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10+ Alternatives to Musical Chairs (Without Chairs, With a Twist, Variations,…)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Kids run around playing musical chairs game

Musical Chairs is a game that you would expect everyone to love and be able to play, but what if that’s not the case? What if your party guests don’t seem excited by the prospect of Musical Chairs, or if one of the guests has a physical disability? Then what? 

Having a backup of games to play at a party, just in case there are people who aren’t keen on, or can’t play Musical Chairs, is a good idea. There are plenty of games that are similar to Musical Chairs in terms of the concept and gameplay. You might be surprised just how fun some of them are.

Playing something new can be an exciting prospect at a party, especially if it is a party for children. Children are always keen to try something new, so why not?! Keep your guests entertained with one of the following games that just happen to be similar (in some way) to Musical Chairs

10+ simple party games you can play instead of Musical Chairs:

1. Spoons

Spoons is quite similar to Musical Chairs, except it is played with cards and spoons, and the players are seated at a table. 

Place a row of spoons in the middle of the table. There should be 1 less spoon than players, and you will need 2 decks of cards. Each player must be dealt 4 cards. The dealer draws one card, and if they don’t want it, they must pass it (or another card from their hand) to the next player, who does the same. 

The objective is for players to end up with 4 of a kind or a sequence of cards. For example, 4 kings or a hand that has a 1, 2, 3 and 4 cards. 

The first person to get 4 of a kind or a sequence can either grab or stealthily take a spoon. When this happens, it is a free for all, and everyone tries to grab a spoon. The player without a spoon is out. Usually, it’s this person that makes cups of tea/juice and brings snacks.  

2. Musical Shares

This is a game that is almost exactly the same as Musical Chairs, except no one is left without a chair. The gameplay is the same, except when a chair is removed, players can sit on each other’s laps.

Eventually, players are piling on top of each other and negotiating ways to make sure everyone has a spot on the remaining chairs. Instead of making any player feel like losers, this form of the game actually helps kids learn to work together. And they have a lot of fun while they are at it. 

3. Musical Hula Hoops

Much like Musical Chairs, the game of Musical Hula Hoops also involves children walking or dancing around while music plays. Several hula hoops are placed at random intervals in the available space. 

When the music plays, players must walk or dance around the hoops. When the music stops, every child must try to get into a hoop. They can share hoops or just stand with one foot in the hoop. Only children who can’t fit into the hoops are out. 

After every 3 rounds, a hula hoop is removed, making it more challenging as the game goes on.

4. Keep It Up (Balloons)

This game is quite fun in that there’s music involved, and who doesn’t enjoy a little music. The players must work as a team. 

While the music plays, the players hold hands in a circle and must use only their upper bodies and heads to keep a balloon in the air. If one of the players breaks holding hands to keep the balloon up or stops holding hands because they fall or pull too hard, they are out. When the music stops, the group can rest.
Balloon in cartoon style

5. Numbers

If you have a very large group of players and lots of space, this game is great. While music is playing, players must dance and walk around on their own. When the music stops, the game host will shout out a number, and the group must quickly organize themselves into groups of that number within a certain number of seconds (to be predetermined by the host). 

Groups with the incorrect number of people are out, and those who find themselves without a group are also out.

6. Hot Potato

Hot potato is a great way to incorporate fun and laughter into your party entertainment. Believe it not, the game doesn’t have to be played with a hot potato. You can play the game with any object, but it must be passed along as quickly as if you have just touched a piping hot potato. 

The objective is to pass the object along as quickly as possible without dropping it until the music stops. When the music stops, the person holding the object is out. 

7. Musical Spots

This is a great game for players who like to get active. You will need music, paper, markers, and a dice. Designate 6 areas in your available space and clearly label them 1 to 6 with paper and markers. 

When the music is playing, the children can run and dance in the main area. As soon as the music stops, the kids must run to one of the six designated areas. 

Once everyone is in place, you roll the dice, and whatever number it lands on is the team to be “punished” with an activity to be determined by the host. For instance, if you roll a 6, everyone in area 6 can be told to do 20 jumping jacks or 10 squats. 

8. Human Pretzel

This one is quite fun and incorporates players a little more. It works best with a group of 10 or more players. To play, get all the players to stand in a circle. They must each reach forward and grab (with their right hand) the hand of another player in the space in front of them. Players cannot grab the hand of the player next to them. 

Then, while still holding hands, players should reach with their left hand and grab the hand of another player. Because players have all reached hands over and under each other, they are now stuck in a nice knotty pretzel! Now, without letting go of hands, players must untangle themselves by working together. 

9. Freeze Dance

This game is great fun for very small children who are still learning the concept of playing games with rules. Freeze Dance is extremely simple. 

While the music is playing, players must dance and run around. As soon as the music stops, they must freeze. Much like Musical Chairs, it teaches children to be aware, pay attention, and to listen. 

Children dancing

10. Musical Dress Up

To play this game, you will need a large collection of fancy dress-up items and a hand mirror. Stuff the clothing items into a big bag and place the bag in the middle of the room. 

When the music is playing, the players must pass the hand mirror around between them. As soon as the music stops, the person holding the mirror is “it” and must reach into the bag (without looking) and pull out a fancy dress item to wear. 

The idea is to have the majority of the players dressed ridiculously by the end of the game. 

11. Musical Couples

This is essentially a game of Musical Chairs with a twist. Instead of playing alone, players must play as a couple. 2 players are linked together with a ribbon or loosely tied rope around the wrist or ankle. 

Players must walk around when the music is playing. When the music stops, players must grab a chair and sit on it. One person sits on the chair and the other on their lap. Anyone without a chair is out. 

All in all

There are plenty of games out there that are fairly similar to Musical Chairs. These 11 games are similar to Musical Chairs in one way or another. They are also designed to be a fun way to pass the time, especially for kids at a party. 

If your party-goers aren’t jumping at the idea of playing Musical Chairs, or if you simply want to try doing something different, you might want to consider playing one of the games mentioned above. You could be (in fact, you will be) pleasantly surprised!

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.