Gift Tag Singing Time

I found a site called Kadenscorner.comthat has some fantastic printables.  You can sign up for free to access 3 downloads (a month, I think), and if you require more, you can pay for a subscription.

I came across these cute gift tags: and thought a lovely idea for Singing Time would be to prepare a ‘present’ (a box wrapped up nicely), possibly with a scripture inside to read out at the end.  On the outside you could attach a whole heap of the gift tag cards, each with a song to sing.  Plough your way through the songs to get to the present inside.

Great if you want to hand out mini candy canes or lollipops to the children as well, but I like the idea of just having a scripture to read about the Saviour inside.  He is, after all, our greatest gift!

It’s Christmas in Primary!

My adorable Primary Children sang in Sacrament Meeting today.  We had a bit of a hiccup – our Primary pianist didn’t get up to play, and I couldn’t see him sitting waaaaaay up the back (what a cheeky man he is! ;D) so I had to ask my husband to hold up the words so that I could play.  We have a great bunch of children who all got up, stood together and didn’t even giggle when one of them got a fit of sneezes right in the middle.

I’m so proud of them!

For Junior Singing Time, I got a large laminated Christmas Tree and labelled laminated ornaments from 1-13 (weird number, I know!).  I gave our Primary Pianist a list of the numbers with songs to go on the back. Here’s what they were:-

  1. (star) I am Like a Star #163
  2. (bell) Christmas Bells #54
  3. (angel) I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus #78
  4. (stocking) Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes #275
  5. (gingerbread man) My Hands #273
  6. (snowflake) I Wiggle #271
  7. (present) Picture a Christmas #50
  8. (candle) Little Jesus #39
  9. (wreath) I am a Child of God #2
  10. (holly and berries) Once there was a Snowman #249
  11. (drum) Fun to Do #253
  12. (bow) Sing a Song #253
  13. (candy cane) Hinges #277

I got the tree and ornaments out of a book I purchased titled ‘Super Singing Activities’. 

You could print out your own tree and ornaments, or use a miniature ‘real’ tree with decorations.

Christmas Action Cards

Alison over at her Oopsy Daisy Blog has come up with some fantastic looking ‘Christmas Action Cards’.  You can use them with your little ones at home, or for Nursery, or for Singing Time in Primary. 

I will use them in between our ‘serious’ songs that we are learning for upcoming events.  I can show a card or two during an action song – something like ‘Book of Mormon Stories’ or Popcorn Popping…you know the ones.  I can even use them for more upbeat Christmas songs like ‘Christmas Bells are Ringing’.

The link to Alison’s site is here:  They’re about halfway down her post with a download link to them.

Thanks so much Alison!

Still waiting with excitement…

for my copy of the new 2012 Outline to arrive.  If you have ever wondered just how long it takes for something like that to travel from the USA to Australia, it has been two months since I ordered it on the day of this post: and it hasn’t arrived as yet.

Perhaps it was shipped by boat and it’s going the scenic route (jokes!…although thinking about it, it was probably shipped by boat).

Thank goodness for the internet, because I have printed out the information I need, including the song for January.  Oh how I love to see it in booklet format though.

Have you gone through and highlighted exciting parts in the new Outline?  Have you read it cover to cover and gotten all excited about the songs for next year?  At this point, I am LOVING the 2012 songs :D

Christmas is a-Comin’

Oh WOW.  Are we at that time of year already?  I LOVE Christmas time, but it is seeming to come around a bit too fast for me this year.

I’m on top of the main things though. Our Primary music! *big grin*

We are learning an item to sing for our Ward Christmas Party next week, and we have been unofficially asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting.  Unofficially, because it is yet to be confirmed.  We don’t have a Ward Music Chairman at present.  We haven’t actually had one called since I did it – perhaps I scared them ;D (jokes!).  So my husband has been asked if he can assist with some musical items.  He thought it would be great for Primary to sing, but I’m the only one he has told.  Hmmm… *raises eyebrow and looks sideways*

Anyways, we’re having some fun learning some gorgeous Christmas songs and doing some fun songs as well.  I am asking the children, the teachers and our Primary Pianist if they have any favourites.

