These ideas are from Penny Judkins and were emailed to a past Primary chorister who then printed them out and left them in the binder. Bless you, Karla!!!
The ideas were all just in a list so I've tried to break them up into categories - I'll make a different post for each - to make them easier to find/more helpful when you are desperate for a game or an original source of motivation! I have also tried to include any further suggestions (or warnings!) I have in parenthesis or otherwise. (Some parenthetical information is hers.)
Here it is as I've retyped it into my computer:
A year’s worth of Singing Time Ideas
Gathered and compiled by Penny Judkins of Vancouver, Washington.
These are all fun ideas, but the most important thing to remember is to follow the Spirit. Pray about your Primary children and your calling. Use only those things that you feel inspired to use. Always bear your testimony because, above all, we are teaching Heavenly Father’s precious children the gospel through music! – Penny Judkins
GAMES: (These incorporate lots of songs. Holiday ideas are italicized.)
· BALLOON POPPING – Put titles of songs inside balloons and then blow them up. Have the kids come up and sit on the balloons to pop them to see which song to sing. Or you can put phrases inside and you sing the song until you get to that phrase
· BALL TOSS – This is a mini basketball hoop with a miniature basketball. Depending on how many shots they make tells us which song we sing. If they can’t make any, we sing what the pianist wants to sing. ((S)he likes to pick once in a while.)
· BEAN BAG TOSS/PASS – Have the pianist play a song that you need to review. Everyone sings the song as they pass the beanbag. When the music stops the person holding the beanbag sits down. You can also toss the beanbag to a child and they have to tell you the next word in the song. (I like to add that if they get so many correct in a row, they get to pick a fun song.)
· BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH TOO MANY CANDLES – I made up a birthday cake the size of a poster board. I filled it with candles. I tell the kids I’m getting WAY TOO OLD! And I need them to help me get some of these candles off. The candles have the #’s and ideas on them. The kids love to help me not be so OLD. Can also be turned about and made to put the candles on the cake. The candles are separate and can be taped on and off as everything is laminated.
· BOOK OF SINGING STORIES – Make a book with poster board. On each page have a picture or “clue” depicting a Primary song. (There is an example in one of the previous posts. Very nice, Trisa!) The kids get to turn the page to the song they want to sing. I have several pages that I can change out. You can use color copies of the GAK pictures. They’re lovely!
· BOWLING FOR SNOWMEN (Yep, not my original idea) – Use snowmen clip art (I have a cute hyperlink in my post from December) and print out several snowmen. Tape them to water bottles. Cover a basketball with batting (I used a volleyball) and wrap white string around it to hold the batting in place. The kids try to knock over a snowman with a snowball. The snowmen will have #’s on them for the songs.
· BOY WITH BACKPACK – This is a poster of a boy facing away and we’re looking at his back. He’s wearing a backpack that I’ve slit the top of. I attached a large gallon-sized Ziploc bag onto it. Inside I have pictures of books, ruler, pencils, erasers, etc. Things you use for school. I have used the backpack to “fill” to get ready for school and to empty it for Spring Break or the end of the school year. On the back of each item is the # or idea for the song(s) we’re learning.
· BUILD A JACK-O-LANTERN – I use a real pumpkin. Not carved. I made different eyes, noses and mouths and let the children choose faces and put them on the pumpkin. Duct tape works best to attach them. I laminate everything so I can use it over and over. Black construction paper works best for this feature.
· CHAOS & DANGER – This game came from teaching “Keep the Commandments”. Plan in advance to have the pianist play a different song than you’re singing. The kids realize how important it is to STAY within the guidelines the Lord has given us. They have to figure out which song the pianist played and which song we were singing.
· CHIMES – Make or buy chimes and have the children play the corresponding tone to match the song. (According to another source, this can be done using 9/16-inch electrical conduit. Cut the first pipe 8-1/8 inches long. This is “D”. Cut the second 8-3/4 inches. This is “C”. (9” – B; 9-3/8” – Bb; 9-9/16” – A; 10-1/8” – G; 10-3/8 – F#; 10-5/8” – F; 11” – E, 11-3/4” – D, 12-3/8” – C; 12-7/8” – B)
· COMBINED EASTER PROGRAM FOR SINGING/SHARING TIME – Take any holiday story or parable from the scriptures. Add songs intermittently and you have a wonderful combined Singing/Sharing Time. Some can be found in the Primary files.
· CONCENTRATION – Put pictures or words up on the chalkboard and cover each with a piece of paper. Take turns flipping the paper. I flip one and the children flip the other. When they match one we sing that song.
