Ball / Stone Passing Games

These are fun to do to help the students practice steady beat. (It can be frustrating, also, because those few students who have trouble staying on the beat can mess up the whole thing.)



  • balls
  • sticks / rhythm sticks
  • bean bags
  • egg shakers
  • stones (smooth, small stones work best)


  • Have students sit (instead of stand) in a circle.
  • Instead of one big circle, arrange students in several circles of fewer students per circle.
  • Practice the motions of everyone moving hands to the right, then back (even swaying), keeping in sync with everyone else.
  • Walk around and help students.
  • Say words like “Pass,” “Pick up” and “Right,” even singing those words to the tune.
  • Slow down the tempo.
  • Only put in 1 stone/ball/stick in at first while the rest of the students pretend. Gradually add more stones/balls/sticks.
  • Add a drum beat (or xylophone bordun) on the strong beats.

See also

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4 thoughts on “Ball / Stone Passing Games”

  1. Great suggestions! I especially like the first one as students hold onto the object while tapping the beat and then pass on the last word. I have used the “Corn Grinding Song” usually at harvest time, October/November — “Grinding corn, grinding corn. Here we are, grinding corn. Grains of red and yellow, blue and white corn I am grinding…” Don’t remember from where, but if I find it at school I will reference it. I use bean bags to pass. But there are two white bags I put “x” on with yellow floor tape. While passing around, if students are holding the “x” bag on the last word they are out. They go choose a rhythm percussion instrument to play. They walk around the passing circle and play on the beat while the game continues. The object is to keep singing and keep a steady beat. And of course everyone eventually gets out and has a rhythm percussion instrument!

  2. Update… I found the book that has the Corn Grinding Song. It is a Hopi Indian song and is in Dance Down the Rain, Sing Up The Corn by Millie Burnett (1975). I knew the book I had was old! It was published by Musik Innovations…

  3. Thanks for posting these songs all in one place. I know Al Citron as you have it but the Stone passing song from Ghana I learned with different words and a little different melody and a little syncopation in the rhythm of the 2nd and 6th measures.
    s d’ s s l s f m s r r m s d’ s s l s f m s r r d
    Obwa si mensa na-na Obwa si mensa. Obwa si mensa na-na Obwa si mensa. A loose translation is a child is saying to their grandparent that their fingers got pinched between the stones.

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