As a Child of God: Egg Shakers


Younger Children:

Ask the children to follow your hands.

  • Tap your thigh 3x
  • Tap the egg to your other palm 3x

Sing the song and do this pattern with a shaker. (The children don’t have an egg shaker yet.)

You will do the pattern 4 x.


As you reach the chorus, call out “Freeze!”  Tell the children to watch carefully because you are changing the pattern.

  • Tap your opposite shoulder 3 x
  • Shake the egg in the air 3x

Sing the chorus as you do this new pattern with a shaker. (Again, the children do not have an egg shaker yet.)

Repeat that sequence 4x as you sing.


Hand out the eggs and do both of the patterns again.


As an extender activity, ask the children to hold their eggs so they don’t make any sound. Tell them we are going to do some motions where we are holding the egg so it doesn’t make any sound.

  • Tap your thigh 3x
  • Hold the egg with no sound for 3 counts

Repeat that pattern 4x as you sing the verse.  On the chorus, change to this pattern.

  • Tap your opposite shoulder 3 x
  • Hold the egg with no sound for 3 counts

Repeat that sequence 4x


How does this work to learn the song?

  1.  The children are engaged, and thus the brain can take the words into the backdoor of the memory.
  2. The children are moving to the beat which helps the body and the brain to capture the rhythmic movement of the song into long term memory.
  3. The children hear the song in its entirety before they are asked to sing it back.  The memory then has a clear picture of the whole for the parts of song to lodge in.  Since singing is re-producing a sound, the children are given a chance to hear the whole song a couple of times before being asked to reproduce the sound.


Older Children:


Show this pattern to the children:

  • Hit on thigh
  • Pass around the back
  • Hit on thigh
  • Shake in the air 3x

You will be shaking on these words: on these words: earth, choose, me, too, God, light, help, right


Challenge the children to choose a partner and do the pattern above EXCEPT instead of passing behind the back, tap your partner’s egg softly.

Having the children move to the beat taps into the kinesthetic memory which will add them in remember the song in a deep way.  Having the egg shakers peaks the children’s interest.  As always, when you use an object like shakers, you need to be clear about your expectations for how they will be used, and if needed, some consequences.

The children love this activity because it is fun for them.

30 Responses

  1. Camille Mangelson

    So I had read in one of your replies( I can’t find it now) that you were coming to Payson, Ut in January to do a workshop. How do I sign up for that? I would love to come! I just got called (3rd time) but I need all the help I can get, it has been a long time!!

    • Sharla Dance

      I know that it is in the Payson West stake center across the street from Mt. Nebo Junior High. January 28th from 9 to 12. It will be fun to see you there!

        • Sharla Dance

          I think so. There are three workshops in the next two months:
          Payson Utah West Stake on Saturday January 28th 9 to 12pm.
          Bothell, Washington Stake on Saturday February 11th 9 to 12pm 18860 NE Woodinville Duvall Road, Woodinville, WA 98077.
          Portland Music Workshop in Beaverton, Oregon on Saturday February 25th. I don’t have the times for that but they have a website.

  2. Linda Gillette

    These ideas are wonderful. You can teach an old dog new tricks. As a 74 year old great grandmother I love my calling as Primary Chorister. I’m always looking for ways to make singing time enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Chantel

    Would you use this same pattern for multiple verses? I want to sing all three verses but I’m wondering if it would be best to keep the pattern the same, or different for each verse.

    • Sharla Dance

      I use a different activity for each verse. It helps the brain catalog and remember the differences better. Thanks for asking!

  4. Kristy

    I submitted questions a couple of days ago and found your reply tonight. Thx for asking my questions. Very helpful. Unfortunately I can’t find my questions and your response to review, any ideas where I can find that thread? Also where do suggest to buy the egg shakers/what kind? Do you have a link you could share?

  5. Kristy

    I found my previous comment with your response, but I’d still love your recommendations on where to get the egg shakers.

