Showing posts with label Nursery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nursery. Show all posts

Saturday, September 30, 2017

DIY Rain Drop Craft

DIY Rain Drops
So we’re wrapping up the Primary program season. If you haven’t had your program yet, you’re probably in the last couple weeks of review. Hooray for not stressing anymore (even though you're trying not to anyway) about whether or not your kids will remember all the songs! This sounds like a great time for a Primary music-centered craft project. :) 

Yes, yes, normally I like simple, fast activities like you do. But every once-in-a-while you just itch to make something fancier, right? Ok, if not, then you might not want to attempt this. Cuz it's not a five-minute project. But it's fun, the product is adorable, and they'll make lots of tiny kids happy. Reason enough for you? Then read on. :)

Using the Rain Drops

This is not an original, folks! I saw Sharla Dance ( these at one of her workshops, and I loved them so much that I had to make my own. (Disclaimer, my awesome mom and sister helped me figure out how...) 

These rain drops admittedly have a limited use. I mostly use them in Nursery or Sunbeams, as they don't hold the interest of the older children. I like to pass one out to each child (you really have to have one for each child!) and sing "Rain is Falling All Around." You just hold the end of the yarn and dance the drops around like they're raining. These youngest kiddos are still trying to learn about where their bodies are in space. So, slowing down the last line of the song, "Rain is falling on my nose, on my head and hands and toes," and having the rain drop touch each body part when mentioned is a fun challenge for them. 

Making the Rain Drops

Materials Needed

  • card stock or cardboard
  • blue felt
  • blue yarn (I chose different shades of felt and yarn for fun.)
  • googly eyes
  • rice
  • fabric glue
  • Fray Check
  • Sharpie marker
  • scissors
  • sewing machine or needle, thread, and patience ;)


1. Cut out a rain drop-shaped template out of the card stock or cardboard. Size really is just your personal preference. Mine are about 2 1/2" tall. 

2. For each rain drop, trace and cut out 2 pieces of felt, using the template as a guide. 

3. Sew the 2 pieces of felt together, sewing only around the edges to make a kind of tiny bag. Leave the area by the point open, as you will need to put rice in through this hole. 

4. Put rice in through the hole. ;) I don't know how much. 2 teaspoons, maybe? The idea is just to add enough weight so the rain drop will hang down nicely.

5. For each rain drop, cut 1 piece of yarn to your desired length. Mine are about 12" long.

6. Insert one end of a piece of yarn (maybe 1") in the hole of your tiny, rice-filled bag.

7. Sew a lateral line across the top of your rain drop to keep the yarn in place. Sew around the tip of the drop to keep the shape of the drop intact.

8. Glue on the googly eyes wherever you'd like them.

9. Apply fray check to the exposed end of the yarn, so it will last more than one singing time. 

And now you're ready to sing, sing, sing! The consumable materials required for this project are super cheap, so it didn't bug me that it took a little while to make. You could even grab the Primary music leader from the ward next door and help each other get these whipped out in no time.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?      
Here is a sample Nursery music time that utilizes these cutest of rain drops. :)

Friday, June 30, 2017

"The Wise Man & the Foolish Man"--Teaching more than just the hand actions

Pictures can add meaning to this action song.
The song of the month is "The Wise Man & the Foolish Man." We all love it, but isn't it kind of simplistic? And, it doesn't really take a month to teach, does it? This song is great because with the repetition and hand actions, children learn it really quickly. It would be easy to leave it at that. If, however, you take the opportunity to explain a few eternal truths, you can help this simple song really strengthen the faith of your children.

All I really do to teach eternal principles with this song is 1) bring a picture or two and 2) pause and explain. You can do variations for age with junior, senior, and even nursery. Actually, I love bringing this explanation and song into nursery the same month the older siblings learn it, as it's a great way to encourage gospel learning as a family.

Bring in a picture or two

Kids love stories. (And so do I!) You can tell the children that today, you'll be telling them a story, but you aren't the one who told it first. Who did? Show them a picture of the Savior teaching, and let them fill in that blank. (In the picture above, I used The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, found in the Gospel Art Book on p. 39.) For nursery, you may want one picture for each child to hold.

