Sticks up! is a musical game that is especially fun to play with preschoolers, younger school-age kids, and family groups.
When I play this game in class, I bring this lovely xylophone (which my percussionist son is kind enough to share with me), but you can bring any instrument that is played with sticks/mallets, even an overturned 5-gallon bucket. (Banging yarn-wrapped mallets on a plastic bucket is satisfying for the player, and not so rough on the ears!)
Basically, one kiddo gets to be the musician. He or she plays the instrument freestyle, and kids dance around the room to the music. Sometimes we play this game because we’re at a point in class when kids really need to get up and moving, and that’s the goal. Other times, I suggest that we try to match our movement to what we hear in the music – is it quiet? loud? fast? slow? gentle? intense? Should we run? skip? tiptoe? wiggle? twirl?
When I call out, “Sticks up!” the player lifts their sticks straight up into the air and calls out a pose. Everyone freezes where they are, and does the pose for 2 in-and-out breaths. Then we choose the next musician and start all over again.
Most kids in the musician role benefit from concrete reminders of poses to choose from. Plastic animals, beanie babies, or pictures/cards that represent possible poses lined up in front of the instrument should do the trick.