Friday, September 23, 2011

Nursery Singing Time

I am the music leader for the primary (children's group) at our church.  That means every Sunday you will find me doing all kinds of crazy things to help the children learn the gospel through music.  A few months ago, my primary president asked if I could also go into the nursery (children 18 mos to 3 years) and teach them as well.  I was more than willing as my daughter is in that class and I know how much she loves music.  I will admit that I was apprehensive because is seemed a bit overwhelming to add that to my already busy schedule.  So of course I turned to the internet for help.  I took most of my ideas from here and here then modified them for my situation.  Here's what I do....

I decided that the best way for the children to lean the music and to keep the work load down for myself would be to sing the same songs every week.  Children this age really thrive on routine.  In addition, it takes several repetitions of the same song before they will even begin to join in.  So I made up a schedule and I stick to it every week. The hardest part was gathering all the supplies, but once I had them all together everything became easy peasy.  (note: cs = Children's Songbook)

First, I keep all my supplies in a tote in the primary room so they are ready to go when it's time

When I enter the nursery room the children are always so excited to see me.  They are so cute!  No one else greets me as enthusiastically as they do.

In order to encourage the children to stay in place near me, I spread a blanket on the floor for them to sit on.  They love to help me spread it out.

1.  Hello Friends, cs 254a (actions)
We always start with this song.  We sit in a circle (I kneel on the floor as well), hold hands and shake hands as we sing.

2.  Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, cs 275a (actions)

3.  I Love To See the Temple, cs 95 (pictures)
I cut pictures from the Temples magazine and glued them onto card stock for stability and to hide the other side.  Then I slipped them into plastic page protectors.  I give each child a picture to hold and look at while we (I) sing the first verse of the song.  I had to tape the tops closed or the children would take the pictures out of the protectors. :)

4.  Smiles, cs 267a (actions, pictures)
I cut out and laminated these faces then taped them on opposite sides of a large craft stick.  I show the face that matches the words and encourage the children to smile and frown along.  You can find the faces in the Primary 3 visual aids or here.

5.  If You're Happy, cs 266 (actions, bells)
I made these bell bracelets with craft supplies I had on hand: some stretchy silver cord and small jingle bells.  You could also use ribbon, string, or pipe cleaners or glue the bells onto craft sticks.  No substitute for the bells (at least not that I can think of!)  We sing one verse clapping our hands then another verse waving bye-bye with both hands to really hear the bells.  They love it!

6.  Once There Was a Snowman, cs 249 (pompom, actions) OR Popcorn Popping, cs 242 (actions) OR Rain is Falling All Around, cs 241b (actions)
We only do one of these songs, depending on the season or the weather; Snowman in winter, Popcorn in spring, and Rain all the other times substituting the current weather for rain.  For Snowman I have small white pompom "snowballs" for them to hold.  I usually ask them questions about the weather to introduce Rain is Falling.
Me:  "Is it snowing outside?"  Them:  Nooo.
Me:  "Is it sunny outside?"  Them: Nooo.
Me:  "Is it raining outside?"  Them: Yes!
Then we do actions suggested by the lyrics.  I think once the leaves start falling, we'll use 'leaves' in place of 'rain'.

7.  Primary Song of the Month (flipchart)
This is actually something new I'm thinking about adding.  The plan is to bring in my flipcharts I use in primary and sing them part of the song the rest of the primary is learning that month.  I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how it will go, but it think it would help them to be at least a little familiar with the songs (as much as they can tolerate).

8.  Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, cs 60 (streamers)
The children each get two streamers to wave while we sing.  Of course, we have to throw our arms in the air on "sun-BEAM".  Here's the tutorial on making the streamers that I posted to another blog.

9.  The Wise Man and the Foolish Man, cs 281 (actions)

10.  Do As I'm Doing, cs 276 (shakers)
Each child gets two eggs to shake while we sing.  This is their favorite prop; they look forward to it the whole singing time.  They're just Easter eggs that I filled with a half tablespoon of rice (the least amount I could and still have them sound good) then glued shut with a hot glue gun.

BTW, the open egg is one that one of the children broke open last Sunday.  That's why I put in the smallest amount of rice I could.  Hopefully the rest of the children won't follow his example this Sunday.  I'd hate to not be able to use these anymore!

11.  I Am a Child of God, cs 2 (mirror)
I like to end on a reverent note and this is my favorite primary song of all time.  I used puff paints to decorate the mirror.  The children fold their arms while I hold the mirror and move it around so they each get a chance to look in it. Here's a closer look at the mirror:
 The kids are so funny: they love to make faces at themselves:

After we're done singing I give each child a sticker, then they help me shake out and fold up the blanket.  Finally, they all yell 'bye-bye' as I leave.  They're the best. :)

There you have it.  I hope you can use some of my ideas in your nursery.  And please share your ideas as well!

Happy Singing


Liz said...

I love "Rain is Falling." When I was chorister, we had one little girl in the nursery that was sure it was always snowing at her house. All the other kids were ready for "Sun is Shining" and she wanted "Snow is Falling." It was very cute. It was definitely my favorite age to lead.

Ben Spendlove said...

I never think of little things like having them sit on a blanket to keep them together. Does it work? I'll try it with the 12 year-old boys. ;) Awesome props.

Alberta said...

Ben, it works for most of the kids. Of course there are always a few that won't sit still no matter what. Let me know if it works for 12 year-olds. ;) Maybe beanbag chairs would work better for that age?

Jocelyn Christensen said...

These are really awesome ideas! I just got called as the Nursery Leader and will be doing this right away! Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

To "seal" my shaker eggs, I cut strips of fabric just a little bigger than the egg and then cut slits in the top and the bottom. I wrap the fabric around the egg and use several coats of mod podge to adhere the fabric to the egg. The slits allow the fabric to contour on the top and the bottom of the egg and you end up with pretty indestructible shaker eggs.

Alberta said...

Great idea! You could make some really fun and colorful eggs that way too. Thanks for sharing!

Cameron said...

Oh man, you just saved my life. I just got called to nursery and I am super overwhelmed about ways to keep them involved. thank you so much for all these ideas!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing your idea. I'll surely use next sunday in the sunbeam class.I hope they will enjoy of it , I have just been called as music teacher and someone told me they ate sing along...thrillerrrrr. I will let you know how it work out.

Cheryl Hood said...

This is so helpful. Like others before me, I've just been asked to be the Sunday School leader. I will definitely try them. Thanks for sharing!

Amber said...

These ideas are awesome!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

Anonymous said...

Colored electrical tape works well to seal them and it is stretchy so not too many creases!!

Lesly Rodriguez said...

I love your ideas. I was just called for music teacher and I was really scared because I didnt hace any idea as to what I should be doing. I know what I wanted to do and change from the current music teacher but its not the same when you are put in this great calling. Thank you so much for sharing!