    Thanks so much! I’m loving everything you see teaching abs can’t wait to go to the workshop and to get your book.

    • Sharla Dance

      There are many, many ways to find egg shakers to use. Make them yourself (plastic easter eggs, rice or beans, lots of duct tape), or buy them from Lakeshore, Amazon, or West Music. If you buy them for less than $1.50 each, they are not as durable as though made by companies like Basic Beat. I buy one or two good shakers a year to add to my collection, but I have bought some of the cheaper egg shakers, too, in order for everyone to have one.

      Thanks for asking!

  6. Barbara

    Thank you so much for you wonderful ideas!! I have really enjoyed the variety that these egg shakers provide. 🙂 Last year, I couldn’t find eggs when I needed them, so I bought “2 oz. mini cups”, the kind that hold condiments with a lid, instead of eggs. They are found by the paper plates at the store. I put some rice in each one and then used some cute duct tape from the craft store to seal the lids on tight. I cut the tape so it was only a half an inch wide and then taped across the top, around the bottom, and back up to the top in a big loop. I repeated this with another ring of tape so that it made an ‘x’ on top. I told the children that they had to use them with care and especially not play with the tape. So far, all the shakers are lasting just fine. I might still watch for eggs at Easter, but this has been a good substitute for now.

    Another thing I do that has really helps with the distribution is that I divided the shakers into quart Ziploc bags to match the number of classes we have. Then, when time to distribute, I hand the bags to the teachers to hand out to their children and then gather up when we’re done. It makes for a quick transition so I can keep the children with me as well as not losing so much time handing them out.

    • Sharla Dance

      Great ideas, Barbara! Shakers, check! Distribution of the shakers – fast and efficient! (I’ll try that, too.) I like it… thanks for sharing!

  7. Amanda

    I have read through many comments but I’m still uneasy about teaching each verse 3 weeks in a row with different activities. I understand why its important but I don’t see how I can get through all the songs. You mentioned teaching 2 new songs each week. So is it possible you are teaching 2 program songs in the same week and month? Do you have an example of a scheduled month? The melody map was incredible last week! Can I use that to introduce every new song? or is that going overboard:/

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Amanda,
      The key principle is that the brain needs repetition, but craves variety. The more variety you introduce to the children, yet using the same song, the better.

      Here’s an idea of how to teach a few of the program songs in 7 weeks:
      Older Children
      Week 1:
      As a Child 1st verse – melody map (7 minutes)
      Choose the Right 1st verse – envelope game (5 minutes)
      I’m Trying to be Like Jesus – waves of the sea (3 minutes)

      Week 2:
      As a Child 1st verse – egg shakers (7 minutes)
      Choose the Right 1st verse – body rhythm patterns (5 minutes)
      I’m Trying to be Like Jesus – Put the words in order (4 minutes)

      Week 3:
      As a Child 1st verse – Action Instead (4 minutes)
      Choose the Right 1st verse – Simple Drawing melody map (5 minutes) (I’m putting this on the website in a few days)
      I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus – Concentration Match it (7 minutes)

      Week 4:
      (Sing 1st verse of Choose the Right as opening song)
      As a Child Introduce 2nd verse – Eraser pass (5 minutes)
      I’m Trying to be Like Jesus – wind wands (5 minutes)
      Stand for the Right – drum activity (5 minutes)

      Week 5:
      (Sing I’m Trying to be like Jesus as opening song)
      As a Child 2nd verse – paper plates (4 minutes)
      Stand for the Right – Crack the code (5 minutes)
      When I am Baptized – rhythm sticks (5 minutes)

      Week 6:
      (Sing Stand for the Right as opening song)
      As a Child 2nd verse – Complicated hand pattern (4 minutes)
      When I am Baptized – Story Song (5 minutes)
      Choose the Right 2nd verse – Egg carton rhythm pattern (5 minutes)

      Week 7:
      (Sing As a Child of God as opening song both 1st and 2nd verses to see how well they know them)
      Choose the Right 2nd verse – Find the missing word poster (5 minutes)
      When I am Baptized – Paper Plates (5 minutes)
      As a Child of God 3rd verse – Concentration match it (5 minutes)

      Notice each song has at least one movement activity, a figure out the word order activity, and a puzzle kind of activity in the course of 3 weeks. All of those lodge in different places in the brain in addition to where the music lodges.