After you sing the song through, you could show a picture of crashing waves and rocks, or a rainstorm by a house. (In the picture above, I used a photo from the inside cover of the July 2015 Ensign magazine, but you could find or draw your own.) Some children learn best through visually connecting with what they're hearing.

Pause and explain

Then you could ask, "Why does Jesus care where we build our houses?" Keeping in mind the age group you're teaching, you can help them understand that the song is a symbol for what Jesus really wants for us. He wants us to be strong when there are hard times, just like the house can be strong when there are hard storms. 

Sing the song again, and then older children may enjoy thinking of what the storms, sand, and rock represent spiritually. In this way, they can connect at their level with a song we usually categorize as being for younger children.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?  For an explanation of these symbols:        , visit my page on the 8 learning styles.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

4 Ways to Help Your New Sunbeams Shine

Say good-bye to Nursery, kiddos!
Oh, how fun the new Sunbeams are! They're normally wide-eyed and clueless, unless they're climbing under the chairs. :)  It goes without saying that coming from Nursery into big-kid Primary is a transition for these little darlings, so here are some of my ideas to help ease them in.

1.  Start Early

As soon as December hits, I start trying to transition the upcoming Sunbeams into Singing Time. With the Nursery leaders and your Primary presidency, discuss how this will work best in your ward. Just a short visit each week in December might be enough, for part of Singing Time, for example.

2.  Choose Songs Purposefully

Talk to your Nursery leaders to see what songs they've been singing with the children in the past couple of months.  Incorporate some of these songs into your Singing Times for the first few weeks with the new Sunbeams.  Also, whatever other songs you choose, repeat them week after week, to give the new littles a sense of familiarity.

3.  Choose Activities Purposefully

Okay, not to hammer it in, but this transition can be really hard for these children! They're not used to sitting in a chair for an hour. Like, ever. So help them out! :)  Ideally, your Junior Singing Times will always include some sort of physical movement, but it is especially crucial for the first few months with new Sunbeams.  Give them a chance to stand every week.  Just clapping their hands isn't enough. They need to get out of their seats, whether it be a simple standing wiggle song or movement that goes with a doctrinal song, like marching. 

In addition, be aware of their short attention spans with everything you do. Don't talk for more than two sentences at a time. Just DO whatever it is you want to do. Don't have any reading activities at first. Instruments and pictures are safe bets, instead.  Here is my blog post about the musical needs of this age child. They want to participate, so meet them more than half-way. 

4.  Love Them

Most importantly, look into their eyes, try to see how they're feeling, and love them. Help them feel the Savior's love for them through your own.  How blessed we are for the chance to teach them.

Happy singing!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nursery Music Time--An Example Agenda

Rhythm instruments in Nursery
Chubby fingers. Wide eyes.  Energy that can't possibly be contained in one spot.  These are some of my favorite things about Nursery!  These 18-month to 3 year-olds absolutely soak up music time, and I love teaching them because it's an entirely different experience than with the older children.  I listed principles of effective Nursery music time in my previous post here, and if you want the most benefit from today's post, pause for a moment to review those principles.  Here, I'll give an example of how to put those principles into practice with a Nursery music time plan.  You can find the principles mentioned in italics.  Here's my agenda:

“Here We Are Together” (p.261)

Always start with the same gathering song, so the children know what to expect.  Help them find a carpet square while you sing.

“Rain is Falling All Around” (p.241)

Pass out felt raindrops attached to yarn. Dangle them over your head, toes, etc. as the lyrics suggest.  At times, call out, "Freeze!" and see if the children can match your placement. Repeat.

“Once There Was a Snowman” (p.249)

Do actions as the lyrics suggest.  Note that this song matches body movements to high and low notes. Repeat.

“I Love to See the Temple” (p.95)

Pass out one laminated temple picture to each child as you're singing.  Be sure to sing more quickly than you normally would sing this song.  Collect the pictures as you sing a second time.  Note that this spirit-filled song still incorporates something to hold.  

“Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” (p.275)

A chance to stand and wiggle after sitting still! Repeat fast and slow. 

“Follow the Prophet” (p.110)

Pass out rhythm instruments.  Encourage the children to follow your example and keep a steady beat.  Repeat the same verse.

“The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” (p.281)

Invite the Spirit by telling the children that this is a story Jesus told.  Sing with actions. Repeat.

“I Am a Child of God” (p.2) 

Invite the Spirit by telling the children you will show them a child of God. Give a dollar store hand mirror to each child.  Be sure to sing quickly, and then repeat as you take back the mirrors.  

This is obviously just one idea for a Nursery music time.  I'd love to hear which songs and activities your little ones love, too. :)

Happy singing!

Friday, June 5, 2015

10 Needs Your Nursery Kids May Not Have Discussed With You

The tiny ones need music, too!
Nursery-aged kids are fantastic!  Okay, I do have a two year-old of my own, so maybe I'm biased, but there's something special about sharing music with a tiny person who can barely talk.  

Just over a year ago, I learned how to take my Nursery music up a notch when I attended a workshop by Sharla, over at  Our goal shouldn't just be teaching songs.  We can help with the children's overall development as we sing with them.  Here are some of the principles I've learned, both from Sharla and from my own time with the little-bitties:

1.    Nursery children need routine.

This is a pretty established principle with this age of child, but how do you apply it to music time?  Plan a regular time slot during Nursery, and plan a regular gathering song and closing song for music time.  My favorite gathering song is "Here We Are Together" (p.261), so I can sing all the children's names.  Whatever you choose is fine and dandy, as long as it's consistent from week to week.  A familiar song helps the children know what to expect.  (See also this page on, under "Gathering Activities.")

2.    Nursery children need a home base.

Children this age cannot be expected to form a circle, or to hand you their instruments and then return to their previous spot without some kind of external help.  My favorite help is the carpet square.  The square becomes the home base.  "Bring me your sand blocks, and then go sit on your square!"  That, they can do.  

3.    Nursery children need to interact with every song.  

Please, please, never have your Nursery children just sitting still, listening to you sing.  They need to march, or watch a puppet, or hold a prop.  For every song.  Always.

4.    Nursery children need repetition.

All of us learn songs through repetition, but this age especially needs a ton.  As in, sing a song until you get sick of it!  I use the exact same lesson plan for Nursery music every week for a full month.  Then, I change it up the following month.  The children won't get bored.  Rather, they'll derive comfort from the familiar.

5.    Nursery children need music with a fast tempo.

This idea was wholly new to me when Sharla presented it.  As I've put it into practice, however, I've found the principle to be true.  Little children's hearts beat faster than adults', and they like to do everything faster.  So, speed it up!

6.    Nursery children need purposeful movement to a steady beat.

Keeping the beat is so much more than just having fun with music.

"The frontal lobe of the brain, so important in controlling impulses and making responsible decisions, is developed through movement to a steady beat." ( 
Invite the children to keep the beat along with you.  If they prefer to simply observe, they will still be learning as they watch your movements.  

7.    Nursery children need stop vs. go.

Unexpected stops and gos in music help the children practice self-control.  Have you ever shrieked at a toddler to stop when he was running into the road?  Plan freezes and pauses into your songs and movements, and he'll be better able to stop in non-music situations, too. 

8.    Nursery children need high vs. low.

Children this age are developing their inner voice.  Choosing songs that highlight the difference between high and low notes assists the children in being able to follow a tune as they get older.

9.  Nursery children need to feel the Spirit.

Don't underestimate the ability of these tiny ones to feel the Holy Spirit.  My youngest son requests "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" (p. 78) more than any other song.  So sing fun songs, yes, but also include songs that testify!  The children will feel the difference, and they will be drawn to it.

And finally...

10.  Nursery children need to be accepted at their age level.

They are not big kids yet.  They have a huge capacity to learn, but you have to meet them at their stage of development.  Help them have fun with the music, and you'll find that it's fun for you, too. :)

Happy singing!