Yo- Ho, Pass the Anchor! A music therapy activity social skills game for elementary aged students

Ages: Elementary School

Variations can be done with children as young as 3 and 4.

Purpose: To improve social skills. To attend, cooperate, take and relinquish turns

and share with a friend.

Yo-ho pull the anchor. Yo-ho pull it now.

Yo-ho pull the anchor. Who is the captain now? (I am the captain now.)

We modify the song and sing “Yo-ho Pass the Ring.”

and “Stop. You’re the captain now.

Link to melody is below.

Equipment: A drum, xylophone or other instrument/toy to share.   Lyrics. A buddy band or elasto band threaded through a ring or other “threadable” object. (Mental picture: a bead on a necklace.)   The ends of our buddy band detach and we put a ring from a toddler ring stacker toy through it and pass that from person to person. You can put rope or paper around the buddy band if you need.

Sit class in a circle and have everyone hold the buddy band with the ring.   Practice passing the ring from child to child. When the children can do that, then sing the song while the children pass. Sing the song through and Stop as the lyrics cue.   Invite that child to play the instrument in the middle of the circle while the children sing and pass again.   Continue until each child has a turn.


Ask a question to the child who has the ring on a topic relevant to the needs of the group.

Ask the child to share with a friend. Make sure everyone has a turn to choose and friend and to be chosen.

Have each child answer the question “Who is the captain now?” by answering

“I am the captain now.”





by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy tunes.