Are you an LDS Primary Music Leader looking for fun and new ideas? We have a compiled the ultimate lit of Latter-day Saint Singing Time Ideas for Primary Music Leaders– so keep reading and let us know some ideas that you have loved!
Primary Singing Time is an integral part of church for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was called to be a singing leader last July, and it’s been the most challenging – yet fulfilling – calling I have had.
There are so many great resources and ideas out there, but it can be easy to get overwhelmed when you see all the elaborate things you see on Facebook. While there is nothing wrong with these, sometimes you just need something simple.
Below you will find a list of low-prep ideas that you can implement into your primary singing time. I highly recommend keeping your activities to being 5-7 minutes, which works with how a child learns best. The goal isn’t too entertain but to engage, and there are so many ways to do that.
Singing Time Ideas
Musical Chairs with a Twist
Set up a circle of chairs, but instead of removing chairs when the music stops, have a list of discussion questions related to the songs. When the music pauses, the child left standing answers a question or shares their favorite song.
Song Scavenger Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt where each clue leads the children to a spot where they sing a specific song. Each song can have a message or theme related to the location.
Name That Tune
Have the piano play a few notes of a song and have the Primary guess the song. Once it is guessed- you sing that song!
Mystery Song Box
Place different props or visual aids related to various songs in a box. Let a child pick an item from the box and lead the song that corresponds to the chosen prop.
Divide a song into multiple lines and bring that number of children to the front of the room. You will assign each one a line from the song. Sing through the song, tapping on their heads to have them strike a pose or act out what’s going on in that line. The kids LOVE this idea!
Switch Who Sings
Only people wearing blue, only people who are the oldest in their family, etc.
Play hot potato. The class who has it is the one who sings.
Sit and Stand
Choose five children to come to the front of the room (or have all the teachers come up) When the group up front sits you have the Primary stand and sing, when they stand, the teachers stand as you and the teachers sing and the Primary sits without singing.
Stand up or sit down for certain words said. Important – don’t do it every time you sing it or it will teach the children not to sing without doing it.
I love melody maps! They can be a little tricky to make yourself, but there are tons available online (PrimarySinging.com has a bunch, as do primary singing time Facebook groups). You basically start by presenting the maps on the board and asking the kids what do they see, what do they notice. There are no wrong answers!
After this, you sing through the song and ask them to pay attention closely to figure out any other patterns they see. They kids love this, and they tend to get really engaged. For an added twist, you can mix up the different poster boards or pieces of paper and have them put them in the right order.
Flip a Card
Cut out like 15 paper circles of different ways to sing the song they’re learning (like a goat, like a baby, an old man with no teeth, only the boys/girls, sing with your nose plugged, etc) and put them on a table upside down and have the kids come up and pick one.
Items needed: Crazy, fun dress up items (look in closets, and the Halloween bin, or at your local thrift store) Think scarves, hats, glasses, gloves, apron, funny wigs, etc.
Tell the kids you’re going to have a singing competition between classes. Whichever class sings the best for each song, their teacher has to come pick up a dress up item to wear.
This one requires having a set of bells, but our kids LOVE doing this activity. You can make your own chart or if you use Merry Bells, they have an app you can download and purchase individual songs. There are various sets, but I really like Merry Bells because they have adapted the songs to not have flats and sharps.
Print out the lyrics to a song and cut them into puzzle pieces. Have the children put the puzzle together as they learn the song. This adds a tactile and visual element to the learning process.
Put together (or find) a video of different clips or pictures that go along with the song you are teaching. You want to time it to go along with the song. You can play the video and either sing along yourself or play the music. This is a great way to associate imagery with music.
Soft and Loud
You can make two simple visual aids that either say “soft” and “loud” or have a picture of a mouse and a lion. The child can hold up the different signs throughout a song and the kids sing soft or loud accordingly. This is a great time to teach them the difference between yelling and singing with power! Our kids of all ages always love these ones!
Write down the names of different songs on cards and have children act out the message or theme of the song without speaking. The other children try to guess the song.
Make a fun jeopardy game to review songs. You can use easy questions, and not every one has to do with a song. However, with the questions that do have to do with a song, you can sing that one. Our kids always love this one.
Divide the primary into two different groups. With each song, you will encourage each side to sing the songs as best as they can. After each song, you will pick which side sang the words the best and most enthusiastically, and they will get to steal someone from the other side.
Our bodies can be great instruments! You can develop a simple pattern to different claps, pats, swishes, etc. on their body as they sing. It can be a simple as telling them to clap on certain keywords.
Musical Freeze Tag
Play a variation of freeze tag where children freeze when the music stops. To unfreeze, they must answer a question about a specific song or share a thought related to the song.
Singing Time Bingo
Create Bingo cards with song titles instead of numbers. Call out a theme or message, and the children mark the corresponding song on their cards. The first to get Bingo gets a small prize.
Choose a song and create a simple story or scenario related to its theme. Have the children act out the story as they sing the song.
Another variation is creating a story with lines from the song throughout it. You’ll start reading the song, and when you get to the part that has a line from the song, you will singing it (and they can sing along!)
Bring a small table to the front and cover it with a long tablecloth. Send one child to the hall. Pick one child to come hide under the table. Bring the first child back in and they have the length of the song to figure out who is missing.
