A Year’s worth of Singing Time ideas*
(*Not all of these are my original ideas, thanks to all who contributed ideas over the past 5 years!)
(By Penny Judkins)

These are all fun ideas, but the most important thing to remember is to follow the Spirit. Pray about your Primary children and your calling.
Use only those things which you feel inspired to use.
Always bear your testimony, because above all, we are teaching Heavenly Father’s precious children the gospel through music!
(Penny Judkins)

 

  1. Name that tune
    I give a clue to the song and they tell me how many notes they need to name the song according to what help the clue has been. Sometimes I turn it around and they choose the song, give me a clue and I have to guess.
  2. Chaos & danger
    This game came from teaching “Keep the Commandments” You plan in advance to have the pianist play a different song than you’re singing. The kids realize how important it is to STAY within the guidelines the Lord has given us. They have to figure out which song the pianist played and which song we were singing.
  3. Squirt gun/crying Mother poster
    I use this poster for Mother’s day and for after the program. I drew a picture of a mother’s face, big on a poster board. I cut out her eye balls and hold (usually ask for help) two squirt guns in the holes. As the children sing beautifully, the mother (cries) as she is touched by the beauty. This can get out of hand easily, but each time I have used it, the spirit is strong and the kids try really hard to sing beautifully. I tell them sometimes, they bring tears to my eyes…. This has to be done in “good taste!”
  4. Pin the bee on flowers poster
    This is just like pin the tail on the donkey game, however I have a poster board full of flowers. The flowers have #’s on them. The kids pin the bee on the flower and that tells us which song to sing, or if we’re working on a song, how many times in a row we will sing it. Of course we use a different “voice” each time. (cowboy voice, opera voice, MoTab voice, Mouse voice, boy voice, girl voice, ect.
  5. What Song am I? Game
    This is a poster that has big colorful musical notes on it. 8-9 in all. The poster is sat on the ground and the child or I throw a beanbag and whichever note it lands on tells us either a phrase from a song, a # of a song, or tells us three words in a row in the song. They have to tell us which song it is, then we sing it.
  6. Easter Bunny with eggs/song titles in plastic eggs hunt
    Use plastic eggs that come apart. Put #’s for the songs, who can sing, or anything applicable to what you are learning at the time. Be sure to talk about the “true meaning of Easter” and that we’re just pretending and having some fun time.
  7. Combined Easter program for Singing/Sharing time
    Take any holiday story or parable from the scriptures, add songs intermittently and you have a wonderful combined Singing/Sharing time. Some can be found in the Primary files.
  8. Birthday cake too many candles
    I made up birthday cake the size of a poster board. I filled it with candles. I tell the kids, I’m getting WAY TOO OLD! And I need them to help me get some of these candles off. The candles have the #’s and ideas on them. The kids love to help me not be so OLD. Can also be turned around and made to put the candles on the cake. The candles are separate and can be taped on and off as everything is laminated.
  9. Boy with backpack
    This is a poster of a boy facing away and we’re looking at his back. He’s wearing a backpack that I’ve slit the top of. I attached a large gallons size Zip-lock bag onto it. Inside I have pictures of books, ruler, pencils, erasers, ect… things you use for school. I have used to to “fill” the backpack to get ready for school and to empty it for Spring break or the end of the school year. On the back of each of the items are the #’s or ideas for the songs we’re learning.
  10. Silly hat singing time
    I went to a thrift store and bought a small lamp shade. I turned it upside down and attached the ugliest 3” ribbon I could find. The lamp shade is brown gingham, the ribbon is colorful circles. I cut musical notes from construction paper and laminated them. Whichever class is singing the best their teacher has to wear the “hat”…. I start out wearing it first. I have also turned it around and let the child singing best and sitting reverently wear it and lead the next song. The kids love to have their teacher be the one to wear the hat!
  11. Leprechauns & shamrocks
    This is a poster to help us learn songs. In each of the leprechauns hands are shamrocks that have phrases from the new song. I have also had the letter from each word on the shamrocks and they have to put them in the right order.
