I can bring the parade and band to Primary, but how do you bring the Fireworks? That was a toughie. Here is what I came up with from supplies I already had on hand. I'm sure if you don't have some of these things, you can come up with a hybrid of your own.
- 6-8 Balloons per JR and SR group depending on how many songs you plan to sing
- Red, white and blue curling ribbon or silver if you don't have white
- Star tinsel wire garland in red, silver and blue or a mixed red, white/silver and blue patriotic version
- Slips of paper with your song titles to be inserted inside the balloon or if each balloon is a different color, just assign a song to each color on your key sheet and that way you don't have to stick anything inside the balloon.
- Streamers to insert inside the balloons (optional)
- You could cut lengths of curling ribbon and curl the ribbon and insert into the balloons to make some streamers for the balloons. This may be a little time consuming to do.
- T-pins or thumb tacks.
- For the shooting tail of the firework (or whatever you call it) cut 3 to 5, 15"-18" lengths of the star garland and wrap it around a 1" diameter dowel or something similar in shape and size and then remove the dowel. Slightly straighten your curled garland out to lengthen it into a soft spiral. Group the star garland together at one end and twist those ends together so they are connected at one end.
- Cut 1 yard each of the red, white and blue curling ribbon. If you want to add more ribbon, cut another set of each color. Align the ribbons together and at the center of the ribbons, tie them together in a double knot around the twisted end of the star garland. Fold a little of the twisted end of the garland over the knotted ribbon to help secure the ribbon and garland together.
- Repeat the above steps and make a shooting tail for each balloon firework you plan on using. If you have separate JR and SR Primaries, you only need to do one set of the shooting tails since you can reuse them for the next group.
- Insert into the balloon your piece of paper with your song written on it and streamers if you choose. I would not suggest to use confetti. That would be a bit of a mess to clean up. A few streamers would give a little added fun with the "firework explosion" without causing much clean up.
- Blow up your balloons and knot the opening. You could wait to blow up the balloons until just before Primary if you don't want to haul a big bag of blown up balloons to church.
- When you get to church, pin up your set of balloon fireworks randomly on the bulletin board using the T-pins or thumb tacks. The balloon will flop downward.
- Pin up the shooting tail about 6" or so below the knot of the balloon depending on how big your balloon is. The Balloon should hide the top of the shooting tail.
- The picture shows that I taped this to a white board because I took the pictures at work, but I will use our rolling bulletin board at church to pin the fireworks up on. I will try to remember to take a picture of all the fireworks pinned up together on the board and post it later.
- There you have it. Pretty easy and quick to make and they look so festive and fun.
How to Play and Sing
- For JR, have a child come up and "explode" one of the fireworks by using a pin to pop the balloon. I like to use this pointer stick that has a pointer finger on the end of it that I tape a pin to. This allows the child to reach a balloon that is up high as well as for the more timid children, they don't have to put their hand right next to the balloon to explode it.
- Sing the song that is written on the piece of paper from the balloon firework that exploded. Sometimes I like to sing songs in a certain order instead of randomly, which is what I plan on doing for this activity in JR. In this case, I would just put slips of numbered papers inside the balloons (which really don't refer to anything) and after they pop the balloon and hand the paper to me, I would "look" at my key sheet and we would sing the next song.
- For SR, I have the children take turns throwing a dart to see if they can explode the fireworks. They only get one try at it before the next child gets a turn, this way, more kids will have a chance. Throwing a dart makes it a little more challenging and fun for the older kids and seems more manly for those many boys I have. Make sure you use the steel tipped darts and not the rubber tipped darts that are used with those special holed dart boards. I did not know that there was such a thing as soft tipped darts until after I bought some once and when the kids tried to use them, they kept bouncing off of the balloons. A bit hilarious seeing them bounce off the balloons but puzzling. After several tries, I finally took a close look at the tips and realized they were rubber and bendable tips. Who'd a thunk!!!
- WARNING! Children can get a little funny and do little screams sometimes when the balloons pop, so make sure you remind the children ahead of time to not get wild and to cover their mouths if they think they might be tempted to scream. A gentle reminder that we like to have fun but shouldn't get wild in Primary usually does the trick. Also, if you put streamers in the balloons, remind them not to run up to grab them. They need to stay in their seats.
Now for the parade and band part.
