPT!

Multi-Lesson Resource

Introduce the Rhyme

Beat & Rhythm

Teaching the Melody & Ostinati

Nutcracker Activities for Music | Tried, True, and New

Here are some favorite lesson plans and activities for the music classroom to teach The Nutcracker Ballet plus some NEW resources to spark life into our teaching of this perennial classic.

On this page…

  1. Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)
    1. Tea Dance Video
  2. Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker
  3. Books
  4. Nutcracker Museum
  5. Lesson Ideas
    1. Unit of Study (in progress)
    2. March | Stretchy Bands
    3. Trepak | Plate Routine
    4. Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio
    5. Waltz of the Flowers
  6. Ballet Videos
    1. Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)
    2. Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS
    3. Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)

Chinese Tea Dance ORFF Lesson Activities (Movement, Instrumental Arrangement)

With its call and response form, this is the perfect barred instrument activity for December! PLUS, movement ideas using partners and the whole class with and without props! Ribbon sticks/wands, scarves, partner parachutes, and a classroom parachute!

Tea Dance Video

Cultural Stereotypes in the Nutcracker

Each performance of the Nutcracker uses an artistic director who helps determine the costuming, dancing, makeup, and scenery for the ballet. The ballet dates back to a time when ethnic caricatures were standard practice in the performances. This is particularly true in Act II with the dances related to the Chinese, Arabian, Russian, and Spanish dances.

As music specialists, this is important to take into consideration if we choose to use videos in our teaching. Read more.

Here’s an excellent interview on NPR about “Rethinking Cultural Stereotypes in The Nutcracker.”


Nutcracker Museum

At this school, students were asked to bring in a family Nutcracker and were put into this fun Nutcracker Museum display! (Remember to have the student’s name and room clearly labeled.)

Add this to your end-of-year evaluation Danielson (or similar) Domain 1b: Teacher-designed opportunities for families to share their heritages.

Lesson Ideas

Unit of Study (in progress)

  • K-1 Read a book about ballet and a book about The Nutcracker
  • K-1 Learn a movement routine to the March
  • Grades 2-3

March | Stretchy Bands

Trepak | Plate Routine

Sugar Plum Fairy | Movement with Mr. DelGaudio

Waltz of the Flowers

Ballet Videos

Full-length Ballet (Central Florida Ballet)

Hip Hop Nutcracker on PBS

This performance is on PBS and you may need to confirm your local PBS station.

Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+ Excerpt)

St. Patrick’s Day Special Activities With History, Songs, And Dances

The music, instruments, dance, and culture of Ireland create great learning opportunities in the music classroom. St. Patrick’s Day is a prime time for these resources but also any time you want to talk about folk instruments, dances, and music.

On this page…

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In the News

Special Days Celebrated With Music

Updated weekly, a national or world day is highlighted with a brief informational video and related music videos. It’s the MUSIC answer to Scholastic News or The Weekly Reader!

May 12 National Limerick Day

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May 5 International Tuba Day

Big Carl-An 8′ tall tuba!
How to play the tuba.

May 17 National Bike to School Day

This classic is in 3/4 meter!

Experience the 3s:
simple sway to the beat
pat one leg on 1 and with the other hand tap your chest on 2 and 3.

May 20 Armed Forces Day &
May 31 Memorial Day

April 3 National Film Score Day

Music of John Williams

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

April 22 Earth Day

April 30 International JAZZ Day

March 29 World Piano Day

The Wellerman-In Am, uses the full scale. If you want to play on Boomwhackers, put octavator caps on half of your A tubes. So A (oct), B (oct), C, D, E, F, G, A’ will allow you to play along!

March 21 World Poetry Day

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day

March 10 International Bagpipe Day

March 4-Marching Music Day

Blue Devils Drum Corps

Southern University Marching Band

US Marine Corps Band

The History of Military Marches

February 26-National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Check out the “How to Use Fairy Tales in Music Class” blog post!

February 15-National Gumdrop Day

February 7-World Ballet Day

Misty Copeland

January 28-National Kazoo Day

January 24-National Peanut Butter Day

January 17-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Follow the above link for LOTS of MLK resources!

