When the new year starts, it seems that everyone is setting new goals. We set goals for personal health and growth, as well as financial and family goals. This year, I want to set some goals for primary as I continue serving in this calling. One of which is to prepare for a New Primary Year ahead of time so I wasn’t scrambling later.
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Starting the New Primary Year off right!
Last year was a bit of a whirlwind for me. After being called to be the primary chorister in April, we returned to primary and I felt like I was always scrambling to get an activity ready for singing time. This next year, I want to be more organized so that I can bring the spirit to singing time. Here’s a list of my top 4 tips for starting off the new year right in primary!
1. Stay Organized
This year, I’ve organized a list of songs that I will teach next year in primary. I started with focusing on one major song per month, and an additional song if needed. The Come, Follow Me: 4 Year Primary Song Rotation is a great place to start if you are unsure which songs to choose. This outline lists all the suggested songs for each volume of scripture.
There’s a really helpful pdf printable outline to help you choose which songs you’ll teach each month! Make sure you head over to that post to grab the download file.
If you need more help, just reference this post which walks you through how to plan an ENTIRE year of Primary Singing Time ideas in an afternoon! You can thank me later. 🙂
2. Have Supplies on Hand
I cannot tell you what a lifesaver it is to have supplies on hand that are ready to go. At the end of the year, many church auxiliaries have extra money from the year that will go to waste if not used.
This is a great time to make a list of supplies you need for the year to make planning activities much easier. I’ve included a list of some of my essentials, as well as some fun supplies to have on hand.
Basic Primary Supplies:
- Poster board – I used poster board all the time, whether it’s to teach a new song or for a fun review activity. This pack of 25 poster boards available on Amazon is awesome because you can batch your activities ahead of time
- Sheet Protectors – Sheet protectors are such an awesome way to make your materials last longer. I primarily use sheet protectors when I’m using flipcharts to teach a song. For an example of a flipchart I use, check out this He Sent His Son – Flipchart. Sheet protectors usually go on sale at the beginning of the school year, but you can also buy this pack of 50 sheet protectors on Amazon.
- 3-Ring Binders -3-ring binders are something I use at least once a month for my flipcharts. They make it so simple to flip the pages keep songs organized. Again, I usually get these at the beginning of the school year when school supplies go on sale, but you can also purchase them here on Amazon.
- Markers/Colored Pencils – I love to add creative flair to my activities and keep them colorful and engaging for the children. This year, I’ll be getting this pack of jumbo poster markers to use in primary.
Additional Primary Supplies:
I call these supplies “additional” but they are supplies that I love to have because they make singing time more engaging for the children. These are just a few of my favorites.
- Dance Scarves – Dance scarves are such a fun way to add movement and color into singing time. I typically use dance scarves as a review activity when the kids have a pretty good grasp on the words and melody. This year, I’ll be ordering this set of 24 dance scarves to add to my supplies.
- Assorted Pointers – This one might seem silly, but my primary kiddos LOVE these pointers. I gathered a bunch of miscellaneous items that could be used as pointers. I use these to let kids volunteer to point to words as we learn a new song, or to help lead. Some fun “pointers” I have are: traditional hand pointer, crocodile puppet, pom-pom, plastic shovel, giant plastic crayon.
- Hand Bells – I inherited a set of hand bells from our last primary chorister, and they have been such a fun activity for singing time! This is definitely one of the higher price-point items on this list, but definitely worth the money if it fits in your primary budget. I would recommend getting a few of these sets of 8 hand bells if you have a larger primary
- Jingle Bells – If hand bells aren’t quite in the budget, you can still add some bells by using jingle bells. I’ve used jingle bells to help kids learn tricky rhythms and recommend this set of 24 Jingle bells to add to your supply list.
We have a whole post on all of our absolute favorite supplies with some things you’ll never have thought of! They will help you stay organized and prepared for the year ahead! Visit our Recommended Primary Music Leader Supplies list for even more ideas!
3. Minister to the Children
This is probably the most important tip I will share here. In a recent primary training, we discussed ministering in the church and what a blessing it is. In the church, we are given ministering assignments to help lift and serve one another. I believe our main role as primary choristers is to minster to the children by teaching gospel principles through music.
Looking back on my experience in primary, I do not remember too many lessons that were taught. However, I do remember singing time. I remember the songs we sang and the love of my primary chorister.
I often take a moment or two to share my testimony in singing time. Sharing your testimony will help the children remember the messages of these beautiful songs as they grow up and progress in the gospel.
4. Keep Primary Simple
Lastly, my final tip for starting the year off right in primary is to keep is simple. It’s easy to get caught up in creating elaborate lesson plans and perfect primary programs.
However, when we keep it simple, we allow space for the spirit to enter. The spirit can teach us what the children need to learn. The spirit can guide us as we try to wrangle energetic kids. The spirit can help us know what we need to learn from serving in this calling.
Plus, when you’re in a pinch, my go-to is just using these Flip Chart Singing Time Ideas! Especially when you are planning for a substitute!