Monday, March 28, 2011

Potato Head Play

So, i can't even begin to give credit for this idea since I've seen it on numerous websites, but just know that the idea isn't my own, just the adaptation. Anyway, i used this for junior primary. I wanted to do something light and fun, thus the potato head. I took off the face pieces and had a child pick one. He then got to place the piece anywhere on the potato head and we sang the corresponding song. I figured that junior primary would like this but i didn't count on how much! They laughed and giggled so hard when the pieces were placed and already want it back. It was so fun to listen to their giggles. Here are the songs I used:
EYES: Popcorn Popping (i looked out the window...) or I love so see the temple.
NOSE: Head, shoulders, knees and toes (sing it several times, omitting the nose, touching the nose without saying the word, backwards, etc.)
MOUTH: Smiles
EAR: Listen, Listen
EAR: If I listen with my Heart
Another way to use the potato head would be for "head, shoulders, knees and toes". Just arrange the pieces on the face in the order that you'll sing the last 4 body parts of the song. (starting top to bottom) Very silly and sure to bring giggles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sing like a Bird

I got this idea from a comment by "walking on sunshine" posted on Brittney's blog. I printed and laminated pictures of a hummingbird, canary, owl, and parrot. Tell your primary children you are bird watching today. Then, depending on which bird you hold up, the children either hum, sing, oohh, or speak the words. I think this is a great idea to use when teaching a new song. It will help everyone become familiar with the music and learn the words. You could have 1/2 the primary sing the words while the other side bird watches and visa versa. Thanks for all the great ideas out there!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quick Draw!

I asked my sister for ideas on how to let the kids choose what songs to sing on a given sunday. I wanted something quick and easy that wouldn't require much preparation because lets face it, some weeks, we just don't have time. Also, some weeks we plan something that doesn't work quite how we envisioned so we need a plan B. Anyway, her idea is super simple so of course it will go on my favorites list. Here is her idea:

Everyone puts their hands on their knees. You say, "one, two, three!, then everyone raises their hands really fast. You will probably need a member of the presidency or your pianist to help you judge who's hand goes up first (especially if you have a large primary). The first hand up gets to pick their favorite song to sing. (see?? simple, but fun) Before you start, tell them they have a minute to think of their favorite primary song (or have them choose one from a list you've prepared). This way they will be ready with one in their head. (besides, can't you just hear the peaceful stillness of that moment while they are thinking of a song and waiting for you to begin counting??) Anticipation is everything!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Do you remember me saying in my "all about me" section that i am a relatively new chorister? Well, let me clarify...I am a brand new chorister. I've only had this calling since November which means i barely know what's going on most days. (i guess maybe i'm a slow learner??) It's been almost 16 years since i last served in primary and while I LOVE being back in primary, i am at a loss most sundays concerning the order and functionality of things. I am in awe at all of you who enter the primary room with confidence on sundays (or at least look like you are confident). So you're wondering what's my point? Well, this is my much time do i spend teaching doctrine versus singing with the children on sundays? I have pored over other chorister blogs,, Pat Graham's songbook companion and anything else i can find and this is what i've found: everyone does it different. Maybe that's my answer then?? I guess I just need to find my way and go with it, right? I just want to sing sing sing each week but then i wonder if i should be teaching more?? But isn't that what sharing time's for?? i'm not sure but i do know that my 20 min. (which more often that not is 10 or 15 min.) disappears so quickly and i barely have time for singing much less teaching. With that in mind, i wanted input from all of you seasoned or otherwise experienced choristers. How do you find the balance? Do you have any advice for me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

St. Patricks Day Fun!

