Seven Hops and Round the World Sways: Younger – I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ

When I’m at the playground watching children, it is SO noticeable that they twirl, jump, and hop much more than any adult!  How can I use that particular quality of a young child to help them learn the song “The Church of Jesus Christ?”

Seven Hops!

When I sing this song, I feel a strong pulse on the words “-long,” “church,”Je-,” “Christ,” “lat-,” “-ter,” and “Saints.” Have the children follow you and hop (two- footed launch even though that is really defined as a jump) on each of those words.

You will need a change in the pace of the movement after this (because of the hopping/jumping), so why not do full round the world sways with your hands? Start with both hands hanging in front of you. Lift them up and around in a full circle (around the world) up over your head and back down the right side.  Start the circle to the left on the word “know” and end on the word “am.”

Go the other way (to the right) starting on the word “know” and end on the word “plan.”

I would do two more round the world sways for the phrase “I’ll follow Him in faith,” then go back to the hop/jump. Land the jump on the words “-lieve,” “Sav-,” “Je-,” “Christ,” “ho-,” “-nor,” “name.” (Again, seven.)

Now head back to the round the world movement four more times to the end of the song. Here is a video of the movement.

This movement is great for the children’s brains! The round the world crosses the midline and engages both sides of the brain.  The big motor movement to a specific beat helps the brain with impulse control, and gives blood to the brain to nourish it as it is practicing the impulse control.  But the biggest benefit is… it is fun!  The children have an experience with the song that engages their pleasure center in the brain, making it more memorable than without the fun!



33 Responses

  1. Kathy Gifford

    YAY! So much fun. (some of us will need to wear our Depends that day 8-D !

  2. Ember Fife

    Hi Sharla! We did this today and they LOVED it. I’m wondering, do you ever repeat successful activities with the same song in subsequent weeks?
    Thanks so much for all you’ve taught me. It has not only changed the way I do singing time, but also how I work with my own children, including my little guy who had a brain bleed after coming into the world at 23wks gestation. Heavenly Father is instructing me in many ways right now, and you have been part of that instruction. Thank you with tears.

  3. Ember Fife

    On the flip side, do u continue to work on activities they struggle with? I think all the kids in senior would love the body taps with iktmslm, but the older boys gave up the first week we tried it. I’m not sure how to get them on board…

    • Sharla Dance

      Our culture is not very kind to boys and their need to sing with music. Moving to music is often risky for them because they don’t feel competent. I usually start them with beat versus rhythm (half the room taps the beat, the other half taps the rhythm of the song, then one hand taps the beat and the other hand the rhythm which is much harder), windwards, or a simple patsch cross pattern with an explanation about Olympic athletes being able to cross from one side of their body to the other to a beat. The boys become more and more willing as they experience a little success.

  4. Bethany

    Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and advice. I was recently called as the Primary music leader. Your website is so helpful!

  5. Jenn

    Thank you for sharing your talents! I love how much movement you incorporate! I have used some of your active ideas in the past, and I try to incorporate my own movement ideas in my teaching, but I’m wondering how you keep it from getting crazy. I only have a few girls and the rest are boys (which is a huge reason I make sure we move), so sometimes they enjoy themselves so much with the moving that they go overboard. Like marching in place becomes marching wherever you want, jumping sometimes ends up bumping chairs over, etc. or they’ll be so excited about the moving that they’ll forget about the singing/listening. I normally just stop doing the movements that seem to cross the reverence and/or attention barrier, but I know these boys need to move! Any ideas?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Jen,
      When I visit gardens around my house, they all have fairly hefty fences to protect the plants. What does that have to do with Primary music time? Fences and boundaries are what protects everybody in the Primary room: the children, the teachers, and the presence of the Holy Ghost. Some of those fences/boundaries are: We are safe in this room, so doing something that makes one of us unsafe, uncomfortable, or have to leave (the Holy Ghost) is bad for us all. Movement that is purposeful is like the Olympic athletes…powerful, spot on, and invigorating – when it gets chaotic, it doesn’t help us as a group or as individual children… we are less like a great athlete.

      You probably have your own unwritten rules, too. Children love to bump up against the rules to see where their boundaries really lie, and that’s one of our jobs as Music Leaders: to see that the fences and boundaries stay in good shape to protect everyone, yet keep us powerful and participating.