Send a child out to the hall. Pick another Primary child to only mouth the words. Have the first child come back in, have all other children sing the song, and see if they can identify who the silent singer is.
What’s different Sister/Brother _______
While they sing, step behind a rolling chalk board and change a belt, earrings, watch, your hair, etc. Then let them guess what you changed.
Learn the teach the children the sign language or actions to a song. Here is a list of ASL Primary songs from the Church website.
Hot and Cold
Bring an object to Primary and ask one child to leave the room. After that child is out of sight- choose another child to hide the object. Ask the first child to come back in and as athey look for the object have the children sing louder the closer they get to finding it (hot) and softer (cold) the further away they get.
Erase a Word
Write the words to the song on a white board (or do one verse at a time). As they children sing, ask those who are singly loudly to come and erase a word until all the words are gone.
Tic Tac Toe
Divide the room into teams. One team goes first. The team sings the song with the piano. When the piano stops, the team must sing the rest of the phrase/line. If they can do it, they receive their X or O. Repeat until the first team gets 3 in a row.
Divide the Primary into groups according. Write the words of your song on the board and assign each group a line or phrase. The first group stands and starts singing the two lines, then the next group stands and joins singing the next 2 lines, then the third, and then the fourth.
You will need some sort of “buzzer” for this game- maybe something you can find in an old game or find one on Amazon. Choose two kids to come up to the front and as the Primary sings a song, have your pianist randomly stop. Whoever buzzeds in first gets to correctly say the next line of the song. The winner of each round gets to move on to the next pairing.
Divide the class into two groups. Have lines from the song ready to go on a piece of paper and have a child from each team take turns coming to the front and drawing what is on the paper. Their team has to try and guess either the song or what the line is from the song. This is a great idea for reviewing lots of songs or just one song!
Decide Now App
Dowlonad a decsion wheel app and let the Primary “decide” how or what they sing. You can use it for deciding which songs to sing, who should sing (boys, girls, teachers, classes, etc.) or how you sing (loud, soft, opera, cowboy, etc.)
Gospel for Kids App
This is a great church app that has a lot of fun options. Sing- alongs and more to choose from. Take a peek at it and decide what is the best way to utilize it! I like to use this for introducing songs for the first time and having a visual to go along with it.
Download a Metronome app like this one and Pick slow speeds and faster speeds. Compare and contrast how the various speeds make the song feel after you sing it.
This is a free app where you can make different trivia games to put on the TV. Kids love the competition and it can be a great way to ask questions about the songs you are learning!
Tips and Tricks for LDS Primary Music Leaders
Creative Song Presentation Ideas
Explore and share unique ways to present songs in Primary, such as incorporating props, visual aids, or simple skits to make singing time more engaging.
Engaged, not entertained
This is a common phrase for the general Primary presidency to share during their leadership trainings. I attended one last year, and it was something that really stuck with me. Engaging children means they are actively participating and interested in what is going on. There are so many ways to do this – and they are often very simple.
Try not to use words on paper to share new songs, especially with younger children. Use actions instead. Ask the kids to come up and do those actions. (Someone with hands circled above their head for a line about the sun etc.)
Show them the difference in singing loud reverently and loud not reverently.
There is a time and a place for flip charts, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to use them. I struggled SO much in the beginning because I tried to use them, but as soon as I tried other methods, I quickly left the flip charts behind.
Not singing doesn’t mean not learning
There will always be children who don’t sing along – but the music can still be impactful. One mom told me about a song we sang in primary that her song keeps asking to listen to. He never sings or participates in primary, but it still touched his heart.
Themed Singing Time
Provide ideas for themed singing times, where you choose a theme and select songs that align with it. For example, a gratitude theme with songs about thankfulness.
Right after I was called, my sister (who is a first grade teacher) told me that movement is the best way to help a child retain information. In many ways, this is different than singing times of past where it was often just singing charts – but movement helps to engage and help the child interact more.
Use different learning styles
As tempting as it might be to do “hot and cold” every week, I would encourage you to incorporate different learning styles. Kids learn in different ways, and you never know what might really impact them.
Incorporating Scriptures in Singing Time
Share ways to integrate scriptures into singing time, helping children make connections between the songs they sing and the teachings in the scriptures.
Fun and Educational Games for Singing Time
Create a list of games that can be used during singing time to reinforce the messages of the songs while making it enjoyable for the children.
Celebrating Special Occasions with Songs
Suggest ways to incorporate songs into special occasions like birthdays, holidays, or events within the Primary, making these moments even more memorable.
Encouraging Participation and Inclusivity
Share ideas on how to ensure that all children feel included and engaged during singing time, fostering a sense of community within the Primary.
Interview with Primary Music Leaders
Ask other Primary music leaders to learn about their experiences, challenges, and success stories in conducting singing time. There are many Facebook groups or singing time that you can join that are super helpful!
Be sure to join the Latter Day Saints Primary Singing Time Facebook group for even more great ideas!
Whatever you choose to do just remember that your energy is contagious! Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.
And most importantly- remember to bare your testimony of the gospel at the close of every singing time.
Cindy Maudsley lives in Utah with her husband and five children. Aside from writing, her passions include her family, faith, and spreading infertility awareness. She also loves a good book or podcast, true crime documentaries , Netflix binge, diet Coke and Target run