Thursday, April 30, 2015

Singing Time Plan for May 3rd

Make music fun!
Variety. That's what it's all about. Even if you plan a fantastic activity for your children, they'll still tire of doing the same thing over and over.  They want to experience new things and have fun!  Each week I show you a variety of activities, but in this week's singing time plan, I've included notes in italics to show how even the order of my songs is purposeful. 

Junior Primary

"Follow the Prophet" (p.110)-verse for Pres. Monson-rhythm sticks. I use these instruments in a similar way to sand blocks (see my detailed description here), with very simple patterns. (An activity with a lot of movement, since we're coming from the quiet and sedentary opening exercises.) 

Rhythm sticks
"Mother, I Love You" (p.207)-inside camera.  See my description of this activity in another singing time plan, here, but this time I'm using pictures of some of the children's families. (An activity that uses concentrated visual learning, to contrast with the physical movement we just had.)

"The Church of Jesus Christ" (p.77)-visitor and directional marching. This activity comes from, here.  You have a guest come in, the full-time missionaries if possible, to lead the activity. Instruct them beforehand to march in place, turning at times to face different directions, while holding their scriptures. While marching, they move their scriptures to different locations, such as up in the air, off to the right, etc., changing no more often than every 8 beats, inviting the children to mimic their movements.  (An activity that lets them stand up and move again, after being asked to sit still for several minutes.)

"I Know That My Savior Loves Me"-ASL (A quiet activity that has them still actively participating, but they're seated and ready for the next segment of primary, which in our ward is Sharing Time.)

Senior Primary

Clicking your partner's sticks
"The Church of Jesus Christ" (p.77)-rhythm sticks, with partners. As with all the instruments I bring in to Primary, I always make the pattern more challenging with the older children than with the younger. For rhythm sticks, I have the initial pattern for the individual children. When they master it, I ask a child to be my partner, and we demonstrate how to sub out one movement from the original pattern with clicking your partner's stick. For example, say the original pattern is click-click-scrape-scrape-click-click-pat your knees. With a partner, I would play the second click-click by tapping my two sticks against my partner's sticks. (As in junior primary, I start with an activity with a lot of movement. Also, if I have anything to pass out and take back, I am sure to never place that activity last in singing time. Chaos, with nothing to bring them back in.) 

"Follow the Prophet" (p.110)-find the similarities in the verses-challenge to write your own verse. I'm trying out a new activity this week. If it flops, I'll let you know! I'll pass out paper and pencil and then ask the children to listen for something specific each time I sing a new verse. How many lines in the song? What is the rhyming scheme? (My son is in second grade, and he's already very familiar with rhyming schemes in school.) What are some similarities between what the different verses say? When we've answered these questions, I'll challenge them to take those guidelines home to write their own, new verse to "Follow the Prophet." If they bring their verse to me to get it passed off, then we'll sing their verse in Primary in a following week. (Senior primary kids need a mental challenge every week. It's best to place it after they've just had a chance to wiggle and move, so that they're prepared for the high level of concentration it requires.) 

"Mother, I Love You" (p.207)-inside camera.  (This is another high-concentration activity, but it adds the visual element, for children who learn best that way. I try to plan at least one activity each week that is for visual learners.)

"I Know That My Savior Loves Me"-ASL (This lets the children move again, after having to keep their bodies still. However, it's in a very quiet, reverent way, so that they are prepared for their closing prayer immediately afterwards.)

Please comment and let me know if you've seen success in varying the types of activities you provide your primary children, too!

Happy Singing!


  1. Where did you get the rythmn sticks? We have a large primary and not use I could afford them.

    1. Mike, I know, cost is definitely a concern! I got mine from, similar to these:

      These ones are $2.75/pair. I amassed mine by asking for them as Christmas and birthday presents, and I now have a large set.

      For lower cost options, you could use unsharpened pencils or cheap wooden chopsticks, but these are both quite thin, and they won't sound like much. If you are willing to put some time into it, you could buy wooden dowels at your hardware store, and then cut and sand them yourself. Then you could get any thickness you like. Good luck choosing what will work best for you!