I bought a few of these hats from the $1 section at Target. There are so many ways to use them year after year. Here are a few ideas:
1.velcro (or tape) phrases from a song on each hat. Have one child from each class wear a hat and their corresponding class sings that phrase, then rotate hats so every class has a chance to sing each phrase of the song.
2. Attach phrases from several different songs. (one on each hat) and have the children guess which song it is from. The child that guesses correctly gets to wear the hat and help lead the song.
3. Each hat can represent a way in which to sing the song. The child chooses a hat and wears it while he/she leads that movement.
4. Attach a song to each hat and have a child choose a hat. They get to wear the hat and help lead.
5. Have a class sing off. Whichever class sings a song (or phrase) best, their teacher gets to wear a hat. Continue until all the teachers are wearing the hats.
6. Invite several children to come up (the same # as hats you have). Have them play "musical chairs" walking around the hats on the floor or you can put the hats on chairs. (the rest of primary sings to provide the music). When you cut off the singing, the children up front stop in front of a hat, pick it up, put it on. Have a preselected hat that has special instructions or a question. Before you start each round, whisper which hat is the "chosen" one to your pianist and keep a list of questions to use. (for example, what is your favorite thing to do in the spring? Shake hands with all the teachers, Tell us one of your favorite talents, name all the children in your class, etc.) This is fun because it allows you to practice having the primary stop singing when you cut them off and it gives everyone a chance to learn something about a few primary children.
7. Attach a St. Patty's day riddle to each hat. Look here or here to get some riddle ideas to get you started. (it'd be fun to add a fun way to sing the song to the riddle too) Invite a child to choose a hat, answer the riddle and wear the hat while the primary sings the song!
8. There are no doubt many many more ways to use these hats, i'd love to hear your ideas!
How would YOU use the hats??

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hello song

Since my blog is new and lacking in the number of posts, i thought i'd occasionally post a few ideas i've used over the past few months. Each sunday we sing a hello song to new and visiting children. I like the "Hello" song and when i was called, it was the only one our primary knew, but singing it each week was getting stale. Then i came across an idea on several chorister blogs to try singing hello in different languages. So I made these language signs with flags on them. The visitor or new child picks 2 languages. (or if there's 2 visitors, they can each pick one. For multiple visitors, we usually sing "here we are together") Anyway, 1/2 the primary sings 1 language, the other 1/2 sings the other language instead of "hello". The kids seems to like it and it gives variety. Of course, true to form, i botch several of the languages, but thankfully, many teachers and even primary children know the correct pronunciation!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chalkboard erase addition....Stand for the Right

Like I said in my earlier post, today in senior primary we did the chalkboard erase game to learn Stand for the Right. They did great but the fun part was when a few girls suggested an idea for a way to make the game more challenging. After we had erased 10 or so words, one side of the primary sang all the words that were remaining on the board. Then we sang it again with the other 1/2 of primary singing only the words that had been erased. Then, the third time through, we combined the two groups. Not only did they have to pay attention to when it was their word(s) to sing, but I had to really pay attention on who was supposed to sing so i could point to the right side when it was their turn. They did great and it was lots of fun!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Latter-day Prophets

This sunday's "focus" song is short, and I don't think it will take the entire time. (which i love by the way because the more songs we can sing each week the better!) Anyway, since the theme is centered around prophets i thought it'd be fun to re-visit "Latter-day Prophets". This idea came to me based on a Price is Right game. (hey, inspiration is all around us, right?) I have a 81/2 X 11 picture of each prophet from Joseph Smith to Pres. Monson. I will place them randomly on the board and while the rest of the primary sings the song through, one child will come up front and attempt to put them in order before we finish singing. I am anticipating that they will not recognize all the prophets and will have a difficult time completing this the first time around. If they have some wrong at the end of the song, (which i'm sure they will), i will pick another child to come and build on what's already been done. (I'm thinking i'll have a button like from the taboo game for the child to press when they are done and then i'll reveal to them how many they have right, but not which ones are right) The child up front can only use their class for help since the rest of the primary will be singing the song repeatedly. I am excited to learn this song since the last time i sang it the prophet was Pres. Kimball. I guess it's about time i learned the updated version!

Stand for the Right-SR.

I've been thinking about this all week and finally decided that I would take the simple road. The song is short and i think it will be easily learned. So, i'm going to use an oldie but goodie teaching idea. I will write the words on the chalkboard/whiteboard and then have a few children erase a few words at a time each time we sing it until we are comfortable with the song. After we've done this a few times, i will ask the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN questions from the Children's Songbook Companion to help them internalize the meaning of the song. WHO has some words for us? (Our prophet) WHAT are the words? (Be true) WHERE shall we be true? (At work or at play) WHEN should we be true? (In darkness or light)

Primary Tag

Scatter your song visuals on the board. Explain the rules to tag, i.e. no running, only soft "tagging", etc. Invite a child to go first. Their task is to find the first picture in the song and put it in the 1st position, then tag another child to find the 2nd picture and so on until all the pictures are in order. The rest of the primary sings the song over and over until all the pictures are in place.

Got an extra minute?