January 9-International Choreographer’s Day

International Choreographer’s Day

Mambo from West Side Story

Thriller by Michael Jackson (shortened)

Evolution of Dance has lots of great dances and might be appropriate for some classes. Please review it before showing.

January 3-Women Rock! Day

Aretha Franklin
Joan Jett

My ❤️ FAVORITE rocker-H.E.R.

December 6-Walt Disney Day

Walt Disney Day-December 6

The first Monday of December (12/06/2021)

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 and began as an illustrator. One of the first characters he helped create was Mortimer Mouse who later was renamed Mickey Mouse. He is known for the animated features The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, and Mary Poppins. Disney was a pioneer in animation and introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.

Minnie & Mickey

Disney’s 2021 Release Movie-Encanto

December 13-National Violin Day

The violin, also known as a fiddle, is a wooden chordophone in the string family. It is the highest-pitched instrument in the family, has four strings, and is played by plucking or bowing.

Pictured is a violin from 1658.

Early stringed instruments came from the Greeks, Central Asia, and the Middle East and influenced the violin that we know today which emerged in the 1500s in Northern Italy.

The Kanneh-Mason Family

Braimah Kanneh-Mason on violin

Spotlight Classroom Musician of the Week – Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk, Jazz Pianist

Here are some ideas to explore the wonder of the great jazz virtuoso, Thelonious Monk. You’ll find biography info, a movement activity to his fabulous piece, “Stuffy Turkey,” some links, and advanced movement options!

Continue reading “Spotlight Classroom Musician of the Week – Thelonious Monk”

The Odd Song

A great piece for mallet practice and tracking, almost all students are able to have immediate success!

New! Demonstration video below!

Other barred instrument resources!

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Monkeys Spinning Monkeys

A bubbly, bouncy instrumental piece that is perfect for movement activities. This instrumental piece posted on Youtube in 2014 and became a TikTok sensation, reaching over 1 million plays in 2021.

Here you will find the piece analysis, links, and teaching ideas!

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 

Page Index

  1. Analysis
  2. Links
  3. Teaching Ideas
Continue reading “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys”

It’s About Time

“What animal keeps the best time?

A WATCH dog!

Continue reading “It’s About Time”

Ukulele-Getting Started

An easy-to-use sequential ukulele curriculum that uses songs kids love from today’s hits to classics.

Are you looking for a sequential curriculum for the ukulele that starts with easy chords? This is it! There are easy-to-play single-chord play alongs to popular songs, then on to two-chord songs and more.

On This Page…

Chords on this page: C, C7, Dm, F, Am

Ukulele Inspiration

Ukulele History, Parts, Tuning

Ukulele Tuner

Tuner provided by GuitarAPP.

C7, C, Am, and F SINGLE-chord songs


C7 Backing Track for Ukulele

Lime In the Coconut for Ukulele

Play along to the island breeze!

Island Breezes


Ukulele Backing Track on C chord

Ten in a Bed-C Chord


Chord Order Idea: teach the F chord next (below) so that all students need to do for Am is lift their index finger.

Am Backing Track

Just for Me

Just had to throw this 2-chord song in the 1-chord section since we know C and Am!!!


The Beat Goes On on F chord

Backing Track on F chord

Make New Friends on F chord

2-Chord Songs

Tutorial-Easy change from F to C7

F chord “rocks” DOWN to C7.

C7 chord “rocks” UP to F.

Buckle My Shoe

Dream Baby

Deep In the Heart of Texas (Coming Back Soon)

Iko Iko with F and C chords

Angel by Pink Pantheress (from Barbie movie)

Here’s a 2-chord F and C7 resource presentation unit with Orff arrangement based on One Bottle of Pop round! Fun!

Best Day of My Life

3-Chord Songs

Thunder-C, F, Am

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Good to Be Alive-C, F, Am

Sunflower-C, F, Am

Senorita-C, F, Am

Unstoppable by The Score

There’s a Dm in here but YOU CAN DO IT! Dm is just F with one more finger!!!

Ukulele songs make GREAT concert selections. This Concert How-To Checklist has lots of tips to help.

Unstoppable-F, Dm, Am

Your next ukulele page: Ukulele-G7

You’ll find a G7 how-to and songs with C/G7

  • C/G7 songs: La Cucaracha, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Hush Little Baby, Iko Iko