New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I have soooooooo been wanting to do this iPod singing time for quite some time.  I actually had this almost all put together last September with the intent to use it for a program review activity, but then our program date got moved up a couple of weeks, so unfortunately, I had to drop it from my plans. But NOW, I think we have a few songs under our belt, that I can finally do it to review program songs and other songs we have been learning lately. 
So, what is this iPod Singing I'm talking about???? Well, you may already know it by the name of "Remote Control Singing". This is a fun way to review a song over-and-over again or you can use it for a choose and review activity.

When I happened upon the idea of a remote control singing time, you know, I couldn't quite wrap my head around what a t.v. remote control had to do with singing time, so I couldn't bring myself to doing it, but I liked the concept, so, think...think...think...I did. Hmmm, what do I listen and sing to every day getting ready for work, driving to work, at work in my office, walking around my workplace (oh yes, ask any of my employees and they will tell you I am singing all over the place—the one good thing about being the boss is, they wouldn't dare complain about my singing—at least to my face, LOL), coming home from work, and every-other-moment I can squeeze in to learn those primary songs????
Voilà! My iPod on my iPhone!  So, here is my version for an iPod for singing time. 

I really wanted this visual to be interactive instead of just pretending to push a button. Just thought I'd let you know that up front so as you are reading through this post, you might understand the reasoning behind my madness for making it the way I did.  Since I've already created the buttons, it is pretty easy to put together. The files I made are listed at the end of this post.

  1. The iPod I made is a bit large.  It is 28" wide by 44" high. I had a big black mat board, but you can use cardboard and paint it whatever color your heart desires. 
  2. I created two sets of the icon buttons. One set is slightly smaller than the other. (File with both sizes below under "Large iPod icons buttons")
  3. I printed the buttons out onto card stock and cut them out.
  4. I ONLY laminated the larger sized buttons for durability.
  5. The slightly smaller unlaminated set of buttons I mounted on the board with spray adhesive.
  6. I also printed and cut out the slider bars—those are the long bluish, rectangular thingies—and glued them on the board.  IMPORTANT: The slider bars should be glued down first and then you glue the buttons over the ends of them (for the screw head, it can be placed anywhere on its slider.)
    1. I printed my sliders on 11 x 17 sized paper so I could have it all on one piece of paper instead of splicing two together (11 x 17 size in a separate file below.)  However, if you don't have the capability to print that size, I added one you can print on 8 1/2 x 11 and splice together.  Just cut off the ends that you will match up and splice together to the size you need (it is included with the iPod Icon buttons file.)
    2. Ooops!  I goofed!  My top slider is solid in the picture. It should have been the same as the one for the Mute and Volume slider. I had done a couple of variations and cut them out to see which one I liked, but I apparently glued the wrong one down. Oh Well.
  7. I then centered a square piece of self adhesive clear Velcro (also known as hook and loop tape) onto the top of the glued down buttons so the Velcro is less noticeable (this is the hook side of the Velcro).  See the blue volume button in the picture.
  8. Velcro (hook and loop tape)
    The clear hook side on the glued down button
    and the matching white loop on the back of the laminated button. 
  9. I then placed the Velcro's matching loop mate on top of the the hook side with the adhesive side facing up.
  10. Taking the larger matching laminated button, I centered it over it's matching glued down button and then adhered it to the Velcro so you really couldn't see the matching button underneath. I'll explain later the purpose of the duplicate buttons. See the back side of the volume button in the picture. I did it this way so I could make sure the top button would be centered before the velcro got attached.
  11. The big, sparkly rectangle in the middle is some holographic leftover paper I got from work a while back ago that was being thrown out. Yes, since this calling, I've become quite the garbage picker at work. Always looking for free things to use for singing time. The paper was sparkly and fun, so I decided to use it to make the "view screen" panel area, but you can use whatever other paper you have on hand. 
  12. I painted a paint stirring stick black and adhered a square piece of the hook side of the Velcro to it at the top. 
  13. There you have it. A singing time iPod for some good singing review time.
  1. If you want to make this on a poster board or one of those project boards that are 3-sided and can also be self-standing (aka science fair project boards), I have included a smaller iPod set of icon buttons.  The smaller iPod set fits nicely on the center panel of the project board, which is about 22" wide x 36" high. The buttons would probably be a little crowded on a poster board unless you tape another 8" section or more to a full sheet of poster board to make it taller like the project board size. 
  2. If you want to omit the board altogether, you could just print one set of the buttons, excluding its matching, slightly smaller background version that would have been glued to the board, and using magnets or magnetic tape, adhere them to your chalk or white board inside a rectangle you have drawn on the board with chalk, or a dry erase marker if you are lucky and have a white board.
I first showed the kids the iPod on my iPhone asking them if they could see the buttons because we were going to use it today for singing time. Of course, they couldn't and then I said something along the lines of, "What if I SUPER-SIZED  it?  Would they think that would help?" And then I whipped out the super-sized iPod. I'll admit, the kids eyes bulged out a bit when they saw the super-sized iPod.
  • Each button represents a way to sing the song. (How to sing listed below)
  • You can use this to practice singing a song over and over again (repetition) that you are trying to learn, but by singing it in different ways, you have the variety you need to make it more fun and exciting for the children without being boring.
  • You can use this as a choose and review activity by writing a song or one of the verses of a song on the back of each button (use a wet-erase type marker like Vis-à-Vis or a washable marker to write on the lamination) and then singing that song according to the button chosen.
  • This would also be great for a program review singing activity using the songs for the program as a choose and review.
  • Another reason why I glued one set of buttons directly on the board as "fake buttons" is just in case I plan on only wanting to use certain buttons to review certain songs within the allotted singing time. With so many buttons to choose from, if I had a song behind each button to choose from, the children might not pick the songs I would really like them to work on.  This would give me more control of only putting the buttons I want to use on the iPod with the songs I want to sing and keeping the iPod still looking like an iPod with the glued down "fake" buttons. I also didn't like the empty look it would be getting as each button gets removed. 
  • You can use the paint stick to adhere the chosen button to for the child or you to control the singing, for example, if it is the pause button, when the child holds it up, everyone pauses in their singing and when they lower the button, everyone continues singing where they left off.
    • If you don't want to use the stick, you could just have the child hold up the button.  The stick is just more fun for the kids to hold and more easily seen, at least I think so.
  • Make sure the child controlling the button stick can be seen by the pianist since some of the activities will need the pianist's keen eye.

