Praise to the Man: Beat and Action Word Actions for Younger Children – 1st Verse


I posted an activity where older children follow symbols on a poster, challenging them to follow the symbols with appropriate movements.  However, that isn’t developmentally what younger children need.  Why?  (You can skip immediately to the activity OR read the why below.)


When does a child’s brain begin to read symbols?

Research shows it starts really kicking in about age 7 to 8.  That’s when the brain takes off to easily connect symbols with what they mean.  But the important thing for younger children is what happens BEFORE that!



Movement is one of the most important things a younger child can do to connect all the different parts of his or her brain, …especially purposeful movement to a steady beat.  And copying movements of others is a super way to do that.



Here is an activity that IS developmentally appropriate for younger children!



Ask the children, “Can your hands follow my hands?”

Begin patsching (tapping your palms to your thighs) to a steady beat.


Start singing Praise to the Man and do these movements to the song with the children  following your movements.

Patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch,  Big arm circle

Patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch, ASL sign for prophet

Patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch, Bent arms held up in front of face then opening

Put on a crown, then hold a septre, Patsch, patsch, patsch


Stand up raising hands above head, sit down

Stand up raising hands above head, sit down

Patsch, patsch, patsch, Make an ugly face like a tyrant,

Patsch, patsch, fist thumps against other palm four times (va-a-i-n)


Patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch, point to your head as if planning something, cross arms across heart

Wag finger as if saying no, Patsch, patsch, patsch


(And yes, the two videos are in different keys.  Sorry!<grin>)


The patsching helps the children practice steady beat, feel the strength of this song through the beat, and move.  The actions are a concrete way for the children to represent some of the words of the song (a strong way for children to remember).  And it is fun!



Extender:  While you are singing and moving, call out “Freeze!”  Ask the children if their movement is just like your movement.  Sing again.  Call out “Freeze!” at a different part of the song, and again ask the children to check their movements to yours. (It helps to re-focus and make them more aware of their moving body.)


After you have sung and moved at least once through the song, ask if there are any children who would like to come up and help you lead the song.  Sing the song again, doing the movements with the children who are up front with you.

Ask those children to sit down, then challenge the children to do the movements only without singing.  You are mouthing the words, but not singing out loud.  It is a great way to increase memory because the children have to “hear” the song inside, not outside.  The children don’t realize they have just experienced the song four or five times because there have been different challenges each time.

37 Responses

  1. Nannette

    I just have to say that your daughter is sooooo adorable!!!! Thank you Sister Dance for all of you inspiration!

  2. Natalie

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to use this next week. Do you have one for the 3rd verse as well?? 🙂

    • Sharla Dance

      I just put it up, but it does not have the video with it yet. Thanks for asking.

      • Anne Volk

        Hi there, Just seeing if you had the video yet for the 3rd verse? 🙂 Love the actions and the video

        • Sharla Dance

          Coming! my cute helper has been busy. Trying to corner her today and teach it to her so we can post it.

  3. Amanda Mason

    I agree with Nanette, what a sweet/cute helper you have! This is so fun! I don’t know if I can learn it as well though…you are certainly challenging me ha ha!

  4. Susan

    Thank you so much!! This will be wonderful! I’m thinking of trying it out on my family of big kids (16, 21 & 23) for FHE tonight! 🙂

  5. Charlotte B.

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and techniques! I will be using this on Sunday with my junior primary kids and am excited to teach them this song.

  6. Gina Turville

    I love you. I’m so glad I found you! I have been wondering how to teach this awesome but super complicated song to our combined primary. The older kids won’t be such a challenge, but I wanted to get our littles into it! They usually just sit there (I just got called as primary chorister a few weeks ago). I have been looking and looking. This will work for my whole group, and my little ones won’t fall through the cracks. Our Primary Pres is splitting up the Jr & Sr primary in a couple of months and I can’t wait! but until then, If the younger ones are learning it, I know the older ones will get it too. I love you I love you I love you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Gina, I’d love to hear how it went for you.

  7. Katharine Bolliger

    I took a music educator’s class from Susan Kenney at BYU a couple years ago. The concepts you teach seem to mirror exactly the principles she felt so strongly about. I have found these principles to unlock the mystery behind repeating a song and adding challenge for the brain to keep their interest. I love how you help to tie these principles to the current songs we are teaching in primary this month.

    Thank you for sharing! It is such a delight to teach the children with movement!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Katharine, My last class of my music education major was Susan Kenney’s Music for Children. She changed the way I teach music to all ages! She is a wonderful teacher. It was she who encouraged me to keep researching and finding ways to reach the children. I have been doing that ever since that class.

  8. Genalea

    Thank you for this!!! Our Senior Primary is breezing through the song, but with the younger kids all we managed to do last week was learn some of the harder words. We have a very SMALL Junior primary and they are mostly very young 4 year olds. My son (one of those 4 year olds) and I are going to learn this together now so we can teach it in Primary today! Thanks!! And thanks to your daughter for being brave and sweet enough to be in the video.

  9. Mary Ann

    I did this with my junior primary today and they were all so well behaved! Following along, eager to be at the same place as I was when I said “freeze.” Best Jr primary singing time yet! Thank you!!

  10. Amanda

    Sharla, I did this today for Jr Primary and it went FANTASTICALLY!!!! Thank you thank you thank for sharing your genius idea’s and taking the time to post them.

    MUCH LOVE, Amanda – Marysville Washington Stake

  11. Arianne

    I have been using these beats and actions with both junior and senior Primary and they love it! I do too. Everyone is focused but having lots of fun at the same time. Thank you for sharing your hard work. It’s making such a positive impression!

  12. April

    You have helped me so much with my calling. Thank you so much!

  13. Darbie Hall

    Did you by chance come up with actions for any other verses or in particular, verse 3?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Darbie, Yes, there are actions and a video for the 3rd verse. I just put the video up today.

  14. Myla

    Hi! I’m glad i found this! I have one question. When do you transition out of the actions to just the singing? I love the actions, they’ll be great, but in the end they’re not doing all these actions in the primary program are they?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Myla, No, they don’t do these actions during the program. Because I usually teach a song in at least 3 to 4 different ways, we don’t do the actions every time we sing the song. That really helps to not associate the actions with the song every time they sing it. The actions are really just a help for their kinesthetic memory (which is really a strong part of memory), and the children really seem to enjoy moving purposefully to the song. Thanks for asking!

      • Myla

        I did it today & we didn’t have much time in either sr or jr primary but it was a hit in both! Thank you so much! We didn’t even get to the chorus yet, but they had a great time! And my 7 & 9 year olds were singing it at home too 🙂 Once we have it down I’ll do something different to transition out of the motions. Thanks!

  15. lori

    Totally AWESOME!! I used this idea today to teach and am absolutely grateful to your ideas.

  16. Marna

    Thank you! It only took 2 weeks for my Primary to learn this song and even the youngest children are engaged and love to sing this wonderful hymn. This post was an answer to my prayer.

  17. Shalene Burke

    I have been so frustrated trying to teach this song since our primary mostly consists of super young junior primary kids (some fresh out of nursery) and this has inspired me! I am so excited about teaching this song now instead of secretly dreading it! Thanks so much for taking time out of your (I’m sure) busy life to film these actions and share them with everyone! The kids will be able to relate and understand the big words through the actions and also learn the song quicker and better than I could teach it just using a flipchart! So awesome! You are an answer to my prayers! 🙂

    • Sharla Dance

      Thank you Shalene. I need these words of encouragement!

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