For JR, the first song I will play is "You're a Grand Old Flag" on my iPhone with my mini, portable speakers while the teachers help me sing it using my little Patriotic Booklets and we will march around the room waving our little flags. I'll wear my little cardboard red, white and blue patriotic top hat and beat on my sunshine drum (the one with the smiling sun on it in the picture—I love that drum and so do the kids—it has a great "boom" sound and is great for keeping the beat when teaching a song) and I'll also have a couple of children hold some bigger flags I have at the front of the parade. I think marching outside would be fun to do, but it always seems to be way too hot to do that. I already get hot and sweaty half the time doing all the actions and activities we do in the somewhat air conditioned room. Here is an MP3 link to the U.S. Air Force Band playing "You're a Grand Old Flag" that you can download for free and play when marching. This has a great marching beat to it just like in a parade.
Next, we will sing "My Flag, My Flag" a couple of times raising our flags on the word "flag" and waving it when we sing the word "wave". The second time we sing it I'll have them wave the flag back-and-forth to the rhythm of the song. I'll have a firework to pop for each time we sing it.
Oh yes, we can't forget the band part. I'll have a few children come up on other songs like "Nephi's Courage" and play rhythm instruments to the beat of the songs. I may just do one verse at a time with each balloon firework explosion. If you don't have any rhythm instruments, you could make some quite easily with found things around the house. Just look up on the internet for some "How To's". Or you could even just use some pots and pans and spoons or anything else that you can bang around and voilà!, you now have a kitchen band.
|Some rhythm instruments I've collected over time.|
Other songs we will sing are "Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?" and "Our Primary Colors". Not sure if we will have much more time after these songs except maybe one of the balloon fireworks may be that they get to pick their favorite song to sing or their teacher gets to pick their favorite song.
For SR, it is pretty simple, each balloon will have a patriotic song written on a piece of paper inserted into the balloon that are from the Patriotic Song booklet and one balloon will be a choice to pick their favorite patriotic song from the booklet; they can even pick a song we have already sung if they wish. We will not be singing these songs in a controlled order like I plan to for JR. The songs will be selected randomly by whatever balloon is exploded. Of course, I'll have the children take turns coming up and playing the rhythm instruments.
I also made some U.S.A. U Are Awesome! Super Singer Badges. I've included the files if you feel like making some. One page has the text in color while the other one has the text in black and white. I ended up using the colored text version for the ones I made.
HOW TO MAKE THE U.S.A—U ARE AWESOME! SUPER SINGER BADGE NECKLACE OR STICKER
- I printed the ones for JR onto card stock and punched them out with a 2 1/8" circle punch (you probably could use a slightly smaller punch since the file shrunk slightly when converted to a pdf format) or you could cut them out with scissors. Punch two small holes, one on either side of "U.S.A." and thread a 24"-26" (depending on the size and age of the children in your Primary) of 1/4" satin red, white or blue ribbon down through a front hole in the circle disk and then back up the other hole from the backside of the circle disk (tip: cut the ribbon at a pointed angle to help in threading the ribbon through the holes) and then with both ends of the ribbon matched up together, make a knot as close to the ends of the ribbon as possible. See the picture to see this knot. This is a little easier knot to make for these necklaces than taking both ends separately and putting the right over left then left over right double knot thingy. You could use yarn or string if you don't have ribbon. I usually pick up these small bolts of satin ribbon from the craft store now and again to keep on hand. They are usually about 50 cents for about 10 yards and sometimes they are even on sale for 3 for a $1. Pretty cheap.
- For SR, I just printed the badges out onto a full label-sized Avery sheet. Although the label sheet is a crack and peel type, the cut lines on the liner won't pass through the back side of each of your stickers. So, with a cutting blade and straight-edge ruler, carefully cut down the back side of the labels down the center of each row of stickers ONLY cutting through the liner and not the sticker part. You only need to make three cuts per page if you align your ruler on the backside over each row of the stickers. Cutting the liner for a crack-and-peel effect will help make it a bit easier to separate the sticker from the liner. Make sure to use a cutting mat or something to help protect your surface in case you have a heavy hand and cut too deeply. Cut or punch out the circles and voilà!, you have yourself some stickers.
If you want, you could also discuss here and there through singing time gospel principles and tying the principles in with having freedom, choosing the right, etc., but do be careful to keep it short and sweet. After all, this is singing time not talking time. (I'm always having to work on this.)