  12. Dice
    I made a musical die by wrapping a small square box with white paper. I wrote on each side of the box a different way to sing the song ie. opera voice, cowboy voice, mouse voice ect I have several different die I’ve made with different things on them. Fast, slow, staccato, legato, ect
  13. Punch poster
    I made a posterboard with 9 large circles cut out of it. On the front of the poster, I put words under each hole like: hi-yah, ka-pow, hit me, etc. On the back of the poster, I put a single piece of tissue paper masking taped on the back of each hole (masking tape is easier to take off and replace later to re-use the poster). I also taped a piece of yarn above each hole on the back. To the yarn I tape whatever I want.
  14. Musical instruments
    The children love to play the tambourine, maracas, cymbals, rhythm sticks etc. I love to pick them up at tag sales, thrift stores etc. Or make your own. They’ll sing the same song 5 times in a row and not even notice.
  15. Pictures that they choose the song that matches
    I got a bunch of pictures from the library, put them in a box. The kids choose a picture and tell us which song it reminds them of. Then we sing it. This is great for taking a break after learning a new song.
  16. Jeopardy game
    I got BIG cardboard pallets from Costco (they use then in between their toilet tissue cases) I have 4 categories listed on top. Some of these might be, SEASONAL FAVORITES, BLAST FROM THE PAST, SACRAMENT MTG. PROGRAM, SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL. Under each category, in a column, have the numbers 1-4 listed. Behind each number will be a question. As the children pick the category and the point value. You give them the answer (ie: the Lord provides a way) and they tell you the name of the Song in question form (ie: What is “Nephi’s Courage”) Then you sing the song.
  17. Umbrella/rain
    I use a real umbrella & a mist bottle (squirt bottle) with plain water in it. I use the finest mist so no one really gets wet. As we are learning a song, the better they get the words and melody the more it “rains”. I spray on top of the umbrella and the child is holding the umbrella. Once in a while I get a little crazy and spray toward the audience… oops….
  18. Snowball fight
    (paper toss) I give each child a piece of paper. Make sure you stress the fact that we’re in the Church and sometimes we “toss” snowballs! (be careful or this activity can get TOO ROWDY). The kids,(with teachers help sometimes) write their names & their favorite Primary Song. I invite a class at a time to wad & toss the “snowballs” toward me. Then, I pick up a snowball and we sing that song. This activity serves a dual purpose; I keep the snowballs and make a list of the children and their favorite song. Then I have my Top 10 favorites list!
  19. Singing in a can
    Cover a Pringles/peanut can with cute paper or musical notes, make papers that give directions to sing such as: Sing with your eyes closed, Humming only, Sing with your favorite Accent, Sing Standing Up, Sing with your Nose plugged t. If you have a gerbil don’t sing, Sing every other word, Sing with your mouth closed ect.
  20. Rocket--blast from the past
    To incorporate past songs that the children have learned into weekly singing without always picking the same ones over and over. I am going to make a rocket out of a tall empty cheese ball or Pringles can with a lid. Decorate it to look like a rocket. Put all of the songs from the last several programs, and any that they already know from the book, add the new songs as we learn them. This would also be good for substitutes, or to hand over to a new chorister, so they will be up on what songs the kids know.
  21. Get the bugs out
    I went to a "Party store/dollar store" and bought real looking plastic bugs.... I think they cost me 8 for a $1. The kids got a real kick out of it... I put them in a paper bag and had attached a small piece of tape to the bottom of each bug. I had a number written on each so I could control which songs we sang. The kids pulled one bug out or "caught one" and then had to hold it while we sang the song. We then decided if the bugs had been caught so we could put it in the BUG JAR (a big miracle whip plastic jug) that I had decorated with bug stickers. If not, the bug went back into the bag. Great for reviewing the CSMP songs! (the bugs symbolize the problems with the songs)
  22. Shakers
    (toilet paper tubes/rice) I made shakers out of toilet paper tubes filled with uncooked rice. I wrapped them with wallpaper that I got free from a yard sale. The kids love to keep time or match the rhythm to the songs. Make sure the paper you wrap them in is pretty sturdy or you’ll have rice everywhere!
  23. Bowling for Snowmen
    Use Snowman clip art, print out several. Tape them to water bottles. Cover a basketball with batting and wrap white string around it to hold the batting in place. The kids try to knock over a snowman with a snowball! The Snowman will have the #’s on them for the songs.
  24. Turkey shoot
    I bought the little “accordion fold” turkeys. I took a dart gun and let the kids shoot a turkey. Whether they hit the turkey or not. They got to choose a turkey which had a number written on them. The numbers corresponded with a song. The kids sing the song and tell me what blessing the song reminds them of.
