Nephi’s Courage: Who, What, Where, Why for Older Children

At the front of the room, post these four words:

Who?  What?  Where?  Why?

Tell the children to look around the room at the phrases on the walls.  You will tap them on the shoulder to go and get one of the phrases of the song, then they decide if that phrase answers who, what, where, or why from the song you will sing and put that phase under that category.  Here are the phases written on different word strips and placed around the room:

The Lord commanded Nephi

From the wicked Laban

Laman and Lemuel  (I put all three of these under who?)


To go and get the plates

I will go

I will do

The things the Lord commands

This was his reply  (I put these five under what?)


Inside the city gates  (I put this under where?)


I know the Lord provides a way

He wants me to obey

Were both afraid to try  

Nephi was courageous (I put these four under why?)


Sing the song and tap different children on the shoulder

Tap a child on the shoulder while you sing the song.  Once he or she has chosen a word strip, tap another child on the shoulder to go and get another word strip (even before the first child has decided what category in which to put it).  Sing the song again and again while the children bring up the word strips and put them into a category.


When the children are done bringing up all the word strips and categorizing them, ask the children to sing only the phrases that are under the who? and why? categories, and you will sing the rest.

Now ask them to sing only the what? and where? categories and you sing the rest.


This activity is a huge benefit to those children who use logic as a primary source of taking in information.  It is a challenge to all older children’s emerging ability to categorize and really think about the words.  Because there are many phrases, lots of children get the chance to take on the challenge.  And it is fun!

24 Responses

  1. Florence Hathcock

    I love this, thanks!

  2. Thanks you again, Sharla for your wonderful ideas!
    Hmm.. Do you think this might work for the second or third verse?

    • Sharla Dance

      Yes, I think this would work for that!

    • I’m doing this tomorrow with the second verse. But I’m replacing “where?” with “how?” since a place isn’t mentioned in that verse.

  3. Hiedi Blackwelder

    Good idea!

  4. Sandra Bradfield

    This such a fun idea! My kiddos will love it. They thrive on challenges!!!!

  5. Holly Taylor

    Love this game! Thanks

  6. Kris Kearns

    LOVE this idea!

  7. Dantzel

    Thanks for the fun game, Sharla! I’m trying to figure out the logic in two of the Why? strips:

    Were both afraid to try

    Nephi was courageous

    They fit better in the What? Category to me, but I’d love to see what your reasoning for putting them in the Why? Category.

    • Sharla Dance

      My reasoning was that they answer the questions… Why wouldn’t Laman and Lemuel go back? Why did Nephi go? Thanks for asking!

    • Dantzel

      Perfect! Thank you!

  8. I would say… Why did Nephi “Go and “Do”? Because he was courageous and because Laman and Lemuel were both afraid to try. I agree that it’s tricky because all the questions could be worded differently but that’s my take on it.

  9. Jessica

    So easy to do and so effective for teaching! Thank you!!!

  10. Katherine

    I was feeling so burnt out trying to make crazy things or come up with big activities all the time. When I discovered your blog and watched your training it completely changed primary for me! The children sing even more and learn the words better, the prep is easier, and my lessons feel so much more fun and effective! Thank you so much for all you do! Your ideas are so useful and interesting and fun. And they bring the spirit. Thank you!

  11. Crystal Hunt

    I love this! We have a combined primary so I’ll be either adding pictures around the room either with colors attached to them or mounted on colored paper and have the jr primary pick the pictures and place them under the corresponding color. Does that make sense? Or I may pick a “team”, one jr to pick the phrase and a sr to help place it under the correct question.

  12. marymary

    Thank you so much! I love this and I am going to use this today. I just wanted to point out the correct lyric is “thing the Lord commands” (no s). Very common mistake!

  13. AnnaMarie Judd

    Great idea, thanks for your hard work!

  14. I love this idea! Just one thing I noticed since I became a chorister: the chorus actually says “I will go, I will do, the THING the Lord commands”, not “the THINGS the Lord commands”, on all three verses. I have been singing it wrong this whole time.

  15. Sharla, you have so many amazing videos and examples. I’m curious how a pianist fits into your singing time. Do you just have them watch you and let them decide when to jump in with the piano?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Mallory,
      Actually, I use my pianist A LOT, but it doesn’t show up in the videos because I am usually traveling and don’t even know if there will be a piano in the room. I get the starting note from my pianist. I ask her to keep me on track with the words. She helps me pass things out and gather things back in. My pianist will play a melody that is a little tricky for the children with them as they sing. My pianist watches me like a hawk to start and stop with me so that it supports the things we are trying to do with the children. Those are a few ideas, but please ask even more specific questions so that I can respond. Take care, Sharla

  16. Sharla! Thank you so much for all of your help, for all of your ideas. I love your book, and I learned so much at your workshop! I am really enjoying my calling. Thank you, thank you for all that you do.

    I wondered, how do you transition into singing for the program? I’m not sure how to take my children from having wonderful singing time experiences to making sure that they are actually able to then sing the songs (for the program!). I was planning on continuing on doing singing times in the structure that you outline in your book, just rotating all of the program songs each week. But now I am feeling a little apprehensive about that. Should I plan a few weeks where we go through all of the songs without the learning activities? What do you recommend?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Cali,
      I would love to reassure you about the program. If your children are enjoying singing time, they will probably sing well in the program. It might help your confidence, though, if you take each of the songs and sing them for the opening song without any activity so that you can see how well they know that song. That is also the place for you to practice your “conducting encouragement.” By that I mean the body language you give the children as they sing to encourage them to sing out, to breath well, and to go for it as they sing. You don’t have to stay within a conducting pattern, but you do have to lead them so they are singing together, breathing together, and getting louder or softer as needed. Does that make sense?
      Thank you for asking!

      • Thank you, thank you Sharla! I really appreciate the time you take to listen and to respond. I feel at peace with continuing to provide the thoughtfully engaging singing times that your methods produce, rotating all of the program songs as we get closer. And, yes! Good idea with the opening song…more so for me then for the sweet primary children. Remembering that conducting doesn’t just have to be the pattern has just opened a lot of doors for me. Thank you!

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