Saturday, November 9, 2013


November has come, which means GRATITUDE is the theme!

I have Sharing Time the last TWO weeks of November and have been struggling to come up with something fun.  Do any of you have any suggestions?

I liked this idea (from HERE) about spiritual blessings:

I love this object lesson on Gratitude (from Sugardoodle):
OBJECT LESSON: Tell the children, "Look around the room and find all the things you can that are purple." After they had a few minutes to do so, she had them close their eyes. Then she said, "Okay, now tell me all the things you saw that were yellow."And they couldn't do it. That's because they had focused so intently on the purple that they didn't even notice the yellow things."  You can see the application to contentment and gratitude. When we focus on what we don't have, pretty soon that's all we can see, so we become discontented, and whiny, and unsatisfied. But when we focus on our many amazing blessings, we become more and more aware of them, and thus more and more content and humble and grateful. And I might add, happier. And more peaceful."  (Mary Ellen Edmunds, You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don't Need, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005], p. 153.)
Fun game:
GAME: To show the children just how easy it is to be grateful, play alphabetical gratitude. Go around the room and have each person say something he is grateful for. The first person names something that starts with the letter a, and the next person names something beginning with the letter b. Continue around the room as many times as necessary until the entire alphabet is complete.
If you have a small group, you could make a 'web of gratitude':

Friday, November 1, 2013

Testimony Meeting

Last week I was able to do something I've wanted to do for AGES - invite the children to share their testimonies!

I had heard of some music time leaders doing this as part of their singing time, but it never fit in for me.  Now that roles have switched and I was in charge of Sharing Time - especially on a week when the topic was Sharing the Gospel - I thought the timing was perfect.

In Jr. Primary, especially, we talked a little bit about what things are and are not appropriate to talk about in a testimony - what their purpose is, what topics they can be about, etc.  Then I turned the time over to the kids after setting up a few chairs in front for those waiting for a turn.

They did such a great job.  Since their testimonies were so short, I think just about everyone who wanted to got the chance to share in about 10 minutes.  But their sweet spirits shone through and they taught us all much better than I ever could.

If you get the chance to do the same, I highly recommend it!  These kids are amazing!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Primary Song Snowflakes

If you love any ideas where the creative part has been done for you, check this one out!  Sure, cutting the snowflake would take some time, but the kids would be AMAZED with these Primary Song Snowflakes.  Download the document from the always-talented OCD Primary Chorister HERE.

Snowman and Snowflakes:  
Once There Was a Snowman #249

I am Like a Star  #163
Stars Were Gleaming  #37

Love One Another  #136
Jesus Said Love Everyone  #61
Reverence Is Love #31

I Love to See the Temple  #95
Families Can Be Together Forever  #188

"CTR" Letters and Shield:
Choose the Right Way #160
Dare to Do Right #168
Choose the Right #239, Hymns

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam  #60

Rainbows, Clouds, 8 and Raindrop:
When I am Baptized  #103

10 Commandments:
Keep the Commandments #146

Children Holding Hands
Holding Hands Around the World
Children All Over the World #16

Boo Bowling

I thought this idea from Kyle Katee Payne on LDS Primary Site was super fun!!

They said: Boo bowling today! Really easy, wrote on back of ghosts mouths things like reverent song, wiggle song, piano picks, teachers sing, pick your fav.
Child will bowl with pumpkin and chose one from the ones that got tipped over:)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Examples of Service from Prophets

Tomorrow's Primary theme is about how Prophets and Apostles show us how to serve.

Want a great matching game for it?  I found this HERE at All Things Bright and Beautiful.  Use it as a ready-to-go sharing time, or pick a song for each time the kids get a match.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sharing Time: A Month of Service

The theme for September is service.  Our Primary President did a sharing time yesterday that did a great job of introducing the monthly theme of SERVICE.  With the help of some other moms in the ward, she got and printed pictures of the children in our neighborhood performing acts of service.  Some of them were big, like helping with an Eagle Scout project, while others were as simple as hugging a sibling.  I think including real-life examples with pictures of kids we all know really helps to get the kids' attention!

I have a short sharing time next week, and am thinking I would love to have the kids perform an act of service.  The theme for next week is about how the prophets and apostles perform service, so we will talk about how they work so hard for the church without getting paid.  Then, I would love to have the kids take a few minutes to draw a picture or write a letter to either the missionaries in the ward or one of the leaders of the church.  This is one of my favorite topics and I hope we can all find ways to encourage our primary children to serve one another!

