Monday, August 31, 2009

Nursery Ideas

I had a request for some ideas for Nursery Singing time. For me, there are 2 absolute keys to making singing time in nursery successful.

#1 Consistency. (Sorry, Anon; I know you are just subbing so this is hard to establish in just a few weeks, but it sounds like this may be what your nursery is missing and why the kids wander around instead of singing). Whereas in Jr/Sr primary you need to keep things new and interesting each week, the nursery kids really need consistency. I always do things the same way in nursery. They sit in chairs in a semi-circle around me. They aren't allowed to bring toys to singing time; in fact the leaders usually close the divider so they can't even see the toys. You may need the leaders' help keeping the kids in the chairs at first if they're not used to it. We always sing the same handful of songs and introduce new songs very slowly. We always end with the same song, I Am a Child of God, so they are ready to say the prayer and have their snack. I also try to do the more rowdy songs towards the beginning and then wind down to I Am a Child of God so they are actually reverent (well, some of them) by the end.

#2 Little Hands Need To Be Kept Busy. Whether it's choosing songs that have actions, or having something for them to hold while they sing, I find that I can't hold their attention for longer than a minute if they are not doing something interactive. Here are the songs I do and how I do them:

*3 Little Ducks. I found a small clipart picture of a duck, printed it on cardstock, laminated them, and glued them on popsicle sticks. I pass them out so the kids can move their little ducks around with the actions of the song.

*Teasing Mr. Alligator. If you don't know this song, LEARN IT. Kids love it. The actions are so fun and keep them engaged.

*ABC's or Twinkle Twinkle. I always have them clap their hands, shake bells, or march in place.

*Snowman, Popcorn Popping, Wise Man and the Foolish Man. Any songs that have actions seem to keep them engaged.

*Happy Family. I just started this a few weeks ago so most of the kids still don't know the words, but we will get there eventually. I made finger puppets from the nursery manual. Several mommies and several daddies and the kids can each wear one on their finger while we sing.

*Follow the Prophet. My kids caught on to this very quickly. They learned the chorus in just a few weeks. You can see the vis aids I made here.

*3 Little Speckled Frogs. My 3 year old got a package of little plastic frogs for his birthday that I bring to nursery sometimes. The thing is, sometimes there are a few kiddos ( my son included) that fight over the frogs, so just know your audience. You could always make laminated frogs on sticks so they're all the same and then there's no fighting.

Some other ideas I've seen/done before:
*Make "conducting wands" so they can conduct the music with you. Get a package of pencils, some thumb tacks, and some curling ribbon. Cut a few strips of ribbon about 6 inches long and use the tack to secure them to the eraser end of an unsharpened pencil.

*Draw a large elephant on a piece of poster board with a hole cut out where the trunk would be. Have a child stick his arm through the hole and conduct the music with the "elephant's trunk."

*I found a picture of a beehive and a bumble bee. I made several copies of the bee and laminated them and also laminated the beehive on cardstock. I handed out the bees and let the kids come up one at a time and stick the bee to the beehive and then we sang a song.

Hope this helps. Happy Singing!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Primary

August 25th is the anniversary of the first primary meeting being held. I plan to do a birthday party for the Primary. This original idea was posted by The Crazy Chorister, who has endless ideas that I use very often!

I plan to decorate with balloons and streamers (left over from my 3 year old's birthday party last month!) and wear a party hat if I can find one.

My primary really needs to review I lived in Heaven. Like really. I was called in March and dove right in teaching My Eternal Family and really didn't do enough repeating/reinforcing of I Lived in Heaven and now we're getting close to the program and I realize they really don't know the 2nd or 3rd verse. So I am going to focus on each verse individually, plus How Firm a Foundation.

I'm going to play 4 party games:

1. Musical Chairs-have 4 chairs set up in the front with a song taped to each one (I'm doing each verse of ILIH individually and then HFAF by itself). Have 3 kids come up and circle the chairs while the pianist plays a fun song. When the music stops, they sit in the closest chair. Then we'll pick the song on the empty chair and sing it using my buzz/sing sign. If it happens to be the 2nd or 3rd verse of ILIH, I'll probably have them sing it a few times through in different fun ways so get the review in.

2. Pin the Bishop on the Church-(This is one I thought up, hope it works!) Before hand I'm going to use my sidewalk chalk to draw a scene on the blackboard of our church building: a chapel, parking lot, trees, people, etc. I have a 3 x 5 picture of our bishop that I intended to use for Father's Day, but never did. So I'm going to have a child come up, blind fold them, spin them around (I probably will only spin the sr. primary kids) and have them try to get the bishop right on the door of the church. With the 3 songs that are left from Musical Chairs, I'll have a child randomly pick one and then we'll sing that song a certain number of times, depending on how close they got the picture to the right spot. If it's right on the door, we'll sing it once. On the church, but not right on, twice. Outside the church somewhere, 3 times.

3. Hot Potato-I plan to set up their chairs in a circle for this entire activity. I did this for my pioneer day activity and they loved it. It's a nice change of scenery and makes it even more exciting. I'll have a child pick between the last 2 songs and toss a beanbag around while we sing that song. When the music stops, whoever has the beanbag will have to say the next line in the song (for Sr. primary I may have them say the preceeding line to make it harder). We may sing the song a couple times through if time permits. I love this idea because it will really make them focus on the words of the song.

4. For the last song that's left I plan to do different activities for my Jr. and Sr. primaries. I am going to do the Telephone game for my older kids. I'll start by whispering a line from the song to one child and let them pass it around and see how close it is to the original. Maybe even let a child choose a phrase to start and pass it around ending with me. They'd like that! Then we'll sing the song with that phrase inserted (granted it's not too crazy). I think that will be a little too advanced for my little ones so for Jr. Primary I'm just going to have a helium balloon and have them sing louder/softer as I raise/lower the balloon. Maybe even let a child control the balloon if time permits.

I'm excited for this one. Most of all, because it's not much prep for me and I think the kids will be excited about it.