Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Shut the Box!"

While doing all my planning and research for the upcoming camp, World Adventure!, I put together a game played in many countries including South Africa - a country we will be visiting this summer!  Shut the Box! is a counting game and typically includes a wooden board and tiles.  We're using dice and a cardstock game board I made.
In addition to the board (you can print it off my website here), you simply need 2 rhythm dice and a dry erase marker.  This game is great even in regular lessons as it should be a quick game to do with an indiviual or for students to play against each other.

This is a bit of a strategy game so I would suggest that your students be at least 7-8 years old.  If you want to use it with younger students, you just may have to offer more assistance.

Here's how to play:  Each player will start out rolling the two rhythm dice.  After the dice have been rolled, they can cross off the value of the beats of each die or combine the total and cross off one number.  For example, if the dice land on a quarter note and a dotted half note, the student can cross off a one and a three OR add the total and cross off a four.

The same player continues to roll the dice until the individual notes or combination of notes are used up and they cannot cross off any more of the boxes. The dice are then passed to a new player who will do the same.  The player with the most  boxes crossed off is the winner. 

I tested this game...on myself since I don't want my students to see it until the week of camp...and it was fun!  The higher numbers are harder to get, so I would recommend students use combinations first, especially if they roll note values associated with higher beats.  Rolling two whole notes will be the only way to get an 8!

If you don't have rhythm dice, you can simply add stickers to regular dice.  Here are the notes you need to have on both dice - whole note, half note, dotted half note, quarter note, quarter rest and two beamed eighth notes.  I laminted my game boards so they are easy to wipe off and reuse. 

I hope you enjoy this bit of "world flavor" in your studio or classroom!


Rachel said...

I've seen this game before, but never thought of putting it in with my piano games! What a great idea! One question, does each student take a line, or do they take the whole page?

Sheryl said...

Hi Rachel! Each student gets the entire board, so you may want to print more than one. You can limit the number of rows used if you want to shorten the game. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

My student and I played this game yesterday. It is quite fun. We said the first person to roll an '8' wins. There are 128 blocks on two cards together (64 squares on 1 card). It took us 101 rolls for someone to roll an'8'. It was really exciting ! Thanks.

Sheryl said...

Thanks for sharing Joanne! I'm so glad you enjoyed the game with one of your students! I hope it happens often!

Pigsly said...

I like this site. Great job.

Anonymous said...

This game looks fun! Where did you get the rhythm dice? I've been looking and can't seem to find them.

Sheryl said...

The rhythm dice I use are from a set. You can find them here -


Ann said...

How many rolls do the kids get? It seems that they could keep rolling until they've crossed off all of the numbers, or is each row get one roll. Looks fun, I just got confused on the number of rolls. Thanks,

Sheryl said...

Hi Ann,
Each player starts rolling at the beginning of the game and continues to roll until they can no longer cross a number. The player who has the most numbers crossed off wins. I hope that helps!

Leslie said...

There are also music dice at It's my store and I was just searching around. What a fun game! Mind if I post a link from my blog?

Sheryl said...

Not at all Leslie! I've actually ordered some of your dice and use them often!

Jill said...

I know this post is older but I hope I can still ask a question.

Does it not get dull for the other student, waiting while the first student rolls over and over and over again? Or am I missing something in the instructions.

Thanks so much!

Sheryl said...

Hi Jill,

When playing this game, students roll at their own pace. They don't wait for each other. They both play at the same time by rolling the dice and crossing off numbers on their game board. Hope that helps!

Minnesota Music Teacher said...

Hi Jill, I am reluctant to ask this question, but do you have your students count the rest as one beat (i would) or is it none because it is silent? Just occured to me that my students would ask. So if I rolled a half note and a quarter rest, would it be 2 and 1, 3 or just 2.

Sheryl said...

The rest would count as one beat!

Unknown said...

Hi Sheryl,

I was wondering if you had a copy of the 'Shut the Box' game board on your site? I would appreciate it greatly if I could download it.

Thank you!

Morgan Hansen

Rachel Wilke said...

Hi Sheryl,

Is there a way to download the Shut the Box game from your website? This looks like a lot of fun and I'd really appreciate it if I could download this!

Thank you!
Rachel Wilke