Sing a song over and over inviting the children to
Ask questions that are answered in the song
Use an attention getter
Wear a costume
Enter room as a character singing a new song
Invite a guest to dress up and play a part
Have children do role play
Use an interesting prop/object
Use a puppet with a different voice to introduce a new
song to the children
Tell a story about the composer and how they wrote this
Play a guessing game
Play only the melody on the piano and hum along
Make pitch charts to show how each melody of the song
moves up and down
Discuss the meaning of the song in an interesting way
Arrange the chairs differently
Have the children line up quietly and lead them to
another room, outside, or out one door and into another to introduce a new
Use pictures to express key words/phrases
Use objects in place of pictures
Flannel Board figures
Make Large cardboard cut outs that correspond to the
song with a face hole cut out for children to hold up during a song
Roller boxto teach a song. I took pictures
from old primary lesson manuals of the things mentioned in the song and
glued them on a long sheet of butcher paper with the words beside or below
the picture. Then the kids or myself crank the dowel to turn the
picture. It's great. I took the time to make a nice box and have
used it for several other songs. They love the moving pictures.
Chalkboard/dry erase board—write the words on the
board to the whole song, and write some WRONG. See if the kids can figure it
out—and you sing what is written--tell them you need their help to get it
Write key words on chalkboard, and erase them as you
learn them (eraser pass): write the words to the verse/s up on the
blackboard, sing the song through properly, then select children to come and
rub 2 words out each. Then sing the verse again, and have more children rub
words out. Sometimes I allow them to circle words as well and that means
that where the word is circled the children sing "la" instead.
Usually we sing the words that have been erased but sometimes we miss those
words out while we sing and when the circled words "la" is added
it is a really fun way to sing a song and believe it or not the kids really
learn the words.
Erasure Pass Preparation: Choose major words of the song. Find 2 or 3 synonyms/like
words and/or opposites for each of the major words. 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. List the
major word and its like words together in a group (with each major word
having its own group) on either a blackboard or white board.. If possible
putting each group in a different color. Tell the children to listen to the
song and erase the words that do NOT belong in the song. 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.
Write words on board and intersperse with scrambled
words written on paper --let kids figure out what the words are
Write words on board and leave blanks—hide wordstrips
under chairs—kids help fill in blanks when you get to that line.
Overhead projector and transparencies
Pictures from the library or another collection of
Ask them questions that encourage them to listen
carefully while they hear it those three times.
a string with alternating thread colors out of a can (use a frosting can with
balled up yarn—about the size of a tennis ball--inside, attach a
heavy-weight cardboard music note to the yarn that is sticking out of a small
hole at the top of the frosting can lid and cover can with paper that has
music notes on it). red-stop singing, yellow, hum, green—sing OR blue—boys,
pink—girls OR sing only as long as a string comes out of the can. Then sing
the whole song.
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”.
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.
Heads or Tails: Write down words from a song
you're working onto index cards, let the kids come up and pick a card and
then flip a coin - if it's heads they have to sing the phrase that came
before the word on the card - if it's tails they have to sing the phrase
that comes next.
Clap the rhythm with them. (Friend had great idea tell
them they’re your mirrors and they have to do whatever you do). Use two
fingers and the palm of your hand if it is to loud.
Beat vs. Rhythm (One hand tapping the rhythm while
other hand taps the beat): As
the children to keep the beat on their lap as you sing the song. Sing the song
and keep the beat. As the children to tap the rhythm of the words with their
other hand on their lap. Sing the song and tap the rhythm of the words. Split
the group in half. Have half the group tap the beat and the other half tap the
rhythm of the words as you sing. Switch and sing again. For fun, challenge the
children to keep the beat in their left hand and the rhythm of the words in
their right hand (or visa versa). Sing the song and tap the beat AND the
rhythm of the words. It is pretty rough, but the kids really like it and they
are LEARNING the songs as their hands are trying to do the rhythms.
4/4 time: (Right hand) slap thigh, lift hand (hit the back of the right hand
with the palm of the left hand), snap (left), slap hand (right)... repeat...
OR... (with both hands) lap, lap, clap, clap, lap, clap, snap, hold, (repeat)
lap, lap, clap, clap, lap, clap, snap... or any combination of laps claps,
snaps, etc.. Rhythm Actions: Decide on an appropriate rhythm action for the
song (ex. slap the thigh, hit the back of the hand, snap, hit the back of the
hand, etc...). Demonstrate it slowly for the children to a steady beat.
