Lah Soh Fah Mi · Lesson activities · Songs · Songs by pitch set

One two three, who has the ball?

Game variant I: The children are standing close beside one another in a row with a child in front. The song is sung while the children in the row pass the ball to each other. The child who stands in front of the row should guess who has the ball. If guessed correctly, then these two children swap.

Game variant II: A child has the ball and stands with his back to the other children. This child throws the ball over the head backwards and the other kids try catching the ball. Whoever catches it keeps the hall behind them, the other children also lay hands on the back. Then they sing the song and when finished the child in front tries to guess who has it. If guessed then this child throws the ball again. If not guessed then the child who caught the ball has a turn to throw the ball.

English translation:

One two three, who has the ball
The beau-tiful ball of gold?

Look around, who has it now?
The beau-tiful ball of gold!


Lah Soh Mi Re Doh · Lesson activities · Singing games · Songs · Songs by pitch set

Sally Go Round the Sun

The first stage is to sing it with students holding hands and walking in a circle, then changing direction on the word “boom.”

The second is to sing the song in your head and keep the beat with your feet and again change direction on the word “boom.” This is great for kindergarten and first grade.

The third is to sing it as a three-part canon with three circles. The circles start walking in the same direction as they start to sing, and then change direction at different times as they each get to the “Boom.”

“Sally go round the sun
Sally go round the moon
Sally go round the chimney pot
Every afternoon. Boom!”


1 ♭3 4 5 · Lesson activities · Minor · Singing games · Songs · Songs by pitch set

Little Johnny Brown

Leader sings the song and demonstrates the sequence as follows:

“Little Johnny Brown, lay your comfort down”
—Strut into the circle and lay out a scarf or handkerchief (square is best) in the middle of the circle.

“Fold up the corner, Johnny Brown”
—Fold each corner precisely on the syllable “corn.”

“Show us the motion, Johnny Brown”
—Pick up the scarf and make a clear, repetitive motion. (Later, make sure that the group does not copy while singing this phrase.)

“We can do the motion, Johnny Brown”
—The whole group imitates the motion.

“Take it to your friend now, Johnny Brown”
—Strut over to someone else and hand over the scarf. That person now goes into the centre and the whole song starts again.

Continue playing until everyone has had a turn. If the group is too big, there can be several Johnny Browns (each with a handkerchief) going in the centre at once, with the remaining people in the circle choosing whose motion they want to copy.

Click to access johnny_brown.pdf

Lesson activities · Singing games · Songs

Bhombela – stone passing game

Click to access bhombela_-_the_stone_game_song_-_full_score___parts.pdf

On a given count, everyone passes their stone to the right. They have to place it on the floor in front of the person on their right. They then pick up the stone that is now in front of them (placed there by the person on their left).

The idea is to settle into a rhythm that goes like this: put-down, pick-up, put-down, pick-up, put-down, pick-up, etc. Things get fun when someone fumbles a stone (the person next to them won’t have anything to pass on to their neighbour, and so the stones start to pile up. When the ‘Stop!’ is called, the person with the largest pile of stones in front of them is out).

You can also get the group to gradually speed up, or slow down.

Variations include building in some floor taps as well, such as: One, two, put-down, pick-up – one, two, put-down, pick-up.

You can also sing a song at the same time. We will Rock you goes well with the two-taps-on-the-floor-before-passing-on example just above.

Eugene taught us a song from South Africa. The song was called Bombhela. Here are the Zulu lyrics of the stone/stick/any object passing game:

Bhombela wes’timela

Bhombela wes’timela

Jaz lam’ lesiliva
Ngal’thenga ngemal’

Jaz lam’ lesiliva
Ngal’thenga ngemal’

The song literally praises the steam train that transports the fathers of the children from their homeland to the bustling cities where they earn their living. The song is in praise of this train because the children look forward to it returning their fathers with gifts. In the case of our song a child fantasises about a shiny silver coat bought with money earned during his/her dad’s migrant work. These migrations could take 9 months, a year, two years or forever…

Another variation is to invent a passing pattern in a different time signature, e.g. 3/4 pattern and singing Eidelweiss.

It is also fun to do a pattern in one time signature and an accompanying song in another time signature. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, as the rhythm established by the passing action is quite strong and grounded, and moves into an automatic mode with the participants.

Source: The stick-passing game | music work

Credit for the game’s explanation from Gillian Howell –
Credit to Eugene Skeef for his explanation of the lyrics and song’s providence.