Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our Songs Are Powerful--Use Charades to Encourage Application

Charades help reinforce the principles
I've recently been inspired by some other Primary Music Leaders as well as the Church's fantastic new teacher improvement manual, Teaching in the Savior's Way.  They've reminded me that our calling is not to teach children songs.  Our calling is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we just use music as our medium.  “Music can help you draw closer to your Heavenly Father. It can be used to educate, edify, inspire, and unite” (Pres. Thomas S. Monson).  With these thoughts in mind, consider charades as a Singing Time activity that can drive home the point that we're trying desperately to make:  Children, this gospel is for you.


Think of the songs you're teaching and reviewing.  Which ones call the children to action on an ongoing basis?  In the past, I've used "Follow the Prophet," "Come, Follow Me," and "I Will Be Valiant."  This year, you could use "If I Listen With My Heart" verse 2 and "Stand For the Right." 

Next, think of simple applications of the song for the children, which could easily be acted out as charades.  Some ideas are reading the scriptures, praying, sweeping the floor, rocking a baby, comforting someone who is sad, or inviting a lonely person to play. They should be everyday occurrences, with no more than two actors needed. Write the clues on paper strips, and place them in a bowl or bag.


Tell the children you're going to play charades--actions only, no sounds!  Give them a general category, such as "Things the prophet wants us to do."  Instruct the children to raise their hands when they have a guess, but to wait for others to figure it out, too.  Immediately start singing your chosen song, and offer your container to a child for him to choose a paper strip. 

Let the child read the paper silently and begin acting, while you keep singing.  Pause to read the paper to young children, or to explain if a child needs a partner to act, naturally. :) When you finish singing your song through, pause to take guesses from the children. Offer help if needed, and then sing and repeat.

Why It's Powerful

The children are hearing words like, "At work or at play...stand for the right," "I hear the living prophet speak the things that Christ would say," or "Then let us in His footsteps tread."  Over and over, they're hearing the words, as they see their peers modeling righteous behavior. They can learn through movement, if they are acting, or they can learn through engaged watching, since they're being asked to think about what they are seeing.  Either way, they are both hearing the song and seeing how the principles apply to their stage of life.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?  Check out this Singing Time plan for ideas of other activities to pair with charades.  Or, for another good reminder of our purpose as music leaders, read Why We Do What We Do.

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