A Month’s (and more) worth of Review ideas

Toddlers (and children)

remember better than you think!

Nicholas Day, the author of Baby Meets World, wrote an article about what children remember entitled “Toddlers Remember Better Than You Think.” (click the word article above to go to his piece)

In that article he points out that children are learning how to organize their memories.  He states that when they begin to process their experience, they remember better and better.  Importantly, children learn the skills of memory if their environment values that skill.  Skills of memory…. hmmmm.


What does that mean for Primary music?

We can teach children the skill of remembering a song over a long period of time by valuing the skill of remembering with some creative review ideas.


We can review in varied and interesting ways!  (And improve the children’s ability to remember at the same time.)

1.   Review each song at least once every 4 to 6 weeks.  If they are more complicated songs (lots of words, longer, jumping melody with a large range, etc.), you might want to review them more often.

2.  Don’t review the song in exactly the same way you taught it.  Give the children a new experience with the same song.

3.  The activity should only be about 4 to 6 minutes long for the review.  It will take that long because of the new experience you are giving them as you review.  It deepens their experience with the song.

Just singing a song is not necessarily reviewing the song well.  Unless the children are connected, engaged, and interested, singing a song is actually NOT an effective review.  What’s the remedy?

Do another activity with the song you haven’t done yet.


Stay true to the feel and meaning of the song as you review

We can find lots of ways to sing a song again and again.

What I didn’t know for years, though, is that it matters what the feel and mood of the review activity is.  (We diminish and take away from the feeling and mood of the song we are trying to review if the activity doesn’t match up with the feel of the song!)

Here are some ideas to review different songs according to their mood, tempo, and feel.  (I give examples from other posts.  Click the name of the post to see the post.)

Look at the idea, then apply it to fit the song you would like to review.


Songs that are Firm, Rhythmic, Beat Driven

(examples this year might be Choose the Right, Stand for the Right, and The Wise Man Built His House)

  1. Beat versus Rhythm for Older and Younger Children  a. (Week 1 of the Holy Ghost) b. (General for review)
  2. Rhythmic patterns with extenders for Older and Younger Children a.(Stand for the Right – Older Children) b.(Follow the Prophet – Younger Children)
  3. Clap Instead for Older Children (Praise to the Man)
  4. Steady Beat Scramble for Older Children
  5. Flag patterns for Younger Children

Songs that are Gentle, Swaying, Faith-filled

(examples this year might be I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus, As a Child of God, As a Child of God )

  1. Magic Crayon for Younger Children a. (Using it to review)  b. (Come Follow Me)
  2. Waves of the Sea for Older and Younger Children
  3. Egg Shaker Pass for Younger and Older Children a.(I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me – Younger) b. (Come Follow Me – Younger) c. (Come Follow Me – Older) d. (I Know That My Savior Loves Me – Older)
  4. Hand Slap Patterns for Older Children
  5. Scarves for Younger Children – When I am Baptized, I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus

Songs that are Declarative, Doctrinal, Committed

(examples this year might be As a Child of God, Nephi’s Courage)

  1. Color Codes for Older Children
  2. Action Word Actions for Younger Children (I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ)(Praise to the Man)(I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me)
  3. Sway and Freeze for Younger Children (If I Listen with My Heart)
  4. Hand Slap Patterns for Older Children
  5. Take It In – Take It Out for Older and Younger Children
  6. Lip Synch Detective for Older Children


8 Responses

  1. Brittany Chase

    I’m intrigued to know what “Flag patterns” are for younger kids!

    Also, if I used “waves of the sea” for younger kid, are there any modifications I could do? Or any special extenders for older kids?

  2. Cindy Cross

    I adore you!

  3. Sharla, in reviewing a song that has 3 verses, such as ‘As a Child of God’ is it best to review one verse each week in a different way or if I hadn’t done egg shakers could I use them with through the whole song? Thank you for sharing your time and gifts. (And I am loving my brain work out).

    • Sharla Dance

      Great idea, but I would change the pattern for every verse!

  4. Yes please. What are the flag patterns and lip syncs detective activities?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Becky, Make “flags” out of rolled up newspaper, then wave them for 8 counts up, 8 counts down, 8 counts to the side, etc. They also like to march with them and wave them.

      The lip sync detective is you mouthing the words, and they have to put the printed word cards in order up on the board just by watching your lips.

      Thanks for asking!

  5. Myrna Councilman

    I’m a newcomer. Where can I learn about Flag Patterns?

    • Sharla Dance

      See my reply in the comments for a bit more information. I haven’t done a post on it, but I will with The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock!

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