Teaching ideas (by Jenny Lynn)
  1. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
  2. Sing a song over and over inviting the children to listen
  3. Ask questions that are answered in the song
  4. Use an attention getter
  5. Wear a costume
  6. Enter room as a character singing a new song
  7. Invite a guest to dress up and play a part
  8. Have children do role play
  9. Use an interesting prop/object
  10. Use a puppet with a different voice to introduce a new song to the children
  11. Tell a story about the composer and how they wrote this song.
  12. Play a guessing game
  13. Play only the melody on the piano and hum along
  14. Make pitch charts to show how each melody of the song moves up and down
  15. Discuss the meaning of the song in an interesting way
  16. Arrange the chairs differently
  17. Have the children line up quietly and lead them to another room, outside, or out one door and into another to introduce a new song
  18. Use pictures to express key words/phrases
  19. Use objects in place of pictures
  20. Use actions
  21. Flannel Board figures
  22. Cut Outs
  23. Make Large cardboard cut outs that correspond to the song with a face hole cut out for children to hold up during a song
  24. Flip Charts
  25. Word strips
  26. Word charts
  27. Roller box to 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.
  28. 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 right
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Write words on board and intersperse with scrambled words written on paper --let kids figure out what the words are
  32. Write words on board and leave blanks—hide wordstrips under chairs—kids help fill in blanks when you get to that line.
  33. Overhead projector and transparencies
  34. Pictures from the library or another collection of pictures
  35. Ask them questions that encourage them to listen carefully while they hear it those three times.
  36. Singing Can
    Pull 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.
  37. 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”.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Beat vs. Rhythm (One hand tapping the rhythm while other hand taps the beat): Ask 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.
  42. I like to print the actual song onto an overhead and then teach the kids a little music theory too.
  43. 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”.
  44. 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 introduce it.
  45. 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.
  46. Bear your testimony about the message of the song. The spirit works wonders!
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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. 
  50. 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.
  51. 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. 
  52. Dress Up
  53. Rhythm Wands/Windwands/ Scarfs-- 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.
    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.
  54. Chimes
  55. 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!
  56. Pipe Chimes
  57. Leading the music (you can use an elephant—Eddie Elephant--and have their arms be the trunk and lead with the trunk of the elephant)
  58. 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.
  59. Windwands
  60. "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.
  61. Hold up a sign and everyone has to switch seats to a new seat
  62. Sing a Vision (a box with a screen cut out, and dials, with pictures that go with the song)
  63. Stand Up each time a word is said
  64. 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.
  65. Rhythms—shakers, sand paper blocks, clap 2 fingers, etc.
  66. 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.
  67. ASL (sign language)
  68. Kids Draw the visual aids for the song
  69. 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!
  70. 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.
  71. Magicians Hat—pull out things to do with the song/questions for the song
  72. 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. 
  73. 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.
  74. 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 sound.
  75. 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.
  76. 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”.
  77. 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!
  78. Vocal exercises (anything you've done in an adult choir that is meant to improve blend, or attention to dynamics, or breath support is great.
  79. 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. 
  80. 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.
  81. 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.