Singing Time Ideas (almost 200 ideas)

Ultimate Primary Music ideas

These ideas where sent in by Tracy of NY, she said “I gleaned these off the “primusic” Yahoo group for two years. I thought they might help you add some ideas to that section for you.”

THANK YOU SO much Tracy and to all those that shared these ideas on that list.

Please remember that since these ideas have been sent to The Idea Door, they are AS IS, I have no other info other then what you read!



  1. Prophet Themes: Each prophet seems to have one or two "themes" they are remembered for.  I pulled out my Gospel Art kit and read the back of the pictures of each of the prophets.  At the very bottom they have quotes or the things they were known for in their presidency.  I chose about six prophets that I could think of songs that my kids knew.  I then had the kids choose a prophet, try to guess if they knew what that prophet was known for, and then we talked a little bit about that thing and sang a song that went with it. 




  1. Another review game is:  I put a phrase or a word on individual pieces of paper (depending on the number of children in the group).  I place them in a circle and the children stand in front of one and as the music plays we walk around the circle singing the song.  When the pianist stops playing everyone gets on a word and I pull out one of the words from a bag I'm holding.  Whichever child is on that spot, gets a sticker (which I have another teacher who is sitting hand them out so I can immediately go back to playing the game).  If a child has already received a sticker, it automatically goes to the person on the right.  (Now the children joke that we'll "Choose the Right Way")  Once again, we end up singing the same new song several times without the children realizing that we are reviewing.




  1. Leading Sticks: I made ribbon wands, or leading sticks out of slurpee straws that I hole punched the end of and tied a length of red, yellow and blue ribbon onto.  They were really cute, and the kids loved them.




  1. "Conducting wand" (plastic tube filled with water and glitter). This wand is used to control who is singing. The person conducting has the "power" to have everyone sing, row 1, row 2 or row 3 (waving across the individual rows) or it they point it at a specific child they have to sing alone (only for a few words of the song). I allow the children to have the "power" but it is a privilege and they know if they muck about they won't have another turn. The challenge children love this part of singing time and want to sing longer and longer so it is successful.




  1. 3 birds (clipart from the computer). I have an owl, canary and parrot. Once again I give the wand "power" to a child and they get to choose how we sing the song by interchanging between birds during the song (using the wand to point). The owl means we sing "hooo", the canary is when we sing properly, and the parrot is when we talk the words. You can use other bird pictures as appropriate




  1. "Punch Out"--make a poster board with 6-9  cut-out circles, put tissue paper over the circles, and anything you want behind the circles (at New Years I put bells behind the circles that "jingled"--we said we were "ringing in the New Year", for On a Golden Springtime, you could put suns behind them with phrases to the song/questions/etc.).  To decorate the poster board, you just put words like "bam" "kaboom" etc. under each circle.  Then to use the poster, the kids punch through the circles to get what is on the other side. It is thin, but actually held up okay--I just had to have a teacher help me hold it when the kids punched (one of us on each side). 




7.       Black Board: write the words to the verse/s up on the blackboard, sing the song through properly, then select children to come and rub 2 words out each. Then sing the verse again, and have more children rub words out. Sometimes I allow them to circle words as well and that means that where the word is circled the children sing "la" instead. Usually we sing the words that have been erased but sometimes we miss those words out while we sing and when the circled words "la" is added it is a
really fun way to sing a song and believe it or not the kids really learn the words.




  1. Rhythm Actions: Decide on an appropriate rhythm actionfor the song (ex. slap the thigh, hit the back of the hand, snap, hit theback of the hand, etc...). Demonstrate it slowly for the children to asteady beat. Practice it once or twice. Challenge them not to lose theaction as you sing. Start the rhythm action to the beat of the song and then
    sing the song as you do the rhythm actions. This is GREAT fun... and my
    favorite (and my kids' favorite) is a 6/8 beat.




