Looking for some low cost activities for summer in your studio? Fun Key Music and 4D Piano Teaching have you covered!

I had the pleasure of meeting Spring and Whitney from 4D Piano Teaching at the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore this March and we knew we had to collaborate. So we started this blog series to bring you some summer ideas for your teaching studio using items from the dollar store.


Spring started us off with three ways to use pool noodles in piano lessons with Part One of our blog series.

Check out Dollar Store Summer Activities, Part 2 from Whitney who shares ideas to use with clothespins, plastic bowling sets, and fly swatters.

Today I will be rounding out our blog series with numbers 8, 9,  and 10. Let’s dive in! (Get it, dive—swimming…summer? ha!)

8. Cones & Swim Rings

Grab some of these cute swim rings and a handful of 2 for $1 orange cones for this game.

Label all of the cones with various note and rest values. Have students take turns tossing three swim rings at a time towards the cones.  Add up the note values towards the student’s score. Now the next student gets a chance to toss the rings. Continue play until all students get three turns (or however many you have time for). The student with the most points at the end of play wins.

For a variation, label the cones with the letters of the music alphabet, including some with sharps and flats. Students take turns throwing the 3 rings in effort to land 3 notes of a chord.  The student with the most chords at the end of play wins.



9. Sidewalk Chalk

Practice drawing musical symbols.  Young students can take advantage of the large scale of the sidewalk “canvas” and develop their gross motor skills as they practice drawing note and rest values along with other music symbols.  Draw some symbols on the sidewalk and have students create their symbol next to your example.

Sidewalk Chalk Race.  Write numbers 1-12 on the sidewalk.  Give students 2 different colors of chalk.  Call out a number and have students race to that number and draw any combination of note and rest values to equal the given number.

Make it big! Draw a giant staff or piano keyboard with sidewalk chalk and turn any game or activity you already play with your students into a larger than life sidewalk activity.

Discover more sidewalk chalk ideas from Teach Piano Today and Color in My Piano.


10. Beach Balls

Identifying intervals. Using a permanent marker, write the letters of the white keys and black keys all around a beach ball.  Announce the starting letter-this becomes tonic. Toss the beach ball from student to student in a big circle (or back and forth if you’re playing in a private lesson).  When your student catches the ball, instruct him to look under his right hand and name the letter. This letter becomes the top note to the interval.  Have student identify the interval.

For example: You announce that the starting letter is D. For this round of play, D will always be the bottom note of each interval.  If a student catches the ball and his right hand lands on G, he would identify that as a perfect 4th (or simply a 4th for younger students). If it lands on an F, the student would identify a minor 3rd. Continue tossing across the circle of students until all students have had a chance to name an interval with D as the lowest note.  Then switch up the bottom note and announce the new tonic.

For another fun game using a beach ball that has students moving to the beat and getting to know each other, watch the students of Leila Viss at 88PianoKeys.me in action with her game Would You Rather. 


Take some time to get off the bench with your students this summer!

What was your favorite activity from our blog series? Tell us in the comments!

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