I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me: Tile Envelope Word Game for Older


The children are intently working on the floor in small groups while I sing the chorus of I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me over and over.  They are playing the Tile Envelope Word Game.  Here’s how we started:

“This is a tile.” (I hold up a real tile.) “I have some paper tiles with words on them, but sometimes part of the word is on one tile, and part of the word is one another tile.  Your challenge is to put these tile words together as it comes in the song I will sing before I sing the song 8 times.” (Hold up the envelopes and the tile board.) I have asked some adults to help pass one envelope and two tile boards out to each group.”

“Find two or three friends, and make your group.”  (The children move to find a friend group.  I often have the teachers step in and help pair up any stragglers to a group, and to help the youngest classes with this word game. I give time for the children to adjust to finding a group.)

I tell the children: “Hint: this works best if you put all the words out on the floor so you can see them all.”

I start to sing.  (This particular tile word game is for the chorus of this song.)  I walk among the different groups as I sing.  I watch where they are having trouble and emphasize certain words to help as I sing.  I keep track of how many times I have sung.  After singing the first two times through, I sometimes ask, “Would you like me to sing it again?”  I often get a chorus of YESES… but please sing it slower.<Grin>

If a certain group finishes before the rest, I ask them to be the singers to help all the rest of the group figure out the puzzle.

Here is the puzzle board: Tile word puzzle board

And here are the puzzle words:  I Will follow tile envelope game


You can always make your own puzzle with words, too.

The beauty of this activity is the concentration from the children on mastering the challenge.  They hear the song over and over again and start to sing it in their heads so that they can repeat the puzzle.  They are working together in groups.  It is not a competition (although some make it to be that), but an effort for the whole group to complete the puzzle.  It really helps those children who use logic and printed words to take in information.  And it is a challenge for them!


26 Responses

  1. Mary

    I love this. thank you for sharing. I didn’t see the tiles for the last part of the chorus “Then I will be happy on earth And in my home above.” Did I just overlook it?

    • Sharla Dance

      No, the amount of tiles became too many, and the children remember this last line because I have just sung it so many times. Thanks for asking.

  2. Jill

    I just saw your reply in another post about a workshop in eastern Washington. When is it and is it open to anyone? I would love to come. Thanks!

    • Sharla Dance

      I unfortunately taught that workshop on January 16th. I’m teaching in Bellevue on February 6th, and Portland on February 27th. thank you for asking Jill.

    • Sharla Dance

      This song has a LOT of words that don’t repeat, so I plan on doing at least 4 different activities with this song. I am sending out a blog post with a month’s worth of activities for this song, and in those I do cover the verse… the chorus activity with the tiles is only part of those many experiences. Thanks for asking.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Heather, Because this is only one of the four activities that I use to teach this song (a different activity each week), the children end up getting all the words to the verse. The focus on the chorus is only one of the parts, using the principle Whole to Part to Whole (let the children hear the whole song, then they focus on a part, and put that part back into the whole). Thanks for asking!

  3. Lori Call

    Hi Sharla! I wondered how you present/teach songs that are opening songs (ie. A of F, welcome & birthday songs)? Do you spend time teaching those? I feel like I am singing a solo sometimes because the kids often don’t know them, especially Jr. Prmary.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Lori, Last Sunday I presented the First Article of Faith as the opening song. I showed 4 hand motions (sign language) and ask the children to have their hands follow my hands (Eternal, father, Son, Holy Ghost). I said the word and did the hand motion, then repeated the word and did the hand motion again. I did this for each word (about 1 minute). Then I sang the song, asking the children to follow my hands as we did the motions. The children were fully engaged, but I was singing almost alone (another teacher joined in.) I will be doing that again this Sunday, and a few children will start to sing with me. The week after we sing it together doing the actions, then we have the piano play while we don’t sing, but only do the actions (So the children are running it through their heads).

      I do take 5 minutes on two different Sundays to teach a new birthday song or reverence song. With a welcome song, I use “We Welcome You” and sing it over and over while the children shake the new person’s hand. (They eventually end up singing it with me because they hear it so many times ). But these are only the things I do. I am sure there are many ways to do things!

  4. Karrie

    Sharla, I went to your workshop in Pasco and I loved every minute. It has changed the way I am teaching music. It has been a blast. I love my calling and have enjoyed using your material. I have someone who would love to attend your conference in Bellevue. Can you give me the details of this workshop so I can pass it along? Thank you for sharing your talents with all of us. You are a blessing to so many.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Karrie, I’m happy that you were able to come to Pasco. Thank you for your kind words. I sincerely hope that we all can be powerhouse teachers that awaken the music in our children, then bear testimony. That’s why I travel to these workshops. You help encourage me. I am teaching from 9 am to 12 noon at the Bellevue Stake Center on Main Street in Bellevue on February 6th (this weekend). Thanks for asking.

