I love involving the whole Primary room, everyone that will let me include them, in my singing time lesson plans each week. I’m hopeful that this post can share with you some simple ways to involve more kids in singing time each week.
It has been such a blessing to me, and the children, seeing them eagerly participate and engage with my singing time lesson plans! It doesn’t need to be difficult, so let me show you some of the things I do to encourage more participation in Primary!
How to Involve More Kids in Singing Time
Use 2-3 Volunteers at a Time
Many activities will easily lend to asking for more than one child to help. For example, if you’re doing a drawing or coloring activity up on the board or playing eraser pass or making playdoh creations or unscrambling a puzzle — whatever you might choose, try picking more than one child at a time as your helper.
They can either come up as buddies from the same class, or often I’ll call one child up from each side of the room.
You can simplify picking volunteers by asking the teachers to send up the next helper as soon as one is back or letting the children pick. A good trick for that is letting them pass off the marker (or other object) to another child in their class while you and the rest of the Primary keep singing!
Let Everyone Lead
Speaking from a relatively small Primary (15 in Junior and 25 in Senior) I like to invite anyone and everyone that would like to help me lead come up front. This is always after we’ve gone through the activity or pattern a few times first. Then, I ask anyone that knows it and wants to come up front to help lead can do so.
Usually almost all of the Junior Primary and about 1/2 the Senior Primary will come up front to lead. I’ll then go stand by their chairs and help them lead from there.
If you have a larger Primary, you can apply this same idea but in groups or sections. Such as, calling up the kids by class, side of the room, boys/girls, etc. This will let you build in even more natural repetition and still give everyone a chance to be involved.
I always love it (and the Primary Presidency always thinks it’s too funny) when everyone is all lined up front “leading” with their instruments, action words, or other activity! It’s truly really fun.
The kids very quickly transition up front and back to their chairs and it gives them a chance to “move” and feel included! It make take a few tries for your Primary to be comfortable with this change, but I think you’ll all love it when the kids realize you really do mean they can all come up if they choose to!
Use 2 or 3 Short Activities Each Week
Rather than only long activity that sticks to a specific game or song, you can easily build in much more participation by varying the activities!
For example, you might pick a ribbon wand activity for one song and then a unscramble decoding game for a different song and end with a short and simple song story to introduce a third song.
See my Example of a Typical Singing Time for more details on what my weeks look like!
With a flow like that, you can have everyone active and moving, then get their brains critically thinking, and then end simply with a testimony moment that brings the spirit into the room! Everyone will have a chance to participate and feel the music come to life and you’ll get to experience a variety of different songs each week!!
Choose Activities that Naturally Include all the Kids
There are a bunch of activities you can incorporate that let everyone participate! Activities such as egg shakers and rhythm sticks, ribbon wands and dance scarves, etc. can give everyone in the room physically participate!
The singing time ideas aren’t limited to just lessons with manipulatives. You can involve everyone with sign language, action words, their own coloring page, unscramble search as a small group — you name it!
Ideas for Picking a Variety of Primary Helpers
I try to use a variety of ways for picking kids, and sometimes I’ll literally not pick at all and let everyone come up front! Here’s some ideas for you:
- By class – Use the whole class or pick 1-2 kids at a time, rotating through the classes
- By side of the room – This is my go-to! I’ll usually pick one child from each side of the room when I need 2 helpers!
- By Gender – Have all the girls come up to help and then switch to the boys, or split them into a competition girls vs boys (the kids LOVE this!)
- Teacher’s Choice – Let the teachers pick someone from their class. I love using this technique because the teachers often know which child really needs to be picked. Maybe they were struggling that day or has something really valuable to share or simply to boost that child’s confidence and feeling loved in Primary!
- Kids Choice – Often, I’ll pick the first 2-3 helpers, and then let those kids pick who comes up next! I’ll often set a criteria, such as someone who has not come up before, or girls pick another girl, or choose someone from your side of the room. This can help make their choice be a little easier (and quicker).
- Participating Singers – Look for children that are actively singing and participating. This is a good challenge to help the reluctant boys participate, but keep in mind that shy children may be singing to the best of their ability, but not be as noticeable as your strong singers.
- Name Jar – The name jar can be a good way to pick a helper if you will only need a small number of participants or everyone in the room is super eager to help, and you just can’t get to everyone. It can also be helpful for a sub!
- Randomizer Cards – You can help create “groups” of helpers or divide the room with cards that help break down the Primary room into a competition. For example, blue eyes vs brown eyes or blond hair vs brown hair.
- Pick a Favorite – One fun way to mix things up is to pick a topic of the day! It might be favorite color, favorite school subject, favorite thing to wear.. you name it! You can then say, “Raise your hand if your favorite thing to wear is…. SOCKS!” Then pick your next volunteer from those that raised their hands. You can pick a different answer to your favorites question each time you need a volunteer, or pull from the same group that week (depending on how many raised their hands).
I’ve found kids really love the variety! It’s totally okay to do something different each week for how you pick your helpers! The key, in no matter what methods you choose, is to try to pick a variety of kids from week to week and to include as many children as you can!
One important thing to note is to try to make a special effort to notice when those reluctant few that rarely volunteer might finally be interested! I always try to use them as a helper any chance I get!
Simple Ways to Involve More Kids in Singing Time
I hope these ideas helped you think about different ways you can involve the children, or even just pick who to call on!
If you take a few minutes to think about ways to include more kids in the room with your activity, you’ll probably quickly come up with some ideas with just a little practice!
Even if you are doing a group-wide challenge such as a melody map, crack the code, or word search – for example – you can ask for 3-4 volunteers between each time through the song looking for new insights and answers from your Primary kiddos which will help you more easily incorporate more of the children in your lesson plans.
I hope that inspires you to encourage more participation in your Primary each week!
Do you have other great ideas to share? Please leave them in the comments to help others!