Freeze!

 

Freeze, or Musical statues as it is sometimes called, is a popular childhood game wherever groups of children gather.

While not suggesting that playing the game has any great educational benefit, it can be used with good effect from time to time in early childhood classrooms.

As with other games, it does provide opportunities for children to:

  • participate in a social situation
  • understand and follow game rules
  • accept game decisions, for example  being out
  • respond in positive ways to their own participation and the participation of others
  • have fun

It also provides opportunities for activity and to release tension.

In this post I describe how to play the basic game and a few variants and suggest some times suitable for its use.

How to play Freeze

The basic game

Requirements:

  •  a manager, often a teacher or parent but can be a child
  • a group of participants, often children but anyone can play
  • enough space for the participants to move about without bumping into each other, and
  • a source of music that can be played and paused.

How to play:

  • The participants find a spot within the defined space from which to start the game.
  • The manager plays a piece of music. Moving to the music, the participants move about the space without bumping into any other participants.
  • After a few seconds (varying duration between approximately 2-20 seconds) the manager pauses the music. As soon as the music is paused, the participants must “freeze”. Anyone seen moving is out of the game and sits to the side.
  • The game continues until only one participant remains.

Variant #1 — Topic words

No music is required.

Before the game commences the manager, or the manager in consultation with the participants, decides on a set of specific statues to be used in the game. These statues are explained and demonstrated to participants.

The manager turns away from the participants and counts loudly to ten, while participants form one of the statues. After ten the manager calls “freeze” and participants freeze in the statue they have chosen. The manager then calls out one of the statues and turns around to see who has made it. Those who did remain in the game. The others are out and sit to the side. (The reverse can also be played with the called statues going out and the others staying in. Participants would need to be informed of this before the game begins.)

Suggestions:

Monarch butterfly

butterfly

When learning about butterflies, participants could make these four statues:

egg — curled up in a ball on the floor

caterpillar — prone on the floor

chrysalis — standing with knees bent out to the sides and one hand pointing up while resting on the head (attached to a leaf or twig)

butterfly — fists on hips and elbows out to the side (for wings)

shapes

shapes 

When learning about shapes, participants could make these four statues:

circle — fingers meeting above head, arms forming a circle, feet and legs together

square —arms out to side, elbows in line with shoulders, forearms and fingers facing upwards at right angles, feet and legs together

triangle — legs wide apart, and hands on hips with elbows out to the side, making three triangles in all

rectangle — lying on back on the floor with arms and legs extended straight upwards

Suggestion: the possible statues could be written or illustrated on a dice to be rolled or on cards to be selected.

Variant #2 — Groups

Music is required.

The manager calls a number from 2 – 5 then starts the music. While the music plays participants quickly form groups of that number. They must freeze in group formation when the music stops. Groups that do not freeze and participants who are not able to join or form a group are out of the game and sit to the side.

Play the game until four participants remain. Call all participants back into the game to move to the music once again.

 

Suggestions:

This game can be a fun way of exploring groups using the number of children in a class. No one is out in this version.

Count the number of children in the class. Write the number on the board or chart. Play the music. Participants move to the music. When the music is paused call out a number. Children quickly form groups of that number and freeze. As a class count the number of groups, identify the number in each group, and how many “left over”.  Write the information on the board or chart. Repeat with all children participating for different numbers.

grouping 25

Variant #3 — Find a partner who

Music is required.

This activity will be noisier and require more time than other versions.

In this version participants try to link up with someone with a similarity; for example the same colour eyes, the same number of people in the family, the same favourite colour, or who plays the same sport.

Before the music starts tell the participants who they need to find. When the music stops, those who have not found a match sit to the side, as the others explain their matches.

Everyone joins in again for each new round.

Suggestion: Add a bit more fun with this one by having partners freeze  touching the same body parts together, for example, ankles, elbows, tops of head, or bottoms.

 

Suitable times for playing Freeze

  • To transition from a noisy activity to a quiet activity
  • To provide an opportunity for movement during lengthy sessions of seated work
  • To dismiss children for recess (use Variant #1 rather than the basic game)
  • To ease a tense situation
  • To settle children and prepare them for the next activity
  • To have fun in a few ‘spare’ moments
  • Whenever you think it’s appropriate

The stimulus for my thinking about the game Freeze this week is the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a frozen story. Charli suggested that the freeze could be related to weather, emotion or time.