      With this kind of teaching, there is a lot of full of gusto singing just because singing time is fun, intriguing, and engaging because they have to figure it out… and because they get to move!

      Does it make more sense?

      Thanks for asking a great question. Take care, Sharla

      P.S. Younger primary would look similar to this, but with more movement and a lot of action word actions.

  8. Amanda

    Whoa! I really have to be on my game! This is fantastic! I’ve got to order your book. Thank you so much.


  9. Olga Porto Carreiro

    Sou brasileira e entendo muito pouco inglês mas do pouco que vi, percebi excelentes idéias para a primária. Sou líder de música na minha ala aqui no Brasil em Brasília. Ficarei muito grata se pudesse ter acesso às idéias de vocês! Muito obrigada! Olga Porto Carreiro.

  10. Penny Southwick

    What kind of song and activities do you do for the nursery children? Do you implement the program songs or just get them to engage in singing with the fun activity songs?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Penny,
      I do an entire music workshop on just nursery music because it is so different from Primary music. I have a few blogs about Nursery music on this site from a few years ago and will be adding more because I’m doing a section on Nursery music in 2 weeks in Bothell WA. On the youtube channel teachingprimarymusic there are about 8 to 10 Nursery specific songs composed to go with the Nursery manual. I submitted them into the church, but for now you will have to get local Priesthood approval. (they can watch them)

      Basically the songs have to be a small range, concrete subjects they can see, touch, or feel, and each song needs some type of manipulative for them to hold in their hands. I will write more about this! Thanks for urging me to do this!

  11. Cynthia

    Thank you so much for the music workshop in Payson yesterday. I felt the Spirit from the first song you invited us to sing together. It felt so good to move and sing – which is probably why I enjoy leading music so much.
    We had a great singing time today with egg shakers for verse 3 of “As a Child of God”, melody map for Choose the Right, and a story song “I Lived in Heaven” where I introduced them to our new grandson. I didn’t anticipate that they would want to sing with me during the story song, but they quietly joined in as I sang. And when the story was done, they asked to sing it all the way through without stopping but we were out of time. Pretty sure they enjoyed singing together today!
    You are a blessing to me. Thank you!!

    • Sharla Dance

      This is a sweet and tender moment. Thank you so much for sharing. It brings tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  12. Mallory


    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your talents. I have used your melody maps, paper plates, and eraser pass for the past three weeks and they are just such great methods.
    I have found that when I do a lot of repetition: 7x in a row with the activity, then it takes almost all 20 minutes. I am not looking for a concrete answer, but do you think it’s undesirable to only be singing one song for the whole time. Especially because in February, I’ll have spent three weeks in a row on Choose the Right. I see pros and cons for alternative scenarios, but I’m a very new chorister and so I have no benchmark. Any guidance from your experience?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Mallory, Our brains need a change of pace about every 10 minutes for adults (from the book by the neuroscientist John Medina called Brain Rules) and every 5 minutes for children. I usually teach 2 to 3 songs every Sunday, making sure that the two styles or feelings of the songs are contrasting. I use a different activity for each song of about 5 to 7 minutes. One of the other things from brain research is that we need to learn little by little, line upon line, with time to sleep in between. So the children get 5 to 7 minutes one Sunday, then the next Sunday a little more, and they’ve had time to sleep on it. It goes down deep into their memory that way.

      It sounds like you are doing wonderful things with your children! Perhaps when you are ready, you could do two songs with contrasting styles and see how it goes for you. Thank you so much for asking!

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