My blog address is "primaryimpressions" because it seems that my ideas sometimes will come as impressions in the middle of the night! Whether you are a new chorister, or have been in the calling as long as I have, you are always looking for new ideas!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Christmas Handbells

This is one of my favorite things to do at Christmas for singing time.  I have a set of "Kids Play Hand Bells" that I let the children use to play some Christmas songs and primary songs.  I am excited because this year I have added an extension of the set so that we can now do other songs that weren't possible before because of the limited notes we were able to play.  Each hand bell is a different color and also has a number on it.I made posters with the song written by numbers and color.

 I teach the children how to hold the bells and how to ring them.  I emphasize that when they pick up a bell they are to see how quiet they can keep it.  I make sure that each child has a turn to play.  They usually get to do at least 2 songs each.  Last year I had the teachers all come up and take a turn, and the kids actually did a better job then they did! ha.  For the sunbeam age kids I have the presidency help by tapping them on the head when it is their turn.  They however caught on really fast and were ready to ring their bell when it was their turn.
Next year I plan to bring the bells out during the year and just do some primary songs.  These would be a fun addition to your singing supplies.  You can buy them on line from Kids Play.  I also pulled them out for our extended family Christmas party and the kids loved it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

We'll Bring The World His Truth

I am so excited for our Primary Program.  One of the songs that I chose for our program was We'll Bring The World His Truth.  This was so much fun to teach.  I taught them the story about the 2,000 stripling warriors.  I had a couple of children come up and be warriors and another be Helaman.  The Junior Primary children love to act out stories.  Use any kind of little props like a play sword or bow and arrow to help them feel like warriors.  Explain how much Helaman loved these young men and how they were taught by their mothers to be faithful and obedient.  Also explain the first part of the song which says, "We have been born as Nephi of old, to goodly parents who love the lord".  Have them turn to that scripture and read it. I really like to help the children understand the message of each song they learn.  They learned this song so fast and when they sing, it gives me goose bumps.  I love to talk to them about my son who is a missionary serving in Texas and how important missionary work is.  This is an exciting time we live in  and the Lord is counting on us to spread the gospel message to the world!  My son is the tall blonde missionary.  This was taken at the Houston Temple where he was able to enjoy being the escort for the man next to him who he baptized a year earlier.  What an amazing experience for him!
For our program I am going to have the children sing the first verse and when they hit the chorus I have asked the young men and young women in our ward to stand up and start singing with them.  I will then have the audience sing the second verse and the very last line of the song, where it repeats "To bring the world His truth", I will have the primary kids sing only.  I hope this will touch the hearts of all those who participate!

"Scripture Singing"

I love whenever we can use our scriptures in Primary.  I feel that it is so important for the children to learn to use these valuable tools as much as possible.  I thought it would be fun to do a scripture search with singing time.  I will tell them to find a certain scripture and they are to read it and try to figure out a song that would go with that scripture.  You will have to probably bring extras from your library so that there will be enough for the children to share.  Here are some of the scriptures and songs that I will use:

SCRIPTURE                SONG
1 Nephi 3:7                  Nephi's Courage
D&C 4:3                       Called To Serve
Proverbs 29:9              The Wise man and the Foolish man
Leviticus 2:14               Popcorn Popping
D&C 138:53                 Latter Day Prophets
D&C 33:13                   Scripture Power
D&C 115:4                   I Belong To The Church of Jesus Christ
1 John 4:9                    He Sent His Son
1 Kings 18:34              Do As I'm Doing
I will have for our Opening Song or Reverence Song "Search, Ponder and Pray"
For the Junior Primary, I will have the teachers help the children look up the scripture and work together to think of a song.
Have fun searching the scriptures with the children and singing some of their favorite songs!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Fortune Cookie Singing"

I thought of this idea using fortune cookies.  Who doesn't like breaking open a fortune cookie and finding their fortune inside!  I thought is would be fun to put different ways to sing inside of the cookies.  Here is what I thought would be fun:
"You will sing amazing if you stand up" Have the children stand to sing, or use the stand and sit signs
""You will make someone happy today"  Sing If Your Happy and you Know It.
"You will be a good leader"  Have the child lead the song, or lead them in Do As I'm Doing
"If you Choose the Right you will be happy"  Sing Choose The Right
"Something sweet is coming your way!"  Have the children sing for a tootsie roll
"You were created in the image of God"  Sing I Am A Child of God
"If you seek, you will find what you are looking for"  Play Hide and Seek during the song
A mission could be in your future" Sing I Hope They Call Me on a Mission, or We'll Bring The World His Truth
Be creative and make up your own fortunes!
Buy the fortune cookies and find the ones that you can easily slip the fortunes out of and then replace them carefully back into the cookie. If you are real ambitious, you could even make your own!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Thanksgiving Singing"

I made this poster several years ago.  I made the feathers so they could be pulled off.  I tell the children that we are going to pluck the feathers off our turkey for singing time today.  On the back of the feathers I put the name of the song to sing, or how to sing the song.  I also have written something that the children have to say they are thankful for.  For example, "I am thankful for____"
Or, it may say "tell someone in the room why you are thankful for them".  Then we sing the song.   I like to add an element of surprise and one of the feathers may say "sing for a sticker" or "sing for a candy" etc.  Easy and fun!