  1. Eraser Pass: Choose major words of the song. Find 2 or 3 synonyms/like wordsand/or opposites for each of the major words. List the major word and itslike words together in a group (with each major word having its own group) on either a blackboard or white board.. If possible putting each group in adifferent color. Tell the children to listen to the song and erase the wordsthat do NOT belong in the song. Tell the children there are 2 rules: 1. Passthe eraser to someone who has not had the eraser before. 2. Do not talk orgive hints. Begin to sing and hand the eraser to one of the children. Helpthem understand that they erase words that are NOT in the song, then theypass the eraser on to someone else. Song the song over and over again asthey erase.




  1. Beat vs. Rhythm: As the children to keep the beat on their lap as you singthe song. Sing the song and keep the beat. As the children to tap the rhythmof the words with their other hand on their lap. Sing the song and tap therhythm of the words. Split the group in half. Have half the group tap thebeat and the other half tap the rhythm of the words as you sing. Switch andsing again. For fun, challenge the children to keep the beat in their lefthand and the rhythm of the words in their right hand (or visa versa). Singthe song and tap the beat AND the rhythm of the words. It is pretty rough,but the kids really like it and they are LEARNING the songs as their handsare trying to do the rhythms.
  2. 4/4 time: (Right hand) slap thigh, lift hand (hit the back of the right hand with the palm of the left hand), snap (left), slap hand (right)… repeat… OR… (with both hands) lap, lap, clap, clap, lap, clap, snap, hold, (repeat) lap, lap, clap, clap, lap, clap, snap… or any combination of laps claps, snaps, etc..

    3/4 or 6/8 time: This is our FAVORITE.. and my boys love this! It goes like this: (R) thigh, up (slap w/Left), (R) thigh… (L) thigh, up (slap w/Right) (L) thigh.. repeat. (It sounds like this.. “down, up, down, down, up, down, down, up down, down, up, down”) This takes awhile to get… and you start out slowly with the kids and just encourage them. This will become one of their favorite patterns. When I first taught this, I explained to my
    toughest boy that if he could master this pattern, he would be able to master any sports task… because of the coordination.




  1. Magic Crayon:Tell the children that you have a magic crayon that draws large circles andit turns different colors. You can either give them a color, or let them picktheir own color in their mind. Tell them to draw large circles and sing thesong. As the children to take out their magic crayon and decide a color fortheir crayon. (Pantomime with them.) Sing and draw circles with your magiccrayon. After singing, ask the children what colors their crayons were. Youmay want to repeat the activity, but have them change the color of theircrayon (I like to "magically" change colors during the song by saying, "Ok, let's change colors... POOOF! and motion at the end of your magic crayon).




  1. Umbrella: I called a child up to hold the umbrella.  I "rained" on the umbrella with a spray bottle set at mist.....but it only rained when the children sang well.  As was suggested by the originator of this idea, I occasionally sprayed one of the kids singing and I sprayed the child holding the umbrella.  With each time singing, I had a different child hold the umbrella.




  1. Spin the Teacher: You can make creative shapes from poster or cardstock paper on bright colors and blindfold the teacher and have them turn around a couple of times, then have them pick a color or choose with their hands a paper.  On the paper you could have all kinds of things... song titles, a phrase from a song, and have the class who's teacher is up there tell you which song it's from.




  1. Scripture chase:  Write the scripturereferences from the songbook for several songs and the kids had to look up thereference, read the scripture, and try to figure out what song we were goingto sing. I also used the opportunity to point outhow the lyrics for many of the songs are taken almost word-for-word from thescriptures ("As I have Loved You," "Truth from Elijah", for example) andencouraged the kids to look for "matching songs" to the scriptures they readduring family scripture study.