  25. Bean bag toss/pass
    Have pianist play a song that you need to review, everyone sings the song as they pass the beanbag. When the music stops the person holding the bag sits down. You can also toss the bean bag to a child and they have to tell you the next word in the song.
  26. Tic Tac Toe -Theme the X’s and O' after the season
    For Thanksgiving, paper pilgrims and turkeys, Christmas, Angels and Shepherds etc… Dray a large grid on the chalkboard or poster board. Each playing piece had a song listed on the back appropriate to the situation.
  27. Envelope game
    Print out the words to the song and cut them out. Make enough envelopes with song lyrics for groups of 3-4 children. I use pictures for Jr. primary since they can’t read. As you all sing the song, they put the words (or pictures) in the correct order. Good way to learn a song.
  28. Target game
    I made a huge cardboard target (could draw on chalkboard) and made 8 sections. I had the children made paper airplanes. As the sang the songs I picked the one sitting most reverently and smiling while they sang. They got to fly their paper plane at the target to see which # (song) we would sing next. Tons of fun! At the end of singing time, I let everyone fly their plane at the target.
  29. Memory game
    There are many variations to this game. Use your imagination fo this one. I had to boards, pictures that depicted songs. They turned over one from each board, if they matched we sang their choice if they didn’t we sang my choice.
  30. Singing Baseball
    Draw baseball diamond on chalkboard. Divide group into two teams. Coach has a player in the warm up box and one in the batters box whenever their team is up to bat .Player steps up to pulpit when at bat. The Questions are "Pitched" (read) to players and score is kept according to value of question. Paper hats are moved around bases according to hits and runs. Each team only gets two "OUTS" per inning. After two RUNs, change team up to bat A"Bell" is rung every 3-4 minutes, then it's time for a "MUSIC QUESTION." Sing the song when the question is answered correctly.
  31. Hot and Cold
    Make a note out of black poster board. Send one child out of the room. Hide the note. Then the children are to sing loud if "the seeker" is “HOT”near the note and quiet if they are “COLD” or far away.
  32. Erasure Pass
    Preparation: On the board are a list of words in groups of three. Each distinct group includes one word from the song being taught and two words that mean the same or opposite. Example: The song being taught is Seek the Lord Early. I would choose SEEK as my first word and with it place the words LOOK and SEARCH. My next group might be for the word YOUTH. With it CHILDHOOD and ADOLESCENCE. Another group might be FATHER, MOTHER and HOLY GHOST. Stand in front of the children and state the rules:
    1: No talking,
    2: No Throwing the eraser,
    3: Give the eraser to someone who hasn't had it,
    4: Erase only the words NOT in the song (we want the words that remain on the board to be the words in the song in the order they appear in the song).
    Hand the eraser to a child and start singing the song. DO NOT STOP SINGING. You may go through the song 10+ times before all the wrong words are erased. The children them come up one at a time and erase one word not in the song.
    Teachers may help non-readers, or you may need to prompt when few words are left. Make sure you keep the rules in effect. If a child erases a wrong word, be prepared to write it back on without stopping your singing. After all the wrong words are erased, have the children sing only the words on the board. Then switch and have them sing all the words except the ones on the board.
  33. Who wants a million blessings
    This game is the same as the Millionaire game but you use questions about the songs you’re working on. The lifelines can be 1) ask the audience 2) check the book 3) 50/50
  34. Song taboo
    This is the same as the game Taboo; you make up cards for the children to pick from. They have to guess the Song Title without saying the words on the card. Then you sing the song ie:
    I Am a Child of God
    Heavenly
    Father
    Parents
    Children
  35. Yarn singers
    I took 3 colors of yarn and cut them different lengths. I tied them all together in no particular order. I wound them up and put them in a paper sack decorated really cute. As the children sang a child pulled the string between their hands. Each color as it went through the space between their hands depicted who would sing, one was for boys, one for girls and one for everyone. As the string was different lengths it was fun to see the “change”.
  36. Top 10 songs of the year
    (See #18) or Poll the Primary, put together a list of the most requested songs. Start at #10 and work up to the #1 song.
  37. Quick draw songs
    When the attention is wandering or I just need to bring them back, I tell them we are going to do a "quick draw". Everyone think of your favorite song. Put both hands on your knees. When I say "go!" raise your hand. The first one I see gets to pick the song. "on your mark" "get set" "Go!" This can also be like Pictionary where they draw a picture on the chalkboard of the song they want to sing.