I also have a container with topics (such as “rain”, “pioneers”, “Spring”, “Reverence” etc).  A child of my choosing takes out a topic and tries to come up with a song to go with that topic.  If they can’t think of any then we suggest some and they choose from those suggestions.  It’s a good break from the ‘norm’.

Have you been asked to sing any musical items with your Primary for Christmas?

Primary Teacher Information Night 2005

Do you find you have old notes you jotted down during training sessions or conferences?  I’m not sure why I’ve kept so many, but I dug up some notes I took from a Primary Teacher Information night that we held when I was the Primary Secretary in 2005.

As they’re still relevant for teachers and for use in Sharing/Singing Time, I have included them below.

Sis Shamala Madison said…

Be positive when you teach.  Use positive language when talking to the children such as “happy”.  “I’m happy because you’re being sensible.  Praise them when they are doing the right thing.

Use “I messages…”

“I” messages usually consist of three parts:

  1. letting the child know which behaviours are unacceptable without blaming or judging
  2. letting the child know how the behaviour is affecting others and/or the adult
  3. letting the child know how the adult (or others) are feeling

e.g. “it scared me (adults feeling)

when I see you running inside (what’s happening)

because you may slip over and hurt yourself (the reason)

*these can be used in any order.

“I” messages focus the child’s attention on the consequence of their behaviour without making them feel bad/worse.

Sis Libby Allen provided the following information:-

Check the environment.  Is the lighting good?  Is there too much background noise?  Do a mental check…is everything okay?

Have a positive attitude.  Be cheerful.  Aim to make every lesson be the best one ever.

Be firm, friendly and fair.  Have boundaries.  Be their friend without losing their respect.  Be childlike, not childish.

Pitch the lesson to the right level of the children.

Pay attention to your voice level.  Are you too loud?  Too high pitched?  Too soft?

Use a variety of teaching methods.

Be an example for the children.  Be polite, never sarcastic.

If the children know the boundaries, they will take greater care.

Have class rules.  “Listen to others, treat others with respect, treat Heavenly Father’s house as we should” etc.

Music in Primary according to the Handbook

Someone asked me (just for curiosity’s sake) if I had read the Primary Handbook of Instructions.  I had read the old one, but wasn’t aware that the new one was available online.  From what I recall, not much has changed really since the old one, except for the breaks in between, and apparently the removal of Opening/Closing exercises.  Our Primary still does Opening Exercises in the chapel prior to splitting up for classes and Sharing Time.  I guess that is the Ward Presidency and Bishopric’s decision.
…and here are all the relevant bits to the Music Leader calling:

Ward Primary Music Leader(s) and Pianist(s)

Under the direction of the Primary presidency, Primary music leaders and pianists have the following responsibilities:
They plan, teach, and direct the music for sharing time, including songs that will be part of the children’s sacrament meeting presentation.
They help with music for the nursery class and other Primary classes as requested.
They may organize and direct a children’s choir as requested.
Members of the Primary presidency help the ward Primary music leaders and pianists understand how music contributes to Primary. The melodies, words, and messages of Primary songs can teach children the doctrines of the gospel and stay in their hearts throughout their lives.
Music in Primary should invite reverence, teach the gospel, and help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and the joy that comes through singing. While the children sing some songs, music leaders give them opportunities to move physically and stretch appropriately.
The Children’s Songbook and the current sharing time outline are the basic resources for music in Primary. Hymns from the hymnbook and songs from the Friend and Liahona are also appropriate. Occasionally children may sing patriotic or holiday songs that are suitable for Sunday and for the children’s ages. The use of any other music in Primary must be approved by the bishopric.
For information about teaching music to children, see the Children’s Songbook, pages 300–304. See also chapter 14 in this handbook, the current outline for sharing time, and “Music Callings and Resources” in the Serving in the Church section of
This bit is also relevant:-

