Image by: NicoleKlauss

Musical Chairs

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
2 minutes!
Setup Location

As children grow, they become more and more self protective. Participation in games designed for one person or team to win and the other to lose makes those instincts even stronger. This may often lead to developmental delays. Cooperative games show children that helping the group succeed is a new way of “winning.” It is best to demonstrate these concepts to children when they are young. It is especially crucial that these ideals are introduced by someone the children care about and respect.

Play a game similar to musical chairs. The one difference in this game is that everyone must be sitting on a chair—even the person who does not have a chair! In a typical game of musical chairs, the person without a chair would be out and has lost the game. However, in this version of the game each person needs to help figure out ways to make sure everyone has a place to sit!

This activity helps children learn about compassion and cooperation.


  1. Set the chairs up like a typical game of musical chairs. This could be in a circle or a row, whichever works best for your setting

  2. Have children form a circle around the chairs

  3. Begin playing music

  4. Stop playing the music after a short period of time (approximately 10 to 60 seconds). Everyone in the group should try to find a place for everyone to sit

  5. Ask children to stand up before starting the next round

  6. Remove one chair from the row or circle

  7. Repeat steps 3–7. Continue the game until the children cannot safely fit everyone on the amount of chairs in the row or circle

Note: You can incentivize the helpful behavior by handing out candies to the child who helped the maximum number of friends to get a chair!

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.