  • POWER (black button)
    • How powerful can they sing with their voices without screaming or yelling by using their "powerful" singing voices. Have the child walk down the hall to see how far he/she can go and still hear the Primary sing. Emphasize strong or powerful singing voices, not yelling voices.
  • VOLUME (blue with black speaker) 
    • The children will sing louder or softer as the button is moved either up or down or side-to-side.  Just have three levels: high, medium or low. 
  • MUTE (blue with black speaker with "X")
    • When the mute button goes up, the children stop singing while the piano keeps playing and when the button is down, the children must pick up singing where the piano is.  You could have the pianist stop playing "out loud" then pick up singing/playing where the song would be when "unmuted" BUT it is easier for the children to follow in their heads and come in together if the piano keeps playing so it is really just the singing that gets "muted".
  • PLAY/PAUSE (orange with green pointer and 2 lines)
    • When the pause button is up, the children and piano stop and when the button goes down, the children and piano pick up where they left off singing.
  • FAST FORWARD (green with 2 blue pointers and line)
    • Sing faster when the button is held up and normal when down.
  • REWIND (green with 2 red pointers and line) Here are a few choices. 
    • Have the children make a complete turn to the left while continuing to sing each time the button is used.
    • Have the children switch between singing slower or normal when the button is up or down.
    • Have the children make a complete turn while singing slower. This is trickier so you may want to reserve it for the SR. 
    • Yeah, I know this activity doesn't have anything to do with singing backwards, but hey, if you and your kids are that talented, go for it—NOT.
  • MUSIC NOTE (large orange note)
    • Let the child or the child's teacher choose a favorite song. Let the child lead with the note on the stick.
  • RECORD (red with microphone)
    • Record the children singing and then play it back to them. Have the child hold the recorder. I used an app on my iPad, but I have used my iPhone, or a good old fashioned tape player still works.  Gee, I think I still have one of those around the house somewhere.  
  • SHUFFLE (blue with 2 crossing arrows)
    • Switch back-and-forth singing between sides of the room depending on which side the button is leaning towards.
    • Or, have the children lean left or right depending on which way the button is leaning.
    • Could also do both at the same time.
  • SONG TIME (screw head)
    • Let the child or a few children guess how long they think the song is going to take them to sing it then time them.  Let the child use a stop watch or a timer app on your iPhone/iPad/iPod. (I bet you can't tell I'm a Mac person.)
  • GO BACK (purple arrow)
    • Have the child use a bell and each time the child dings the bell, the children make a quarter or half turn while they are singing (specify up front which way they will be turning). If you don't have a bell, have the child do a loud clap with his/her hands. 
    • You could have the children sing to the back of the room; however, this does not involve the button controller to do anything unless you let them lead.
    • Another option is to let the child choose one time during singing to raise the arrow and when that happens, you start the song over.
    • Each time the child holds up the arrow, you sing the last word or two over and over again 3-4 times like a broken record. You may want to demonstrate this if you have never done this with your children before. This is a fun one, but make sure your pianist is okay with it or sing it a cappella.
    • One more option is to have the children move one chair over each time the arrow is raised.  This can be fun, but can get a little crazy.
  • SONG LIST (yellow square with 3 bullets and lines) 
    • Have three songs for the child to choose from, or
    • Have a child choose one of the program songs, or
    • Sing the song a cappella, or
    • Let the child choose their favorite song
    • Whatever song you sing, let the child help everyone clap to the rhythm of the song or let them lead with the stick or whenever the child holds up the stick with the button, you hum that part instead of singing it.