  5. Stefanie Hatch

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your ideas have given me a new passion for my calling. I am so excited to teach every week bc I feel like I’m finally able to give the children the experience they were missing before. With the tile activity, do you have a final picture? I’m having a hard time picturing how it all fits together. I printed 1 out and I have some extra words without tiles so I’m doing something wrong. Thanks a million for all you do!

    • Sharla Dance

      Thank you for asking Stefanie! I didn’t want to have people to copy off 3 empty tile pages for each group, so there are two words that run off the page using only two.

  6. Cameron Peterson

    Hi Sharla,

    I was curioius if you only sing the chorus over and over again and omit the verse entirely? Do you plan on the other 3 weeks for singing and solidifying the verse in their minds? Thanks!


    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Cameron, For that activity, I only sing the chorus. However, I teach the whole song during the month. This activity is only one of the parts of a whole. I do a different activity with it every Sunday (that’s why I listed so many). That way the children have a lot of different experiences to draw from when they go to the memory place for this song in their brain. It also helps to give them a sense of intrigue and anticipation about the song because they know something new is coming the next week that is interesting to them. Thanks for asking!

  7. KellyAnne

    I have the same question as Cameron and just wanted to verify what I think your answer is– so when you do this particular acivity (the word tiles) and you’re singing while the kids put them together, you’re just singing the chorus over and over. Correct? And saving the verse for another week’s activity.
    Or are you exposing them to the verse too during this activity as you sing while they work?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear KellyAnne, Yes, saving the verse for other activities, but this one just has the chorus sung. It’s based on the principle of whole to part to whole. Present the whole, then focus in on a part. Now put it together into the whole. That way the brain has somewhere to logically lodge the information for longer storage. AND… the focus on different parts with lots of different activities makes the whole learning process fun!

  8. Erin

    I saw you at your fabulous workshop on Sat. and I’m seeing the blue links we talked about as well. Thanks so much!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Erin, I’d love to hear what you took away from the workshop. It’s always interesting and so educating for me what the Spirit teaches each one of us as individuals! I’m glad you could be there. Take care, Sharla

  9. Nancy

    Hi Sharla,

    I just found your fabulous site and have been looking through your ideas. First, thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge and time to help so many people!! (I was just received this calling and am feeling quite inept!) I have a few questions (with many more to come in the future I’m sure!!): I notice for many of the activities you mention that you sing while the kids are engaged with a task. Do you ask the kids NOT to sing? or do you just start singing and let them join in on their own? And is it ok to play the song (on repeat) on my phone instead of me singing? When you’re singing a song or just the chorus over and over, do you have the pianist play or are you singing accapella? I’m trying to visualize how this all looks. Thank you so much!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Nancy,
      1. I don’t ask the children not to sing. They do just start singing on their own during the activities. (It’s a natural way for them to pattern their own brains and keep track of the song while they are doing other engaging activities.) Yes, the song seems to slip in the back door of their brain when they are engaged and participating in a related experience.
      2. When I am singing the chorus over and over, I will sing a cappella or with the accompanist (it depends on the accompanist and what they can do).
      3. I use my voice as the main instrument to guide the children because the sound waves of the human voice in a live situation are different than the sound waves of a piano or recording. The brain can access the human voice sound waves much better, and it causes a different feel in the room.

      Although for this activity I focus on the chorus, I don’t just only teach the chorus. The next week with a different activity I sing and we experience the whole song. (Not your question, but just clarifying. )

      Take care, Sharla

  10. Nancy

    Thank you for your responses! So, you’re saying that the brain can access the live sound of the human voice better than a recording of an instrument. Is the same true for a recording of the human voice? Will they still be able to learn if it’s a recording of people singing? I’m thinking ahead to songs like Praise to the Man that are too high for my voice (I always sing the alto part for that song). I don’t think it would be very pleasant at all for anyone to have to listen to me sing that over and over (or any song that’s too high for that matter). I don’t like singing in front of people by myself as it is, much less over and over … BUT if that’s the best way to help the kids learn then I’ll do it. A little embarrassment/humiliation won’t kill me.

  11. Julie Hernandez

    @Nancy. I used to have a hard time singing in front of the Primary, too, but I soon realized the kids don’t care, and they’re very forgiving! I sing solos like this all the time, even when I’ve lost my voice, croaky with a cold etc. and say something like, Okay, any teachers that know this song please help me out so you don’t have to listen to my “frog” voice. Or acknowledge that the song is a bit high for you, so have teachers help, or stop on a note and just ask the kids if they can hit that note. It’s always worked for me and the teachers are never judgey, they understand. I think most of them wouldn’t want to sing a solo, either. 🙂 The kids seem to like that I’m not perfect, as I think it helps them realize they don’t have to be perfect singers to praise the Lord through music (or testify, as I always tell them we’re doing), which is one major aspect of this calling. Good luck!

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