Away in a Manger – Partner Arm Swings

Socialization can be an important part of a child’s learning. Have your primary kiddos pick a partner and have some fun with this Away in a Manger – Partner Arm Swings activity!

Believe it or not, young children truly thrive on socializing with other children. It’s how they learn to problem-solve, share, and understand emotions. Some children may actually learn better when they are able to interact with others and develop personal relationships.

In my primary, I love to watch the children interact with one another and begin to develop friendships. I created this activity to provide primary kids with an opportunity to get to know each other while reviewing Away in a Manger. Check out the video below or click this link to see how simple and fun this activity can be!

Away in a Manger – Partner Arm Swings Demo Video

Away in a Manger – Partner Arm Swings

The idea behind this activity is pretty simple. To start, allow each child to choose a partner. I have also included some additional ideas for selecting partners later in this post. After children are in pairs, demonstrate the patterns below to use throughout the song. I recommend singing the song once through before starting the actions.

Away in a Manger – Partner Arm Swings Actions

I’ve included instructions for 4 simple actions kids can do with their partners during the song. Some actions require children to hold hands while some they can do separately.

Although this outlines the actions for the first verse only, these actions can be repeated for the second verse. To give the kids a chance to add some of their own ideas, ask them what actions they’d like to try for the “Asleep” chorus of the song.

Slow Swing: For this action, have children hold hands and face each other while swinging their arms at waist-height. Children will likely want to swing their arms fast, so remind the children that this is a slow swing. You might tell them to pretend they are rocking a baby and if they swing their arms too fast they will wake up the baby.

*Use this action for “Away in a manger no crib for His bed.”

Sleeping Baby: Have the children hold their partner’s hand with one hand while they pretend to be sleeping with the other hand by placing their palm against their cheek.

*Use this action for “The Little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.”

High Swing: This movement is used to represent stars in the sky. Have partners hold both hands and raise their arms up high to show the stars.

*Use this action for “The stars in the heaven looked down where he lay.”

Swing Dance: For this movement, have children hold both hands and move close together and then far apart. When they are holding hands close together, their arms should be horizontal and far away, but when they move further apart, their arms will come toward each other.

*Use this action for “The Little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

Suggestions for Social Distancing

This review activity can be easily adapted to adhere to local social distancing protocols. If you want to keep this activity friendly for social distancing, have children do the actions on their own rather than with a partner.

Have them raise their arms up high for stars and do high-low arm swings to replace the “partner swing dance.” For the “sleeping baby” action, children can use both hands to pretend they are sleeping.

Creative Ways to Pick Partners

If you want to mix up the partners for this activity, here are a few ideas to make choosing a partner fun. This helps children to get out of their comfort zone a bit and meet a new friend!

  • Have a big hat with all the names of the primary children. Pick the names out beforehand and write the partnerships on the board.
  • Have the primary split into groups based on birthday months. Have each child choose a partner who shares a birthday month with them. If there are children who have no one else in their birthday month, pair them with someone else who doesn’t share a birthday month.
  • Teacher’s Choice! Let each teacher pair children with someone else from their class.
  • If you do Senior and Junior primary together, have the Senior primary children choose a partner who is in Junior primary.

For another fun movement activity, try this Away in a Manger – Dance Scarves review game!

We want to hear from YOU! What did you love most about this activity?

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