Our Ward's Got Talent!!

Yesterday, our new chorister (yes, I was released, but since I'm in the Presidency now I will keep this blog updated as much as possible with both singing and sharing time ideas) did 'Our Ward's Got Talent!'.  I had heard of this idea but had never figured it out, and it was really fun to watch.

She told the kids she was SURE we had a lot of talent in the ward and hung up a sign saying '8th Ward's Got Talent!!' Three chairs were set up near the front for volunteer teachers/leaders to be the judges.  Each judge was given a set of score cards - one with one star, one with two stars, one with three stars, etc up to five stars.

On the board were papers with pictures of stars on them.  On the other side of each was a song name.  A Primary friend was picked to select a star, and then the kids sang their best while the leaders judged.  They had so much fun!  She even tied it into my Celestial Singing Poster - any total of 12 stars or more was Celestial, 8-11 or so was Terrestrial, and below that was Telestial.

Another tool she used to get Jr. Primary to sing LOUD was to tell them she bet she could sing louder than ALL of them!!  They were so excited to show her she was wrong.

I've asked her for her word doc for the activity, if she sends it I'll post it here for all of you.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paper Orchestra, Paper Snowballs

I've been wanting to try the infamous Paper Orchestra for ages.  Keep the kids entertained with a single piece of blank white paper!?  Yes please!!  Many ideas are out there for this activity, here are my favorites, from SugarDoodle HERE.

1. Roll the paper into a tube.  'Toot' one of the verses or lines of the song or the chorus.  Rotate which part you 'toot' so that the whole song is sung.
2. 'Snap' the paper - without tearing it - by holding the sheet loosely and then pulling taut.  Great for "Popcorn Popping" 242.
3. Put the paper on your knees and slap it, tickle it, or rub it to make different noises
4. Clap to the beat of the song with the paper in between hands with palms together; try to keep the paper airborne between claps.
5. 'Do as I'm Doing' - let the kids make up ways to use the paper.
6. Crumple paper only on certain words.
At the end, if you do this activity in the winter, have the kids write their favorite song on the paper, crumple it up, and throw a 'paper snowball' at you.  Then pick a snowball to sing!

Echo Ed

My son participates in a great music class that is part of the "Let's Play Music" program.  One tool his instructor has used could easily be adapted to help review/parrot songs for learning:

Ed: "Hello!"
Children: "Hello!"
Ed: "Would you like to echo with me?"
Children: "Would you like to echo with me?"
Then sing whatever line(s) needs work, and have the kids sing it right back to you.  At the end, make sure you have Ed say "Thanks for echoing!  Bye Bye!"
I have been surprised at how well this works for the kids EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  They are always excited to Echo with Ed!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

2014 Manual/Song List Available Now!

I was so excited today to see that the 2014 Manual - Families Are Forever - and Song List has been released!!!  You can see them at:


The songs include:

January: He Sent His Son (34-35)
February: I Will Follow God's Plan (164-65)
March: I Stand All Amazed (193 of Hymns)
April: The Family is of God (outline)
July: Baptism (100-101)
August: Seek the Lord Early (108)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Program Song Format/Schedule

I had someone write in asking how we are performing our songs during the Primary Program.  Here is the list that our Primary Presidency put together (with input from the music side!):

1st Song :  “I Am A Child of God”
                   1st verse and chorus in English.
                   Then, two Sr. Primary Classes sing the first verse again in     SPANISH; ALL sing the chorus in English
                   4th Verse in English
                   Sign Language during Chorus
2nd Song:  “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”, both verses, with VIOLA                                     
3rd Song:  “If the Savior Stood Beside Me”, all three verses.  One of my Sr. Primary Classes will be doing sign language for all 3 verses.
4th Song:  “The Church of Jesus Christ” One verse
5th Song:    “I Want to Live the Gospel” One Verse                                                 
6th Song:    “When I Am Baptized” Both verses, with VIOLA                                 
7th Song:  “Families Can Be Together Forever” Both Verses
8th Song:  “A Child's Prayer” 1st verse, 2nd verse, then together with Teachers singing 2nd verse
9th Song:  “Keep the Commandments”  1 Verse
10th Song:  “I Want to Be a Missionary Now” 3 verses                                                   
11th Song :  “I Am A Child of God”, 1st verse only, with congregation

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Turkey Bowling

Yes, this is far in advance.  BUT, how much fun would it be to combine the Song Bowling activity I posted HERE but decorate the pins to look like turkeys for Thanksgiving?  Make sure some of the pins require the kids to say something they are thankful for, or that the kids have to express gratitude before trying to knock down those turkeys!