  1. "Before and After."  All I did was make some word strips with phrases from different songs.  Some that we are learning and some others that they know.  They draw a slip and read it.  Then the group tries to tell what phrase comes before and what phrase comes after.  Then we sing it.  Sometimes to get it they have to say the whole song but they can usually figure it out. In senior, if they need some help we will deduct some points.  It makes them really concentrate on the words.  I give them 5 points if they get the phrase before and 5 points if they get the phrase after and up to 10 points for how well they sing the song.  When we are done singing, I tell them the score and they decide if they want to try again for a higher score.  I watch to see if everyone is singing, if they are watching me, if they are involved in the music, etc. to decide the score.  Since Senior primary likes to compete, I tell them how many points the junior made and let them try to beat it.  In junior we just tried to see how many points we could get. 




  1. Sing & Spin:  Borrow an office chair from the clerk’s office – the kind that you can spin around in.  Place a child in the chair, place pieces of paper on the floor around the perimeter of the chair like the numbers on a clock.  Spin the child when the child stops whichever paper the child’s toe is closest too is the song the kids will sing.




  1. Shoot the hoops:  This is a fun way to play name that tune.  Draw three lines on the floor with chalk or put down three lines with tape.  The closest line is worth one note, the second is worth 2 or 3 notes and the furthest away line is worth 3-5 notes.  I usually let the kids have 2 or three chances.  I place a bucket on a table against the wall or chalkboard.  Add up the points and that’s how many notes the kids get to hear to guess the song.  For a fun visual – I cut out orange circles and draw basketball lines on the circles.  I don’t put the song titles on the balls I just put the number that way I tell the pianist what number to play and the kids can try to guess.  This also makes it something I can use over and over again and change the songs.




  1. Mystery Bag:  I fill a bag with objects that are clues to songs.  In the past I have used the following:  picture of the temple or small wooden temple, picture of Pres. Hinckley, Book of Mormon, light bulb, hinge, package of microwave popcorn, small toy bird, yellow toy plate, sheep, silk flower, silk purple pansy, toy whale, toothbrush, picture of Jesus, a toy house or wooden home, tithing envelope, missionary name tag, hymnbook, etc.  This is a good thing to keep in the cupboard – that way when you have a few extra minutes you can pull out the bag or if you’re unexpectedly sick a presidency member or sub can easily do singing time.




  1. Apron:  Make or buy an apron and then sew several pockets.  You can place clues to one song in the pockets or you can keep slips of paper that have names of songs on them or a phrase from the song and then the kids have to guess the song.  The apron is also a good prop to keep in the cupboard for a last minute fill-in.




  1. Nutty singing:  Carefully crack walnuts open – put a paper with a song title inside and glue the shell back together.  The kids can crack the shell open and discover the song.




  1. Eggsellent Singing:  Blow out raw eggs, color them. When the dye is dry roll up a paper with a song title on it and stuff it down inside.  Then you let the kids crack the eggs open (it can be a mess so do it over a bowl or trashcan).  The kids absolutely love this – so be prepared to have some sad kids if they don’t get to crack an egg.




  1. Treasure hunt:  bury rocks that you’ve painted gold in a big bucket of sand or a box of sand, then let the kids take turns uncovering a rock.  Number the rocks that way you can use them over and over again.   Talk about the things we should treasure in our lives.  The songs could fit with this – for instance Happy Family – Families, Search Ponder and Pray – scriptures, Follow the Prophet – prophet, My Heavenly Father Loves Me – the world, our bodies, Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam – Jesus, I Belong to the Church. – The
    gospel, Friends are Nice – friends, The Sacred Grove – Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon Stories – Book of Mormon, I Love To See The Temple – temples, When I Am Baptized – baptism, etc.




  1. Summer Shell Pick:  This is fun to do in the summertime – fill a beach bucket with some sand and then place shells in the bucket – let the kids take turns picking a shell.




  1. Raindrop Singing:  Cut out raindrops and tape them to an umbrella, let the kids take turns picking a raindrop.  This is easy to tie in to a spiritual message – talk about how the prophet is like the umbrella and if we follow him he will protect us from the storms of life or the Savior is like the umbrella, or obedience is like the umbrella -etc.