When you do an activity that allows a child to be in control of switching back-and-forth between actions or activity, such as loud vs softer, does that child love to switch back-and-forth between the actions quickly and often? HA!!! I knew I wasn't the only one with such fun-loving and rambunctious children!  Well, here is a helpful solution to that. I call it "The Rule of 5" (sometimes 3).  I remind the children that they can only switch in the song up to 5 times and they can't switch any faster than 5 seconds (one-one thousand, two-one thousand . . . .) If the song is a short song, I may change it to the rule of 3 or if it is longer, I may give them an extra 1 or 2.  I just tell them what it will be for that song; 3, 4, 5. . . . 

I have to tell you that for the volume one I had the song "The Wiseman and the Foolish Man" and the child who did this would bring the volume down on "the rains came down" and raise the volume on "the floods came up".  It actually sounded pretty cool and the kids really enjoyed that.  Just thought I'd share.


As I said before, this is a great, new twist for all those fun ways to sing while giving variety to singing time as well as getting in some repetition on the same song or reviewing several songs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Here is a flip chart for a wonderful song about our Savior to review with next month's topic as well as it being Easter month. The song lends itself nicely to a 
Q & A layout.  Enjoy!!!

He Sent His Son Flip Chart

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Easter is coming quickly upon us. What a wonderful time to sing all the joyous songs about our Beautiful Savior and all that he has done for us. Below I've attached various files you can choose from to use for the song "Beautiful Savior".
Last year when I introduced this song I brought a big, oval, wrought iron mirror as an attention getter (It was not too big or heavy, so I was able to hold it—it was about poster size.) I faced the mirror to the children so that they could see themselves in it and mentioned all the beautiful children that can be seen in the mirror. Then I asked them if they remembered the fairy tale Snow White and how the queen possessed a magical mirror that she would ask, "Mirror, mirror upon the wall, who is the fairest fair of all?"  I then explained that the word "fair" or fairer" is another way to say "beautiful".

I asked them to listen for three things that are fair as I sang a beautiful song to them. [sunshine, moonlight & stars] After they answered, I taped the round visuals for those things (files are listed below) on the mirror frame starting on the lower, left side. Oh, by the way, I had placed the mirror on an easel. I wasn't about to hold that mirror the whole time.  I had really wanted to have a mirror that was a little smaller and lighter that I could have hung on the board with magnets or one of those 3M Command hooks so I could place the pictures for the song around the mirror on the board, but I didn't have a smaller, pretty one, so I went with the bigger one I had.  If you don't have a mirror you could make one out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Anyway, I continued to place the round song pictures around the mirror in order as they answered the directed listening questions. 

The second directed listening question I asked them to listen for as I sang was 
who shines brighter and purer than the sun, moon and stars? [Jesus] I then placed the picture of Jesus in the center of the mirror along with the round pictures for that part of the song.