"Thankful Charades"
Another idea for Thanksgiving that I have done before is to play a game of charades.  In a jar I have different songs that also are things that you can be thankful for.  I choose a child to pick out of the jar and then have them act out the name of the song and the children try to guess what it is.  Whoever guesses gets to do it next after we sing the song. Here are some ideas of songs:
"Scriptures"  sing Scripture Power
"Family"      sing Families Can Be Together Forever
"Food"        sing For Health and Strength
"Earth"        sing My Heavenly Father Loves Me
"Prophets"   sing Follow the Prophet, or Latter Day Prophets
"Temples"   sing I Love To See The Temple
"Baptism"    sing any baptism song
"Prayer"      sing A Child's Prayer
I like to talk about why we should be grateful for these things.  This is a great activity when you need something quick and easy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Purrrfect Singing"

Today I decided to do something for Halloween for singing time since Stake Conference is the Sunday before Halloween this year.  I called it "Purrrfect Singing".  I have these cute wooden cutouts that you stick into pumpkins.  I bought them at a boutique years ago.  I told the kids that I wanted them to be purrfect singers today and if they weren't, they would be monster singers.  I pulled out my wood cutouts of the cat and I also have one of a Frankenstein.  The idea is to have them sing good enough to earn a cat piece to put into the pumpkin.  If it wasn't purrfect then they had to put in a frankenstein piece. I used both sides of the pumpkin, or you could use two pumpkins.  On the front side we put the cat pieces on and on the back side we put the frankenstein pieces on.  After each song we would decide with the help of the primary presidency what piece it earned.  Needless to say, they were able to finish the cat before the frankenstein! Yeah!  When we were all done I held the pumpkin up and told them that they were "Purrrfect Singers".  I then turned the pumpkin around and they could see the Frankenstein that said "Happy Halloween".  The children seriously loved this and it is another one of those ideas where you can use things that you may already have around the house.
You can see from the bottom photo that I had them on both sides of the pumpkin!

"Singing Measles"

I have done this several times throughout the years and the children literally never get tired of it.  I buy the round red stickers at any office supply store.  I have used the colorful ones too, but I think red seems more like the measles.  I then tell the children that singing can be contagious just like the measles.  We are going to see if we can contaminate our teachers with your singing!  I then pass out stickers to the primary presidency and then they go and give stickers to the children who are singing really good. (This usually means everyone because they love this).  The child who gets a sticker then has to put it on their teacher.  It is so fun to see how many stickers the teachers have on themselves when singing time is over.  I have them all come up so the kids can see how well they spread their singing measles.  You can't go wrong with this one!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Billy Bubblegum Singing"

 This is another activity that I use right before the program to practice our songs.  Last week I told the kids I would bring a friend next week.  One of the children said, "I hope it is bubblegum guy"!  They love this!  I made this poster and put a hole where his mouth is.
Then I put a pink balloon, I usually use a 9" balloon, and put it through the hole.  I then have a teacher come up and they get to blow up the balloon according to how well the children are singing.    The balloon gets bigger as the children sing.  If they mess up on words while singing, the balloon deflates some.
The idea is to get the balloon (bubblegum) as big as possible.  The children LOVE watching and will sing their hearts out for this.

If they sing amazing, I have had teachers actually blow it up so big that it "Popped"!  It makes a loud bang, but the kids love it.  You don't actually have to let it pop though if you have little ones that might be scared by the noise.  Senior primary seems to really love it though.  It's fun to have the teachers participate by blowing the balloons. This is one the children will want to do every year!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Scripture Power"

"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and direction from high" Elder Richard G. Scott

Scripture Power is one of the children's favorite songs!  They have so much enthusiasm when they sing this song.  We sang this in our program last year, and we continue to sing it as they always seem to choose it as a favorite song.  I think the children in our primary understood the power the scriptures have as many of them participated in a ward goal to read the Book of Mormon within 90 days!  For the program and whenever we sing this song, I have the children hold their scriptures in their hands and each time we sing "scripture power" they hold their scriptures up high in the air!  They LOVE this!  When we sang this song for our program, we had Books of Mormon for each child that they had written testimonies in.  We then sent these Books to the missionaries who were serving from our ward.  I reminded them that shortly these books that they were holding would soon be all over the world!  It was such a "Powerful" experience for everyone!  Being a mother of a missionary at the time, I couldn't express how grateful I was for this experience!

To teach this song, have them tell you different things that help make their bodies strong.  Good diet, exercise, plenty of water, etc.  Then explain that the scriptures make their body strong in a different way! Talk about the ways the scriptures make you strong.  Then each time they sing "scripture power" have them hold their scriptures up high!  At the very end of the song I have them open their scriptures as it says, "the power that I get each time I read".  You can then read a scripture that they have opened up too!

"Miracle Of The Fish Singing"

 This is a fun activity for singing time to help the children practice the song we are learning.  I first start by telling them the story of how Jesus fed the multitude of 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish!  You can find the story in Mathew 14:13-21.  I then tell the children that they can make our two fish feed our multitude in primary by their singing.  I put two fish in the jar, (I use a clear tall jar so they can watch the fish multiply), then as they sing the song I have a member of the presidency add fish to the jar according to how well they sing.  We sing till the jar is full and then I share the goldfish with the children.  They love to watch the jar fill up!  Fun singing time as well as an opportunity to teach the children about miracles!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Finish The Sentence"

This is fun idea when teaching a new song.  I put the bell on the table and call two children up to play against each other.  I have them put one hand on the table next to the bell and then I ask them to "Finish the Sentence" of the song.  For example: "Choose the Right, when the ______________" Whoever rings the bell first has a chance to finish the sentence.  If they are correct then I congratulate them and then we sing the song.  If not, I give the other child a chance to finish the sentence. (I make them ring the bell though because that is the part they love).  I was amazed at how well the Junior Primary children are able to do this.  I usually don't make it as difficult for them.  I do like to challenge the Senior Primary though.  This is a good way to help the children to learn and remember the songs.

"Pictionary Singing"

This is one of my favorite backup singing times when I need a quick idea that doesn't take a lot of preparation.  I have a white board that I keep in the primary closet, and the library has dry erase markers.   I can use this in several ways.  I can either have them draw a picture of a song that we are going to learn, a scripture story, an object that depicts a gospel principle, etc.  For example, when we learned about the prophets one month, I had them draw pictures of different prophets and when we were learning about miracles, I had them draw a picture of a miracle (like parting the red sea etc.)  I write down what they are to draw and put them in a paper bag.  I then have a child come up and pick out of the bag.  While we are singing the chosen song, the child has to draw the picture. When the song is over, I have them show their "Picasso" as I call it.  The children then try to guess what the picture depicts.  Whoever guesses right then gets to draw the next picture.  It is so much fun to see what they draw, especially Junior Primary.  They never get tired of this one!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Pumpkin Singing"

Autumn is such a fun time of year.  Here is and idea for either reviewing songs or for singing favorites since your program may already be over.
Put  the pumpkin sticks in a bowl with either rice or beans in it, so that the sticks will stand up.  (You could even put candy corn in the bowl and let them each have a couple of pieces of candy corn if they sing well). You can either put the name of the song to sing on it, or how you would like them to sing the song:  Some fun ideas for how to sing the song could be:
1.  Sing like a Monster
2.  Sing like a Cowboy
3.  Sing Opera Style
4.  Sing like you are under water (make bubble sound with your finger on your lips)
5.  Sing Marching Band style
You get the idea.  Be creative.

Last year I used this pumpkin decoration that I have had for years.  I wrote how to sing the song on the back of some pumpkins and had the children pick them out of it's mouth. Simple and fun!

"Singing Board"

A few years ago our stake primary presidency made each chorister a "singing board" as I call it.  It is a helpful idea to keep all the songs that I have printed flip charts for.   It has made it easy to pull a song out that the children still need help with and flip through the pages.  I was lucky to get a board, but you could also just put them in a three ring binder and it would serve the same purpose.  This is one of the sites that I like to use to get flip charts from.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Choose The Right"

This years theme of "Choose The Right" has been a wonderful reminder to children of how important our decisions that we make are.  I loved that we were able to learn the song this year.  When I introduced this song this year I had made each of them a choose the right stick.  Whenever they heard the word "right", they were to hold the stick up.  After using the sticks a few times, I decided to have them sign the letters "CTR" with their hands.  I had them sign the letter C, which is your hand shaped like a C, then I had them sign the letter T, which is your thumb between your index and middle fingers, and then I had them sign the letter R, which is your index and middle finger crossed. So every time we sing choose the right, they sign the letters with it.

Another fun idea I did with the children for this song, was an adaptation of 'Musical Chairs".  I put the chairs in a circle and had all the children sit down, teachers too, I don't let them not participate.Then every time we sang the word "right", everyone would move to the chair to the right of them.  This was a lot of fun and by the end of the singing time, they knew the song pretty good!

"Poppin Good Singers"

A couple of years ago I used this Popcorn poster as an incentive to refine their songs for the primary program.  The idea was to have them get the popcorn into the bucket.  When they finally sang the song as well as I had hoped for, I had a child put the song in the bucket.  When the bucket was full, we gave them each a popcorn bag filled with popcorn to take home.  It was a simple idea that really worked!

"Bubble Gum Singing"

I've been using this bubble gum machine for the last 5 years now as a review of the song we learned for the month.  I actually use it about once a month, usually on the third Sunday.  It makes it easy to remember what activity I am doing for that week.  The children "LOVE" this!  I hold the bubblegum machine while they sing the song we are reviewing and I watch for a good singer.  They will literally sing their hearts out for this!  When we are done singing, I choose a child to turn the knob and watch what color comes out.  They then get to keep the gum. (Make sure you change the gumballs periodically, they do get hard).  We then look at the chart to see how we are going to sing the song.  See chart below for ways to sing.  They always hope for a "red" one because that means they can all sing for a gumball.  I use a gumball machine that doesn't require a penny, it makes it a lot easier.  If they get a red one, we wait till the end of primary to give them their gumball.  (I usually will with Junior primary make sure everyone gets a gumball, whether they get a red one or not!)

I keep the extra gumballs for when they earn a gumball for the whole group.

I should have laminated this chart a long time ago, but it still works
. It is just a little crinkled!

Use a gumball machine that doesn't require pennies.
 The best time to buy them is around Christmas. They always have a lot
 to choose from then.

For "Purple" I have them use these signs for stop and go!
 They sing when the go sign is up, and stop singing when the stop sign is up.
  It helps them to think of the words as they are singing.
  Don't let your child go to fast with them,
 I remind them that policemen who have to signa
l stop and go in traffic would cause accidents if they go to fast!

For "Orange" I have them play "Hide and Seek" with this sheep. I have already described how to play this in another post.

(You could also use the sit and stand signs instead of stop and go signs. This is fun because it gets them moving which Junior Primary needs to do once in awhile.)  This is the sit sign.

This is the stand sign.

For "Yellow" I have them lead the song with my star wand.
 You could use any
 kind of conducting stick, or just have them use their hands.
  I find they like to feel
 like a real conductor when they use the wand however.
 I teach them how to keep
 time with the music. Some of them can really learn how to conduct fast.

For "Pink" I have the girls stand and sing.
 Of course since they
 are the only ones singing,
 they are they only ones that can be chosen to turn
 the knob on the gumball machine.
For "Blue" I have the boys sing.

For "WHITE'" I have them choose a song about the Savior. If they happen to be learning a
song about the Savior, I kind of encourage them to sing the one we are learning.
 However, some of them have a song they absolutely love so I let them sing their choice.

For "Green"  They get to choose their favorite Primary Song!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Hide and Seek"

The children in primary could play this game every Sunday and never be tired of it.  It is the singing version of hot and cold.  I like to bring a gospel principle into my teaching as much as I can, so I use a sheep as the object to be found.  I tell the children that the sheep is lost and needs to be found.  Just as Christ would like us to find his lost sheep!  I have one child hide the sheep and another child will seek for it.  I send the seeker out of the room while the other child hides the sheep.  The children then guide the seeker to the lost sheep by singing louder and softer.  Louder when they are close and softer when they are far away.  They are so excited when they find it.  Just like we should be excited as we find those who have strayed and help them come unto the Shepherd, Christ!
You can use any picture of a sheep.  I thought this one was cute.
This is the one that I actually use.  I have several of them.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Conference Singing Time"

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir always sings at least one or two primary songs during conference. I encourage the children to pay close attention to the music during conference and listen for the primary songs.  The following Sunday, I will ask the children to tell what primary songs were sung.  Sometimes I will throw a Tootsie Roll to the ones who can name the songs.

A fun idea for conference time is to help the children recognize the first presidency and the apostles.  In our primary room we have a picture of all the apostles posted up on the chalk board.  A fun idea is to have a matching game with their name and picture, or even play a bingo type game.  You can see if they can make a match and if they do they can sing the song the way they want to, but it if they can't then you have them sing  the song your way.  Or they can choose a favorite song to sing.  Be creative, but the idea is to help them recognize these amazing men.

Check out this fun web site below for activities and stories about the first presidency and the apostles!