How to Play Musical Chairs

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Things You'll Need

  • Chairs
  • Music

Musical chairs is a popular party game for kids that works with both small and large groups. Players move around a set of chairs to music, sitting down when the music stops. This isn't as easy as it may seem, as you'll make sure that there are never enough chairs for all the players. Kids don't need any special skills to play, making it a particularly good option for younger age groups.

Arrange your chairs in two rows back to back or in a circle in the middle of the room. You need one fewer chair than there are players. Ask an adult or responsible older child to take charge of the music. Players may get bored if the music plays for too long, so make sure the person knows to make some rounds short and others longer. It may be worth having another person stand close to the area of play to remove chairs quickly at the end of rounds.

Line the players around the chairs. Tell them how they will move during the game. You can use the same moves in every round or you can mix things up by giving new instructions at the start of each round. Typical moves include walking, skipping or dancing -- you can also add some fun by having them hop, jump or make silly moves around the chairs.

Make sure that the person in charge of music is facing away from the game. When the music starts, players move around the chairs. When it stops, they must each find a chair and sit on it. The player who doesn't get a chair is out. Remove another chair and start the music again. Repeat the process until you have one chair left and two players. The winner is the person who sits on the last chair when the music stops.


  • If you have a large group of players, the ones who are eliminated may get bored and start running around. Keep them engaged by having them choose the way that other players have to move in each round. If you don't have enough chairs, switch the game to musical bumps or musical statues. In musical bumps, players move or dance around until the music stops, at which point they must all sit on the ground. The last player to sit is out. In musical statues, players must freeze like statues when the music stops -- anyone who moves before the music starts again is out of the game.


  • Tell players that they should not run around the chairs -- if they get too excited they may slip or bump into other people.