The third directed listening question I ask them to listen for was what does Jesus bring to all the world? [His love] Again I added the visual for that part of the song. The first verse visuals were around about 1/3 of the frame.

Of course, I had the children sing with me after I sung each phrase of the song a time or two during the Q&A singing.

I also did what I call a Singing Sign Language Charades Game with them by doing a phrase of the song in sign language and having the children figure out what part of the song they thought it looked like I was signing. I then explained to them what those signs meant and had them follow along with me as we sang that part of the song.  A Sign Language Cheat Sheet file is attached below.

I taught a verse of the song each week adding the pictures around the mirror/picture of Jesus.  I continued using directed listening questions related to each verse as well as I continued with teaching the sign language along with other singing activities. 

Here are some other ideas that I have used in teaching or reviewing this song that the children have enjoyed doing:
  • Randomly post the pictures on the board for one of the verses. As everyone sings, you walk around and tap a child on the shoulder and that child goes up and selects the first picture to put in order around the mirror/picture of Jesus then quietly sits down as the next child you have tapped on the shoulder goes up and selects the next picture to place in order. Make sure you tap the next child as soon as the previous child looks like they are almost done so you can keep it moving quickly. Continue singing and tapping until all the pictures are in the correct order. Sing one more time to verify if they have it in the correct order.
  • For the third verse for JR I had the children count for how many different names there were for Jesus in the song. I then had them listen again and then tell me what those names were.
  • For the third verse for SR I posted (you could write on the board) several names we used for Jesus. File attached below. I asked them what is the common thing about these words I posted. [They are all names of Christ given in the scriptures.]  I then had them listen to the song and tell me which of these names are in the song. I had them come up and remove the ones not in the song. Sing again until only the ones in the song are left. Sing together the names in order then add the rest of the verse.
  • For JR I did a sway and freeze thing. I asked them if they felt the music sounded like a big wind storm that is loud like thunder or like a gentle breeze blowing back and forth? [Gentle breeze] I demonstrated visually with my arms and tone of voice for affect.  I then had them sway their arms side-to-side and rock their bodies like a gentle breeze and then freeze now and again to see which way their arms were pointing to see if they were pointing in the same direction as mine.  I usually had them freeze after each phrase in the beginning.  This helps them to feel the melody as they are learning the song. As they became more familiar with the song, I would more randomly freeze to see if I could catch any of them not freezing at the same time.
  • Continue playing Signing Charades.  After the children learn the sign language, you could have them take turns coming up and picking from a hat, flowers or somethings that are beautiful that you have a phrase written on a piece of paper attached to it.  The child has to do the sign language for that phrase and the primary guesses what phrase they are signing, then sing that part of the song together.  For the SR, you could split up into teams.
I have to admit that there were times the children sang this so beautifully, especially the last verse that they could just feel the spirit as much as I did.  I'm a person that does not like to cry in front of others, but at times, they did bring tears to my eyes with their strong, little spirits.  We did this for an extra song in the program last year and it was mesmerizing watching the children sign this as they sang.  Many were so graceful as they sang with their hands as well as their voice.    

Here are some pictures of the small posters. The round, key word visuals are similar. Sorry, not the best lighting taking these pictures in the middle of the night, but you get the idea.

  • Beautiful Savior: Round Pictures with Key Words
    • Cut out each visual. You could laminate and adhere magnetic tape on the back. I placed them around the picture of Jesus on the board for reviewing. Originally, I placed them around a large mirror with a picture of Jesus in the center as I taught the song.
  • Beautiful Savior: Small poster visual 
    • This file will need to print on 11"x17" sized paper. Most home printers do not have that capability.  You could have it printed at a copy center.  For durability you may want to print this on card stock at the copy center or if you print on paper, you could adhere the paper to a poster board. The 2nd page in this file would need to be cut in half and each half taped to the bottom of the first or second verse poster it belongs to. The 3rd verse has two pages you could tape together or just post one under the other or side-by-side with the word "Evermore" taped to the bottom of the last verse poster.  You could print out the last page of the round picture and key words file for the word "Evermore" to use since that prints out on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, so then you wouldn't have to pay for the larger sized paper.)