Sharing Time

Sharing time provides opportunities for children to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Primary presidency follows the outline for sharing time, which is sent to the ward each year. Additional copies are available from Church Distribution Services and under “Primary” in the Serving in the Church section of

Members of the presidency take turns conducting sharing time. This time normally includes the following elements:

  1. 1.Prelude music, a reverent song or hymn that the children know, and an opening prayer by one of the children.
  2. 2.One or more of the following: a scripture passage chosen and read by one of the children, memorization of an article of faith, a brief message by a member of the bishopric, one or two activity songs, and children’s talks that are related to the month’s theme.
  3. 3.Gospel instruction by the Primary presidency. This portion lasts about 15 minutes. Members of the presidency use the scriptures and follow the current outline for sharing time as they prepare and teach.
  4. 4.Singing time conducted by a music leader. This portion lasts about 20 minutes (see the current outline for sharing time).
  5. 5.A closing prayer by one of the children, followed by postlude music.


And this bit:-

Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation

The annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation gives children an opportunity to share what they have learned in Primary. It is normally presented during the fourth quarter of the year.

The Primary presidency and music leader(s) prepare the presentation under the direction of the bishopric. They follow the guidelines in the current outline for sharing time, adapting it as needed to fit the circumstances of the children.

In the sacrament meeting, the presentation comes after the administration of the sacrament and may take all or part of the remaining time. All Primary children ages 3 through 11 sing songs they have learned in sharing time. Children may also participate by reading or reciting scripture passages, giving talks, singing in small groups, and sharing their testimonies. An adult leader in Primary may also share a brief message.

In keeping with the sacredness of sacrament meeting, the presentation should not include visuals, costumes, or media presentations.

And I’ll add this bit because it’s interesting:-

Stake Primary Music Leader

Under the direction of the stake Primary presidency, a stake Primary music leader may help give instruction in stake Primary leadership meetings. He or she may also give individual instruction to Primary presidencies, music leaders, and pianists. When requested, the stake Primary music leader organizes and directs a stake children’s choir.

Instruction should include demonstrating effective ways to teach the gospel to children through music. Resources include the Children’s Songbook, pages 300–304. See also chapter 14 in this handbook, the current outline for sharing time, and “Music Callings and Resources” in the Serving in the Church section of

Sometimes the Stake Music Leader provides training at the Stake Leadership Training Meeting. (If you’re told about it…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). ;D

Anyways, that’s a bit of a refresher (in my mind) of what I should be doing in Singing Time/Primary.

Note from Leadership Training with Sis Lifferth, First Counsellor Primary General Board 2005

I was digging through some ‘stuff’, and came across some notes I had taken from Leadership Training we had on Saturday 11th June 2005.  I have re-typed them because they are still very relevant today:-

What is the purpose of Primary?

  • “Suffer the children to come unto me”.  To teach the children about the Gospel.
  • Parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children.
  • To strengthen families.

How does Primary strengthen families?

This question was put to Priesthood leaders (members of the Bishopric in attendance) – “What do you hope to happen?

  • YM to prepare to receive the Priesthood and go on missions
  • To build testimonies
  • To reinforce the Gospel being taught in the home
  • To receive an appreciation for good music
  • To lead toward the Temple
  • To be good fathers and good leaders

Elder Ballard gave a talk about raising the bar.  Does that apply in Primary?  It starts at home.  We raise the bar ourselves in terms of preparation etc.

We have the opportunity to teach the children to prepare for the two most important covenants: Baptismal and Temple covenants.  The children are capable and anxious to learn about the Gospel.

As you lead and guide the Primaries, what problems do you need to solve?

  • We need good teaching
  • Reverence
  • Managing appropriate behaviour and respect
  • Motivating teachers to be prepared (and show up)
  • Helping the children feel the spirit.

Define what the foundation for Primary is:

  •  Support of Priesthood leaders – work well with them
  • When we are staffed
  • Having people, quality people, in Primary
  • We need to love the children
  • Encourage children to read the scriptures

We need to mentor children to need to see a functional family.  We give children the hope that that’s what they can have.  The Primary Board received a lot of feedback (a lot of negative) about last years’ theme, as a lot of Primary children come from broken homes, but we want to give them hope that they can have a forever family of their own, even if they don’t necessarily come from one.