My first thought was to the movie “Frozen” which my granddaughter enjoys, being completely captivated by Elsa and her beautiful blue dress. I thought she should prefer Anna who shares her name (though pronounced differently) and hair colour.

My second thought was to the scientific explanation of cold as the removal of heat. It’s all relative. Instead I decided to go with a bit of fun. However, for my flash I did incorporate a little science thinking spurred by the question “Why do ice cubes crack when you drop them in drinks?”

Frozen

To an external observer she would have appeared immobile as if frozen in place and time. But her insides churned as the heat engulfed her body in a wave from toes to head. She thought her heart would erupt from her chest and wasn’t sure she could contain the contents of her noncompliant belly or from which end of her body they would spew. Others mouthed soundless words, their messages obliterated by the relentless pounding in her head. Just when she thought she’d crack, like ice exposed to sudden temperature change, she breathed deep, composing her tumultuous fear-fuelled mind.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.

59 thoughts on “Freeze!

    1. Norah Post author

      The variants were originals, which probably explains why you hadn’t heard of them.
      I’m pleased I captured the emotion well, but not that you could identify with it personally.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  1. Sherri

    Enjoyed your post and the discussion here very much Norah! As you can see, I had not heard of the game ‘Freeze’ either! Always love how you bring such interesting educational and scientific information into your posts using Charli’s prompts (fun too!) and love your flash. Boy, I felt my heart pounding as I read it. I take a lesson from it to remember to breathe, as I can relate only too well. Is that a bad thing? The video explaining why ice cracks helped. Thank you Norah 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much Sherri. Interesting that you hadn’t heard of “Freeze”. Musical chairs is a fun game too. I’m pleased you enjoyed the video about ice cracking. I thought it was quite a good explanation.
      And yes! You and me both, remember to breathe! 🙂

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  2. Bec

    What a great list of variations on the game! I especially like the versions where the ‘leftover’ kids aren’t made to sit out. The description of ‘fear’ is great, but I would relate those feelings to anger and despair rather than fear.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I guess some of the feelings may have similar effects for different emotions. Heat could certainly be associated with anger.
      I also like games in which no one is left out. I was always the last one to be picked for teams when playing sporting games. 😦

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  3. Sarah Unsicker

    Freeze is a great game. And it does have educational benefit: it gives children a chance to practice inhibition, where they do as told even though that is not what they would otherwise do. This is an important skill for kids to learn, and some really struggle with it.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Sarah. It’s good to have another reason to play the game! I have seen other educational benefits listed too, but I didn’t share those this time. I’m grateful that you added your suggestion.

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  4. julespaige

    I do remember playing this game. Another variant to make sure of space is to use hoola-hoops for boundaries. One has to stay in their ‘hoop’ as to not touch others.

    I always enjoy reading your informative posts 🙂

    Little Miss also likes ‘Frozen’ and is able to sing at least a good part of the theme song. Which is more than I can do. I suppose I ought to look up the lyrics so I can sing it with her.

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    1. Norah Post author

      The hoola hoops is a good idea, if you don’t want them to move around the space too much. I like them to move around so they don’t stand on the spot almost immobile waiting for the music to stop.
      Thank you. I’m pleased you enjoy reading my posts. I’d love to hear Little Miss singing “Frozen”. It always delights me. Most children I have heard singing it do so at the top of their voices. It’s gorgeous. I don’t know the lyrics either and my Gorgeous2 is better singing without me! 🙂

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  5. TanGental

    nope not heard of freeze before; the game my children loved along the same lines was Grandma’s footsteps which we played a lot at parties. I’ve managed to have my children so Frozen has fallen in the dead period between Disney for my kids and Disney for theirs (if they have any) so I’ve no idea what the fuss is about. One day, maybe…

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    1. Norah Post author

      I haven’t heard of Grandma’s footsteps. I wonder how that one is played. Sounds interesting.
      What a shame for you that Frozen has fallen into the “dead” period. You don’t know what you’re missing! I’m not actually suggesting you go and watch it though. Thanks for commenting on something out of your interest zone. 🙂