  38. Scarf Movement
    I bought a bolt of material at a sale really Cheap! I cut it into squares. Each child gets a square or scarf. You paint with the scarf by moving them through the air. Such as: move it gently, it’s so gentle just like this song & just like Jesus.
  39. Clap/snap/stomp
    Use it individually or with partners “Can your hands follow my hands?” Or use body rhythm pattern such as clap, clap snap, snap, stomp stomp. Partner Rhythm pattern such as patsch (pat thighs), clap, cross touch to elbows.
  40. Dancing singers
    Have a group of about 8 children come up to front. Make a circle. Go around in a circle, stepping up tall on one beat and down low on the next and so on. Really fun for “Truth of Elijah”.
  41. S-i-n-g-o- game
    Take a piece of foam core board or poster board and make a grid on it like a bingo scorecard. At the top instead of writing bingo you write singo. In each square you put a small piece of one side (hook) of velcro. Then you make two sets of markers--one for them to draw out of a basket and one that will be on the board. I laminated these. I made mine different colors so I could easily keep them straight. One side can say anything you want--I put "you're a singing superstar" on mine and the other side will have different categories on it. You then put a small piece of the other side (loop) of Velcro on EACH side of the board pieces. To play you put the markers on the board with the category side facing out and a child draws a marker from the drawing set. They then have to choose a song to sing that fits the category they have drawn. If the group can sing it well enough in your opinion then they get to turn the matching piece around on the board. The goal is to get a straight line just like in bingo. For the free space, let them have a free choice marker.
  42. Singing Olympics
    During the Olympics in SLC we opted to “pass the torch” in Primary as well. I made a torch out of a flashlight with red cellophane paper over it and we passed it around the room. When our song finished the next person got to pick the next song. We also had 4 different games going for our Olympics.
  43. Cooking up a song
    Take kitchen containers, a mixing bowl and spoon, and an apron. Tell the kids that we were cooking up a song. I had a volunteer put on the apron and choose a container (empty cool whip, etc.) and add the "ingredient" to our mixing bowl. Each container has a slip of paper that says either line 1,2,3,or 4. While they are stirring, we have to sing that line 5 times to help it cook. Believe it or not, this really worked. They all wanted a turn, and I told them lots of stuff about how their singing helps it to cook. You decide which order to put the ingreds. Into the mix!
  44. 2 Bags
    I went to fast food bags (2or 3) and ask for donations of their paper wrappers and french fry wrappers. Most of them are very happy for the advertisement. I put song titles in them and let the children reach in their favorite bag and pull out one thing. That’s what we sing.
  45. You be the chorister today
    I walk around and touch the children being most reverent and best examples. They get to lead the music in Primary that day. I’m still up there teaching but they get to lead.
  46. Pick a flower
    I put flowers all over the Primary room in cups. I had a vase in the center up by me. Each time a child chose a flower they came up and put it in the vase. When we finished singing time that day, we gave the flowers to the pianist.
  47. Stand up Sit down
    Print the key words to the song out. As you pull out the key words you stand up and sit down when those words come in the song. This is great if the children are getting restless.
  48. Puzzle game
    Make up a crossword puzzle for the song you’re learning. The clues would be the key words to the song.
  49. Stop and Go
    Make a traffic light out of 2 black poster boards. Cut out 2 traffic lights and put red, yellow and green cellophane in between where the lights should be. I let the children come up and shine a flashlight through the colors. We sang on green, stopped singing on red and did something different every time on yellow (girls, boys, clap to rhythm, hum, etc).
  50. Ball Toss
    This is a mini basket ball hoop with a miniature basket ball. Depending on how many shots they make tells us which song we sing. If they can’t make any, we sing what the pianist wants to sing. (she likes to pick once in a while)
  51. Song (word) search
    Make word search puzzle with song titles hidden in it. There are many sites on the web that will do this for you. All you have to do is print out and blow them up.
  52. Hangman / Resurrected man
  53. Hide the note
  54. Spin the Wheel (song titles)
    You take a desk chair that spins around. Then you choose a child to pick a teacher/ or the chorister. The teacher sits in the chair, and the child spins them around.
    All around the chair on the floor you have the names of song titles or phrases, (or some thing else of your choosing).
