Sunday, March 18, 2012

Singing Time Activities to Learn the Songs Better - "Conducting Elephant" and "Helmet Hero"

I had fun with Singing Time today. Then again, I always do, but I love when everything goes more smoothly than expected. I highly recommend these activities when you want to review and reinforce songs that you have been teaching.

Scroll down to learn about:

  • Junior Primary - Conducting Elephant
  • Senior Primary - Helmet Hero

Junior Primary - Conducting Elephant 

I drew an elephant onto a piece of cardboard, then cut out a hole for the trunk. I added some grey paint later when I happened to have some Acrylics out for a different project. I am glad I ended up adding color, but in hindsight, I would just use a piece of gray poster paper and a black Sharpie.

I demonstrated the Conducting Elephant to the children with the first song we sang, by putting my arm through the hole and conducting through the hole so that it looked like I was waving the elephant's trunk around. I then told the children that if they sang the song very well, they would get to wear the gray sock (the elephant's trunk) and conduct the song.

This worked well, as the children sang more and more with each time a child went up to conduct. Each time I called a child up, I reminded them that I was looking for good singers so that I could have them come up, and by the third time through, almost everyone was singing. However, even the children that weren't singing at first was very intrigued and attentive. I am not sure why it took some of the children a few times through to start singing, but they were reverent until they decided to sing, and did eventually join the rest of the children, so I consider this a win.

I had also planned to give a very brief conducting lesson, which I forgot to do, but the children were great with finding a rhythm and gamely trying to conduct on their own. I actually stayed up front and conducted with them, or in the case of a little CTR4 girl, helped to hold her elephant while she conducted.

I first heard the idea for the Conducting Elephant at the Idea Door in a 2010 post. The blogger could not remember where she heard the idea but I have since seen it listed on other websites. The earliest reference I can find is in 2008 at j e n n y s m i t h . n e t

Senior Primary - Helmet Hero

I was originally going to make a game modeled after a show that aired for a short time, that I loved, calling "Singing Bee." In this game, contestants had to perfectly quote the next line of a song after the game show band stopped singing the lyrics. I was going to modify it so it was child-friendly (in other words, so children wouldn't feel bad if they messed up), but then I stumbled onto Headband Hero, which was the same concept, but way less complicated, at

"A great one for when the kids are needing to repeat a song over and over, but to help it not be monotonous. Invite 1 child to come to the front of the room and wear a ‘sweat’ headband on their head. The singing leader has a bucket of words. She pulls one out and shows it to the pianist and the other children and places it on the sweat band, where the 1 child can’t see it. Begin singing the song. As you come to the word that is stuck on the headband, the primary doesn’t sing that word. The child with the headband on has to try and tell us what word comes next - that we didn’t sing. Sr. Primary loves this one."

I made some modifications that I felt worked very well:

  1. I did not have a headband so I made a hat out of foil. I just used the simple origami of a paper hat, but I used foil instead of paper.
  2. I took words from several songs I wanted to review, but I assigned a color to each song to help me keep track of which words belonged to which song.
  3. I let the children choose the word themselves, but not see it, as I attached it to their helmet. 
  4. I sang each song through to the end before I asked the child to guess the word that we had skipped over. This helped cement the song in the children's minds.
I was super happy with how well this activity went. I have some older boys that really don't like to sing, and they were really into it, especially because they kept hoping they would have a chance to wear the "helmet." I used the Singing Time jar to fairly choose someone to come up. We did this our entire Singing Time without having to change up the activity.


  1. I have a slight variation to this game on my blog I think you would like it a lot! I love it as a helmet. I am going to have to use that one! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for sharing Megan. I love it!