  1. Puzzle:  Another great last minute singing time – take a picture from a church magazine or picture kit, cut it into strips or puzzle pieces, place the pieces under the kids seats and then let the kids who have a piece take turns bring up their piece and put the puzzle together.  The puzzle could also be a monthly theme or a song title that you print out on the computer with some cute graphics or maybe the finished puzzle will tell the kids
    where to look to find a reward – have fun with this the possibilities are endless.




  1. Sound Singing:   Audio tape the kids or people in your ward singing a line from a song – play the song and have the kids guess who they think is singing it.  This is fun on mother’s day or father’s day – guess whose mom or dad type of thing.




  1. Colorful Singing: Make a rainbow with construction paper – on the back of each strip put a song – then the kids can build the rainbow or take a color off – maybe under the rainbow you can have a quote phrase from a song so that when you’ve completely removed the rainbow the kids can find the phrase.




  1. Mystery Singing:  I got this idea years ago from Linda Brandolino.  Write the titles of songs in invisible ink – then let kids take turns using the decoder marker to uncover the title of the song.




  1. Easter Cantata -sing a story:  I got this idea from Linda too.  Make a book with poster boards that have the words or the title of the song and pictures from church magazines.  I started mine with Jesus Once Was A Little Child and then ended it with “I  Wonder When He Comes Again”  when we’ve done this in my ward it’s been used for the entire sharing time.  We read scriptures in between the songs and tell the entire Easter story.  I’ve even had somebody who could play the violin come in and play with the piano so the kids would know this was an extra special day.




  1. Envelope:  Take a key word from your monthly theme and use a big large brown envelope for each letter.  Each envelope will have a song on the back and inside the envelope it will have a picture that fits with the song or other visuals.  A child gets to pick an envelope and then help hold the visuals.




  1. Crossword or Word Search Puzzle:  Use the key words from a song in a puzzle or use key words from several songs for a pick-a-song singing time.  The older kids seem to enjoy this a lot.




  1. Opposite Songs:  Change the titles of the primary songs to the opposite words and let the kids try to figure them out.
    1. Laman’s Fear (Nephi’s Courage)
    2. Frowns (Smiles)
    3. Sunday (Saturday)
    4. Off a gray wintertime (On A Golden Springtime)
    5. In the barren bush bottoms (In the Leafy Treetops)
    6. Hate nobody (Love One Another)
    7. Take sang the big river (Give said the little stream)
    8. We won’t be weak (I Will Be Valiant)




  1. Jeopardy:  The kids love to play this game.  I make up about 4-6 categories and I have 3 ‘answers’ in each category.  The answers are phrases from songs so then the kids raise their hands and have to give the response in the form of a question – for instance if the card they picked said “a tiny seedling lay asleep’ then they would respond – “What is On A Golden Springtime?”  Here are the categories I’ve used before.  Shake, Rattle & Roll – movement songs; Get With the Program – songs from the program theme this year; Praise to the Man – songs that have something to do with Joseph Smith; Tell Me The Stories Of Jesus – songs that mention Jesus; I Think The World Is Glorious – songs that talk about the world or nature; Book of Mormon Stories – songs that have something to do with The Book of Mormon.
    1. Jeopardy game —  I got BIG cardboard pallets from Costco (they use then 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 MTG. PROGRAM, SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL. 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 (ie:  the Lord provides a way) and they tell you the name of the Song in question form (ie:  What is “Nephi’s Courage”) Then you sing the song.


35.    Riddles Jeoprady They had to figure them out, then we sang the song.  I just made a poster so they could all see them (saves on photocopies).  See if you can figure them out.  I'll put the page numbers so you can look them up if I was too abstract in my thinking!  This was just a first draft, so I'm sure many of you could modify them to be even better!  Post if you have any brainstorms of your own to improve or add to.  Even the teachers had a great time today with this activity!!