Singing Monsters

How cute are these tissue box monsters from  Make a few for your kids, then borrow them back for singing time.  One monster could hold song names, another could hold ways to sing (appropriate for Sunday, no mummy walking), another could hold a number of notes to be played for name-that-tune, etc.

Silly Hat

Our previous chorister loved to use this SILLY HAT.  Tell the kids that if their class sings the LOUDEST/BEST, their teacher gets to wear the silly hat for the next song.  They would work really hard to make sure those burly men got their turn wearing the hat!

Halloween Singing Time Ideas - Decorating Pumpkin, Marvin the Musical Monster

I think we have to be a little careful about Halloween singing time - it's not really appropriate to bring witches and goblins into Primary, in my opinion!  But, I came up with a couple of ideas for October that I may implement:

Decorate the Jack-O-Lantern: Bring a real pumpkin, with some squares of Velcro in the spot of the eyes, nose, and mouth.  Make face parts out of felt or foam (samples HERE and HERE).  Have songs written on each part and let the kids take turns picking songs and decorating the pumpkin.

All images from:

Our previous chorister used this Melissa & Doug Monster Puppet toy (I happen to have the same one) and named him Marvin the Musical Monster.  The kids loved decorating him.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School

Pamela Bodell Hicks posted these darling "Back to School" ways to sing on the Facebook Group!  If you haven't joined the "LDS Primary Choristers" group on Facebook, you should - it's a great resource!!!


ERASER: “Erase" (don’t sing) the words “Family or families” and “Forever” in the song Families Can Be Together Forever. 

GLUE: Everyone Glue your legs together and your arms to your sides so you hold really still and balance a book on Finders head while we sing I Want to Be a Missionary Now.

MARKERS: Only sing If the Savior Stood Beside Me when you are wearing the same color as the marker that is held up.

RULER: Measure the volume as we sing I Am a Child of God.  Point to 1 inch for softer up to 12 inches for louder in your best SINGING voice.

CALCULATOR: Count how many times we sing the words

Jr—“commandments” in Keep the Commandments
Sr-- “I” in I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ

PENCIL: Write with your hands (actions) to the song My Heavenly Father Loves Me.

SCISSORS: Sing When I am Baptized legato (smoothly) as if it were a piece of paper for the verse.  Then when we sing the chorus, cut it up by singing staccato (choppy).

SHARPENER: Sharpen the song by enunciating each word for A Child’s Prayer.

PREP: Gather the following items: backpack, eraser, glue, book, markers, ruler, calculator, pencil, scissors, sharpener.

Tape the instructions on all the items except the backpack (that's just for holding everything).

Before primary, hide the 8 objects around the room.

ACTIVITY: Tell the kids you need help getting ready for school and need to find your school supplies.  Have the primary help you find the hidden items.  As they are found, follow the instructions taped on and place them into the backpack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review Game: TROUBLE Name That Tune

- Bring a TROUBLE board

- The kids take turns POPPING the dome to roll the dice (no chasing the dice down the aisles!!)
- The number they get tells the pianist HOW MANY NOTES to play for NAME-THAT-TUNE.

Friday, August 2, 2013

PB&J Prayer Sandwich to introduce " A Child's Prayer"

Bev Brierly shared this link from Little LDS Ideas with our facebook group, and I think it's a great idea to introduce August's Song! 

(Adapted only slightly from Little LDS Ideas)
PB&J Prayer Sandwich
Tell the children that today you are going to be making a PB&J Prayer Sandwich.
Show the children the first piece of bread. Ask them ‘How do we begin our prayers? The first piece of bread is for 'Dear Heavenly Father’. Lay the piece of bread on a plate and have everyone repeat ‘Dear Heavenly Father’.
Now, ask if anyone knows what comes next.
The Jelly! Use the jelly to represent: 'We Thank Thee.’
But instead of putting on a lot of jelly just put on a tiny little glob.
Ask the children if that is enough. They’ll obviously say NO!
Explain that when we pray we need to remember to thank Heavenly Father for ALL of our many blessings. We want Heavenly Father to know that we appreciate all that He has given to us, so we need to remember to Thank Him.  As the children suggest things to thank the Lord for, add more jelly.
The next step in our PB&J Sandwich is the PB!
 The peanut butter represents: 'We Ask Thee'. Again, ask the children for things they might ask for and as they give you ideas, add more PB.
And the last part of our PB&J Prayer sandwich is the piece of bread which represents: 'In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen'. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Song Hospital - 9/8

There are a LOT of versions of the "Song Hospital" Review tool out there!  This one from Primary Singing Ideas is my favorite.  If you can't get permission to take up Sharing Time, then you could adapt it a bit to ONLY use the songs that need work - so they will all START in the Emergency Room and then need to be discharged.  I will let one of the kids be the doctor - but the grading comes from me and the presidency - instead of bringing in another person.

