Thursday, April 20, 2006

Primary Music Time Ideas

I went to a stake leadership meeting tonight and was told the basic overview of my calling in our ward. I'm the Primary Chorister. I was hoping that we could get through the boring informational part of the meeting and get to the meat of this calling...the ideas for teaching these kids the primary songs and getting them excited about singing. But the overview took so long that we didn't get around to those great ideas that I love to hear and often take and use for myself. In my last ward, (where I had the exact same calling) I got the best ideas when I went to these meetings and I used them and they worked brilliantly, but I feel like I was jipped out of the chance to glean these wonderful ideas from the people going through the same things I'm going through!
At our meeting the woman teaching it told us that we need to sing the song to the kids at least 3 times before they are going to join us successfully. I haven't been doing that and hope to try that and see how well it works. But I'm stumped as to what kind of fun activities and games I can get going for the kids to keep them excited about singing.
Let me give you a sample of some of the fun things I've tried and have been successful with and then you tell me what works for you! I'm all about sharing and "stealing" these ideas and thoughts, we're all in it together!
Ideas I've Tried and had Success with:
  • Cutting ties. Okay, so it sounds insane, is! What we did was we had two men from the ward and asked them to come in to judge singing time for us. What the men know that the kids DON'T is that we're going to cut their ties piece by piece. Which ever side sings louder that man's tie gets cut. I usually buy those ugly and inexpensive ties from Deseret Industries, or have the men donate ties they don't like anymore. It's been a riot seeing the men "react" to having their "favorite" ties cut off. One time the daughters of our second counselor in the bishopric saved his tie...because he loved it so much! They wanted their mom to sew it back together! This is a fun one, but can only be used sparingly! (Kids catch on fast!)
  • Follow the Leader. When the kids get really rowdy and a wiggle song just won't do, we try playing this easy game. I sit on a chair in front of the group and tell the kids to do what I do. I silently wiggle myself: rolling arms, patting shoulders, doing head, shoulders, knees, and toes...and they follow me. It's a fun thing to get the kids to be quiet and pay attention, but like the tie cutting's only to be used sparingly.
  • Word Searches. I've tried this idea once and the kids ate it up. It was fun, and very educational for me! The only problem with it is the time thing...not much time for singing time and it's spent searching for words on the puzzle!
  • Using the books from Primary Partners. Okay, so this is my one splurge for Primary. I usually buy it when it's cheap and use it and use it and use it! They come out at the beginning of the year, and these books have all of the songs that are part of the sacrament presentation and they have broken them down in easy to learn pictures and phrases. The other nice thing about this book is that it's chuck full of games and singing awards...just a great idea maker. I don't want to over use this book, but I often can't help it simply because I'm not creative enough to make my own ideas.
  • Online sources. I've got links to a few like the Idea Door, Jenny, and ldsfiles. Like I mentioned earlier...I will find ideas and use them as my own. I've been told many times that I'm a great chorister...I tell them honestly, that I'm not the one to come up with these ideas...I just borrow or "steal" them and use them.

And that's it...all of my brilliant ideas....not it? I'm hoping that you can help me come up with ideas that will have ME singing praises!

The more I look online for resources...the more I find! I've run across 2 really good sites. You can see them here and here! Thanks for the ideas...please keep them coming. I'm feeling so inspired!


CareBearMommy said...

Hmm.... here are some more ideas for singing time.... and of course, I'm stealing them from my current ward primary chorister. One thing that he did last year, as we were preparing for the program, was "music olympics." He would pass out three different score pad notebooks (with numbers 1-10 on them)to different leaders/teachers and have them judge the songs based on how well they focused, how well they sang the words, and one other one (can't remember off the top of my head). He did this for like two months or so before the program and brought a big posterboard in every week with everyone's scores on it. The Jr Primary was competing against the Sr Primary.

Another idea, just for a little fun activity to get the kids attention was to do a hot-cold type of game. A child would leave the room while another child would hide a picture of Jesus. When they got back in the room, we would sing "Listen, Listen" (it's a two-line song in the Children's song book). We would get quieter as the child got closer to the picture and louder as they moved further away.

ANYway, good luck to you. I can give you more ideas as they come to me. Of course, as I mentioned before, I will be stealing all of my ideas too. :)

mattsmom said...

I am really sorry...I have no good ideas! I have not been in on a sharing or singing time since I was 11 years old! But I remember that our chorister was GREAT and she usually had Posters and games for us to do similar to the ones you have written about! We loved the Find the song type games (like putting hidden clues around the room....and having treats or prizes for the kid that finds and identifies the clue correctly! Pretty much whenever candy was involved we were eager to sing and earn it...true it is bribery...but it works!

bon said...