Category: Shake, Rattle & Roll
1-- particular body parts (275)
2-- ability to be flexible  (277)
3-- copy cat me (276)
4-- smart and unlearned grown boys  (281)

Category: Get With The Program (songs from the program this year)
1-- Most Enjoyable vision of church-like building  (95)
2-- to mimic a carpenter born in Bethlehem (78)
3-- I'm going down the straight and narrow  (164)
4-- the young beating vessels did an "about-face" for their ancestors
** number 4 is not a true title to a song, but my primary kids don't
know the title to that song, so I did the first line**

Category: All In The Family
1-- Elated at my father's return (210)
2-- Related people are quite possibly bound eternally (188)
3-- A jovial group of relatives (198)
4-- while assisting we're jolly (198)

Category: Scripture Power
1-- Tales from sacred writings (118)
2-- Hunt, Think, divinely communicate (109)
3-- determined missionaries with global ideas (172)
4-- the shining dinnerware (86)  (my personal favorite!)




  1. Clothesline:  take real clothes or using graphics print out clothes then put the songs on the clothes and on the clothespins write a way to sing.  The kids pick one of each and hang them on a clothesline you’ve stringed across the room.




  1. Get the bugs out:  This is a cute technique to polish program songs.  I made a tree on a poster board and then I cut out apples that had the titles of the program songs on them and 3 gummi worms on the inside – if they sang the song and got the words right they got one worm out and if they sang it strong they got another worm out and if they sang it while sitting up or standing up straight and tall and facing me they got the third worm out – We tried to fill our bug jar with the worms.  When the jar was full the kids got a worm.
    1. Get the bugs out — I went to a “Party store/dollar store” and bought real looking plastic bugs…. I think they cost me 8 for a $1.   The kids got a real kick out of it…  I put them in a paper bag and had attached a small piece of tape to the bottom of each bug.  I  had a number written on each so I could control which songs we sang.  The kids pulled one bug out or “caught one” and then had to hold it while we sang the song.  We then decided if  the bugs had been caught so we could put it in the BUG JAR (a big miracle whip plastic jug) that I had decorated with bug stickers.  If not, the bug went back into the bag.  Great for reviewing the CSMP songs! (the bugs symbolize the problems with the songs)
  2. Testimony Tammy or Tim:  This is a good singing time to do the week before a Fast Sunday or the day of a Fast Sunday.  Take a graphic of a boy or girl and print it out so that the head is about the size of a piece of paper.  You can use the whole body or it can be just from the shoulders up.  Then print out sentences that would be appropriate for a testimony and print them in a speech bubble graphic.  Then put the testimony bubbles around the head graphic.  The kids can come up and pick a bubble – you can tell why that’s a part of a testimony and have a song that fits that sentence – for instance.  I know Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ – The Sacred Grove, I know Gordon B. Hinckley is the prophet on the earth today – Latter-day Prophets or Follow the Prophet, I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer – Beautiful Savior or I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus, etc.

  3. Music Mystery:  Come into the room for singing time wearing a trench coat, hat, dark glasses and carrying a small notebook – tell the kids you’re on a hot case and are looking for clues and you need them to help you – before primary hide clues around the room, under chairs etc.  The clues can be big question marks you’ve cut out from construction paper.  Then for fun you can print the clue in a tiny font so that the kids need to look at it through a magnifying glass.  On the chalkboard it can have a question that you’re searching for the answer.  The answer to the clues will be songs and the first letter for each song will be a part of the answer. My Heavenly Father Loves Me, On a Golden Springtime, The Church of Jesus Christ; Help Me Dear Father to Freely Forgive, Early To Bed and Early To Rise, Reverence is Love. This example spells out Mother – but you can do whatever fits into your theme.

  4. Scripture Chase Singing:  Put the scriptures that are listed at the bottom of the songs on slips of paper – have the kids look up the scripture – the first one to find it reads it and then the kids try to figure out what song fits that scripture.  This is a lot of fun – but obviously best with older kids.