    The teacher puts their feet out, and wherever her feet are pointing closest too, that's what gets chosen.
  55. Chimes
    Make or buy pipe chimes and have the children play the corresponding tone to match the song.
  56. Fishing
    Attach paper clips to song titles, have a baton or play fishing pole with a magnet at the end for the “hook”. The children fish for the songs to sing or how many measures you will go into the song.
  57. Fishing for Crickets w/Seagull
    I attached a “little Mermaid” Skuddle” (seagull) to a dowel with yarn. I hot glued a magnet to his beak. I printed out crickets from the “Mulan” movie and glued paper clips to them. Near the 24
    th of July I tell the story of the crickets and seagulls as we sing the pioneer songs.
  58. Magnetic letters
    Use the magnetic letters that you use on the fridge. Put them in a bag or appropriate container for the season. The children draw out a letter and choose a song that starts with the letter they pulled out. For the sake of time, I use the letter that correlates with the number in the alphabet the letter is. 1-26 (make a list ahead of time and you CAN use the songs over and over)
  59. Concentration
    Put pictures or words up on the blackboard, and cover each with a piece of paper. Take turns flipping the paper. I flip one, and the children flip the other. When they match one we sing that song.
  60. Detective clueless
    Make up a question for each phrase of song.... reduce font to smallest size possible. Envelope: "Classified Files" containing questions ; Dress as Detective with trench coat/ hat/ sunglasses.... Bring a magnifying glass Make five question marks labeled with the five W's - laminate, stick magnetic tape on back to place on chalkboard. Five Important "W's"
    All detectives (or reporters) know that they need to ask these questions when looking for clues to solve a case. WHO -- WHAT -- WHEN -- WHERE -- WHY
    For each question, call up a child (assistant detective) to read a question with the magnifying glass.
  61. Dress the Missionary
    Bring two of each item, suit coat, name tags, shoes, Book of Mormon etc. Select two helpers. The team that sang the best got to 'dress' their missionary then the team that had their missionary dressed the most when time was out got to sing their favorite song.
  62. Paper Orchestra
    This is so much fun! Everyone gets a piece of paper and you make different noises with the paper. You can roll it and sing through it, you can blow on it to make a squeaking noise, tap it for “raining” sound, use your imagination! Time is your only limit. At the end of our time, I have them tear them into little pieces and see how quietly they can sing to see if they can hear all the pieces hit the bottom of the trash can as everyone walks quietly by it.
  63. Yearly theme game
    Take the theme of the year and make up a song to go with each letter in the words or a song for each word. Let the kids pick a word and sing the song that correlates with it.
  64. Balloon popping
    Put titles of songs inside balloons and then blow them up. Have the kids come up and sit on the balloons to pop them to see which song to sing. Or you can put phrases inside and you sing the song until you get to that phrase.
  65. Book of Singing Stories
    Make a book with poster board. On each page have a picture or “clue” depicting a Primary song. The kids get to turn the page to the song they want to sing. I have several pages that I can change out. You can use color copies of the GAK pictures, they’re lovely!
  66. Celestial Challenge
    This idea is from The Primary Page. It has a gold sun, silver moon, and white stars, all on a black board. Each is labeled accordingly - celestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom, and telestial kingdom. On little squares of poster board, I have made up "icons" for each program song - a picture and the name of the song, for both the older & the younger children’s benefit. They are taped up in "Outer Darkness" at the beginning of the year, then once a month, we have our "Celestial Challenge." I have them sing each song, and the Presidency tells them whether they have sung it well enough for the program (Celestial Kingdom/sun) or maybe it needs some more work. The goal is to get them all on the sun (Son)!
  67. Build a Jack-o-lantern
    I use a real pumpkin. Not carved. I made different eyes, noses, and mouths and let the children choose faces and put them on the pumpkin. Duct tape works best to attach them. I laminate everything so I can use it over and over. Black construction paper works best for the features. Except for the teeth.
  68. Holiday things (easy!)
    It’s just use your imagination time! Around any holiday you can find things that correlate. Build a Snowman, or “undecorated” the Christmas tree in January, Have love letters in Feb. and so on.
  69. Toilet tissue Unroll
    Unroll a roll of toilet tissue and write song titles on random squares and re-roll. Then let each child take off one square and the ones with song titles get to lead their songs.