Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Book is at Deseret Book!

A little detour from Singing Time to share an exciting moment for me.
The book I wrote for my Primary kids, "My Nativity ABCs," is at Deseret Book!

And, if you receive the Deseret Book catalog in the mail, you might have seen it right in the middle of the nine featured bedtime Christmas books!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Body Parts Candy for Singing Time Fun!

I was just at Harmon's Grocery store in the candy aisle and I found this awesome bag of Halloween candy:

Normally, I discourage bringing candy to church but I think for the Sunday before Halloween, when the candy is shaped like body parts, it's way too tempting to use in a bunch of different scenarios. Use the wrapped candy for choosing songs, then give each child a piece at the end of Primary! 

The bag says there are five shapes: feet, thumb, brain, ear, and eyeball

Some ideas for how to use this bag of body parts in Singing Time this Sunday:

Tell the children that they are going to reach into a bag with pretend body parts. Maybe leave out "pretend" for senior primary, but don't scare the Sunbeams!

For each body part they lift out, they have to pick a song that uses or describes that body part. You can make a menu for them if they have trouble deciding. In fact, I'd say you should go ahead and associate each body part with a song for Junior, otherwise they will keep choosing the same songs that have nothing to do with the game. In Senior, you can challenge them to think of a song that uses that body part and explain why they think it it's a fit. Then, if they struggle, also point them to the menu where they can pick a song that has to do with the body part.

To make singing the song fun, each candy body part topic should have a motion that carries to the next song. So, for instance, if you are singing, "He gave me my EYES that I might SEE" every time you sing a word that has to do with sight, maybe everyone has to point straight up and turn once. 

Menu could be:

Body Part
Song Option
95 – I Love to See the Temple (“SEE the temple”)

268 – Two Little Eyes

228 – My Heavenly Father Loves Me (“He gave me my eyes that I might SEE”)
107 – Listen, Listen (“LISTEN to the still small voice, LISTEN, LISTEN”)

268 – I Have Two Ears

228 – My Heavenly Father Loves Me (“He gave me my EARS that I might hear the magical sounds of things”)
122 – The First Article of Faith (Because it’s the first digit of your hand)

136 – Love One Another (Because you have ONE thumb on each hand)

253 – Fun to Do (Sing “Giving a thumbs up is fun to do, fun to do, fun to do …”)

271 – I Wiggle (“my fingers”)

272 – I Have Two Little Hands

274 – Roll Your Hands

31 – Reverence is Love (“It’s THINKING of Father above”)

228 – My Heavenly Father Loves Me (“He gave me my life, my MIND, my heart”)

109 – Search, Ponder, and Prayer (“PONDER”)
202 – I Often Go Walking (use feet to walk)

271 – I Wiggle (“my toes”)

270 – Two Happy Feet

275 – Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
(Could change words of songs to “Brain, Ears, Eyes, Thumbs, and Foot”)

Another idea would be to buy some pumpkins and have the children decorate a pumpkin with the body parts and maybe some other options that you have around.

I did this many years ago but now with body part candy!

You could actually use the candy to learn a song, like "I Wiggle My Fingers"

You can use the candy not to choose songs to reviews, but to choose how to sing the song. For instance, if they get a ear maybe they have to show how well they can sing the song without your help. Or, maybe if they choose an eyeball they have to sing the song with their eyes closes. Or if the choose a foot, they have to sing it while standing on one foot.

About me:
For those of you that have been following me at @iliketocreatestuff, I just wanted to share that my new Christmas children's book that I wrote for my Primary kids is now available at Deseret Book!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Nativity ABCs by Esther Yu Sumner

My Nativity ABCs

by Esther Yu Sumner

Giveaway ends November 20, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads. 
Enter Giveaway

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Article of Faith Songs

Do your Primary kids know the Article of Faith songs in the Children's Songbook? I admit the tunes seem a little strange if you aren't familiar with them but our ward has been learning the song the same way for over a decade, and it works really well!

We just include it in opening exercises. Each week, one of the assigned opening exercises activities is that a child will stand up, read the Article of Faith, say "Please stand," and then hold the Article of Faith toward the Primary so that everyone can read it.

The Primary chorister then stands up, leads the children in singing the song, and that's it. The songs have strange tunes but by the end of the month, everyone knows the tune and most of them have inadvertently memorized the scripture.