      Okay, I’ve been on a soap box! Please forgive me. (There’s more about this in my book if you’d like.) I often add “Freeze!” into the mix and challenge them to see if their hands are just like mine, feet like mine, etc. (It calms things back down and refocuses the children.) I also add an additional challenge to help them refocus (like turn right turn left freeze! etc., then praise “good examples” that I catch. Another thought is to bring in reinforcements to put in the midst of the boys. If Moroni can do that when he makes the fortifications strong by more man power, then so can we.
      Thanks for asking and please pardon my soapbox! Take care, Sharla

  6. Roseanne

    Neat ideas! I was inspired to add my comment that the 7 hops could be one for each continent, because the Church is world-wide and we all belong to it.

  7. Melissa

    I love this! i have a rowdy 7yr old class that I know will get out of hand. Any tips to help them stay with me? If they don’t follow what I’m doing they have to sit down????

    • Sharla Dance

      Like Moroni the great captain, if there are “weak spots,” I put more troop reinforcements in that area. Do you have two adults that would be willing to mix in with that class for this activity? Their proximity to the children (and some well placed hands on shoulders or reminder remarks) might help. Have you ever used “Freeze!” at the half way point in a song? It gives the children a chance to regroup and to self regulate in order to do what you are doing once again. Perhaps these might help.

  8. lindsey

    How many times would you sing the song while doing the hops/sways? Do you introduce the song at all our just start singing and hopping?

    • Sharla Dance

      If I talk too much, I lose the children’s focus, so… I usually jump right into the activity. One way to repeat the activity is to start with one child coming to the front and following what you are doing. Half way through the song, ask him or her to choose a friend to come up with both of you and follow. At the end of the song, ask both of those children to choose a friend. Go through half of the song with those four, and call out “freeze!” Ask the rest of the children if all of them can follow you like these children did. Sing the rest of the song and do the actions. Now ask the children if everybody can do the whole song. Sing and do the actions one more time, then quickly switch to another activity.

      • Courtney

        This comment is so darn helpful! I wonder if you shouldn’t include this info in your post?! This is exactly how I will begin doing this activity today. 🙂 Thank you soooooo much, you are the absolute best.

  9. Renee

    I a teaching this for the first time tomorrow. Do you just keep singing it again and again with the same actions? I just got called and tomorrow will be first time and I’m retrying to plan out my 20 minutes. It seems the activity here would be very fun but short. How do I extend the time?

    • Margot

      Renee – I’d plan on this for a few minutes and then work on other songs – maybe one that’s not so “sweaty”, one they really enjoy, and repeat this thing at the end, so they will remember well 🙂 You will be great!!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Renee,
      I’m sorry I just got to this tonight. I’d love to hear how it went. I usually do two to three different songs for one singing time. Yes that means two or three different activities, but the children love it.

  10. Kiki Thompson

    I absolutely love your blog and ideas!! Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing them with us! Looking forward to using some of them 🙂

  11. Analise

    This is a very fun activity but I am wondering about teaching it the first week. Don’t I need to teach them the words first or just do the actions while I am repeating the words and they will get it? Thanks.

    • Sharla Dance

      When you do it all together, it is more fun. You will be doing four different activities with this song, so they have four opportunities to pick up melody and words in LOTS of different ways.

  12. Heidi ElHalta

    I’d love to receive your newsletter! This activity will be perfect for the little ones to learn and review this song. I didn’t want a long, laborious activity as most of the kids 6 and older know it well already. Thanks for all your work!

  13. Adrienne

    Do you have them hop forward as you are doing and not in place? We don’t have room for that in our room. 🙁

  14. Sharla Dance

    Dear Adrienne, the point is to get them moving off the ground in a little hop. Hopping in place works. Take care, Sharla

  15. Renee

    It went good! We have kids who need lots of movement! Do you have ideas for singing activities on your site to give ideas for filling the rest of the time with?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Renee,
      I usually do three different songs in each singing time, each with a different activity. I choose one that is more gentle, one that has a strong beat, and whatever else that I think the children need. I am posting on May 1st about how to review songs, and different ideas to use with the different songs we are teaching. You can also look at some of the back posts starting in January to see a lot of different ideas. Good luck with this and let me know how it goes. In my book there are 55 different activities you can use, and one chapter gives two different examples from all of the different “intelligences” with specific songs. It may also help. Take care, Sharla

  16. Erin C.

    My Jr. Primary loved this today! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom with us Sharla. You are the best!

  17. Lyn Ballinger

    I tried the 7 hops ad around the world with Junior Primary today. My kids and the teachers al loved it. We repeated it twice. It was fantastic. I had a substitute last week, who taught the first two lines, by the end of 2 times even the Sunbeams were singing al the words. All I can say is WOW. That was so fun. Thank you so much. I did the patch pop with the cups wit Senior Primary. They really enjoyed that activity, even though they were confused at times. Again, thank you. Please keep sharing your great ideas.

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