Monday, March 19, 2012


A Complete 20 Hand/Desk Bell Set
(these are in order,
but both purple-red "B" bells
look more red than purple in the picture)
Thought I would give some info on bell sets. The Kids Play handbell set is the most commonly recognized bells and are color-coded making it easier for children who don't read music to know when to play their bells when using color-coded bell charts. Some common places you can purchase them online are at Kids Play, Rhythm Band and Amazon. You can also check out music and educational stores in your area.

You can either get hand bells as just hand bells or in a combo hand bell—desk set. The ones pictured to the left are the combo ones I purchased. They are a little more expensive than the regular handbells, but can be played two ways; by shaking in your hand and by pushing down the top button while the bells are standing on a table. Playing it as a desk bell is great if you are only having one person play them. I use them this way to demonstrate with sometimes or to have the children listen and name the tune. If you don't plan on using them in the ways I just mentioned, then for just having the children play the bells, you really only need the hand bells set.

There are 20 bells in the whole hand bell set; however, they do now have an additional 5 note super expansion set making the whole ensemble now 25 bells.  You can sometimes buy the whole 20-bell set or they are also sold in smaller group sets, which makes it easier on the budget if you are just starting out. Here is the breakdown of the various sets:

    This is a picture of just the handbell set of 8
    verses the combo hand/desk pictured above.
  • 8-Note Handbell Set: This is the basic starter set that gives you an octave of notes from middle C up to high C—middle C, D, E, F, G, A, B, & hi C. You will be able to play any songs within that range that do not have any sharps or flats. You will pay roughly around $40+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
  • 5-Note Chromatic Add-On Set: This may be the next set you may want to purchase to add to your 8-note set. This set includes C#, D#, F#, G# & A#. These bells will increase your playing options by allowing you to play songs with many common sharps and flats. Most sets come with black handles or sticker to differentiate them from the regular notes. You will pay roughly around $35+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
    • 13-Note Chromatic Set: This set is both of the above sets grouped into one. If you plan on buying both sets, you will usually save money by getting this combined set. You will pay roughly around $70+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
  • 7-Note Expanded Range Set: As its name implies, this set will greatly expand your range of songs to play. This set includes Low A, Low A#, Low B, Hi C#, Hi D, Hi D# & Hi E. You will pay roughly around $45+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
    • 20-Note Handbell Set: This set groups the 8-note, 5-note and 7-note into one complete set. With all 20 bells, you should be able to play just about any song within the average singing range. I've only seen the 20 set in the combo hand/desk bell set and you will pay roughly around $135+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
  • 5-Note Super Expansion Set: If you already own the set of 20 bells and you really want to increase your range of play, then you can get this new super expansion set which includes Low G, Low G#, Hi F, Hi F# & Hi G. Since most Primary songs are rarely sung using these notes, where these may come in handy is when you would play the descants or obbligato pieces. You will pay roughly around $45+ for the set depending on where you purchase them.
When using a bell chart, I like to use my dancing dot stick that I made from an old clear, acrylic Levelor blind stick (used to adjust the angle of the slates of the blinds) and a big, red plastic jewel blingy thingy that I glued on one end. You can use a dowel or something else. This is reminiscent of the dancing dot you see bouncing across your screen when you are doing a sing-along or karaoke. The kids like it and sometimes it is fun to let a kid help do the dancing dot.

Below and attached is a colokey for the hand bells.  If you want to make your own pipe chimes, as I mentioned in a previous post, you can use the colokey file to color-code your pipe chimes to work with bell charts made for hand bells. Please note that the sharps for bells (the bells laying down in the top picture) are denoted by a slightly lighter color of its note color with a black handle instead of a white handle for the hand/desk combo set. For pipe chimes, you could color code it the same as its note color but add a thick, black stripe around the top or middle of the pipe. Below to the left is also a list of the notes, numbers and colors in scale order for a complete 20 bell set plus the new 5-note super expansion set.

