I have kept colored dot stickers in my church bag for six months now, just in case I needed to motivate my primary kids to participate better, but they are generally so enthusiastic that I have not had to turn to my emergency plan. I stuck a wand in my bag for my new emergency plan, and instead, "Singing Measles" is going to be this Sunday's main activity!
This is an idea that I saw floating around on various primary music blogs when I started this calling. I don't think this was the first place I saw this idea, but it was one of them, and one that gives plenty of detail about how this works the way that I like best. The chorister that describes this activity has been pulling out her "Measles" stickers for over a decade. I assume this means it is a successful activity with the children. I've also added a few of my own twists, depending on how much time we have during the activity.
Review songs in fun way that will keep the children interested, but not take away from the songs themselves!
What you need
I bought colored dot stickers for the measles. I found mine in the "office" section of a grocery store, but I also recently spotted additional sizes of colored dots at Map World that I purchased as well, since I would rather have too many "measles" than too few. So, I have two types of colored sticker dots. I've seen other bloggers use "cute" stickers but I like the simplicity of plain, colored dots. I don't want the kids to be focused on which patterned sticker they hope to receive, so much as just receiving a sticker.
How it works
Pick some songs you want to review. Then, give a few sheets of stickers to each teacher, and ask them to place them on children that are singing particularly, or at least participating, particularly well. You can explain this to the teachers while you are passing out the stickers so the children can be motivated and understand how they will earn their dots. I will also ask the primary presidency to circulate and look for children that look like they are singing hard and should receive more dots.
All the children will end up with the "measles," but some will have more than others depending on how their teachers evaluated how well they were singing and participating.
From reading various blogs, it sounds like children really get into this, and that the senior primary like to be creative with where they put their dots, to make mustaches, etc.
I think I will introduce the activity by starting out with a few dots on my own face, which I'll put on after opening exercises. I've noticed that the children (and teachers!) seem to get into the activities more when I demonstrate them myself.
Keeping the children reverent
I worry that the children will become too rowdy so I think there are a few different ways to handle this:
1. Remind the children that they have to be reverent to earn the stickers. I don't plan to remove stickers from children, but at least they can't keep earning them if they are not being reverent.
2. Make one of the sticker colors a "reverent" color that children can only earn that particular way. The primary presidency that circulates could specifically be assigned to only pass out reverence dots that are that particular color, or one color could be for reverence, one could be for something else.
Bonus dots activity
My little twist on this great idea is giving children assignments based on the color of dots they have on them. For example, the child with the most red dots gets to come up and pick the next song (then put all the song titles into a jar so the children can draw for songs).
Removing the dots
I have also read the option of putting stickers on the teachers instead of the children, so I am tempted to combine these two ideas, pick the class with the most dots, or the most reverent children, and have everyone put all their dots (or at least some of their dots) on this teacher! This way, I can get the dots off the children before the primary presidency teaches their lesson. More likely, I will save this version for the next time I do singing measles.