I've been in Primary for about seven years straight now (first as Primary chorister then as Primary president) so I know these Article of Faith songs really well and have come to love the tunes. I think #8 is my favorite tune.

Anyway, just a suggestion. And, if your ward primary is already doing this, or even if it's not, you can combine with your presidency and have a fun singing time/sharing time activity like we did last week, around the Articles of Faith:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Nativity ABCs by Esther Yu Sumner

My Nativity ABCs

by Esther Yu Sumner

Giveaway ends November 20, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Combined Singing/Sharing Song Review with General Conference focus!

This Sunday's Sharing Time/Singing Time lesson will cover several objectives:

1. Highlight some of the teachings from General Conference.
2. Have a final song review before the Primary Program, which is the following week.
3. Show the children how the songs they have been learning and the talks from General Conference are closely related.

You can of course modify it to be just the standard 20-minute singing time. 

Below, I've diagrammed the song that we are singing in the Primary Program this year, then mapped them to a General Conference talk, as well as a song activity for the song that will be fun but also focused on understanding and practicing lyrics. 

I'm debating how I want to put this together but I've collected images that are relevant to each talk (took a screenshot of the speakers from their talks - links below so you can do the same). For instance, for Sister Bingham, I collected an image of her, as well a photograph of a bird on a broom that goes with the story she told in General Conference (again, links below if you need to refresh you memory). I will clarify for the kids that this isn't the actual bird from her story. Or, where President Eyring was talking about reading the Book of Mormon and heeding the prophet's advice, I found a picture of a child reading the scripture, etc:

I think for the most part I'm going to have the children match the image to the speaker, ask the Primary if they can recap something they learned from the speaker, and then for the "prize" for making the match, we play a song game, which for the most part will be "helmet hero." I've picked out which words I want to use for "helmet hero" on the right side of the page. I don't typically play "helmet hero" with Junior Primary kids so for them, I've brought out my red light, green light. But if you don't have that, I'd say just have fun with motions (every time you hear "xx" word, spin around, or "this side is going to clap out one rhythm, this side of the room is going to clap to the melody line of the song.)  

Another alternate way I thought about playing this was "Memory." If they match up two memory cards, we sing the matching song with accompanying fun activities.

Song / Pianist
Gospel Principle
General Authority Talk
Song activity
As a Child of God

This song is about the power to choose, which leads to: blessings, feelings of peace, and the opportunity to serve others.
Agency is the gift to choose for ourselves

“Wherefore, men are free … to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men.” - 2 Nephi 2:27
“A Yearning for Home” by President Uchtdorf

Story of Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Just like Bobbie and other animals have a powerful instinct to go home, we have a powerful instinct to return to our father in heaven.

“Two reasons why we should return to the Lord. First, your life will be better. Second, God will use you to make the lives of others better.”

Those who heed the inner call and seek God, those who pray, believe, and walk the path the Savior has prepared—even if they stumble along the path at times—receive the consoling assurance that “all things shall work together for [their] good.”7
For God “gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”8
“Perhaps you don’t consider yourself all that useful; perhaps you don’t consider yourself a blessing in somebody’s life. … Blessings will come not so much because of your abilities but because of your choices.”

“The Truth of All Things” by Elder David F. Evans
Helmet Hero:
(everyone but the child in the front of the room can see the missing word in the song. So we sing and skip that missing set of words. The child has to identify what words are missing.)

The [Holy Ghost] helps me to know what is right.

Vs. 2
I feel so safe and happy because
Such [feelings of peace] come from family love.

Vs 3
I’ll strengthen my family [by my good works]
Page 281 - The Wise Man and the Foolish Man
(with Sign Language)

(goes with June/July song assignments)
When we choose the right, we are blessed

“If ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” - Mosiah 2:22
“That Your Joy Might Be Full” by Jean B. Bingham, RS General President

Story about the bird that flew through an open door.

“Like that bird, sometimes we are afraid to trust because we don’t understand God’s absolute love and desire to help us.”

