Use this Gethsemane Sway and Tap purposeful movement activity that connects with the lyrics. The sway connects with the flow of the song and the movement in the song talking about Jesus going to the garden, with heavy and slow steps, and what took him there.
Head here to see 25 Gethsemane Singing Time Ideas for more wonderful ways to teach this song!
Gethsemane Sway & Tap
How to Play:
Sing through Gethsemane once before introducing this activity.
Point out how the lyrics talk about how “heavy and slow” Jesus walked. What might that look like. Start swaying back and forth. Ask the children to join you in swaying, if they don’t join in. Sing through the song again swaying slowly back and forth through the song.
When the song finishes, ask them to notice what you change. Start swaying slowly side to side again. You can sing through the whole song once just with a gentle sway to add more repetition in naturally.
Then, next, add a toe tap (or heel tap if you prefer) on each of the more accented words. Continue swaying while adding a tap on the keywords. These are the ones that stand out to me from the 1st verse: Hill, Still, Heavy, Prayer, There, He.
Continue singing through the song switching from tapping toe to heel, if you’d like. Since this song is so long you can get through it 3-4 times with the above and then switch to a different song, or add on these additional fun actions for more variety!
I have provided a few different fun variations to add to specific sections, but you can easily adapt it and use a mix of the actions with a different set for each verse or change it each time you sing through the song, or pick additional words/lines/phrases to highlight with the actions! There are so many ways to use these additional fun movement cards.
Gethsemane Sway and Tap Extension Activities
1. Add an additional action for every time you sing the phrase “Gethsemane”. Some ideas are:
- You can rub your two hands together in a steady motion
- Clap 4 times with the beat = Geth-sem-a-ne
- Use the motions from head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Touch each of those 4 in sequence.
2. Add in additional actions for every time you sing the phrase “Jesus Loves Me”. Some ideas are:
- Pat your lap, then clap, in sequence through the phrase.
- Stomp alternating feet through the phrase with 4 stomps right-left-right-left.
- Hug yourself, wrapping your two hands around you grasping your upper arm.
3. Sing the song in 2x speed! Can they keep up? The kids always love singing the song fast!
For another fun movement based activity, you’ll love this Choose the Right Turn & Stomp activity!
Gethsemane Sway and Tap Printable Singing Time Lesson Plan
This Gethsemane Sway and Tap includes 9 printable signs you can use for introducing the actions. These are optional, but can add visuals to helps those kids that will learn and remember best with a visual learning style.
There’s a printable sign for the 2 main actions and the alternate (Sway, Tap toe, Tap Heel) movement. Then, for all the extension movements for the additional phrases (Rub hands, Clap hands, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Pat & Clap, Stomp, and Hug self).
I’ve included a bonus smaller 3-per page printable option as part of the INSTANT Primary Singing Membership in April New Testament!
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You won’t want to miss this themed activity all about Christ’s last week that’s perfect for Gethsemane!
What other fun words would you point out in this song to add fun movement and actions? What other additional ways could you use these fun movement cards?
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