Back to School Activities for Elementary Music

Starting a new school year with positive, engaging activities sets the tone for the entire year. Music Mixers are perfect Back to School activities for elementary music classess. These songs and games get students singing, moving, and interacting positively with each other on day 1.

Establish a positive classroom climate with simple music classroom rules set to rhythm patterns, plan a fun music mixer activity, and your school song. Week 1 lesson plans are done!

Important Note: These activities include hand clap patterns where students move from partner to partner. In a COVID environment, this is NOT a good idea. Modify the activity by doing the same movements in the air at a safe distance, but NOT touching.

Back to School Activities for Elementary Music Classroom | Music Mixer Songs & Games

P.S. If you don’t have an engaging, fun school song that your school can take pride in, write one. That will be a topic for a future post.

What Are Music Mixer Activities?

Music mixer activities can take a variety of forms. I like to design activities so students are singing, moving, and interacting with each other. You can turn almost any song into a music mixer activity. A simple welcoming song can be embellished to create perfect Back to School activities for elementary music. These activities also work well after fall, winter, or spring breaks.

Hand clap patterns and chants are great elements to add to music mixers. Some type of rotation is important so students “mix it up” and partner with several different students.

Music Mixer Formation

I like to structure activities so that students are interacting with several other students. I use basically two different formations – concentric circles or scatter position.

Your classroom space will dictate your formation to some degree. Are you teaching music from a cart? Then make two concentric rectangles around the outside of the desks. Or, modify the formation so it works in each specific classroom.

Circle Formation – When using circle formation it is helpful to use some sort of markers such as sit spots, tape on the floor, a classroom carpet, chairs, etc. If young students have trouble maintaining spacing and lining up with partners, have the inside circle remain stationary and only allow the outside circle to move.

Scatter Formation – When using scatter formation it is often hard for students to partner up in groups of two. I always allow students to partner up in groups of two or three. If they are already in a group of three and another person comes to their group, students should simply turn and create two groups of two without saying a word. Practice this prior to beginning the game. I always hang back and slip in if a student can’t find a partner.

Tips for Designing a Successful Music Mixer

  • Repeat the activity at least 5 – 7 times without stopping so that students have a chance to really mix it up!
  • If using scatter formation, require students to partner up with a different person every verse. Sometimes, students want to follow each other and partner up with the same person every time.
  • Design your lesson so that you can extend it over several days. Teach the basic song with movement and hand clap on day 1. Then consider adding a chant on day 2. Guide students to create an original chant on day 3.

If you don’t have time to create your own Back to School activities for elementary music classes, click to take a look at one of these ready to go activities and Mix it Up!


Start the new school year off right. However, you design your Back to School activities for your elementary music classes, have fun, make friends, and make some music!

Best wishes friends!

Do you need help finding the perfect song or activity to teach each music element? This easy-to-use FREE Elementary Music Literacy Resource Guide includes a detailed index of music elements which makes finding the ideal activities simple. This helpful index includes MANY FREE as well as helpful paid resources.

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