Practice it once or twice. Challenge them not to lose the action as you sing.
Start the rhythm action to the beat of the song and then sing the song as you
do the rhythm actions. This is GREAT fun... and my favorite (and my kids'
favorite) is a 6/8 beat.
3/4 or 6/8 time: This is our FAVORITE.. and my boys love this! It goes like
this: (R) thigh, up (slap w/Left), (R) thigh... (L) thigh, up (slap w/Right)
(L) thigh.. repeat. (It sounds like this.. "down, up, down, down, up,
down, down, up down, down, up, down") This takes awhile to get... and you
start out slowly with the kids and just encourage them. This will become one
of their favorite patterns. When I first taught this, I explained to my
toughest boy that if he could master this pattern, he would be able to master
any sports task... because of the coordination.
I like to print the actual song onto an overhead
and then teach the kids a little music theory too.
With the older kids a simple and I think a way
they like the best is to just write the song out on a chalkboard or on strips
of cut up poster board and then let them pick to remove a word or group of
words after each time you sing. If their singing gets weak then stop removing
and go over it a little more. Sometimes I’ll let them erase the word they’ve
picked to erase throughout the entire song for instance if they choose to
erase “the” then they get to erase every “the”.
Introduce a new song in a different way:
CD Player—play song to introduce it, Guest musician (someone’s mom/dad),
Class sings OR Teach the song to a class first or maybe the cub scouts or
achievement day girls and then have them sing it to the primary first to
Define words and terms to them. Make sure the kids know
why they’re singing what they’re singing. If they understand the message
they’ll sing it with greater love and enthusiasm.
Bear your testimony about the message of the song. The
spirit works wonders!
Word for the day: okay I grew up when Peewee’s
Playhouse was on TV and he had a word for the day and if anybody said it
they’d yell. So I took this idea and twisted it. We pick a word like love
or prophet, etc. and when we sing that word the kids have to stand up. It
keeps us all on our toes.
Heads or Tails—I had phrases from the song we had
been working on written down on slips of paper. The kids would pick a phrase
out of a bowl and then we flipped a coin if it was heads the kids had to
sing the next line in the song and if it was tails they had to sing the
previous line. This really helped them drill the song into their heads.
Crack the Code code concept, a)put the letters in
reverse order. b) the second letter of each word, or c) the last letter of
each word. Depending on the number of vowels in the first-letter
"code" line, it also might be possible to use of the on-line
anagram generators to come up with words made from those letters.
Record different kids singing a line from different
songs. Have musical notes that have either the kid’s names or a picture of
them on it. Play the tape of the first song. Stop the tape and have a child
decide who sang that song. Then have the whole primary sing the song. This
is fun for mother or father’s day too. Have the mom or dad sing the line
and then have the kids decide whose mom or dad that is.
The Mr. Slinky is just a little slinky that you use and
the kids have to watch you. As you make the slinky longer, they sing
louder, as your make it shorter, they sing softer.
Rhythm Wands/Windwands/Scarfs-- I bought
a bolt of material at a sale really Cheap! I cut it into squares. Each child
gets a squareor 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. 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.
Rhythm Instruments (sandpaper blocks, triangles, spoons,
shakers, etc)to make 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!
Leading the music (you can use an elephant—Eddie
Elephant--and have their arms be the trunk and lead with the trunk of the
Leading Sticks:I made ribbon wands, or leading
sticks out of slurpee straws that I hole punched the end of and tied a
length of red, yellow and blue ribbon onto. They were really cute, and
the kids loved them.
"Conducting wand" (plastic tube filled
with water and glitter). This wand is used to control who is singing. The
person conducting has the "power" to have everyone sing, row 1,
row 2 or row 3 (waving across the individual rows) or it they point it at a
specific child they have to sing alone (only for a few words of the song). I
allow the children to have the "power" but it is a privilege and
they know if they muck about they won't have another turn. The challenge
children love this part of singing time and want to sing longer and longer
so it is successful.
Hold up a sign and everyone has to switch seats to a
Sing a Vision (a box with a screen cut out, and dials,
with pictures that go with the song)
Stand Up each time a word is said
Make a book. Cut posterboards in half and join
the pages with metal rings. Use pictures or flannel board figures with
the words or key words. You could also put the first verse on 1/2 a piece of
posterboard and then connect it to the top of a whole posterboard that has
the second verse on the top 1/2 and the chorus on the bottom 1/2 that way if
you connect the two you can see the chorus for the first verse and then flip
the first verse over so that the second verse and chorus are visible.
I did this for when I taught 'Families Can Be Together Forever'it worked
great. I connected the two boards with 2 metal rings.
Rhythms—shakers, sand paper blocks, clap 2 fingers,
Instruments --Our kids love accompanying their singing
with whatever rhythm chances I can come up with (many learned here, thank
you) We are a large Primary, so only a few get a turn at time:
jingle type bells strung together
2 wooden blocks tapped together
2 pencils clicked together
lead the rhythm with fabric scarves
lead the rhythm with a pencil
film canisters with beans inside shaken to the rhythm
I usually only have them use 1 or 2 kinds of sound at at time so it doesn't
sound chaotic. Of course I try to get them to follow the rhythm
of the song.
ASL (sign language)
Kids Draw the visual aids for the song
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!
Puzzle: take a picture from a church magazine or
picture kit, cut it into strips or puzzle pieces, place the pieces under the
kids seats and then let the kids who have a piece take turns bring up their
piece and put the puzzle together. The puzzle could also be a monthly
theme or a song title that you print out on the computer with some cute
graphics or maybe the finished puzzle will tell the kids where to look to
find a reward - have fun with this the possibilities are endless.
Magicians Hat—pull out things to do with the song/questions
for the song
Kids act out the song and it worked great. I called one
child up at a time and they made up what they wanted to do for that line
then the next child etc. until the first verse was done. Then we sang
the song all the way through with those children still standing up front
acting out their lines. After that everyone stood up and sang and
acted out the song together.
Tennis Ball face—cut a 2 in. slit in a tennis ball
for a mouth, use black marker to make eyes above the slit. When you squeeze
the sides it opens the mouth and makes him sing with you. Also can remind
kids to open their mouth WIDE on vowel sounds.
Funny-Face pictures of musical sounds (“ooo” “ahh”
“ohh” “hum” “la-la” “words” “ee”) When learning the tune
to a new song, flip every few measures through the booklet and have the kids
sing these sounds for fun. Let them exaggerate the facial expression and
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
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”.
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!
Vocal exercises (anything you've done in an adult choir
that is meant to improve blend, or attention to dynamics, or breath support
You Making mistakes. Put something in a jar. Smarties,
cause they are so smart to catch you when you make a mistake or Dum-Dums
lollipops. When it’s full the kids get them. You could use marbles and
then when the jar is filled you could give them stickers or a pencil or a
special treat at the next activity day.
I sometimes play the “If you can hear put your hand
on…..”game to get them ready for closing Exercises, but I used these
actions, saying no words, playing no music, just singing in my mind and
doing the actions, They caught on a eventually had them all doing the
actions as the seniors didn’t know them then, then they caught on and
started to sing the words.
Reverence For Jr primary when it gets out of hand I
have a favorite poem I do that really seems to quiet things down:
Touch your nose,touch your chin,
that's the way this game begins.
Touch your eyes, touch your knees,
Now pretend your going to sneeze. (Achoo)
Touch your hair, touch one ear,
Touch your two red lips right here. (like your saying Shh)
Touch your elbows where they bend,(if you do this at the same time
they should be folding their arms)
That's the way this touch game ends.
I also do Tommy Thumbs:
Tommy Thumbs up and Tommy Thumbs down, Tommy Thumbs dancing all
around the town. Dancing on your sholders, dancing on your head,
dancing on your nose now tuck them into bed.(fold arms)I'm sure you
can figure out the actions. We also do, pointy finger and pinky
Open them Shut them is a good one to:
Open shut them, open shut them
give a little clap, clap, clap
open shut them, open shut them,
put them in your lap.
For senior primary I just start singing the song We Are Reverent CSB
page 27. Then I ask them to try to be as quiet as a shadow or
something like that. If I point out that they are out of control and
that they are acting in appropriate in Heavenly Father's House they
will quiet down.