Everything below is from Primary Singing Time Ideas HERE:

Before hand, I asked a brother in our ward to be our Doctor. I picked this brother in particular, because he has a background in music, which is helpful for "diagnosing" our primary.

I made this board from a tri-fold display bought at target. I spent WAY too much time drawing my "floating" hospital (I think I still need some lessons in art and drawing 2 dimensional figures...) So hopefully you can think of something MUCH simpler.

The inside is pretty boring. I ran out of time to decorate it more...which may be a good thing. :)

The inside says "Primary Song Hospital."

On each of the three sections, I taped the edges of a file folder together, and taped that on to each section. The sections were labeled "waiting room", "Emergency Room" and "Discharge".

I printed out forms for each of the songs, with a separate sheet for each verse. I was worried that we would run out of time. After having done it, I would recommend having one sheet per song, despite the number of verses. We weren't able to get through all of the songs.

I placed all of the sheets in the folder labeled "Waiting Room"

I did this on the 5th Sunday, on which I have the entire singing/sharing time for just singing.

I introduced our Doctor, outfitted with a white lab coat, stethoscope around his neck, and a clipboard. Then we had a volunteer "nurse" pick out a patient to be diagnosed. The nurse gave the paper to the Doctor, and we sang the song, then had the Dr. tell us our diagnosis. Our Doctor did a fantastic job in telling them "good news" and "bad news".

If the song got below a 4 in any category (words, smiles, watching chorister, melody, etc.) then it was sent to the emergency room. For Juniors, I'd pick an "ambulance driver" to drive the paper to the emergency room, and we all made siren noises.

If the song was discharged (meaning only 4 or 5's) then the entire primary received a squirt of "Miracle Spray". This is just lemon crystal light in a spray bottle. I told the kids to say "AHHH" if they wanted some, and if they didn't to just keep their mouths closed. THIS was a HUGE hit.

I wish we had been able to go through all the songs and then had time to work on getting the Emergency Room patients discharged...but maybe next time.

Review Game: What's My Line

Divide the Primary into two teams.  At first, split the room in half down the middle, but later try mixing it up with girls vs. boys, kids vs. teachers, etc.

Hold a flag or colored piece of paper in each hand, one color for each team. When a team's color is RAISED, it's their turn to sing.  Another option - if you've made the TRAFFIC LIGHT, turn it sideways and use the light for up to three teams (Red, Green, and Yellow).

Start by swapping line by line - have one side of the room sing the first line, the other sings the second, etc.  After they get the hang of it, switch it up and swap mid-line, etc.  Give some of the older kids a chance to come up and direct the game.  If you like, stand between the two teams and have them face each other.

To add a little competition for Sr. Primary (totally up to you, some primaries do well with competition and some don't), if a team flubs a line the other team gets a point.  To make it trickier, go a cappella so they don't have the piano to fall back on.  NO TEACHERS SINGING for this one!

If you have some brave soloists, try a duel between two kids at a time, or two classes at a time.


Review Game: Spin the Kid

Our Primary loves this classic review game, and it couldn't be much simpler.

- Borrow a spinning office chair from the clerk's office.

- Put it in the front of the room, with 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper printed with song names surrounding the chair on the floor.

- Pick a Primary friend to sit in the chair, have them put their legs straight forward (their legs become the arrow), and SPIN!!!

- Whatever song their legs land on is the song you sing next.

Review Game: Nerd is the Word

Well, I'm back from vacation!  Today I will use my Summer Vacation Suitcase idea, but I want to throw in an extra challenge for Sr. Primary.  I plan to incorporate the "Nerd is the Word" or "Word Nerd" game Camille posted about HERE.  It's very similar to the "Missing Word Hat" game I'll use in September.

I've got some goofy glasses, and will bring a stack of Post-It Notes and a Sharpie.  Just write a word from the song on the Post-It, put it on the volunteer's forehead, and do not sing that word.  Once the volunteer guesses the word, it's the next person's turn.