I psycho-LOVED this calling!
1. Put the titles of songs you are working on mixed with a liberal dose of "fun" songs including a "u-pick it" on slips of paper, roll 'em up and put into balloons then blow them up. Kids who are singing their hearts out and/or behaving well get to come up and POP a balloon, then ya sing whatever was inside.

2.Make soup or cake, complete with a chefs hat and apron on. Have a slew of kids come up and hold a rebus style line of the song you are learning, and have them stand in order of the song... as each line is sung the kid walk by pot or bowl and dumps in the ingredient they are holding... but they don't get to add till the line is sung correctly and in proper order.

3.Really, it's a matter of repetition, so you have to make the repetition fun and keep the kids engaged. Funny accents. Whisper to get them to hush. I used Raffis song "Shake Your Sillies Out" to get the wiggles out.

4.Have an ultimate kicker... a thing that makes them swoon, and only give it to them if they do something big... I had this song that was the height of stupidity and sillyness that the SR. Primary kids would do anything to get to sing.

have fun you LUCKY-DUCK!

Dawnyel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FrogLegs said...

I Love the cutting up the tie idea! I'll hav eto share that with our primary chorister. :) I have no ideas for you.. so sad.. :( Never had that calling-- but if you ever need Faith in God or Yw stuff-- you let me know!!! :)

bigkidatheart said...

Ok so I just found your web site. I got a kick out of that whole Chorister "boot camp" comment. I completely agree! I have found a really, really good website that I just love. Go to It has a bunch of ideas for every song in the book, and even ones that aren't.

I just got this calling about a month agao and I have fallen in love with it. Keep sending ideas and I'll let you know what I come up with. It's nice to know other people feel as lost as I am in this.

Joti said...

Thanks so much for blogging this! What a great idea and THANK YOU for the links! I have written down many of the ideas and plan to use them. I have had 3 Sundays already and I want to be an "Awesome Chorister" and it is hard to keep them engaged. I thank you for the great ideas.

Here are a few things that I liked:
I wore the apron and bought apples. I told them that I love to bake and that I make a killer apple pie. (hammed it up) I had them pick out an apple from the bushel and I had stickers (address labels) on the apple that had the song and page number on it. They had to help me with the leading (using a big wooden spoon). I had the teachers pick the best singer in their class because I don't know their names yet. Now I have tongue depressors with their names on it. A little more fair.

I did the "hot cold" game but we call it a "treasure hunt" and I used a 'real dollar!' The kids liked that it was real money. Then at Wal-mart I picked up an eye patch. One child hides the dollar and the other child gets to look like a pirate. We sing louder when they get close to the dollar. FUN!!!

I will add more ideas too as I find them too. Lets keep this blog going as we support each other and find new ideas! Thanks girls!!!!!

wordfromthezoo said...

I just ran across your blog while searching the internet for primary chorister ideas and I am definitely going to use some of the ideas on here. Here are some ideas I think are kind of fun:
Put yarn that is red and green in an empty plastic ice cream bucket with a little hole in the top big enough for the yarn to be strung through. When they see green they are supposed to sing and when they see red they are supposed to stop singing. It gets their attention! Another thing they like is when you make a little stop sign that has a red stop sign on one side and a green go sign on the other side. There is a tongue depresser for the handle thing and you let a child come up and hold the sign and flip it back and forth to control the singing. They love it! Another one is to have them sing oooooh's and ahhhh's and OOOOO's and mmmmm's instead of the words sometimes. It kind of settles them down and gets their attention when they kind of get bored or wiggly so you can get them focused again.

What a fun blog you have!

Tamsyn said...

I was called as the ward Primary Music Director just over a month ago and I am LOVING it!!
One thing I am doing which they seem to love, is bringing my 'apple tree' to primary.
We got a bit of not too thick wood from the local hardware, cut it out in a sort of tree/bush shape and affixed it to a long straight bit of wood/old broom handle as the trunk.
We then stuck it into an old flower pot with plaster of paris. Painted the tree green (on both sides) and the trunk brown. Used some green tinsel to cover the plaster and give the effect of grass.
The apples were the easiest part, just cut out apple shapes from green (different shade to the tree) and red paper and laminated them so they lasted more than one Sunday!!
The last thing to do in the construction part was affixing velcro to the back of each apple and then putting the other half on the tree.
On the back of each apple I have a song name and number blu-tacked so they can be changed regularly.
I colour coded to have the action/fun songs green and the other songs red, so I can kind of patrol what we do!
The back of the tree is also good to put song words up, such as the recent footprints suggested in the July section of the sharing time book for 'Come, Follow Me'. (I wish I knew how to put pictures up so I could show you my tree)

If any body has any fun ideas for teaching new songs to sunbeam aged people, I would certainly love to hear about them!!!