Father We Thank Thee For the Night

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This is a great little song that’s about being thankful. It has a catchy, easy to learn melody but the harmony in the accompaniment is a little different which makes it interesting. Plus, this is a really great song to sing at the close of primary right before the prayer because it’s short and reverent but gets kids thinking about things they are thankful for that they do or experience EVERY DAY. Here’s some visuals to help things along:

Father We Thank Thee For the Night Visuals

Screen shot 2013-11-16 at 11.05.31 AMStart by posting the title of the song on the board (there’s words in the printable!). Then ask a few questions. Why should we be thankful for the night? It’s dark and your parents just want you to go to sleep! But wouldn’t you have a bad day if you didn’t get any sleep? Have you ever stayed up really late and then had to get up early?  Could you sleep well if it was bright outside? Did you know it’s a commandment to go to sleep!? (D&C 88:124 – you may want to go over what ‘invigorate’ means!) Now you’re ready to learn the first line of the song and post the first picture.

Then go through each line of the song posting the relevant picture as you go, and asking a question about it. Can you describe what a sunrise looks like? (pleasant morning light) What are some things you do every day that you’re thankful for? (rest and food) Have you ever been lost or left completely alone for a little while? (aren’t you glad you have people who love and care for you?)

In the last line the word ‘fair’ has a different meaning than most of your children will probably be used to. Start by asking what the word fair means. Talk about how words can mean different things depending on the context. A little Snow White analogy may help in this situation. When the evil queen asks “Who’s the fairest of them all?” as she looks in the mirror, what is she really asking? It’s about beauty, not justice or carnivals. Learn the last line of the song and then talk about all of the things that make up every single day that we should be grateful for. Challenge your kids to look for things this week that are completely ordinary that they see or do every day that they can be thankful for. If you have some extra time, you may want to talk about how when we pray, we start by thanking Heavenly Father for things that He has given us.

HAPPY SINGING!

Thanks and Giving Singing Time

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November can be a strangely in-between time for planning singing times. You’re done with your program, (yay!) but it’s not quite time for Christmas songs yet. It’s a great time to teach a few new fun songs, or one of your old favorites that you haven’t gotten around to yet. But sometimes, thanksgiving can get lost in the mix. There’s not that many Thanksgiving songs playing on the radio, but there are A LOT of excellent Thanksgiving songs in the Children’s Songbook! (And in the hymnal too if you were curious!) There are 24 songs under the topic of Gratitude! A few of my favorites are Father We Thank Thee for the Night p.8, Thanks To Our Father p.20 and if you’re thinking about doing a round for Christmas, give your kids a head start by learning For Health and Strength p.21, which is only one line and will give your kids some practice with the concept! But, whether you’re learning a song about gratitude or an old standard, this activity can help you give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves!

First, you’ll want to print these leaves. There’s one for each letter in Thanksgiving.

Thanks and Giving PDF

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Junior Primary

Start by asking what holiday is coming up this month! Explain that Thanksgiving is made up of 2 words, “thanks” and “giving”. Have one child come up and pick one of the leaves out of a bag. Ask them to think of either something they are thankful for or a way that they could give (think service) during this month that starts with the letter on the leaf. If younger child is picking the leaf, really emphasize the sound that each letter makes to help them think of a word that fits, or let their teacher help them. If they get the letter anywhere in the word, I’m good with that. Put the letters up on the board as you go, to spell out “Thanksgiving”, and write the “thanks” or “giving” word coming down from it, like a crossword puzzle. I like to try to think of a song that goes with whichever word was chosen to sing once the leaf is up. For example, if someone says they are thankful for trees, we could sing Popcorn Popping, My Heavenly Father Loves Me or Autumn Day. But, if you’d rather not be on the spot like that, come up with a list of songs you’d like to sing. If you’re learning a new song with this activity, learn a new section of the song with each leaf that goes up. If you’re running out of time (because Thanksgiving has 12 letters) have 2 kids come pick leaves at one time. That will cut down on all the thinking time too! At the end, you’ll have “Thanksgiving” spelled out on the board and lots of things to be thankful for and give this season!