I don't want this to be TOO easy for Sr. Primary, so I will have a list ready of words they can pick from to make sure the volunteer doesn't guess it three words in.

Since I don't want to embarrass anyone, this will be a volunteer-only game.  I plan to reward my volunteers with a small treat.

Thanks for the ideas and for the kind comments!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Music Memory Game/Back to School - 8/18

I know I'm getting way ahead in my planning, but I always want to write these plans down before I forget them.  It's funny though, often I will be stressing on Friday or Saturday thinking I don't have enough planned, and then I will check the blog and remember all the stuff I've already planned and it's always more than enough!  Obviously I am not a great last-minute planner!

I figure that August 18 (since our Stake Conference is the last Sunday in August) will be a good time for a "Back to School" activity.  This idea is from LiveCraftEat HERE and from Sofia's Primary Ideas HERE.

The main activity will be refreshing their memorizing skills with a MUSIC MEMORY GAME - naturally with PROGRAM SONGS.  Our Primary Friends will take turns trying to match a song, and once they get the match we will sing it.

Here are the JPEGS of my Matching Game; the PDF is HERE.  Print the cards and mount them on different-colored cardstock or colored paper; use small magnets to attach them to the board.

The songs:
Lead Me/Guide Me: I Am a Child of God
Bird/Butterflies: My Heavenly Father Loves Me
One missionary each card: I Want to Be a Missionary Now
Family/Infinity: Families Can Be Together Forever
I Want to/Live the Gospel: I Want to Live the Gospel
Child Praying/He is There: A Child's Prayer
Rainbow/Baptism Picture: When I Am Baptized
Savior and boy: If the Savior Stood Beside Me
Church Logo: I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ
Some School-Related Activities to use while singing (all from Sofia's):
Balance an apple on your head or back of your hand
Art! Art! Art! Draw a picture on a piece of paper on your forehead of a cat.
Solve math problems on a calculator- as a  side note, the Holy Ghost is like a calculator! Yup! It's true, He just makes solving problems easier!
Book stacking & balancing into towers
Write the words of the song in the air with your finger pencil
Eraser toss into a pencil case
Pass the pencil using your elbows
And of course you can't forget P.E! Jog in place, knees high!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Salad Tong Music Dynamics

Our previous chorister did this a few times - super easy and no prep other than popping them in your church bag!  Open the tongs wide for LOUD, close them slowly for SOFTER.  Let the kids have a turn leading the dynamics of the song.

Teaching "A Child's Prayer" - UPDATED

Our Primary knows August's song, "A Child's Prayer", pretty well, so I didn't need to spend much time introducing it.  The teachers will be singing the second verse in the program, but I made sure the kids know it as well, especially since it has the answers to the questions from the first verse.

I began by telling them how HAPPY my grandma is whenever I call her and asked if the kids had anyone like that who loved it when they called.  They answered with grandmas, grandpas, cousins, etc.  I told them the Lord loves to hear from us too.

Then, using a printed flip chart (HERE - I wish the words were just key words, but I love the artwork she found.  Note, though, that there is a typo so I just whited it out and fixed it (see comments)), I had Primary Friends come up and each hold a page while we talked about the meaning of the words, especially "suffer the children to come to me" and "of such is the kingdom of heav'n".

In between verses, I had the kids close their eyes and asked for absolute silence.  I asked them to remember the last time they prayed REALLY HARD for something.  What was it for?  How did they feel?

After they opened their eyes, I gave them the chance to share their stories.  It was really sweet, and definitely brought a reverent spirit to both Jr. and Sr. Primary.  I shared a personal story as well (see bottom), then asked: "Now here is a TOUGH QUESTION - what if your prayers aren't answered the way that you WANT?"

Hearing their responses to this tough question was really touching.  I gave them the analogy that if my kids came to me before dinner and asked for a cookie, what would I say?  No, of course.  But what if they REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted the cookie and said PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!?!?  As their mom, I know that even though they want the cookie, it wouldn't be best for them.  Sometimes our Father in Heaven also has us wait for things we want, and we have to trust that He knows best.

When we finished the song, I bore my testimony that the Lord wants to hear from them, and that he will always be available to them.
Another option: Post word strips of the QUESTIONS the song asks on the board (are you really there, do you hear and answer every child's prayer) and post the answers as we go over the second verse.