· DICE – I made a musical die by wrapping a small square box with white paper. (I used a foam cube and wrapping paper.) I wrote on each side of the box a different way to sing the song. (See Motivators: Voices.) I have several different die I’ve made with different things on them – fast, slow, staccato, legato… (I really like to teach musical terminology whenever possible. I will use vivace, andante, etc… Kids are like sponges and they learn it so well! Don’t be afraid that they’re too young to understand. Don’t a lot of people take up piano lessons while they’re in Primary?)
· EASTER BUNNY WITH EGGS/SONG TITLES IN PLASTIC EGGS HUNT – Use plastic eggs that come apart. Put #’s for the songs, who can sing, or anything applicable to what you are learning at the time. Be sure to talk about the “true meaning of Easter” and that we’re just pretending and having a fun time.
· FISHING- Attach paper clips to song titles, have a baton or play fishing pole with a magnet at the end for the “hook”. The children fish for the songs to sing or how many measures you will go into the song.
· FISHING FOR CRICKETS WITH SEAGULL – I attached a Little Mermaid Scuttle (seagull) to a dowel with yarn. I hot glued a magnet to his beak. I printed out crickets from the Mulan movie and glued paper clips to them. Near the 24th of July, I tell the story of the crickets and seagulls as we sing the pioneer songs.
· HANGMAN/RESURRECTED MAN
· HIDE THE NOTE
· HOLIDAY THINGS (easy!) – It’s just use your imagination time! Around any holiday you can find things that correlate. Build a snowman or “undecorate” the Christmas tree in January. Have love letters in February. And so on…
· “JEOPARDY!” – I got BIG cardboard pallets from Costco (they use them in between their toilet tissue cases). I have 4 categories listed on top. Some of these might be: Seasonal Favorites, Blast from the Past, Sacrament Meeting Program (I like to add Past and Present), Shake, Rattle and Roll. (I love to throw in a Worded Weirdly category.) Under each category, in a column, have the numbers 1-4 listed. Behind each number will be a question. As the children pick the category and the point value, you give them the answer (i.e. the Lord provides a way) and they give you the name of the song in question form (i.e. What is “Nephi’s Courage”). Then you sing the song.
· MAGNETIC LETTERS – Use the magnetic letters that you use on the fridge. Put them in a bag or appropriate container for the season. The children draw out a letter and choose a song that starts with the letter they pulled out. For the sake of time, I use the letter that correlates with the number in the alphabet that letter is. - 1-26 – and make a list ahead of time and you CAN use the songs over and over.
· MEMORY GAME – There are many variations to this game. Use your imagination for this one. I had two boards with pictures that depicted songs. They turned over one from each board. If they matched, we sang their choice. If they didn’t, we sang my choice.
· NAME THAT TUNE – I give a clue to the song and they tell me how many notes they need to name the song according to what help the clue has been. Sometimes I turn it around and they choose the song, give me a clue and I have to guess.
· PICK A FLOWER – I put flowers all over the Primary room in cups. I had a vase in the center up by me. Each time a child chose a flower, they came up and put it in the vase. When we finished singing time that day, we gave the flowers to the pianist.
· PICK A PICTURE – Match it with a song. I got a bunch of pictures from the library and put them in a box. The kids choose a picture and tell us which song it reminds them of. Then we sing it. This is great for taking a break after learning a new song.
· PIN THE BEE ON THE FLOWERS – This is like Pin the Tail on the Donkey; however, I have a poster board full of flowers. The flowers have #’s on them. The kids pin the bee on the flower and that tells us which song to sing, or if we’re working on it, how many times in a row we will sing it. Or course, we use a different “voice” (see Motivators: Voices) each time.
· PUNCH POSTER – I made a poster board with 9 holes cut out of it. (I used one of the demonstration boards to it would stand on its own.) On the front of the poster, I put words under each hole like: Hi-yah! Ka-pow! Hit Me! Etc. On the back of the poster, I put a single piece of tissue paper masking taped on the back of each hole (masking tape is easier to take off and replace later to re-use the poster). I also taped a piece of yarn above each hole on the back. To the yarn I tape whatever I want. (I cut out some foam circles and will write the title of a song on a piece of masking tape on the circle.)
· SILLY HAT SINGING TIME – I went to a thrift store and bought a small lampshade. I turned it upside down and attached the ugliest 3” ribbon I could find. The lampshade is brown gingham, the ribbon has colorful circles. I cut music notes from construction paper and laminated them. Whichever class is singing the best, their teacher has to wear the “hat”. I start out wearing it first. I have also turned it around and let the child singing best and sitting reverently wear it and lead the next song. The kids love to have their teacher be the one to wear the hat!