How do we work together?  We all want the same vision.  We need to help each other achieve the vision (Primary Presidencies and Bishoprics).  There are several places we go to receive counselling:-

  • From Heavenly Father when called and set apart, and when we pray
  • From the Church Handbook
  • Scripture Study
  • Ward/Stake Council
  • Visiting/Home teachers can help with inactives
  • Primary Presidencies
  • Ward Mission Leaders
  • Youth leaders (for upcoming youth still in Primary

BUDDY BEES- activation program for less actives – ‘borrowed’ from a Ward in Queensland.  It was on their noticeboard.  I hope they haven’t missed it yet! (tee hee)

This was their plan:-

– Invite the less actives to activities

– Teacher to visit and befriend

– Welcome the child/children in Primary

– Choose a less active child in class (for teachers to do)

Correlate with other Auxiliaries.

Counsel with Priesthood Brethren – The Primary Bishopric member should be invited every now and then to attend a primary meeting.

Meet.  Think.  Get solutions.  Write them down and say “Brother…we have thought of solutions.  Would you review and provide counsel and get back to us?” Instead of bombarding Priesthood leaders with problems, we need to be prepared.

Building faith and spiritual self-reliance.

Priesthood focus: How can we build faith in our children?

We need to share our successes with our Priesthood leaders.  Let them know we support them and we are having successes.

Practical application

Having Primaries well staffed and having teachers well prepared.

(Priesthood brethren who extend the call to serve are asked to stand) What is involved?

  • Expectations of what’s involved in the calling
  • Who are they going to report to
  • Reliability to attend classes and form a bond with the children
  • Give them tools/materials
  • What it takes – being committed
  • Let them know how important the calling is.
  • Give them the Primary vision

This makes all the difference.  Express appreciation to accept the call.  Don’t make assumptions of the person’s circumstances.

Who should be called?

  • The person Heavenly Father wants
  • The best
  • Primary can be a good place to start.  Children are very loving.  We need good mentors as well.
  • Remember some people can be mentored (re-activated members) but also remember to stick with the manual and Primary provided materials so only the correct doctrine is being taught.

Consistency to the children is important.  They need to have the same teacher for a full year.  It takes a while for the teacher to gain the student’s trust.

We need an adequately staffed Primary.  Let the teacher stay long enough.

We need to change the perception of serving in Primary – we’re not being ‘left’ in Primary (like a dark hole).

We need to ensure our own spiritual nourishment.  It is part of every one’s callings.

Fellowshipping and sustaining our Primary.  it can be possible to feel neglected because sisters need sisters (and the need to feel like “belonging” in Relief Society)

Primary Orientation

We watched a video of a Primary Orientation.

  • Build and give vision in the Primary orientation (with a new teacher)
  • Define system of support
  • The presidency member was prepared with a class list, materials, calendar
  • The Presidency member shared the Primary vision
  • Reinforce that the calling came from Heavenly Father
  • Support and encourage the Primary teacher
  • Express confidence in the teacher and acknowledge you are praying for the teacher

Use the materials provided by the church.  Use visuals, music and testimony.

Singing Time

  • Talk about the things to listen for
  • Use pitch leading when trying to teach a melody.  Children can pitch lead too.
  • Visual signals/actions
  • Use “listen for this”
  • Understand what the words are saying
  • Memorise the music
  • Get the words and music into the hearts and minds of the children
  • Invite the children to listen
  • How and when can you tech this to your teachers and music personnel
  • Sharing Time – model teaching skills
  • All of us are teachers, all the time!