This pdf does not show the new 5-note super expansion set.
Click here for the pdf of this color key
Low G    Teal Blue
Low G#  Teal Blue
Low A     Blue
Low A#   Blue
Low B     Purple-Red
1   C       Red
1#/C#    Red
2   D      Orange
2#/D#   Orange
3   E      Yellow
4   F      Green
4#/F#    Green
5   G      Teal Blue
5#/G#    Teal Blue
6   A      Blue
6#/A#    Blue
7    B     Purple-Red
8    C     Red
Hi C#     Red
Hi D       Orange
Hi D#     Orange
Hi E       Yellow
Hi F       Green
Hi F#     Green
Hi G       Teal Blue

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Last week as I was thumbing through March's The Friend magazine I came across the "Bringing Primary Home" article about our living prophets.  They had a cute idea that I just had to figure out a way to use it for singing time.  By the way, The Friend is a wonderful resource for a plethora of ideas that can be incorporated into singing time. Anyway, I remembered putting the names of the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles to the tune of "The Books in the Book of Mormon" years ago.  So, I decided to update the song with the current names and create a visual similar to what I found in The Friend to go along with it. I thought that would be perfect to go along with the second week's topic for this month of "The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are prophets." However, things were pretty busy at work last week and long hours, so I didn't get this idea done in time to post before last Sunday; just barely got it done last Saturday night, but it still works for this coming week's topic as well as in preparation for General Conference.

Chairs with the Names and Pictures
Ooops, Uchtdorf is falling off his chair!
I think next time I will put Monson
above Eyring and Uchtdorf
Sunday I introduced the song by asking the children how many prophets we have living today.
Yeah, I know, a trick question with the popular answer from the children being 1.  I did get various other numbers with one child who did say 15.  I also got curious and puzzled looks from the teachers and children as to why I was asking a question with what they thought was such an obvious answer.  I didn't give them the answer right off the bat but challenged them to count as I sang the song
a cappella AND in one breath.  There was a funny moment as some of the kids and teachers ended up counting "An-der-sen" as three.  Afterwards, I posted the chairs and faces on the board in order and let them count them to verify.  A plus was that some of the children recognized what tune this song came from.

We started by singing it through very s-l-o-w-l-y in s-l-o-w—mo to help them get the placement of the names within the song then speeding it up each time and then the final time I challenged them to sing it as fast as the pianist could play it, not as fast as they could sing it; however, she could play it pretty, darn fast.  If your pianist can't play very fast, then just sing it a cappella. I also challenged them to sing it all in one breath. Even the teachers seemed to be having fun with this song and really got into trying to learn the names and faces.

I only worked on this for about 5 minutes and only did it with the SR primary since I didn't have time in JR as well as it was more of a thinking activity.  I will probably just introduce it next week to the JR and have them clap a beat or something just to familiarize them a little with the names.  Ohhhh, thought here! Maybe I'll bring my homemade shaker eggs for them to keep the rhythm.  Haven't used those for a while.

At the end of singing time I gave a quick mention about this being in The Friend magazine and showed the magazine to them challenging them to look it up and see if they could learn which names and faces went together.  Although some kids recognized the chair thingy from the magazine, it was a bit surprising that many of the children had not seen that yet in the magazine, but they were also EXCITED to go and check it out when they got home.

This coming Sunday we'll see how well they took the challenge I gave them to familiarize themselves with the faces and names of our First Presidency and 12 Apostles. I will make a game of passing out the faces, after reviewing the song a time or two, and having the classes figure out who they have and their class group will also sing and stand up together on the names of those they have pictures of.  I will leave the chairs/names on the board so they can follow more easily.  I may have them switch their pictures with another class and repeat if time permits. Then I will have them match the pictures back up with the chairs/names.  I'll probably also have them sing through the song by rotating through each class singing only one name at a time, e.g. class 1 sings "Monson" class 2 sings "Eyring" class 3 sings "Uchtdorf, class 4 sings "Packer" then starting over with class 1 singing "Perry" and so forth.  

Many of the IDEAS from the "Latter-day Prophets" post can be used with this song also.  I don't know what it is, but it just seems my SR primary likes songs with names. Maybe it is the list of people, books or things that are easier to memorize for them or maybe it is because they usually have an upbeat tempo to the song. DUNNO. Either way, we usually have fun with these type of songs.

Various Options to Pick and Choose From
Below are the files I've created.  The main file has head shot pictures with each name under it for reference, but I suppose you could leave it attached to the picture or glue it on the back for reference.  I didn't because I wanted the option for playing match up with the chairs and the head shots and if the pictures had the names on them, the kiddos would know which chair to match it to.       DUH!!! 

