Friday, August 28, 2015

Nature Daydream: A Senior Primary Activity

In the hills around Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, there are boulder-filled overlooks where you can get close to some steep, rocky cliffs.  I went hiking there with my district as a full-time missionary.  When we got to one of these overlooks, we spread out from each other a little bit, and I thought of a line of a hymn, which I started to sing to myself.  "When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur/ And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze/ Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,/ How great thou art!" (Hymns #86).  The place and the song fit so perfectly together that now, every time I hear this song, and every time I'm at a rocky overlook, I'm reminded of my missionary experience.

Go ahead. Daydream!

   Nature Daydream

Some children learn very well through connections with nature, and we want to help them!  However, since Primary is generally held indoors :), I find it hard to think up Singing Time activities to tap into this learning style.  Here is one of my few, precious nature activities, which I call Nature Daydream.

I gave a brief introduction to this activity in my Singing Time plan earlier this week, here.  Nature Daydream should only be used with Senior Primaries, since it requires symbolic thinking, and the little bitties in your Junior Primary need concrete representations in order to understand.  This activity can be a relief because it requires zero prep from you!  Well, you have to think through it, but that's it.  Here's how to present Nature Daydream in Singing Time:

Presenting the Activity

Begin by asking the children their favorite place in nature that they visited during the summer.  This is a perfect activity for the end of summer vacation!  Hear a few responses.  Ask the children to daydream themselves into that favorite spot, and suggest closing their eyes if they'd like.  (Don't try to require eye-closing. 1-They won't all do it anyway. 2-Some kids will be so focused on their embarrassment that they will miss the entire point.)

Once they're in their daydream, ask the children to see if they can match your song to their favorite spot.  Sing through the song once, then ask the children to open their eyes.  Call on a few children to see if the song matched their favorite place, and then ask why or why not.  (For example:  "Help Me, Dear Father" (p.99) might match a quiet beach because the swaying beat of the song reminds us of waves.  It might not match a white-water rafting trip because the song is so slow and calm.)

After receiving three or four responses, ask the children to daydream up another place, one that they think will definitely match the song. Sing through the song again, and again ask for the children's thoughts on why their location matches.

In this age group, children are very keyed into their imaginations.  By channeling their ability to daydream, you can give them the opportunity to learn a song while they connect with nature, and all without leaving the Primary room.  :)

Happy singing!

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