The Impossible Game for Kid's Piano
The Impossible Game for kid's piano is played with kids as soon as they have enough skill to be at ease. It is the shortest game I play, about 15 seconds. Suppose we are working on some skill such as fingering. Suddenly I cover the keys with my hands and say, "Please don't try. It's too difficult. The piano will explode and we will be covered in melted cheese." I invent insane consequences that may ensue if we are not successful in our task. The robots will attack, the dam will burst, the sky will fall, Humpty Dumpty might not make it. The challenge is impossible for a child to resist: they have to try.
Make Up Ridiculous Consequences
I tell them that the lives of 12 astronauts depend on their exact entry of the secret code into the piano-computer. If they make a mistake, I suddenly cover the piano keys and say, "See? It's too hard, please, I beg of you, stop immediately, for the sake of Humanity!" Then as they almost get it right, I shift the game, and start offering impossible rewards if they do it right. "I'll give $184,241.67 if you really get it right." They always ask if I really will, to which I reply, "Of course not, this is a game." Then they try harder even though they know the reward is bogus. To a child, the game is all.
Kids Like Teacher Humor
A child likes the outward appearance of a game, and the lenient sense of play that follows. As long as we are sometimes allowed to be childish, the child can find a way to work like an adult. What they really seek is permission to be themselves, rather than the robot like conformity that the average classroom requires of them. To teach a child, allow yourself to be childish.