Included in the file are pictures of chairs with the names below as well as a page with just chairs in case you don't want names attached, but there are also name tags in case you want to keep the pictures on the chairs without a name or use the name tags with the option to remove the name tags for matching or just use the pictures and name tags with no chairs.  The name tags are in a separate file.  Is it clear as mud now?!?!? Oh yeah, if you don't want to cut the shape of the chairs out, you could just cut the sheets in half between the chairs and use that way.  Maybe trimming off the outer edges so both sides of the chairs have equal borders.  Just a few options depending on what you might want to do. Just print the page or pages you need.

There is also a cheat sheet in the main file with all the faces and names because I just knew I wouldn't be able to remember each face and name for all of them.  There is also a file with a mini-sized cheat sheet with four to a page, just in case you feel like making a handout for the children to take home just before conference.  Still thinking on whether I'll be doing that for my group or not.  I will see how interested they seem this next week.  I just went ahead and created the mini handout since it didn't take that much more time after I made the full-page version. I've also attached a file of the sheet music with the names added for the lyrics so you can see how to sing the names in relation to the notes.

I did laminate these visuals, because I just love laminating things and plan on using these for next conference.  I also added magnets to the back of the chairs and head shots to make it easier to place on the board.  Just make sure you place the magnet at the top backside of the chair and in the middle of the headshot so the magnets don't interfere with each other when you place the head on top of the chair. Or just use your loose magnets.  If you are placing the head shot pictures over the chairs, make sure your magnets are strong enough to hold with having the chair between it and the board. I used magnetic strips cut from a roll.  It is a little stronger than magnetic tape.

I'm hoping this will help make it more exciting for the children come conference time when they recognize the faces on their TV screen.

Sheet Music with the Names (From the tune of "The Books in the Book of Mormon")

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Kids Play Bell Set
Children love to play instruments and bells are an easy instrument for them to play while they are learning a song.  If you are able to fit it into your Primary budget, get a set of bells.  Kids Play is a popular brand for using with younger children since they are color coded.  If you get the 8-note set, you will only be able to play songs in the key of C.  If you add on the chromatic set of 5, you will be able to play more songs.  You can also add the expanded set of 7 more bells. With all three sets, you'll have almost two octaves, allowing you to play just about any song you will probably sing with your kids  If your budget won't allow for a set, check and see if your stake has a set in the stake library that you can borrow or check with another music leader that you may know who may be willing to lend you the bells.

Pipe Chimes with Color-Coded Ribbon
Another option that is less expensive is to make pipchimes.  They are fairly easy to make and you can find all sorts of instructions on the internet on how to make them.  I would suggest you paint or color-code them with a ribbon to help make it easier for the kids to play. I would also suggest to number them and label them with the note to help you know in what order they go in.

I understand that Hobby Lobby has a bell set; however, they are color-coded differently than the Kids Play version.  My bell charts are color-coded for Kids Play bells.

Click here to download PDF file
Here is the pdf file for the "Stand for the Right" bell chart.  Make sure you download the PDF file and after downloading the PDF file, make sure you open it up in Adobe Reader to print.  You should then have the option to print it out in a poster format with "Tile all pages" under "Page Scaling".  I printed mine out on 16 pages which made it large enough for my wide room, but you can print smaller or larger depending on how big your primary is and how many pages you want to cut and tape together.  I assembled the poster into two sections for easier storage.  I taped the first two rows together for the first half and the last two rows were taped together for the second half of the poster.  You can see this CTR Game post for a little more detail on printing PDFs as posters.  Just make sure you download the PDF and not just copy the picture (jpeg).  A jpeg file does not give you the option to print in a poster format in Adobe Reader as well as the jpeg image will become pixilated when you enlarge the file if you are trying to print from your printer's poster option (if you have that option).  If you print from the PDF file from Adobe Reader, the resolution should remain the same no matter how large you print it.

At the bottom of the chart is a key for which bells are used in the song and the number below each color is how many times that bell is played in the song.  You could give the older kids two of the bells that only play once or twice so they get to play a little more, e.g. give "D" and "Hi D" to a child and "E" and "Hi C" together to another child.  I used the bottom key line of notes to let the kids each play their bell in turn to "warm up". The JR won't always play the song correctly, but, you know what, that is okay; it is a fun learning opportunity for them and they enjoy it.  The SR can follow the chart better and sometimes can surprise you on how they sound.  At the end of the song, I always let the children ring their bells together several times for extra added fun.