Senior Primary

In senior primary, start with all the letters scrambled up on the board, and see if they can guess what word they spell. Again, go over how both “thanks” and “giving” are in the word. Pick someone to go first and ask them to think of either something they are thankful for or a way that they could give that starts with the first letter, ‘T’. (They might have some trouble when it gets to ‘V’ so let them think of a word with a v in it anywhere!) Write it on the board, then give everyone 10 seconds to think of a song that goes with that word. I like to count it down silently on my fingers. If they can’t come up with one and none of the adults, including yourself, can think of one either, pick a song about being grateful or let their teacher pick their favorite one to sing! At the end, talk about all of the things that we have to be thankful for and ways that we can give in the month of November!

HAPPY SINGING!

P.S. Look out for some exciting news about the future of Sunbeam Singing coming soon! Like Sunbeam Singing on Facebook for all the latest!

Leaves Are Falling { Three Fall-Themed Activities for Reviewing OR Learning }

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As primary programs are coming to an end, we can finally look ahead to learning new songs and having some fun mixing it up a little more during singing time! This is a great fall themed activity that can work with any songs you want to learn or review! I love versatile activities like this because I can reuse the same printables over and over again! Here’s a few ways to use these lovely leaves!

Print the leaves HERE!

Reviewing Several Songs

If you’re still in prep mode for your program or you want to refresh your kids’ memories on some old favorites, you can use these leaves for a great fall-themed review activity to go over several songs. Write the names or page numbers of the songs you want to review on the front of each leaf. I like to write the names of songs for more casual activities, because the primary feels like they have more control to pick what they will sing, and the page numbers if I’m worried we won’t get to sing all the songs we really need to work on, especially if they’re not the most popular ones that my kids will pick. On the back of each leaf, write a way to sing that song or a group to sing it to keep things more interesting. To really make things fun, collect some fall foliage from around your neighborhood and let your kids earn leaves based on how well they sing each song. If they sing a song especially well, they earn 5 leaves, and start to build a pile of leaves on the floor. If you  have a toy rake like this one, let one child come up and rake the earned leaves into a pile!

Reviewing One Song

Notice how there are 2 leaves of the same shape in the printable? If you have just one song you really want to focus on, split each phrase into 2 parts and write the 2 halves on 2 leaves of the same shape. Scramble them up on the board and let one kid come up and pick 2 leaves that match. Then have one group of children sing one half of the line and assign the other leaf to another group. If you have a small primary, you could do boys and girls or 1-2 classes together. If you have a very large primary, you can split each class into 2 leaves and do a call and response sort of activity, where one group sings the first half of the line, followed by the other group with the second half. Then, have someone from another class come and pick 2 more and repeat the activity. Once you’ve gone over each set of leaves, have everyone trade and listen closely for when their line comes up! It’s pretty entertaining to listen for the holes when your kids aren’t paying attention, and it really lets you know which parts of the song you need to really drill! If you have a combined primary, you’ll want at least one senior primary member, participating teacher or good reader in a group with your smaller children!

Learning a New Song

There’s a lot of ways to learn a new song with these leaves! You can split the lines in half like in the activity above and do a call and response in each line. Since its a new song, to do this style of activity, you’ll want to sing the whole line for them first, then you sing the first half, they sing the second half and then trade. Finish learning each line by having just the kids sing it by themselves. Then you can mix it up with different groups! Another fun way to learn a song is to number each leaf and tape them under a few chairs in the primary room. Start by having everyone look for leaf #1 and then learn the first line or section. When each section is learned well, let someone make the leaf fall by throwing it up in the air! If you’re looking for some fall-themed songs that are quick to learn, my favorites are “Leaves Are Falling All Around” p. 241 and “It’s Autumntime” p. 246.

