Christmas Songs: Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus – Older and Younger


Idea #1

I asked a boy to come up front before Primary started, making sure it was okay for him to stand up on the chair (and warning him to be careful<grin>!)  He put on the piece of cloth I offered him which looked like something from Guatemala.  As I told a super condensed version of the story of Samuel the Lamanite, the boy got up on the chair and raised his arms to tell the people about a day 5 years away.  The children then pretended to throw stones and shoot arrows at Samuel.  I stopped them and told them of the miracle of not one of those stones or arrows hitting Samuel.  Immediately I started singing and doing the action word actions (see underlined word).

Said SamuelWithin five years


a night will be as day


And Baby Jesus will be born (continue rocking your arms like holding a baby)


In a land far, far away.


I stop singing and ask, “Can you hands follow my hands?”  I sing and do the actions again, having the children follow me.  (Hint: I will stop and challenge the children if not all the children cover their eyes, or raise their hands up.  “I love the way _____ threw his hands up just like Samuel!”  “Was your covering of the eyes as dark as night?” etc. I’m letting them know by my comments that I would love them to engage, and I’m noticing.)

“Let’s do all of the actions as I sing.”  I sing the song, and then continue on to the chorus with the these actions, still having the children follow me.

Hosanna!  Hosanna!

Oh, let us gladly sing.

How blessed that our Lord was born;

Let earth proclaim her King!

(*Disclaimer – Yes, I sang the wrong words in this video saying “Oh, let our voices ring” when it should have been “Oh, let us gladly sing.” Please excuse the mistake! I was doing it from memory, and obviously my memory changed the words on me!)

I ask the children, “Can you do the actions without any words?  We’ll have the piano play, but no words!”

We silently do all the above actions to the song.  I mouth the words in an exaggerated fashion.

When we finish, I tell the children that their teachers have some paper plates for them. (I have already put the appropriate number of 2 plates per each child and the teacher under their chairs earlier.)  “Quickly get your paper plates and have your plates follow my plates.”  (I only allow a short time for the transition to having plates before I begin to sing again.  The transition is where some of the behavior problems can develop, so I move quickly so that doesn’t happen.)  I begin to sing at the chorus, doing the actions… this time with paper plates in my hands.

Hosanna!  Hosanna!

Oh, let us gladly sing.

How blessed that our Lord was born;

Let earth proclaim her King!


“Now let’s sing the whole song with the actions and the paper plates!”  We sing again using the same actions, but this time with paper plates in our hands.


The children don’t recognize they have just interacted with the song at least 3 or 4 times, because each time there was a different challenge to conquer.  They enjoy the movement and challenge.

Idea #2

Older Children

“Look at the code on  the board at the front of the room.  What does it have to do with this song?”








I sing the song and receive the children’s answers.  Often one of them will guess that it is the first letter of each word.  I then ask, “Which one of these comes first?”  I sing the song again. When a child raises their hand, I motion for them to come up and move the word strip to the top.  All the while I keep singing (as much as possible – sometimes stopping to give instructions).  I sing over and over again while the children put the “code” in order.

We sing the song together once they have finished putting all the word strips in order. I will also do the actions listed in Idea #1 as we sing.

What the children don’t realize is that they have heard the song all the way through at least 4 or 5 times while focusing on the specifics of the words… a very strong memory method (whole to part to whole).


Younger Children

“Can your hands follow my hands?” In the beat of the song (2 strong beats per measure because the song is fast), I tap the palms of my hands to my thighs (patsch). Patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch… I get the beat going with the children and begin to sing.

The beats come on the words Sam-, -el, -in, years, night, be, day, etc.

At the chorus, I raise my hands above my head and push upward with one hand then the other. The children follow my actions.

The pushes come on the words -san, -na, -san, -na, let, gladly, sing, etc.


I sing the song again and do another action to the beat, again changing the action at the chorus for more variety.  Here are some ideas.

Cross your legs and tap one foot first with one hand, then the other.

Tap one shoulder at a time by crossing with your opposite arm.

Brush your hands up and down the sides of your legs, first one hand brushing up, and the other brushing down, then switching.

Tap your cheeks with the tips of your fingers.

Tap the top of your head, first one hand, then the other.


The children are not only hearing the words and melody over and over again, but they are also experiencing steady beat.  The pattern of steady beat is a huge organizer for the brain!


11 Responses

  1. Michelle Smart

    Thank you for sharing this! I had actions for the first half of the song, but I was drawing a blank for the second. 🙂 We’ll totally do this.

  2. Heidi Dial

    What actions did you do for the 2nd vs? Did you only have an idea for the first verse? Thank you

  3. Melanie Barrett

    I did the paper plates today with the Children and they seemed to really enjoy it!

  4. Angie Jones

    I used both of these methods to teach this song last month and my kids LOVED it. Many of my junior primary children now say this song is their favorite–including my 6 year old son. They all LOVED the plates on the chorus. I’m definitely keeping the plates in the closet for future songs. Thank you!

  5. Erin

    Sharla, can you help me identify the instruments in this song? I’m hearing a piano and a violin? Any idea where I can find simple music for the violin part?

  6. Amy

    This was so fun! I didn’t have time for the plates, but I had four children demonstrate the initial actions and everyone join in on the actions for the chorus. Big hit! I also used your Stars Were Gleaming prints/matching. These two songs saved me in a pinch. I really appreciate these free resources! They’re still saving people almost 7 years later. Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *