Come Follow Me: Color Code Activity for Older Children

“Look up at this poster with the code.  What do you see?  What do you notice?”  (Receive the children’s answers.)


They may answer something like, “I see a bunch of dots.” “I see some blue dots with shadows.” “I see lots of colors.”  If the child has an analytical mind, they will count how many dots of a certain color and tell you.


“What does this code have to do with this song?”


(Immediately sing the song, pointing to each circle as you sing the words of the song.)

Ask again, “What does this code have to do with this song?”  Receive the children’s answers.  If the children are looking at you with a blank look, you might want to sing the song again and give some hints with your voice inflections, emphasizing all the words starting with S (or some other letter of the code).  Pretty soon the children will start to catch on that words that start with certain letters are a particular color on this chart.


Ask them what the yellow circles stand for.  Ask them what the orange circles stand for. Ask them what the green circles stand for.  If they can’t figure it out, it gives you another chance to sing the song again and emphasize those particular words.  Figure it out together.

Extend the Activity:

Once the children have figured out that:

Orange stands for words that start with C

Yellow stands for words that start with F

Aqua with Black stands for all the other words

Blue stands for words that start with T

Purple stands for words that start with S

Green stands for words that start with O

…then challenge the children to sing only the words that have aqua and black.

Sing again, this time singing only the words that have an orange or a yellow dot.

Divide the room in half and have one side sing only the words that have a green and an orange dot, and the other side sing only the words that have yellow and a blue dot.  You as the director sing the words with an aqua and black dot.

There may be other combinations you can think up of who sings what color of dot.


The strength of this activity is that it causes the children to sing the song inside their head.  They practice the skill of hearing music in their brain, of feeling the rhythmic pulse and responding on certain beats, and interacting with the whole group to meet the challenges of this activity.

Most of all, the older children really enjoy the challenge of figuring out the code, then challenging themselves to see if they can sing only on certain words.  Their eyes twinkle with concentration, and they unknowingly learn the song deep within!

19 Responses

  1. Jen

    Thank you for these wonderful ideas! I have several questions. How do you decide how many verses to teach the children and which ones (for multiple verse songs such as Come, Follow Me and Follow the Prophet)? For the Primary program, how many verses of each song would you perform? Do you do additional songs in the program that you learned during the months that didn’t have assigned songs (May and August)? I absolutely love using your suggested activities to help the children learn the songs. At some point before the program, do you practice having the kids sing the songs with traditional conducting and no manipulatives, etc?

    Do the Primary children in your ward sing in Sacrament meeting for other occasions – Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Pioneer Day, Christmas? If so, how do you work those songs into their learning as well? It can be challenging to fit everything in! I appreciate your feedback.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Jen,
      Here are some answers:
      At some point before the program, yes, we do sing with traditional conducting. But… I don’t do it until right before the program. We keep using different activities and different movements, so the children are not stuck on just one way. Singing with their hearts becomes easy for them because they know the songs inside and out… because of all the activities we have done to learn the songs.

      When there are multiple verses, I often choose only two or three for the program… sometimes only one. The programs can get too long. When there are multiple verses, I will choose a group of two or three children to learn and sing the extra verses, and have all the children come back in on the chorus.

      If the Primary Presidency have decided they would like the non-assigned songs in the program, then yes, we will perform them. It depends on how they would like the program to go. Just because we have learned a song and love it, doesn’t mean we have to perform it that particular day.

      Yes, the children perform for Christmas and Mother’s Day. We perform for Pioneer day celebrations, but not in Sacrament meeting. Since I plan two or three songs (and activities to teach them) as part of every singing time, I just stick the “extra” songs in as a normal part of what we do…. usually starting one or two months before they need to perform (I start the Christmas songs at the end of October, along with other new songs for birthdays or Articles of Faith, etc.).

      I’m grateful you ask! That means you are open and willing to do new things in order to help the children! What a blessing to them… Take care, Sharla (Keep asking and I’ll try to help)

      • Jen

        Thank you so much for these recommendations. A few more questions: how do you usually conduct opening exercise songs – opening song, birthday song, hello song, etc – traditional conducting, actions, etc?

  2. Michelle Smart

    Ooh! I obsessively keep a list of all the activities I’ve seen you use, and this is a new one. Fun! I’ll be sure to share it with my children.

  3. Laura Bickmore

    I love this activity! I did a color chart for “The Holy Ghost” and after a few weeks had the second verse on the back in an entirely different set of colors and codes. They loved it! It’s been a little while since the charts, so I’ll definitely be doing this with the kids.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing all your ideas and helping with the lesson plans. It has helped me so much! <3 <3 <3

  4. Zefa Schvaneveldt

    Very intriguing! Can’t wait to use it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas. Sharla, how could I get a copy of the music to “Come Follow Me” (Dana)– that you used in your workshop. I would be happy to purchase it if that’s possible.

  5. Zefa Schvaneveldt

    Another question: When you use a story to teach (like the footprints in the snow) for “Come Follow Me”, do you always teach that when you first introduce the song, or will it be effective any week?

    • Sharla Dance

      Story song is effective any week. It uses a different part of the brain than other activities. Thanks for asking.

    • Sharla Dance

      Thanks for doing this Melinda! You bless others. Thank you, Sharla

  6. Sharla Dance

    Dear Jen, When I conduct a prayer song, or a birthday song, or a welcome song, I try to do it in a way that will best help the children. If I use any traditional conducting methods, it is usually to help the children to breath together, and to start and stop the music together. I often will use hand signs to emphasize key words. I sometimes will use action word actions to help them relate to what we are singing. Thanks for asking.

  7. Cynthia Goates

    Sharla, my older children love these brainiac activities. Where do you get your circles and other shapes? Do you have a die cutter?

  8. Cassandra Morgan

    I just found this post. I am new to your amazing teaching methods and I was wondering: Is this a standard poster board size? I have a circle cutter and lots and lots of bright colored paper so I was trying to get the correct size so I can recreate this. Thank you so much for the great idea and for sharing your knowledge with us!

    • Sharla Dance

      Hi Cassandra, I just use a normal size poster board and a circle cutter! You must have some experience with crafts if you have all of these materials, so you’ll do great!! Thanks for asking!

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