“As you study Christ’s life and teachings in a myriad of ways, your faith in Him will increase. You will come to know that He loves you individually and understands you perfectly. In His 33 years of mortality, He suffered rejection; persecution; bodily hunger, thirst, and fatigue;10 loneliness; verbal and physical abuse; and finally, an excruciating death at the hands of sinful men.11 In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary, He felt all of our pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, and infirmities.12
No matter what we have suffered, He is the source of healing. Those who have experienced any manner of abuse, devastating loss, chronic illness or disabling affliction, untrue accusations, vicious persecution, or spiritual damage from sin or misunderstandings can all be made whole by the Redeemer of the world. However, He will not enter without invitation. We must come unto Him and allow Him to work His miracles.”
Motion game:

Stand every time you hear/sing “man”

Spin once every time you hear/sing “rain”
Page 159 - Stand for the Right

Living prophets teach me to choose the right

“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” - Alma 37:35
“Fear Not to Do Good” by President Henry B. Eyring

“Those of us who took his inspired counsel to heart have heard the Spirit more distinctly. We have found a greater power to resist temptation and have felt greater faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ.”

In a season of increasing tumult in the world, those increases in testimony have driven out doubt and fear and have brought us feelings of peace.Heeding President Monson’s counsel has had two other wonderful effects on me: First, the Spirit he promised has produced a sense of optimism about what lies ahead, even as the commotion in the world seems to increase. And, second, the Lord has given me—and you—an even greater feeling of His love for those in distress. We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others. That desire has been at the heart of President Monson’s ministry and teaching.”
Helmet Hero:

Our prophet has [some words for you]

And these are the words [be true, be true]

At work or at [play]
In darkness or [light] be true, be true and stand for the right.
The Miracle (optional song)

Jesus Christ teaches me to choose the right

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” - John 13:15
“Has the Day of Miracles Ceased?” by Donald L. Hallstrom

Clark Fales fell off a peak on Mount Shasta while hiking with 30 other young men. He survived despite “multiple fractures in his neck, back, ribs, and wrists; a punctured lung; and a multitude of cuts and abrasions. A renowned neurotrauma surgeon “happened” to be on duty that day; he is at this hospital only a few times a year.”

Helmet Hero:

With His hands he healed [the leper], He made the lame to [walk the blind to see.]

Jesus bled and died to save me, A price that I could never [pay alone,]

When he rose again he gave me, The greatest [gift the world] has ever known!
Page 103 - When I am Baptized

I choose the right when I am a baptized and confirmed members of the church

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” - Acts 2:38
Repentance Is Always Positive by Stephen W. Owen, YM General President

Parable of prodigal son
Repentance is for everyone
Story of young man who ‘came to himself’ and decided to prepare for a mission. He became an excellent missionary. The mission president reminded him that he would have to be diligent. “Elder, you could forget or deny everything you have just testified of in a matter of months If you do not continue to do the things that built your testimony in the first place.”
(Ties into song - he remembered his covenants.)
Helmet Hero

I like to look for rainbows whenever [there is rain]

I want my life to be as clean as earth [right after rain]

I know when I am baptized my [wrongs are washed away]

And I can be forgiven and [improve myself each day]
Page 120 - Nephi’s Courage

I choose the right by living gospel principles

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children  of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he has commandeth them.”
  • 1 Nephi 3:7
Turn to the Lord by Bishop W. Christopher Waddell

Helmet Hero, vs.3

3. The Lord gives us commandments and asks us [to obey].
Sometimes I am [tempted] to choose another way.
When I’m discouraged, and think [I cannot try,]
I will be [courageous,] and I will reply

Page 78 - I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus

I choose to fill my life with things that invite the spirit

“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13)
See Ye Out the Best Books
By Elder Ian S. Ardern

Caterpillar destroying rosebush story
Helmet Hero


2. I’m trying to love my [neighbor;]
I’m learning to [serve my friends.]
I watch for the day of [gladness] when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the [lessons he taught].
Then the [Holy Spirit] enters into my thoughts, saying:

Closing Song

Choose the Right - (congregation to join in for the last verse)
Emma Gubler  (1st and 2nd verse) - organist (3rd verse)

P.S. My Primary Children's Christmas Book comes out on Tuesday!!

Description of book: "Create a Christ-filled Christmas with this gorgeously illustrated ABC book that's all about the Savior. From the A for angel to the Z for zzz, this book celebrates the true reason for our rejoicing with rhyming text and a clear focus on the nativity story. Perfect for families to read together at Christmastime and all year round!"

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Nativity ABCs by Esther Yu Sumner     

My Nativity ABCs

by Esther Yu Sumner

Giveaway ends November 20, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway