Here’s a fun and super easy way to teach When Joseph Went to Bethlehem song! I’ve picked out a variety of different When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Simple actions to coordinate with the lyrics and beat of the music.
I love that the song focuses on Joseph’s journey that very first Christmas! See lots more fun Christmas Primary Singing Time Ideas here!
See all of our When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Singing Time Ideas here!!
When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Simple Actions
How to Play:
Sing through When Joseph Went to Bethlehem lyrics once before introducing the hand actions.
Introduce the first 2-3 hand actions in order, following the guide below with all the actions.
For the first line of the song, you’ll have the kids pound their fists one on top of the other twice while singing “Joseph”. Then, point to the right twice as you sing “went to”. Add in some stomps as you sing “Bethlehem”.
Do you think you can do those actions with me? Demo them once again and have the children follow along. Now sing through the song using your brand new actions!
Continue adding 2-3 actions at a time and then singing the song together from the beginning.
This will add in a ton of repetition and lots of focused repeating of each line with a meaningful action to help them remember the song!
- When Joseph (pound fists twice)
- went to (point right right)
- Bethlehem (stomp 3 times)
- I think he took (pound fists twice)
- great care (patsch twice)
- To place his tools (pound fists twice)
- and close his shop (stomp 3 times)
- and leave no shavings (swipe away shavings x3) there.
- He urged the (pound fists twice)
- donkey forward then (3 lx point both fingers forward)
- with Mary on its back (patsch 4x once per word)
- And carried (pound fists twice)
- bread and goat cheese (eat twice)
- in a little linen sack. (Throw sack over your shoulder)
Even Simpler Version: If you have a bunch of little kids, or simply want a simplier version, consider doing just the double pounding fists actions throughout the song!
- Teach one type of sign at a time – for example, add all the double fist actions first. Then, teach add in the stomps, next the pointing actions, etc.
- Have the children come up with their own actions for several of the keywords.
- Cut up the action symbols and mix them up. Demo the actions, and have the kids put the cards back in the correct sequence!
- Divide the room into 3 groups. Have them sing and do the action like they would sing a round! Group 1 sings the first line while group 2 does the actions. Now group 2 sings and group 3 does the actions. Finally, group 3 sings and group 1 will do the actions.
- To add another layer to the challenge, have the other group clap for each word!
When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Simple Actions Demo Video of the Actions!
To help you get a better feel for the actions I planned out for this song, you can watch this quick demo video! I show you what the actions are and then run through the 1st verse with actions!
If you have any issues with the video loading, you can also view it over on my YouTube channel here!
For another really fun and different movement singing time, go grab this I Love to See the Temple Hand Claps activity!
When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Simple Actions Printable Lesson Helps!
I’ve got all the actions easy to follow along with here in printable. You’ll find a 1-page list with the actions and a 1-page black and white poster with a visual for each action.
You’ll find bonus printable styles including with lyrics, colorful, and larger format printouts included in the INSTANT Primary Singing membership in the Old Testament December packet.
To access the free in-post printables for this post, you’ll just need to create a free account or login with the Grow.me tool. Then, confirm by email and refresh the page and ALL my free printables will automatically unlock in every post!
For more information on why I use a content lock or how to create your account, you can see the FAQ page here.
For another fun way to teach this song, head over to this When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Comic Strips lesson plan!
What other fun ways could you expand on this fun When Joseph Went to Bethlehem Hand Actions lesson plan? How did it go over with your Primary?