Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game

Newly revised! The Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game is FUN way to start out your lessons for 4-6 weeks around Halloween time (although I’ve also had teachers tell me they use at all year round!). It’s easy: just pull out the cards you’ve assembled, and put some candy or treats in a bowl. Your students will be thrilled to see you present this game every year. Your students will have a blast — and you’ll see their rhythm skills improve.

How does the game work?

Inform your student that you have a bowl of treats — but that they must EARN their treat by playing a rhythm game. 🙂 Choose the appropriate deck for your student (Levels 1-5). Explain to your student: There are TRICK cards and there are TREAT cards. When a TREAT card is drawn, the game is over and it’s time to choose a treat. When a TRICK card is drawn, the student performs the rhythm on the card and then draws again.

All five levels of cards contain rhythms that are in duple meter and triple meter. The rhythms get progressively more advanced with each level. The easiest rhythms contain only quarter notes and eighth notes (or, macrobeats and microbeats, to use MLT-based terminology). The more advanced levels contain sixteenth-note combinations, elongations, rests, ties, and upbeats. The leveling information is detailed clearly for the teacher on a cheat sheet (see photo above).

The first week you present the game to your students, I recommend starting with Level 1 (even if they can handle more advanced rhythms). Over following weeks, you can bump up to the next levels or stick with the same level if more practice is needed. This approach really works! You’ll be impressed with how your students do from week to week.

Students will draw an average 4 or 5 rhythm cards before drawing a TREAT card. However, if you decide you’d like the game to last longer, simply remove one of the TREAT cards from the deck.

Here are a couple of game variations I use with my students:

  • YOUNG BEGINNERS: Instead of asking the student to read the rhythms, ask them to echo after you. This is so good for developing their ears and preparing for reading down the road!
  • SMALL GROUPS: Play the game normally, except ask the entire group to help perform the rhythm cards drawn by each individual.

Buy the 44-page Trick-or-Treat! PDF download now, and here’s what you’ll get:

  • Introductory letter to the teacher
  • Leveling cheatsheet and tips for gameplay
  • Instructions for assembly (this is a digital product; meaning, you must print and assemble the game yourself)
  • Card holders for each of the five levels
  • Five levels of rhythm cards (152 cards total)

Price: $9.00

Click here to read the blog post announcement about this resource and learn more about how I used this game with my students.

Playing the Trick-or-Treat game with my 3yo daughter >>>

Read my time-stamped notes about the above video here.

Check out my solo demo of the game >>>

Watch my student, Robbie, play the Trick-or-Treat rhythm game independently >>>

Here’s what you’ll find in the video:

  • 0:12 | What to do if a student happens to draw a TREAT card first thing! (This is a rare occurance.)
  • 0:33 | How to teach a student how to perform the rhythm patterns on the TRICK cards accurately. They need to be able to (1) identify the meter, (2) count in before speaking/counting the rhythm pattern, and (3) maintain the meter as they speak/tap the rhythm pattern. (More tips on this below.)
  • 1:00, 1:20, and 1:42 | Watch Robbie chant more rhythm cards.
  • 2:00 | Robbie draws a TREAT card, ending the game.

Read more about using the game >>>

Level:Beginners through intermediate levels
Pages:45 pages
Format:PDF (email delivery)
Terms of Use:Studio License

Permission is granted for the purchasing teacher to make unlimited printouts and use the digital files for the purpose of teaching their own students. Sharing printouts or the digital files beyond that purpose is not permitted. The purchaser is not permitted to resell the item(s), or alter, modify, or create derivative works.

My Trick-or-Treat rhythm game has been purchased by over 150 teachers. Check out what a few of them have to say about it below:

“My students love the ice cream intervals and rhythm cards, but I think they especially look forward to the Halloween trick or treat game! Thank you!!” –Kaly

“I remember finding your free items in your shop and buying a couple games and music history things back in 2016 when I started teaching. I didn’t get on your email list until last year when I realized you were incorporating MLT in your teaching. I love MLT and would love more games that involve MLT sequenced topics! The Trick or Treat game is perfect. :)” — Alyssa

“I’ve followed your blog for about 1.5 years now and I’m always looking for new ideas and games to use in my studio. My students love the Trick or Treat game —- we actually play it all year long!” –Donna M.