Today’s idea comes from Sister J., a phenomenal music leader who has a million (ok, maybe only 38) ways for kids to sing. These ideas are especially good to keep kids interested while they learn a new song. You know how it goes — kids need repetition to learn a new song, but if you just ask them to sing it over and over (and over and over), they’ll groan, go cross-eyed and get fidgety. But if you have them sing different ways, you can keep them singing the same song until the millennium. From time to time, Sister J. puts five or six of the following ideas on slips of paper and calls on a child to choose one. (Click to download the pdf 38 Exciting Ways to Sing.) If you frequently do sign language when you sing, you can keep signing as you do many of these (particularly #1 – singing AND signing like a robot!).
Naturally, some weeks you’ll want to skip the gimmicks and sing sweetly, hoping the children will feel the Spirit and learn the message of the words. But from time to time (especially during the full moon when the whole Primary is on overdrive), it’s fun to mix it up with some of these fun ways to sing.
- Sing like a robot (jerky and monotone).
- March in place.
- Sing like a human musical note — stand tall for the high notes, crouch down for lower notes. Some music leaders do this with their hands, indicating when the music moves up or down; this way kids can use their whole bodies.
- Sing like an opera singer.
- Tap your toes.
- Have a child conduct the music while the music leader takes a seat in the audience.
- Crescendo (get louder) throughout the song. This is harder than it sounds — you have to increase in volume ever-so-gradually so that you’ve got somewhere to go until you finish strong!
- Decrescendo (get softer) throughout the song.
- Sing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- Sing in a cone of silence — just lip synch the words.
- Sing in pairs. Divide up the children so they have a partner. You could move the chairs so they’re facing each other. Each child sings every other word, alternating throughout the song. (This too is harder than it sounds, to switch on each word instead of switching by syllables!) Then switch, so the other child sings the first word.
- Sing the whole song while standing on one leg. No, you can’t hop, rest your foot on your other leg, or put it down for a minute.
- Face the back of the room and sing. Yes, that means the music leader is behind the children, so children have to sing without a chorister!
- Sing like an angel.
- Sing like the Statue of Liberty. Assume the Lady Liberty pose — right hand holding up an imaginary lamp, left hand holding an imaginary book at your side.
- Pat your head and rub your tummy while you sing.
- Sing while your hands do the actions to “head, shoulders, knees and toes.”
- Slap your lap in rhythm.
- Do the chicken dance.
- Just your row or class sings.
- Do hula motions while you sing.
- Sing with your eyes closed.
- Snap your fingers in rhythm.
- Hold your nose shut while you sing.
- Sing like a snake, holding out every “SSSSSSSSS.”
- Sing in a very high (falsetto) voice.
- Sing in a very low, deep voice.
- Pound your hand like a hammer in rhythm.
- Omit one or two words that appear frequently in the song.
- Hold your tongue and sing. Well, try to sing, anyway.
- Take a deep breath and see if you can make it through the whole song on one breath.
- Drum your fingers together in rhythym.
- Sing staccato (short, disconnected notes).
- Sing legato (smooth and connected).
- Clap out the rhythm.
- Sing like you’re bearing your testimony.
- Child’s choice.
Even if you choose one of the silly ways to sing, you might want to end with #37 — sing like you’re bearing your testimony, concentrating on the words and the message of the song, letting the music carry you heavenward. Happy singing!
– Marci, with guest contributor Sister J.
These ideas are part of the book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.” Read here to see how this very blog became a book!