Away in a Manger – Dance Scarves

If you have an extra wiggly primary, movement activities can be a lifesaver! Dance scarves are a great way to get kids engaged and moving! This simple Away in a Manger – Dance Scarves activity is a super fun way to practice your Christmas songs this year.

Away in a Manger Dance Scarves

Away in a Manger – Dance Scarves

If you’ve never used dance scarves before, they are a great way to keep kids engaged in any activity because they come in lots of fun colors! You can purchase your own set of 24 colorful dance scarves pretty cheap online.

Start by passing out a scarf to each child. You can even save some money by having kids take turns using the scarves. Use this simple pattern to demonstrate the motions before singing Away in a Manger.

I created this short video below to model the actions to the song. In this video, I sing the melody to the song while demonstrating the 4 actions of the scarf pattern for Away in a Manger.

Away in a Manger – Dance Scarves Pattern Video

This video can be used to learn the actions of the song or to have your primary follow along with. In this video, I also include some additional ideas for actions during the chorus of the song.

Away in a Manger – Scarves Pattern

The scarves pattern for this song has 4 main actions and is pretty simple. The same pattern can be repeated for additional verses. During the “Asleep” Chorus, encourage children to “freestyle” with their scarves or ask them what actions they want to try.

  • Up/Down: “Away in a manger”
  • Z Shape: “No crib for his bed”
  • Up/Down: “The Little Lord Jesus laid”
  • Z Shape: “down his sweet head”
  • Circle (Above Head): “The stars in the heaven”
  • Left/Right: “looked down where he lay”
  • Up/Down: “The Little Lord Jesus”
  • Z Shape: “Asleep on the hay.”

For the up and down pattern, raise your arm up and down while holding a corner of the scarf. This is similar to the left and right pattern, for which you move your arm back and forth horizontally.

For the Z pattern, start with the scarf high in front of you then create a big letter “z” with your scarf. This one can be a little tricky for Junior primary so you might start by asking someone to write the letter “z” on the board and have everyone practice the motion.

For the circle shape, raise your scarf high above your head and create a circle. You could encourage the children to imagine the bright star in the sky when Jesus was born.

Senior Primary Challenge:

My Senior primary always enjoys a little extra challenge. For this activity, encourage them to come up with their own actions to do with the scarves. They will love using these colorful scarves and creating their own patterns!

Extension Activities:

  • Invite the children to come up with their own ideas of actions for the song! Some examples might include: toss to a friend, toss in the car, scrunch up in ball, wave “Hello,” wave down low, wave up high.
  • Have each child pick a partner to switch off scarves every verse.
  • Do a class dance-off! Have each class prepare a verse of the song with their dance scarves. Give out fun awards for “silliest dance, most creative dance, etc.”
In My Father's Hands - Dance Scarves

For more action ideas to use with scarves, check out these Scarves Dance Movement Cards in the shop! This set contains 24 movement ideas to use with dance scarves, as well as diagrams that explain each movement clearly!

Away in a Manger
Scarves Pattern Printable

This Away in a Manger – Scarves Pattern Printable can be used for both verses of the song. Print out the pattern and tape it to the board for children to follow. During the chorus, invite children to “freestyle” with their scarves.

If you loved this activity, try out this Away in a Manger – Unscramble the Words activity with your primary!

Did your primary children enjoy this activity? What action was their favorite? Leave a comment below!

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