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Interactive Musical Storytelling Activity for Busy Indoor Fun

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Keep your kids busy and active indoors with a fun musical storytelling activity from Amber!

I like to have a few simple activities in my back pocket for when my kids are feeling busy and loud, but we can’t get outside for one reason or another.

Something, like whipping out a roll of tape and getting their energy out hopping and playing! On rainy days, my go-to has been this musical storytelling activity.

Simple Musical Storytelling Activity for Busy Kids

Sometimes setting kids loose with musical instruments can get a little noisy and chaotic, but the storytelling element of this game calms it down a little bit.

Tell a story using music! Even the busiest of kids will love this creative literacy activity!

I first learned this activity from a music teacher who would play it with my class of 20 energetic preschoolers every Friday. It’s amazing to see 20 noisy kids stop pounding on drums to hear the next part of a story.

This super simple musical storytelling activity takes no set up and is great for busy toddlers. This 1 year old loves to play the ukulele when we play!

Full disclosure: I am NOT musically inclined. At all. It’s almost embarrassing how tone-deaf I am (and yet still love karaoke, go figure.)

So don’t worry if you’re not musical or don’t play an instrument! That’s not the important part of this activity. This game is about being playful, silly, and a little noisy together.

To tell your own musical story, you’ll need:

  • A story
  • Something to make music with

That’s it! You can make it as complicated or as simple as you like.

This super simple musical storytelling activity takes no set up and is great for busy toddlers. It's a great game to play together as a family.

Play with Musical Storytelling

First, you’ll tell a bit of the story. Any story will do – just make it up as you go or read your favorite picture book.

Then, at a suitable spot, you and the kids will play an instrument. Pound on those drums, strum the ukulele, whatever.

Then stop! And continue the story.

You can let your kid know the signal before you start the story. For example, “When I put my hand up, it means we stop playing instruments and hear the next part of the story.”

Continue the story-music-story-music pattern until the story is finished. End with a big hoorah by going crazy on your instruments!

“…And then Goldilocks tried the third bowl and it was just right. So she ate it all up!”

*play music*

My son also likes to make the appropriate sound effects with his mouth, so in this case a “nom nom nom!”

Tell Your Favorite Stories with Music

The teacher I learned this activity from would make up quirky stories on the spot with characters and objects the kids made up! That was certainly fun, but it’s not necessary to having fun with this activity.

Try these fun options for your next musical storytelling adventure:

  • Use a book: any book works, but I love using books that have built-in noises: books such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or Roadwork.
  • Make and use some story stones. This could be a fun way to break up the story-music pattern. Pick a stone, make up that part of the story, play some music, pick the next stone.
  • Tell a common fairytale or another story you know really well. I’ve done it with Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and even some of our favorite children’s books we’ve read over and over.
This super simple musical storytelling activity takes no set up and is great for busy toddlers. This 3 year old is experimenting with a toy hammer on a xylophone.

Discover Fun Ways to Make Music

My husband is a musician, so we have a little collection of musical instruments in our home. We recently got a piano and I love this game for teaching my boys how to touch the piano gently without pounding on it.

But you don’t need traditional musical instruments for this activity!

Try making music with:

  • Pots and pans, like in this post (and in kitchens everywhere!)
  • You could DIY some fun instruments, like this paper hand drum.
  • Clapping, slapping the ground, snapping fingers, and other fun hand noises are a simple way to make this a quick on-the-go activity.
This super simple musical storytelling activity takes no set up and is great for busy toddlers. This 1 year old is getting curious about the piano and the story.

And that’s it! Now you have this activity in your back pocket, too. What story would you like to tell with music instruments?

How do you connect music and play? We’d love to share your ideas!

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