I also posted some PICTURES around the room of children praying.
Here are a few prayer-related stories from the Friend:

Summer Vacation Suitcase

I'm headed to the beach in two weeks for a family reunion, hooray!  I will have a sub on the 21st, but will get back just in time to do singing time on the 28th.  What better time to use the Summer Vacation Suitcase idea from Pattie's Primary Place?

I'll bring one of my kids' suitcases or backpacks filled with some of the following vacation items:

(The Church of Jesus Christ 77 or Book of Mormon Stories)

(Familes Can Be Together Forever 188)
(If the Savior Stood Beside Me)
(Families Can Be Together Forever 188)
(I Want to Live the Gospel 148 - smiles/"to know that I will be happy")
(Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam 60)
(My Heavenly Father Loves Me 228 - beauty of the earth)
(I Want to Be a Missionary Now 168)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Families Can Be Together Forever, part II

I'm very excited to do my "Families Are Our Greatest Treasure" singing time tomorrow.  I found some really cool things to share, including a patch my grandfather wore in WWII.

I am also adding THIS wonderful build-a-temple tool from The OCD Chorister to teach the song.  You add a piece for each part of the song you teach.  Thanks, Erin, for your great graphics!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celestial Singing 2013 Program Song Pass-Off; Head/Shoulders Adaptation

I have been trying to find the perfect song pass-off chart for ages.  I thought about a grading chart, but didn't want the kids to dread it (though I liked that it makes it easy to pass off individual verses).  I thought about using animals heading to an ark or a nest, but I wanted something that related better in SOME way.

My husband gets the credit for coming up with the idea for this CELESTIAL SINGING poster. Basically, the kids try to move the picture for each song from the telestial, to the terrestrial, to celestial kingdom.

Telestial - they are still working on learning the WORDS
Terrestrial - They know MOST words
Celestial - Know words AND sing strong/with spirit

The images each correspond to a program song. 
Feel free to comment if you would like the word version of the JPEGS; THE PDF IS NOW HERE with the sun graphic (I just put it in a word document and made it large enough to print half at a time, then taped it together) HERE.
I Am a Child of God: Child looking at picture of Jesus
My Heavenly Father Loves Me: Heart
I Want to Be a Missionary Now: Missionaries
Families Can Be Together Forever: Families
I Want to Live the Gospel: Book of Mormon
A Child's Prayer: Kids praying
When I Am Baptized: Rainbow
If the Savior Stood Beside Me: Savior/boy (thanks OCD Chorister)
I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ: Logo

To make it, I just painted a piece of foam board with darkening shades of blue (started with blue/white, then blue, then blue/purple, then purple/black). Then I printed the sun image (I put it in a word doc, made it big enough to only see half, printed, then printed the other half, and glued them together), cut the moon out of poster board and aluminum foil, and the star out of cardstock.  Add Con-tact paper and some glitter and there you go!  Each week I use it, I'll take a picture of it with my phone after Jr. Primary and Sr. Primary so that I can keep track of where they are without having to make two boards.

I plan to make this the main activity the first Sunday in August, and then I'll use it for just part of every singing time until the program.  To give us a break, each time they PASS OFF A SONG we will either pick a wiggle song or do a version of my goofy HEAD SHOULDERS KNEES AND TOES poster where you switch out body parts or actions for the usual head/shoulders/etc.  You can download the printables (I didn't prepare them, I found them on the web) HERE and HERE.

4th of July Activity - for 2014

Our 4th of July activity went okay, but I came home and saw this post on the FB group and loved it.  Taking notes for next year!!

Lindsey Hoxer Ohlin1:29pm Jun 30
I just wanted to share with you the amazing Independence Day singing time that we had today! This was definitely not my doing because until last night I wasn't sure what I was doing. I only had the props but not the plan lol.....Anyway I had been researching and talking to you guys about ideas all week long (and been looking for much longer than that) because I am very very in to patriotism and I feel like it is SUCH an important thing that our kids grow to love this country. I needed this lesson to be just right and touch the kids in their hearts and not just be a "fun" activity. Anyway, after much prayer, stressing and work I finally got my answer last night and even as the lesson went on today things kind of changed along the way.

So these were the materials I had:
-star cut outs (that were about the same size as the flag I was using).
-Oversized vinyl American Flag (any large size flag would do)
-string with clothespins
-red, white and blue colored chalk
-Uncle Sam plastic hat
-violin for live playing of the song (or a recording would work great too)
-two extra people to help you out (this is a necessity that I didn't realize until after I started the lesson!! lol)
-mini toothpick flags that i taped on each chair before class so that they stuck up from the top of the chair (it looked really cool!)

I started out with an attention-getter where I asked them what our national anthem is and if they know who wrote it. I explained to them that it is the Star Spangled Banner and that it was written by Francis Scott Key. I then asked them to close their eyes tightly, turned off the lights in the room, and told them to imagine that they were each Francis Scott Key back in 1814 on the night that he wrote the words to the song. I set the scene by describing where we were, how it was hot and muggy, and that a war was going on etc. and began reading the story describing the night that Francis Scott Key had before writing the poem. (If anyone would like me to post up the story I wrote and my actual lesson plan I can do that, just let me know).

While I was reading the story I had my helpers hang up my flag up on the wall where the kids could see it when they opened their eyes (just like in the story of Francis Scott Key) and at the end of the story it says how he wrote the following words and at that time I began to play the tune on my violin while another leader read the words to the song as I played. When the song was over I had the lights turned on and told them to open their eyes. Immediately they noticed the big flag and then we discussed what it felt like for Francis that night when he finally saw the flag and how they feel when they see the flag etc.

Anyway I told them how the words in the song are kind of difficult to understand and that we were going to learn the words and the first verse of the song today. I had written on the chalkboard the entire first line of the song but changed 11 of the difficult words to their synonyms. Those words I wrote in either red or blue rather than white and underlined them so that they were obvious (So for example "O, say can you see by the SUNRISE's early light...."). I had strung 11 stars across the bottom of the chalkboard with string and the clothespins to hold them and on the back of the stars were the CORRECT words. So they would come up and put on the Uncle Sam hat and pick one of the stars and read it out loud and then try to figure out which word to replace on the board. Then when they figured it out we would erase the incorrect word that was in colored chalk and replace it with the correct word in white. They would then take that star over to the flag and tape it up on top of one of the stars. Then I would make sure they understood that particular word and then we went over the words to the first phrase in the song and would sing that part of the song. This went on like that until all the stars were done and the entire verse was written correctly on the board. Then by that time we had gone through the whole song and I told them we would sing the entire song at that point. We discussed what we do when the song is sang (hand over heart, stand up, take off hats, face the flag etc) and we all stood up and sang the entire song with our hands over our hearts.

I then testified to them that this land was given to us by God and that it was no accident that Francis Scott Key wrote down his feelings about that night as the song was truly inspired. I told them how much I love the flag and this country and asked that they always respect the song and the flag and remember that it is a blessing from God to have them. Then i handed out the stickers that say "Proud to be an American" and they got to keep the little flags that were on their chairs.

It was really, really fun and I feel like they truly learned the song, the story of the song, and the meaning all at the same time. If you want anymore info or the lesson/story I wrote let me know!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pioneer Day Singing Time - 6/21

Want a really great idea for Pioneer Day Singing Time?  I will be out of town and am giving the sub a few options, but LOVED THIS idea from  Love that blog.

Here is a recap (copied straight from her blog):

Okay, so here's something that I've wanted to do since last year:

I would love to use blackout curtains (I got permission to purchase some, but never did) to make the room really dark.  Then, using some pieces of firewood, some white Christmas lights and some red/orange fabric, make an indoor "campfire."  You could make the fire as elaborate as possible...(I wonder if I have a little fan...?)  Put all of the chairs away and have the kids sit on the ground around the fire and have a fireside sing-along.  We have some musicians in our ward, so it would be really cool to have someone bring a guitar and/or a fiddle to play some pioneer tunes.  I would love to have one of the men in our ward sing "Come, Come Ye Saints" a capella or with a violin, just to bring in a reverent spirit.  If you don't have access to instruments, you could always download songs onto your iPod/mp3 player/smartphone/etc.

This idea could go several different ways, but I think it would be so fun to do something out of the ordinary, not just sitting in chairs and singing program songs.

The other options I gave my sub are THIS and THIS Elaine Shankly Pioneer Games idea.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Eternal Family Tool Box - "Families Can Be Together Forever, v.2" - 7/14

The second week of July, as we continue to learn/reinforce the principle of eternal families, I plan to use a lesson plan from the Crazy Chorister HERE.  I'll summarize below just in case she ever takes her site down, but want you to know this is not my idea, though I did adapt it!