Occasionally I have a few additional minutes of singing time near the end of primary. I found this idea here and am excited to use it one sunday when we have extra time. I love the simplicity of it. You will need three
identical plastic cups (not see-through) and one pom pom. (or other object) Put the cups upside down on the table with the pom pom under one of the cups. Move the cups around like a magician, trying to make it so the kids don't know where the pom pom is. When you stop moving the cups, call on one of the kids to guess which cup is hiding the pom pom. If they guess correctly, the child gets to choose the next song to sing. If they don't get it, the chorister gets to choose the song to sing. What a fun and simple way to fill a few extra minutes!

Stand for the Right-JR.

So, i have to admit, teaching a new song isn't my strong point so when i saw this idea i was glad to adopt it for junior primary. Since this month's song is short, i knew it wouldn't take much more than a ton of repetition for junior to learn it. But how to sing it a million times without them getting bored? Taking the idea from here, I made a leg dice with 6 different ways to stand while we sing the new song. I found different clipart to represent standing. (i chose standing with hands on hips, holding hands, sway hips while standing, standing back to back, stand on one leg, stand on tip toe) I made the dice using a box as close to cube shape as i could find. Now, after i introduce the song and talk to them a bit about what it means to stand for the right, we'll just roll the dice to see how to stand while singing "Stand for the Right".

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lets Play Jacks!

Here's an idea that works best for senior primary when you are trying to teach a new song. Rather than telling the primary how many times you want them to sing a particular phrase you are working on, invite a child to "play jacks". (they throw the ball up and see how many jacks he/she can pick up, then they catch the ball before it bounces) However many of the jacks they picked up is how many times to sing that phrase. Have another child play jacks for the next phrase and so on. Sr. primary is pretty on top of it and they will figure out really quick to not pick up any jacks so you can tell them if they don't get any, then the primary sings that phrase 3 times or they sing a duet with a friend or their class sings alone or whatever you choose. You can also use the number of jacks they pick up to be how many children sing that phrase, how many teachers, how many boys, how many girls, etc. Simple but fun. Keeps them engaged and wanting to participate.

Just laugh!

So, the other day my 10 year old daughter said to me, "mom, do you know what i love about you being in primary? I love that you LAUGH at yourself when you make mistakes." She proceeded to tell me how she gets so embarrassed when she makes mistakes and that she is amazed i can laugh off my own blunders in front of primary. She said her new goal was going to be to take herself less seriously and laugh at her "embarrassments". Who knew that that would be the lesson she took to heart? So i guess what i'm saying is, LAUGH! We have to! We essentially "perform" each week and we will undoubtedly make mistakes. (or at least i do!!) What better way to overcome our missed words, wrong words, or even being out of tune!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book of Mormon color sing

I taught the song, "The Books in the Book of Mormon" on sunday and used 2 methods. First, i had them open their BofM to the table of contents and we sang the song with everyone following along in their scriptures. (i wanted them to get familiar with the table of contents)After a few rounds of that, we put the scriptures away and sang to my second method. I saw this idea on It was such a hit-who knew the kids would have so much fun with it! I wrote the books in the book of mormon on a posterboard rotating color every couple words. (i used red and blue) I assigned 1/2 the primary to be red, the other 1/2 was blue. When it was their color, they had to stand and sing. Everyone sang the parts that were written in both red and blue. They got a great workout standing up/down and learned a new song at the same time.

Singing Jumble

I read about this idea on another site but have since been unable to locate it again. (please forgive me for not giving the author due credit) Anyway, i love this idea and i've used it a few times. It works for either a new song or an already learned song. Here's the idea: Assign each class a line or phrase from the song. When it is their turn to sing, that class stands and sings their line. (if there is a chorus, i have all the children stand and sing that part all together) After singing it once this way, tell the children they have 10 seconds to sit with a new teacher. (be sure to clarify rules for this, i.e. no climbing over chairs, NO TALKING, no running, etc.) The pianist plays while they are "shuffling". After the 10 seconds is up, give the teachers a few seconds to tell their "new class" the line they are singing (hopefully the teachers remember the line you assigned them earlier, if not, be prepared to remind them) Then, sing the song again with each class standing when it's their turn. You can do this as many times as you want but be sure to give them 10 seconds to return to their original class when you are done with the activity. It's a great way to get them to remember the words to a song they haven't sung in awhile or learn the words to a new song. Have fun with it!