Activity Days/Faith in God Program

  • Primary Presidency and Faith in God leaders gives the books to the children
  • A time when the children meet with their parents and leaders -twice a year at an activity for the Faith in God program
  • The most important reward is a testimony – the process of living the Gospel
  • Priesthood Preview – explain to the YM the purpose of the Priesthood
  • Bishop is in charge of the Priesthood Preview.  Primary leaders can assist.
  • The child is the person responsible for tracking his progress however it is of minimal importance overall.  They will however learn accountability, responsibility and they need to learn these skills if they can.
  • There are two activities in each section
  • Ideas for activities come from Teaching – No Greater Call, The Friend Magazine, the children invite a mother or father to come, the Internet…
  • There are five extra activities for the 11 year old boys and girls.

There will never be another time when we have stewardship over an open heart.

The Saviour is welcoming the children in to his open arms.

Bring the children to Christ as we work together and prepare ourselves so we can teach with the spirit.

Primary children remember three things: the music, that their teacher loved them (even if they don’t remember their teacher’s name) and if they have felt the spirit.

We will not know the extent of our influence.  We have a profound opportunity to teach and strengthen.

Songs to go with animal masks for Nursery

Further to my post here: with a link to some rather cute animal masks, I wanted to find some appropriate songs we could sing with those ‘masks’ in Nursery.  Mine have been cut out, laminated, and taped on to tongue depressers.  I am sticking the words to the back of each ‘mask’.  So I guess they’re not masks anymore but a puppet of sorts.

Rabbit Mask

“Little Peter Rabbit” is a children’s Nursery Rhyme set to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (A Wikkipedia link).

The words are:

Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose,
Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose,
Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose,
And he flipped it and he flapped it and the fly flew away.

Powder Puffs and Curly Whiskers,
Powder Puffs and Curly Whiskers,
Powder Puffs and Curly Whiskers,
And he flipped it and he flapped it and the fly flew away.

Some sing ‘Floppy Ears’ in place of ‘Powder Puffs’

Tiger Mask

I’m a great big tiger creeping through the jungle,
I have sharp claws and great big teeth,
I’m creeping through the jungle.

Frog Mask

Galoomph went the little green frog one day
Galoomph went the little green frog.
Galoomph went the little green frog one day,
and the frog went Galoomph, Galoomph, Galoomph!


We all know frogs go
We all know frogs go
They don’t go Galoomph, Galoomph, Galoomph!

Dragon Mask

The only thing I can come up with at the moment is “Old MacDonald” and do some creative play with dragon roars.

Monkey Mask

Five little monkeys swinging from a tree
Teasing Mr Crocodile “You can’t catch me”.
Along came Mr Crocodile, quiet as can be
And he snatched a little monkey right out of the tree.

(keep counting backwards).

Reverence During the Sacrament Helps me to Remember Jesus Christ

Continuing the subject of Reverence…

I printed out the instructions to make a felt Mr Potato here:  Combine it with this idea found on Sugar Doodle:

From Barbara Dolman 24th September 2011

For Junior Primary: Materials Needed:
Potato Head with arms, feet, ears, hat, eyes, & lips

Help your children understand that we show our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus by using our hands, arms, feet, eyes, lips, and heads in a reverent way when we are in sacred places and when we pray. It is easier to think loving, reverent thoughts when we are quiet.

Have a child come up and pick a part off the potato head & explain:
Hands and arms-Fold during prayer, keep quiet in our laps, raise to take part.
Feet and legs-Walk quietly, remain still.
Ears-Listen to what is said, listen to the sacred music.
Heads-Bow when prayers are being said and think about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Eyes-Watch the teacher, bishop, or anyone who is speaking.
Lips-Speak quietly, smile, sing songs, pray, remain closed when someone else is praying.
Source: Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson Ideas, Reverence, 216

Have some quiet songs that go with each Mr Potato ‘part’.
(Note: Mini Mr and Mrs Potato Heads are available at KMart for $5 each- Australian dollars, that is.)
You could go over the cards used in last week’s Singing Time (the pictures of hands, feet, head etc) found here: and discuss how important they are during the Sacrament, when everyone is thinking about the Saviour. 
We could sing:-
  • To Think About Jesus (CS 71)
  • Reverence is Love (CS 31)
  • Kindness Begins with Me (CS 145)
  • I’ll Walk With You (CS 140-141)
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