Freeze Dance!


When the weather is awful, the children are glum and the whole family needs a pick-me-up, music is a powerful mood-changer. When moods need lifting, nothing beats a game of Freeze Dance, also known as Musical Statues! It's fun, it's easy to learn and it's a great way to help children develop their listening and self-regulation skills.

Gather Materials

  • Any type of music player (smartphone, CD player, radio, etc.)

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that you feel are safe for your child and that you are comfortable letting your child use.


How do you play Freeze Dance? Here are the rules—it's easy!

  • When the music begins, start dancing.
  • As soon as the music stops, stop moving and “Freeze!” in position
  • When the music resumes, begin dancing again.
  • When the music stops, "Freeze!"

Tell the children to dance when the music is playing and stop when the music stops. Any kind of dancing is okay—let the music move you!

Encourage the children to listen closely while dancing. Explain that everyone has to freeze like a statue when the music stops.

This is a great way to foster the development of focus and concentration skills as the children pay attention to the music, the dance moves and the location of other players in the space. If the children get too caught up in the dancing, swirling and moving, they will miss the signal to freeze!

As the children dance, they are strengthening the large muscles in their arms, legs and torsos and developing their gross-motor skills, which help with balance, control and coordination. As the children concentrate on the music and respond when it stops, they are building important self-regulation skills.

We played this game in the outdoor theater at our local park. Instead of playing music, I counted to 10 very slowly while the children ran around and contorted themselves into some very creative positions. Then I switched languages and counted to 10 in Spanish. Then I counted backward from 10 down to 1. The children built their focus, listening and gross-motor skills along with their language skills, their number sense and their counting skills!

Need some fresh variations?

  • Change the volume of the music. Tell the children to dance slowly when the volume is low and wildly when the volume is high.
  • Play various types and tempos of songs—slow, fast, upbeat, happy and sad.
  • Tell the children to freeze in the position of an animal OR a superhero when the music stops.

I understand that children need to learn how to lose gracefully. In some versions of this game, the players are instructed to drop out if they forget to freeze. But, in my opinion, it's more important to build listening skills, body awareness, concentration and focus. Children can't learn if they are sitting on the sidelines. So let's get started!

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