Musical Squares
Primary Market
Health, Occupational Therapy
Character Focus
Gross Motor Skills, Spatial Skills
Items Needed
1 (or more) Toobeez set(s), radio, tape or CD player
The Activity Time
30 minutes


  • Improve auditory-processing and auditory-discrimination skills
  • Improve motor-planning skills
  • Improve attention and concentration
  • Improve visual-motor skills
  • Improve spatial-awareness skills by strengthening proprioception and kinesthesia
The Challenge

Listen to the music that is playing. When the music stops, move your body into one of the squares. You must find a different square each time the music stops.


Time: 10 – 15 minutes


  • 1 (or more) Toobeez set(s)
  • radio
  • tape or CD player


1. With four tubes and four spheres, build a square and place it on the floor.

2. Repeat this step to make additional squares so there is one square for each child.

3. Place all the Toobeez squares in a line or in a circle on the floor.

Activity Plan

Time: 30 minutes

Instruction: Small group (up to six individuals)

Space: Medium – Lots (Therapy Gym, gymnasium or outside)

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Use an open space that is free of toys, objects or hanging items so the children do not trip over or hit their heads on anything
  • Use upbeat music for an alerting experience
  • For a larger group, you will need more than one set of Toobeez to create more squares
  • Have the children help assemble the Toobeez squares musical-squares1to help strengthen their bilateral-coordination skills and hand skills of a gross hand grasp around the tube. Depending on the grasp, the student will be strengthening muscles that flex and extend the wrist, as well as that pronate and supinate the wrist

Activity Instructions

1. Have the children seat themselves around the squares in a circle. There should be an equal number of squares to children.

2. Review the guidelines of the game as listed in the box below.

Musical Squares

1. Keep your hands and body parts to yourself.

2. Say, “It is okay to share squares today. We will be moving into and out of all of these squares today.”

3. Always be listening since the instructions may change.

4. If you feel tired or would like to stop playing, please tell the therapist.

Therapist Tip: The therapist can continue to involve the student by having him start and stop the music.

3. Read the Activity Challenge Box to the group.
Challenge: Listen to the music that is playing. When the music stops, move your body into one of the squares. You must find a different square each time the music stops.

4. Begin the music and have the children walk slowly around the squares on the floor.

5. When the music stops, the children should move quickly to an open square and jump into it.

6. Once they have jumped into the square, ask them to “freeze” like another student, an animal, or move their body in a different position.

musical-squares37. Begin again and remind the students to choose a different square.

8. Observe the children’s behavior, and look for signs of fatigue or distractibility.

9. When you observe the activity coming to an end, move on to the Discussion and Processing questions.

Therapist Assessment

  • Observe each child’s behavior and participation in a group activity.
  • Observe each child’s communication and social skills during the group activity.
  • Observe each child’s ability to follow the game’s instructions
  • How does the child follow simple instructions?
  • How is the child able to follow complex instructions?
  • Observe each child’s movements and ability to demonstrate awareness of self in relation to the squares as well as other children in the group.

Activity Discussion and Processing

Use the questions below as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your child/student. It is not mandatory to cover every question. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!
Work through the following questions:
  • What did you like about this activity?
  • What was easy or difficult about this activity? Why?
  • Did you like the music? What about the music did you like? What music did you dislike?
  • Did this activity give energy to your body, or did this activity help you to get some energy out of your body?
  • What time of day would an activity like this help you to feel awake and ready to learn (that is, first thing in the morning after a bus ride, midmorning, after lunch, etc.)?

Activity Variations

1. Decrease the difficulty.

Use music that has a slower rhythm. By moving around the squares at a slower pace, changing momentum and grading of the movement may be less challenging.

2. Increase the difficulty.

Remove one square after each time the music stops, ending with one child and one square.

3. Increase the difficulty.

To further challenge gross-motor skills, change the movement around the circle to crawling, hopping, jumping, skipping, galloping, walking backward tip toeing. If a student or group of students have not yet mastered the skill of jumping, step into the square instead. Be sure to choose movement skills that are developmentally appropriate and that match current physical abilities of the children.

4. Change the shape

Make it musical triangles or musical trapezoids! For increased difficulty and to challenge memory skills, when changing the shape, change the instruction of movement for each of the different shapes. For example, say “When the music stops, jump into the triangles and stand on one foot or jump into a trapezoid and place one hand on the floor.”

5. Change the game.

When the music stops, everyone puts their right or left hand or their right or left foot in the square. They could also put in an elbow or they could sit in the square. These variations reinforce skills such as sequencing and following instructions, and they also reinforce body-awareness skills

6. For children who use wheelchairs.

Have the children propel themselves in the circular pattern around the squares along with the other children (combine children with all different abilities in the same group). If the child is unable to propel his/her own wheelchair, another staff member can push the child around the squares. Before beginning the music, instruct the children on the movement they are to do when the music stops. For example, “When the music stops, everyone put your hands on your knees and call out a color of a Toobeez square lying on the floor.”

7. For children using switches.

For a child that is cognitively and physically involved, switches are often used for communication and to control electronics (for example, lights, radio TV, etc) in their environment. Using a Powerlink™ by Ablenet, hook up a switch to the radio and allow the child to control the starting and the stopping of the music.

8. For children using switches.

Program the instructions of the game onto a Big Mac switch or a Step-by-Step, and allow the child using switches to instruct the group.

Here are available Training Options!

Candice Donnelly-Knox is a licensed and registered occupational therapist with over three years of experience. She has experience working with students (ages 3 to 21) with a variety of needs including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome etc. Candice is dedicated to providing each student with an individualized plan to address their unique educational needs; needs that may include activities of daily living, coping skills, reading and handwriting, and functional math skills such as money management, pre-vocational and vocational skills.
All Activities of Candice Donnelly-Knox

Add a Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.