This fun activity uses 2 (or more if desired) different instruments to draw attention to the different tempo/melodies of the two verses of the song A Child’s Prayer. I’m calling it a “Team Band” activity as I plan to have the kids work in pairs, and then switch roles! This is one of the fun activities I have planned for January, see my whole schedule here! Here’s my plan for the activity.
A Child’s Prayer
Team Band Activity
I’ll start this activity with a very short introduction to the song tying in how it is one of the weekly songs their family may be studying at home this week for Come, Follow Me. I’ll include just a very short explanation of how this song relates to that lesson (like 30-seconds intro is all that’s needed).
Then, I tell the kids I have two different beat patterns, and ask if they think they can follow me. We’ll sing together the first and second verse of A Child’s Prayer. I’ll demonstrate the two different patterns and have the kids follow along with their hands. After the second verse, I’ll ask a few volunteers to show me the patterns and we’ll do them together to everyone knows the beats.
I’ll then have the kids pair up. In Junior Primary, I most likely will have all the front row be one instrument and all the back row be the second instrument. That way, it’s easier for them to stay with their pattern and still simple for them to swap instruments, when it’s time to. 🙂
Team Band Rhythm Patterns
Group 1: The first group will have one instrument and will make distinct sounds follow the beat. I plan to have them make a noise on every other beat, so for example on “Heavn”-ly “fath”-er they would shake their bells on the first part of each of those words, and hold their instrument still and quiet on the second beat of each word.
You can use bells, egg shakers, rhythm sticks, even paper plates or a clap — whatever you have on hand. I’m planning to use my Jingle Bell bracelets for Group 1. They will only play their instrument on the 1st and 3rd (combined) verses.
Group 2: The second group will have a different instrument. They will make slow and smooth sounds following the melody. Look for an instrument that can keep a steady, constant, but mellow sound for this part.
I plan to use Sand Blocks made from pool noodles, which is on my list of things to make this year! I’m really excited to introduce those. But rubbing rhythm sticks (rather than clicking/tapping them) would also work great as would rubbing hands together slowly or paper plates or a slow movement of egg shakers.
This group will use their instruments only on the 2nd and 3rd (combined) verses which demonstrates the slower answering line of lyrics. They would slide forward on “Heavenly” and backward on “father” to help demonstrate the speed I imagine for the flow of the music.
Combining and Switching Instruments
When the two instruments come together, it will help demonstrate the contrast between the urgent asking feeling of the 1st verse and the slow patient response 2nd verse. You will likely want a helper to lead one of the parts. You can pick either a confident Primary volunteer that knows the part and can stay on their verse or choose an adult teacher or Primary leader to help you lead for the 3rd verse.
After the first time through, you can let the kids switch instruments. Some kids may not want to (especially in Junior) but let those that want to swap go ahead and swap!
If there’s enough time to sing through it one more time, I’ll ask for volunteers to come up and help me lead, and let anyone who want to join me up front come on up. In Junior, this usually means most of the 25 or so kids come up, and I go stand in the back of the room to lead from there. 🙂
Wrapping Up the Lesson
At the end of this activity, I’ll encourage the kids to try the team band at home with their families while studying the lesson plan this week! They can be the teachers and can use anything they might have at home — paper plates, patsch/claps, click spoons together, etc!
This is a great way to let the kids take an interest and encourage participation and even some leadership while engaging in the home study portion of the Come, Follow Me manual!
If you need help with leading this song, I highly recommend using A Child’s Prayer Flip Chart for leading especially the 3rd verse, to help the kiddos remember and stay with their lyrics!