If you are able to get your hands on some bells or pipe chimes, take the opportunity to use them in your Primary.  It is a fun activity for the children and gives them exposure to musical instruments. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012


With March's theme being about prophets, I'm sure many of you have been planning on fitting in all those fun songs about prophets—if you haven't already begun. If you don't have any visual aids, here are some I made for the "Latter-day Prophets" song.  All files are listed at the bottom of this blog.
It seems to AMAZE the children to visually see how many latter-day prophets there have been when they see each one unfold as the song is sung via an accordion version using the pictures of each of the latter-day prophets with their name.  To make the accordion flip chart, I just took some page protectors and with a knife and a straight-edge cut off the side with the 3-holes so I had just the page pocket. Then using clear packing tape, I butted one page protector up against another and taped them together, repeating the process until I had 18 page protectors in a row all taped together.  Make sure you tape them all on the same side.  Insert the pictures with the taped side being the back, fold accordion style and away you go.  I used page protectors because I thought that maybe sometime I may do another flip chart or visual I would like to display accordion style so, this way all I would have to do is to switch out the pictures. You could just laminate the pictures and then tape them together accordion style.  Have 3-4 children stand in a row up front all spread out to help hold the accordion flip chart up as you sing and unfold the visual revealing each prophet. There is just something more spectacular about seeing one long row of prophets versus just having pictures posted on a board.  You could purchase the pictures from the Distribution Center or their online store, but I found it a little cheaper, at least for me, to print them and I wanted the names on the pictures.

If you prefer a smaller version, I've included a file with two pictures to a page.  Cut out each picture of the prophet to be the same size leaving a white border around the picture. Mine are 5 1/2" x 7 1/2".  You can mount them on sticks and/or add magnets to the back. Here are a few ways I used the smaller version:
  • I started with the pictures mounted onto sticks having about five children come up, passing out the first five prophet pictures and having them put themselves in order as I sung the beginning of the song with the first five names. After learning that part of the song, we would repeat the process with the next group of names.

  • Also, with the pictures mounted on the sticks, I would pass them out to the children and as we sang each prophets name, the child with that name would stand up then sit back down or hold them up.
  • Another time I decided to add a magnet to the back (could just use loose magnets) so that I could post them on the board so they could see as we sung them especially when I used the fun fact clip art with actions.  More on that later. 
  • Also on the board you can mix them up and then let a child or two put them in order. 
  • What about removing one or two at a time as they begin to memorize the song. 
  • You could do a variation of playing a match up game by having the pictures mixed up and face down on the board. Then take turns letting a child come up to turn over two pictures in an attempt to try and find the first two latter-day prophets.  When they find the first two, e.g. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, put them above your "game section" in order, sing that part of the song then repeat trying to find the next two, e.g. John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, and so on.
  • Another variation match up game is to match up the prophet with the fun fact clip art about the prophet.  See below for the file. 

As you are learning to sing the song, it would be fun to learn a little bit about each prophet.  I've included a fun fact sheet about the latter-day prophets that I've put together.  Actually, it is more than one sheet, but "fun fact sheets"  just didn't sound as spiffy.  I got most of the information off of the Church's web site.  There are also quotes from the prophets in blue as well as a coordinating song to sing, in red, if you want to do a "Choose and Review" activity sometime.  Along with the fun fact sheet, there is also a file with a fun fact clip art for each prophet and a key sheet file for the actions.  I've also included the link to the current version of the song. The ending is different than what is in the songbook, so if you want the music to coordinate with what you are singing, you will need a copy for you and your pianist.  Here are some ideas on using these files.
  • Go over some of the fun facts for a few prophets each week.
  • Tape the coordinating fun fact clip art onto the picture of the prophet.
  • Sing the song using the action that goes along with each of the fun fact clip art and prophet.  This really helps the JR to learn the song.
  • Do a choose and review activity by having the children take turns picking a picture, share the quote from the prophet and sing a song that relates to that prophet.  Some song choices I picked are listed on the Fun Fact Sheet.
The kiddos love to learn and sing this song.  They especially love hearing a little bit about the prophets life.  It helps to bring the prophets alive for the children.