I hope you’ve got some great new ideas for fall! Let me know your favorite ways to use these leaves in your singing time! Happy Fall, Y’all, and

HAPPY SINGING!

General Conference Activity Pages!

It’s that time again and getting kids to sit {relatively} still through 8 hours of Conference can be a challenge. Here’s 3 brand new activity pages to help keep everyone focused and enjoying Conference!

General Conference Activity Pages {PDF}

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This first page is especially great for very young children! Just color each picture and word whenever you see a speaker wearing this color!

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For this sheet, just listen closely to the speakers and whenever one of these prophet’s names are mentioned, color the name and the picture that goes with it! This page is great for the kids in the middle who have learned to read but still love to color.

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This last page is geared to the older kids who get bored with coloring more quickly. Just listen closely to the speakers and whenever a scripture is quoted, circle which book it’s from and make a tally mark inside the box. At the end of conference, count how many scriptures from each book were used!

I hope you find these useful this upcoming Conference Weekend, and if you haven’t yet, then go print my Conference Packet for Adults! It’ll make taking notes more organized and fun than you ever thought possible. (Print these for yourself too! I won’t tell!)

Happy Conferencing!

The Ultimate Singing Time Tournament

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It’s here. The game to end all games! Every game you think you’ve played in primary (and a few more!) have been combined into one giant tournament for the ultimate singing time. ( I should write movie trailers! ) Below are a list of mini-games that you can use in different combinations to keep things interesting for one giant push to practice program songs OR to relax after your program is finished. AND since they’re so short and so easy to play, you can use them as time-fillers too! Versatility is key for us primary choristers.

LA-LA LOUDER

To play this game, show one primary child the name of a song, or whisper it in their ear, and instruct them that must sing the melody only saying the syllable “la” AND they have to start out soft and get louder and louder until someone can guess which song they’re singing! You’ll get to know who can carry a tune, and who can recognize music even without the words. If you end up with a contestant that’s particularly tone deaf, let the pianist start to play with the singer after a few lines.

MEMORY MATCH

I’ve made a few collages of images that represent a song. Just show the images and let your kids guess which song they go with! To make it harder in Senior primary, just flash them for a couple seconds at first and then gradually let them see the images longer until the know the answer!

Memory Match Ultimate Primary Tournament {PDF}

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FOLLOW THE FORTE

It’s just a fancy name for hot and cold (and a great way to throw in a musical term!) Grab your favorite thing to hide and pick someone to go outside. Everyone else agrees on a hiding place and gets a reminder to sing loud when they get closer and soft when they’re far away. Invite your contestant in and sing away!

THINK OF THAT TITLE

You’ll probably want a senior primary contestant (or even a teacher) for this game! Show them the title of a primary song and instruct that they can’t say any of the words in that title, but must use other words to describe the song and get the rest of the primary to guess its name! You can make it even harder by adding a few other key words from the song that are not allowed!

JUKEBOX JUMBLE

Pick a few phrases from the different songs you’re reviewing. Now mix up all the words and post them on the board! I made some strips of words for you to use with some of the phrases that my primary sometimes struggles with! Read it out loud and see if someone can put it in the right order. If they can’t, then sing the song it goes with and point to the strip when you get there. Write the correct phrase underneath the word strip! This is a particularly fun one to play vs. teachers too! For example:

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Jukebox Jumble Ultimate Primary Tournament {PDF}

There are lots of ways you can mix all these games together and adapt them for junior and senior primary if you have them separated! Decide before you start if you will keep score and how to divide your primary. My favorite thing to do with each of these games is to play kids vs. teachers! To make this work out well, I often let one teacher have a turn in each game and the rest are all children. You’ll be able to involve a lot of children in playing each of these games, especially if you divide responsibilities. For example, if you are playing jukebox jumble, make it a senior primary member’s job to unscramble the phrase and a junior primary member’s job to identify which song it is from! And everyone loves to see the teachers get up in front and play!

HAPPY SINGING!