- Bring a large toolbox from home.  If you don't have one, get a diaper box; cover it with colored paper and glue/tape the letters T-O-O-L-S on the front.
- Put seven or eight of the following items around the room, each with a number tied on it:
1. Leather Gloves or Protective Glasses
We must protect ourselves and our families from things that would harm us
2. A flashlight
Our parents and the gospel can light the way
3. Some rolled-up butcher paper w/picture of scriptures inside
The scriptures give us a blueprint for building a happy home
4. A kneeling pad (like those for garden)
The importance of prayer
5. Gorilla Glue
Blessings of being sealed together in the temple
6. A bandage or box of Band-Aids
We should care for our families and try to help their hurts
7. Sandpaper
Through practice and repentance, we can smooth out our rough spots
8. Ruler/Yardstick
We must do our best to follow the gospel with exactness
9. Industrial Soap
Christ can make us perfectly clean
10. A Trash Bin
As we work on our project, we throw out the things that are unneeded - similarly we need to get rid of things in our lives that don't help our family be stronger
11. Hammer/Nails/small piece of wood
We need to stick together and be strong enough to not be pulled apart by the world
Feel free to comment with any other ideas you have and I will add them to this post!
*Modification - I ended up using this just in Sr. Primary.  Since they know the month's song well, I had one kid from each class come up and pick a tool from the box, and then they discussed with their classes how the tool could symbolize something to do with building eternal families.
- Tell the kids you are going to show them how to BUILD an eternal family.  Look in your toolbox and act surprised that it's empty . . . can the kids help you find the TOOLS you need?
- Have the kids take turns wearing a hard hat and bringing up an item. Talk with them about why that item helps us build a happy home, then add the item to the tool box.
- Have each kid also pick a PERSON to put on the board (from the FAMILY PRINTABLES I mentioned in my last post) - the person they choose will dictate how we sing the song (slow, loud, lead the music, dance, tongue out, etc).
- For Jr. Primary, teach the lines of the 2nd verse of "Families Can Be Together Forever" in between tool discussions.  For Sr. Primary, have each number correspond to a song about families to sing and have only one or two of them be FCBTF.
Additional Family-Related Songs:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Families Are Our Greatest Treasure - Teaching "Families Can Be Together Forever" - 7/7

July's song is near and dear to my heart.  We've sung it as a family during multiple occasions throughout my life, including when my grandfather died.  It was one of his favorite songs.

Sometimes we don't truly appreciate our family.  We argue, we annoy each other, and generally tend to take one another for granted.  Teaching them about the importance of family is something I feel is critical.

For this reason, I chose to introduce this song with a TREASURE CHEST filled with family-related items (and a few cold coins for show).  I'll tell the kids that I'm going to share my greatest treasure with them.  I'll also put a few family/wedding pictures - both my family and perhaps others from the ward - around the room. *I'm pretty sure you can buy a pre-made treasure box at craft stores, or there are affordable paper ones like THIS one.

One by one, the kids will have the chance to pick a treasure out of my treasure chest.  Some ideas for items you could include are below.  In between picking treasures, I will teach the song line by line (flip charts HERE or HERE).

*No, this isn't me, pulled it from

Wedding Ring (imitation would be fine): Talk about the blessing of marriage in the temple, and how a ring symbolizes a never-ending commitment to that person.  I used my real ring in its jewelers box and they loved it.
Small framed picture of me with my siblings when we were little: Blessing of brothers and sisters, even though we've had our differences (I will be sensitive to those children without siblings)
A Game Piece: Families are great for playing games together
My Temple Recommend: Each child can choose to make themselves worthy to receive the blessings of the temple someday.  The temple allows us to be sealed as families forever
Fork: Family dinner is a great time to talk; parents protect us and provide for our needs
Knee pad or prayer rock: Family prayer
Vial of Olive Oil: Fathers who hold the priesthood will feel privileged to give blessings to their family
Bookmark: Family scripture study
Baby shoes: the joy/miracle of babies
Toy car/airplane: Family vacations
Heirloom, Tree or picture of decease ancestor: remembering our "family tree" and the ancestors who have gone before; gratitude that we may see them again.  I brought a patch my grandfather wore in WWII.

I will also HIDE a couple of my PRESIDENT MONSON BOOKMARKS around the room that talk about the love he feels for his FAMILY.

***Another idea you can use ALL MONTH: these FAMILY PRINTABLES from OCD Chorister where you sing like different family members!  Dad sings low, Grandpa sings loud, dog sings with his tongue out, etc.

End by bearing testimony of the divine nature of families, and encourage the kids to 'protect' and 'guard' their family treasure.