Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Child's Prayer, Week #2 - Secret Word Game (A little-to-no prep time activity!)

I was going to save "Secret Word Game" for Week #2 of "A Child's Prayer" but because Testimony Meeting went long last week, and I only had about seven minutes to work with in Junior Primary, I instead played this game with "Families Can Be Together" Forever - rather quickly too. This is what I would have done this week if I had not felt the need to switch things up at the last minute, last week.

When I first introduced Secret Word Game to my primary about a year, I used it to review all the songs in the program that we had already learned, and had children watch for the same recurring secret words throughout all the songs, as many words that are important repeat throughout (e.g., pray, love, listen, choose, right). I loved playing it this way, but for "A Child's Prayer," I was going to instead focus on using the secret word game to help reinforce words they didn't know super well yet, so much as to use a fun game to keep them interested in a song review.

The key to playing this game well is to look for words that are both meaningful and repeat more than once. You then assign the word and action to each class. While you sing the song with the class, every time the class hears their secret word, they perform their action. The object is for the other children to notice and be able to identify all the secret words by the end of class.

The beauty of this game is that it makes it fun to sing songs over and over again.

Last Sunday, because this was a very quick last-minute switch due to lack of time, I just asked the class to make up their own actions, which works just as well. I had fun making up their actions for them last year though because the movements I chose ended up being funny but still respectful (one class would stand up and sit down, and then the next class would immediately stand up then turn around then sit down, because of the timing of where the two words were said in several of the songs).

Recommended words/actions:
I've included a quick count of how many times each word is sung if you sing both verses. If you're not ready to teach verse two, then this still works great for just working on one verse. For older children, you can also combine words that are sung less frequently and give them two words.

Father - Stand up and sit down (sung 3 times)
Child / Children - Stand up and touch your toes (sung 4 times)
Heaven - Stand up and raise your arms above your head (sung 3 times if you ask children to only do this action to "Heaven" not "Heavenly")
Pray / Prayer - Stand up, spin around once, then sit down (sung 5 times)
You - Clap your hands once (sung 3 times)
I -  ... (sung 3 times)
Kingdom - ... (sung 4 times)
Love - ... (sung 2 times)

I try to pick an "easy" word and action for the sunbeams and CTR4 children, or even combine the two classes to share one action, depending on the size of the class and attendance, as they have a harder time following what they need to do.

When I did this last week with my impromptu switch, I asked the children to raise their hand if they saw all the secret words, than half of the secret words, etc. When I had confirmed that the children had missed some of the secret words, I told them we were going to sing the song again so they could look for the secret words they had missed, etc.

End by either asking one class to identify another class' secret word, or by pointing to a class and having children raise their hand if they saw that class' secret word.


  1. What an awesome idea! My senior kids looove stuff that's tricky like this! You just saved me a LOT of prep time. I'm super excited for tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. I hope it went well. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. I did this today, it was a total blast. Thank you so much for the fabulous idea.

  3. I love this idea but I have a question. Do the kids pay more attention watching the other kids to see what action they are doing or do they pay attention to you? I feel like maybe my kids would be watching the other kids more and not watching and singing the song.

    1. Good question! This activity is good because it forces them to think about the lyrics because they are concentrating on noticing patterns (the secret words) and listening very carefully to the words. So, to be honest, even if some aren't singing, I wouldn't mind, because they are learning the words anyway, and in a different way. I definitely WANT them to look around to play the game and for this activity, am more focused on lyrics than dynamics. That said, yes, 90% of them sing. However, if they didn't, I'd stop and give them feedback that they are not singing - even interrupt them halfway through the song sometimes and just tell them that I want to keep playing this game but I need to hear a lot of volume to help me know they are singing and not just playing the game. It's never been a problem for me. I always get remarks that my primary kids have all the words memorized and sing with volume by the program. They follow me when I hold a note, etc! I just change the focus some weeks. Hope that makes sense!