Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hand Patterns: a Versatile Activity for Any Song

Hand actions keep the kids engaged
Hello, my friends!  I obviously didn't post last month. My excuses are--in descending order--I moved; My mom, sister, and niece came to visit from out of town; and we threw the most epic Harry Potter party ever. :D

Let me make it up to you with an activity that you can adapt to use with a multitude of songs. I've been using hand patterns to teach the memorization songs for the books of scripture during prelude, in both junior and senior Primary.

For Junior

With your younger ones, simple is the key.  There is still an age gap, though, so here's a way to address both your Sunbeams and your 8-year olds.  Start patting your hands on your lap, with 8 repetitions. Then switch to clapping 8 times.  Tell your older children that you'll up the difficulty in just a minute, so they need to be able to do the pattern really well.  Sing your chosen song through a time or two, checking to make sure the Sunbeams are able to follow. 

Once they get it, tell them it's time to switch things up. Change to 4 pats and 4 claps. If you want to add another variation, try 3 pats and one clap.  The little ones will be lost, but you caught them earlier, and the older ones will love the added challenges.

For Senior

Your older classes will definitely require a different pattern than the younger ones.  8-count patterns are better than 4-counts, as the added variety will help maintain their interest longer. Here's one pattern idea: stomp, stomp, pat, snap, clap, hold, clap, hold. Don't give any intro to this activity. Just start singing and stomping away, and they'll pick it up. Once they have it down pat, here are a couple variations:

1-Instead of the hold:  hold while circling hands away from your body and back to your chest

2-Instead of the hold:  reach hands out to both sides to clap your neighbor's hands.  
This will be a bit tricky, so it's best to demonstrate it first with a couple volunteers.  

Feel free to come up with your own patterns, of course!  This activity is great for any song with a strong beat.  Try it with "Follow the Prophet," "Book of Mormon Stories," "The Church of Jesus Christ," or others. Have fun with it!

Happy singing,

Looking for more?    For another simple activity that incorporates movement, try "Marching With Scripture Power," here.

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