· SINGING BASEBALL – Draw a baseball diamond on the chalkboard. Divide the group into two teams. Coach has a player in the warm-up box and one in the batter’s box whenever their team is up to bat. Player steps up to the pulpit when at bat. The Questions are “pitched” (read) to players and score is kept according to value of question. Paper hats are moved around bases according to hits and runs. Each team only gets two OUTS per inning. After two RUNS, change team up to bat. A “bell” is rung every 3-4 minutes, then it’s time for a MUSIC QUESTION. Sing the song when the question is answered correctly.
· SINGING OLYMPICS – During the Olympics in SLC we opted to “pass the torch” in Primary as well. I made a torch out of a flashlight with red cellophane paper over it and we passed it around the room. When our song finished the next person got to pick the next song. We also had 4 different games going for our Olympics.
· S-I-N-G-O GAME – Take a piece of foam core board or poster board and make a grid on it like a Bingo card. At the top instead of writing Bingo you write “Singo”. In each square you put a small piece of one side (hook) of Velcro. Then you make two sets of markers – one for them to draw out of a basket and one that will be on the board. I laminated these. (I used foam.) I made mine different colors so I could easily keep them straight. One side can say anything you want – I put “You’re a singing superstar” on some of mine and the other side will have different categories on it. You then put a small piece of the other side of Velcro (loop) on EACH side of the board pieces. (I cut my loop pieces in half so that I wouldn’t have leftover hook pieces.) To play, you put the markers on the board with the category side facing out and a child draws a marker from the drawing set. They then have to choose a song to sing that fits the category they have drawn. If the group can sing it well enough in your opinion, then they get to turn the matching piece around on the board. The goal is to get a straight line just like in Bingo. For the free space, let them have a free choice marker. (I start with this one and they sing the CSMP song we’re working on for the month.)
· SNOWBALL FIGHT – (paper toss) – I give each child a piece of paper. Make sure you stress the fact that we’re in the church and sometimes we “toss” snowballs! (Be careful or this activity can get too rowdy.) The kids (with teachers’ help sometimes) write their names and their favorite Primary Song. I invite a class at a time to wad and toss their “snowballs” to me. Then I pick up a snowball and we sing that song. This activity serves a dual purpose; I keep the snowballs and make a list of the children and their favorite song. Then I have my Top 10 Favorites list!
· SONG (WORD) SEARCH – Make a word search puzzle with song titles hidden in it. There are many sites on the Internet that will do this for you. All you have to do is print out and blow them up. (Much more fun for Seniors.)
· SONG TABOO – This is the same as the game Taboo; you make up cards for the children to pick from. They have to guess the song title without saying the words on the card. Then you sing the song: i.e. “I Am a Child of God” – taboo words: Heavenly, Father, Parents, Children.
· SPIN THE WHEEL – (Song titles)
· TARGET GAME – I made a huge cardboard target (could draw on the chalkboard) and made 8 sections. I had the children make paper airplanes. As they sang the songs, I picked the one sitting most reverently and smiling while they sang. They got to fly their paper plane at the target to see which # (song) we would sing next. Tons of fun! At the end of singing time, I let everyone fly their planes at the target.
· TIC TAC TOE – Theme the X’s and O’s after the season. For Thanksgiving, paper pilgrims and turkeys, for Christmas, angels and shepherds, etc. Draw a large grid n the chalkboard or poster board. Each playing piece has a song listed on the back appropriate to the situation.
· TOILET TISSUE UNROLL – Unroll a roll of toilet tissue and write song titles on random squares and re-roll. Then let each child take off one square and the ones with song titles get to lead their songs.
· TOP 10 SONGS OF THE YEAR – (See Snowball Fight or Easter Egg Hunt) or Poll the Primary. Put together a list of the most requested songs. Start at #10 and sing your way to #1.
· TURKEY SHOOT – I bought the little accordion fold turkeys. I took a dart gun and let the kids shoot a turkey. Whether they hit the turkey or not, they got to choose a turkey that had a number written on it. The number corresponded with a song. The kids sing the song and tell me what blessing the song reminds them of.
· TWO BAGS – I went to fast food places (2 or 3) and asked for donations of their paper wrappers and French fry wrappers. Most of them are very happy for the advertisement. I put song titles in them and let the children reach in their favorite bag and pull out one thing. That’s what we sing.
· WHAT SONG AM I? – I made up a poster that has big colorful music notes on it. Eight to nine in all. Sit the poster on the ground and either a child or I throw a beanbag and whichever note it lands on tells us either a phrase from a song, the page # of a song, or tells us three words in a row in the song. The kids guess which song it is and then we sing it.
· WHO WANTS A MILLION BLESSINGS? – This game is the same as the Millionaire game but you use questions about the songs you’re working on. The lifelines can be: 1 – ask the audience, 2 – check the book, 3 – 50/50.
· YEARLY THEME GAME – Take the theme of the year and make up a song to go with each letter in the words or a song for each word. Let the kids pick a word and sing the song that correlates with it.