Workbook Musical Chairs

I hope you have space to play musical chairs, and I hope this activity works for you.

This is my new favorite way to do textbook exercises and worksheets with students who are too restless or too tired to sit up straight at a table.

1) Put an outward-facing chair for each student in a circle. There are no “outs” when the music stops, so, yes, one chair for each student.

2) Each student should place her work and any necessary materials (pencil, eraser, colored pencils, etc.) on a chair. That is her chair and only her chair.

3) Start the music, and the students march, skip, twirl, swim around the circle.

4) When the music stops, each student must quickly find her chair with her work, and then she must complete the first exercise/math problem. Kneel at the chair and use the seat of the chair as the desk.

5) Start the music again.

6) Repeat until you’ve finished the desired amount of work.


a) Start the music again when everyone has finished OR start the music when the first person has finished. Slower students might work faster to catch up because they will want to go around the circle with their friends.

b) Tell students they must finish the problem before the music starts again. Because the teacher is controlling the music, gradually shorten the amount of time you wait before starting the music again.

c) Only 1 or 2 students? Play soccer or field hockey instead of musical chairs. As soon as someone scores a goal, sprint back to the chair and complete a problem.

Again, there are no outs in this activity. You just want to keep this moving at a lively pace.

Have fun!

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