Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Sunday Before Halloween - Choose one of THREE activities!

Oct 29 Update:
I took some pictures after Singing Time on Sunday to share what we did:

Before I Talk about Tomorrow's Activity ...
I was so thrilled about how the primary program went last Sunday. Our primary president did an amazing job of incorporating all of the talks, children's lines, the placement of the kids and teachers, and with some very limited input from me, the placement of the songs. The program went very smoothly. The children were so reverent and wonderful. I am so impressed with these children and their beautiful hearts and testimonies.

I want to share three special things I did that I think went very well. I never paid attention to all the special thinking that went into this for the primary chorister, before this was my own calling.
  • "As a Child of God" - I had the girls sing the first verse before the boys joined in for the choir, and then did the opposite for the second verse. Everyone sang the third verse.
  • "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" - I had eight girls (6 and 7) come up to the podium to sing the second verse of the song before the primary joined in for the chorus. This had a beautiful effect and enhanced the words of the song.
  • "Choose the Right" - The children signed all three verses of the song with me, then the congregation joined in for the last verse of the song, and we made this the closing song of the program. It was perfect. 

Singing Time Activity ... so many Halloween ideas ...

Idea #1 - Costume Clothing

I was tempted to work on the Christmas program songs with the children this Sunday, but they have been working so hard on learning new songs all year, that I went to my favorite singing time blog, The Crazy Chorister, for inspiration. The Crazy Chorister is retired, but I looked for her past October activities, and found one that I loved, where depending on how children sang, either their teacher or the chorister would end up wearing a bunch of costume clothes. What a cute idea. She did not reference Halloween but I like the subtle tie-in.

Idea #2 - Decorate the Pumpkin
Draw a pumpkin and bring in various pre-cut pumpkin parts (eyes, ears, mouths, noses). Children get to come up and help decorate the pumpkin. Each piece they choose will determine what song we sing. I was thinking it could also be a blooper, where some parts will say, "Oh, no song, but your teacher has to wear a ..." and then pick something from the dress-ups pile. This was inspired by notion of making people dress up from the Crazy Chorister above, but is a way that I would be more comfortable playing the game. I'm not as crazy as the Crazy Chorister!

- OR - 

Decorate a real pumpkin with the same principles. Use toothpick holes already inserted into the pumpkin and pre-cut vegetables. The fun part about this is that you could then put the pumpkin on your doorstep for children to recognize when they come by to go trick-or-treating!

Idea #3 - Trick or Treat?
My stake primary chorister shared this one with me. You have little pumpkins stuffed with pieces of paper, that are either a trick or a treat. (Can be substituted easily with pieces of paper if you don't have little pumpkins, which I don't.) If it is a trick, it will say something like, "Trick! Only your class sings this song!" The real trick, is to make all the pumpkins tricks! Then, at the end, you can tell them that you tricked them, and give them all a treat. 

This can be combined with one of the above activities - if you choose the "wrong" pumpkin it's a trick and your class has to sing the song a certain way, etc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Snow Storm! Easy, fun singing time activity.

Last week was our annual primary program. I kept the primary activity afterward pretty simple. This is not an original idea; I had about three other parents from other wards share it with me about a year ago, except I think they called it a snowball fight.

The beauty of this activity is that it's fun and takes very little preparation time.

1. Give each child a piece of paper (I had the librarian cut the sheets in half to save on waste) and pen/pencil, unless they are too young to know how to write. In that case, help the teacher that has children too little to write.
2. Have each child write down their favorite primary song and their name on that paper. Tell them to sit reverently and wait once they are done.
3. After a few minutes, get everyone's attention - fold your arms, etc., until the room is quiet. Then, tell each child to crumple their paper into a ball.
4. Tell them to throw their crumpled balls to the front of the room:

We had our first snow storm of the week a few days ago, but when I did this activity, it had not snowed yet, so I said something about how it usually snows before Halloween, but it hadn't snowed yet, so we were going to make our own snowstorm. On the count of three, everyone throw your snowball to the front of the room. "1, 2, 3!"

I then explained that I was going to pick up a snowball at random, read the song and who wrote it down, and that we would then sing the song. That's it! I had a back-up plan to add fun ways to sing the song if the children lost interest, but they loved it.

Junior primary was a little bit rowdy, but this activity was surprisingly easy, and surprisingly fun. The time went quickly. Even my less interested senior boys got into it, because they wanted me to pick their snowball.

Just make sure your pianist is prepared to play anything!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sunday Before the Program

We did a mock walk-through the Sunday before our Primary Program, which is this Sunday, so I did not have time to do an actual activity.

However, I brought out my Halloween Singing Time Prompts to help inspire the children to sing better.


I drew some of these last year, but I added the werewolf and pumpkin this year. These are my original doodles - you are welcome to right-click to print them up yourself! Your version would be smaller than mine, but you can cut them out and attached them to sticks to hold up.

I said stuff like, "This is Mumbling Mummy. I can't hear what he is saying very well because his mouth is covered. If [a counselor I asked to hold up the pics] holds up Mumbling Mummy, that means you sound like him. You don't want to see Mumbling Mummy come up."

Bored Bat says "gusto" next to him because when I drew this bat last year, we had just had a singing time activity about singing with more gusto.

"Say What?" Werewolf needs you to sing more loudly because he can't hear you, because you are singing too quietly.

Proud Pumpkin is very pleased because you are singing with volume, saying your lyrics clearly, singing with energy, and watching the chorister.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Identify that Song! Primary Song Review for Program

The children "ooooh'd" and "awwwwww'd" when I flipped the board around on Sunday and showed them these pictures I had put together. Each group of pictures represents a song that we have been working on in primary.

In Junior primary, I chose a name out of the Helping Hands jar and had a child come up and identify a song. Then, we sang it.

In Senior primary, I gave each class a scripture about the song. The class had to identify the song based on the scriptures, then, identify the pictures that went with the song.

With both classes, I then spent a brief amount of time reminding the children about the meaning of the song and why we sing the song.

This was a lot of fun, but I had to watch the time very carefully. In addition, I am glad I went into the primary room early to set the pictures up because it took more time than I had expected.

You can easily go to Google Images to find most of these pictures.