Primary Chorister

Spring is in the air. The children can feel it too! As Primary Chorister, you have a big job teaching the gospel through music to a group of wiggly children.

It is a challenge coming prepared each week to introduce new songs, keep old ones exciting, teach gospel principles included in the songs, and maintain a spirit of reverence. Here are some ideas to help add a breath of fresh air, for you and your pupils, to singing time this spring.

Singing Sombrero: First, find a hat. A simple basket-weave type can be inexpensively purchased at a party store. The bigger the better! Next, decorate it. Use your imagination here: ribbon, pipe cleaners, beads, musical notes, crepe paper, etc. When you are done, it should be a work of art.

Now for the fun: Introduce your singing sombrero by telling the children they will be competing for the chance to have their teacher wear the hat. (Teachers just love this one!) All they have to do is sing so well that their class wins! But how do they know they're singing well? Before each round, just tell the kids what the judge is listening and watching for. Then try having the first teacher who wins be the judge for the next round, and so on. This way, you can focus on the song. The children will have so much fun that they won't realize they are singing the same song over and over. This game is especially useful to practice songs for the Primary program as you get closer to performance time.

I Spy: When you need to get the children to focus more on you as the leader, this game does the trick. To begin, tell the children you want them to "spy" something different or wrong about you (give them an example). Explain that you want them to watch you for the entire song, and if they spy what is different or wrong, they should keep the answer to themselves. Tell them you will choose a reverent child at the end of the song to share what they spied.

Some examples for this game include wearing two different shoes, a hidden object peeking out from under a collar or cuff, wearing two different earrings, or a sticker on your patterned dress.

Spinning Chair: This game requires an office-type chair that spins easily. If you don't want to bring one from home, see if your clerk's office has one and make arrangements to borrow it for Primary. You will also need to make a set of cards with ways to repeat singing a song. You can use plain pieces of paper, or for durability and future use, you could make them out of cardstock and laminate them.

On your cards, write things like sing beautifully, boys only sing, sing all the words, sing loudly, teachers do not sing, etc. Five or six cards should be enough.

To set up, position the chair front and center, with the cards on the floor in a circle around the chair. Make sure there is plenty of room (and you may want to tape the cards to the floor). To introduce this game, tell the children you will choose someone to sit in the chair and spin. (Remind them to hold on!) When he or she stops spinning, pick up the card the child's feet are pointing to and show the children what they will be doing to sing the song. Don't put the card back. Continue to play until all the cards are removed. This is a great way to have fun while getting in the needed repetition.

This game is easily adapted to practice different songs too. Just make a set of cards with the song titles.

Hide the Bishop: For this one, you will need a picture of the bishop in your ward. To play, explain to the children that you will choose one child to leave the room while another child hides the picture. When the child who left the room returns, you will sing a song to give them directions to find the picture. The game is played like "Hot and Cold." except through singing. If you sing softly, that indicates they are "cold," or far from the picture. As they get closer to the picture, the children sing louder, indicating they are "getting hotter," or closer to finding the picture. Continue singing until the picture is found.

Check out these helpful websites for more great ideas to get your creativity flowing:

lds.org: song presentation ideas from the Friend magazine, Gospel Art Kit online, Teaching Children to Sing video segment, etc.
sugardoodle.net: song presentation ideas, games, song downloads, how to organize your materials, and lots more.
theideadoor.com: games, visual aids, and loads of ideas.
lds.about.com/od/ldsprimary/LDS_Primary.htm: dozens of singing games and lots of clipart.

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