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    2. Sherri

      Same here Geoff, not heard of freeze either, although we did watch Frozen not too long ago as my daughter (much to my amazement) watched it and thought we would like it (we did, but not to obsession, naturally!), but I thought we were last left on the earth not to have seen it…

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        1. Sherri

          I thought my days of watching Disney were over (until grandchildren, if I ever have any, but the way it’s looking, I’m beginning to wonder…) so I was surprised to enjoy Frozen. Even more shocked that my daughter enjoyed it when I think of the macabre stuff she usually watches lol 🙂

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            1. Sherri

              Haha…you will definitely not like the things my daughter gets me to watch with her then Irene! But I’m with you on the falling asleep…it’s well known in my family how many films Mum has slept through and then branded as ‘useless’ because I’ve missed two-thirds of it 😉

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          1. Norah Post author

            I wonder what it was specifically that appealed to your daughter when it is different from what she usually watches. Maybe something more lighthearted made a “nice” change.

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  6. Pingback: Frozen « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. stuckinscared

    I loved Freeze (we call it musical statues) as a child, and my children loved it too. I like variant 1 – Topic words…I’d not heard of this idea before, only ever having played (myself when little, with my kids as an adult) the basic musical statues game. I think I might write up a version of this idea to send in to Littlie’s school, I like the idea of adding thinking/learning to the basic fun.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Kimmie. I’m pleased you like the variations. Interesting that, like Anne, you called the game “musical statues”. Anne and Sarah both knew it by one name, but not the other too. Maybe over here we Aussies have to be a bit more eclectic and know both.
      I have just finished writing up an information sheet about the game and have emailed it to you. You are welcome to share it with Littlie’s school if you wish. 🙂

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      1. stuckinscared

        Thank you so much, Norah… I will pass it on to the school… and any feed back to you. So kind of you to take the time to do that…saves my discombobulated brain a job 🙂 x

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  8. Charli Mills

    Freeze kind of reminds me of musical chairs. I like that there are so many ways to use the game to teach something. I used to simply appreciate the break playing classroom games brought. Your flash is the perfect description of how frozen I feel going over my manuscript!

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m sorry to hear that about my flash describing your feelings. I hope the temperature equalizes and calmness descends soon. 🙂
      Musical chairs does require a response to a pause in music, but the outcome is quite the opposite of a freeze. Have you played or seen the “cooperative” version where everyone stays in the game, all without chairs sitting on the laps of others until all are balancing on each other and just one chair? It’s a scream. (Particularly for the one sitting on the chair!)

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  9. Sarah Brentyn

    Ha! Musical statues. That’s so cute. I’ve never heard that before (and funny that Anne had never heard “Freeze” before…I love this group). 😉 I should have figured you’d find a way to incorporate education into this prompt (or the other way ’round). Nice job. I absolutely loved Frozen. I’m not a HUGE Disney fan, but I’m not not a fan, either. If that makes sense. But I really loved this one. And not just because of Elsa’s awesome sparkly blue dress and amazing powers!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Sarah. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. It is funny that you and Anne know of the game by different names!
      I’m pleased you enjoy “Frozen”. I love hearing my son and his partner talk about it. They are very happy for their daughter to watch it, when they are very critical of the way girls are generally portrayed, if at all. They like these two strong female protagonists.
      I heard the songwriters interviewed one day and was very impressed with the storyline being changed to fit the song. It’s a great song. I love hearing the 2-4 year olds break into it when I am out. My granddaughter would do a lovely version of it from when she was just less than three (she’s four now). It’s soooo cute!

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  10. katespencer17

    I’d forgotten all about the game Freeze! What a fantastic ‘frozen’ blog post. 🙂 I had no idea there were so many variations of playing it. I’m used to the one where the music is going and then we all freeze when it stops. Always fun! Great post.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for your comment, Kate. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. Can I also say that I thought up the variants, so that is maybe why you hadn’t heard of them. Some of the variants were variations on others, but some original (to me anyway). Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  11. Annecdotist

    I never heard that game called Freeze before, but it does make sense. And interesting that you’ve come up with so many variations. And such a clever flash with the image of the ice cube – good to see you bringing us some science again!

    Liked by 4 people

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