A Child’s Prayer: Magic Crayon for Younger Children

Magic Crayon

Show the Children:

Draw the shapes on the chalkboard or whiteboard. Lift up your hand and hold an imaginary crayon.


Tell the Children:

“I have a magic crayon.  It can change colors.  Right now it is ____________ (choose a color). I’m going to draw this design.” (point to the drawing behind you)

Begin Singing and Drawing an imaginary shape like the one you have on the chalkboard or whiteboard:

“Heavenly Father,” (sing only that phrase)

Lift up your hand with the imaginary crayon and Ask the children:

“Can you hold your imaginary crayon and choose a color? Draw with me!” (Sing the phrase again and draw the imaginary shape in the air as the children draw with you.)

Stop and ask the children:

“What color is your crayon?” (Receive their answers.)

Tell the children:

“I’m going to choose a new color for my crayon.  Poof!” (Begin singing and drawing the shape in the air once again, this time going on in the song and drawing the other shape, also.)  “Heavenly Father, are you really there?”

Again, stop and ask the children:

“What color is your crayon now?” (Receive their answers.)  Announce that you are going to choose a new color for your crayon.  “Poof!” (Begin singing at the words “And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer?” Draw the shapes in the air.


Sing, Draw shapes in the air, and occasionally stop and ask the children what color their crayon is.  Change the color of your crayon and sing again until you have sung every phrase in the song (only the first song of the two verses).



Benefits for the Children

This activity activates imagination, helps the children move to the beat in a smooth way (like the feel of the song), and stopping occasionally insures that the children are focusing in on the activity and thus the song.  By moving to the music as the music leader sings, the words of the song enter gently into the back door of the children’s minds in a natural way.

This song is in a three meter and the strong beat of each measure has a large movement either up or down in this activity to help the children feel that strong beat in their bodies.

The pitches of this song have some big jumps for little voices, but the large movement of the arm and wrist help to unconsciously activate the body core which helps the children give the energy needed to their breath in order to sing the jumps.

And it’s fun!


12 Responses

  1. Jan Richards

    Hi, love this idea but is there supposed to be a video with this song as it is not showing when I click over the the word “video” ?

      • Kathryn Ames

        I have just learned about your methods and books from a dear friend who has worked with music in Primary for YEARS. She thinks your ideas are the BEST anywhere.

        Where can I buy the books? Are you in UT and do you ever do workshops?

        • Sharla Dance

          I’m going to Logan this Saturday, the 2nd of November, 9 am to 12 noon. It’s the only time I’ll be here in Utah for awhile. You can buy the book from this website. Thanks for asking!

  2. Elaine

    Dear Sharla,

    Thank you for this imaginative activity! I’m wondering what your pianist is doing during a song presentation like this? I find that my pianist, when I ask that she only play the melody or just let me sing a cappella for an activity like this, feels like she is not needed. I have a hard time balancing wanting to just sing and lead the children in a musical activity without worrying about the accompaniment or even the melody sometimes, but I worry I’m leaving her in the dust when I teach and I’m not acknowledging her desire to fulfill her calling or assignment as pianist. Any ideas? Thank you so much!

    • Sharla Dance

      I often ask my pianist to help me pass out and collect paper plates, egg shakers, or wind wands. I usually write out my lesson plan (just the name of the activity that goes with each of the three songs) and give it to her. I ask her to be help to children that are struggling with the activity. I sometimes ask her to do the activity with me if she is not playing so that the children see two adults. Everyone has their own personality, but you can ask for her support in lots of ways. Thanks for asking!

  3. Dantzel

    I don’t know if you’ve described this differently or if I’m reading it differently, but this has been one of the few techniques in all your suggestions that has never played out like I hoped it would, and this is the first time the Magic Crayon idea has clicked for me. I didn’t know the shapes should already be on the board ahead of time, nor adding emphasis with the beat (though I did that unconsciously the couple times I tried utilizing the Magic Crayon before. But this makes more sense!

    I don’t lead Singing Time regularly anymore, but the ward I’m in now combines Junior and Senior. Is there any variation of this I could use for Senior Primary while I lead the Junior in Magic Crayon, or am I better off with activities like the Envelope Game for the Senior Primary?

  4. Trent

    Hi Sharla. Thanks for all the ideas. Your instructions say “Draw the shapes…” What are “the” shapes that are supposed to be drawn? Thanks.

  5. Lynn Allen Slocum

    Sharla, you mention drawing shapes on the board ahead of time. I am thinking I would just draw shapes that can be made easily with our hands and crossing the midline such as a circle curley q, a rainbow arch, a cloud, a mountain like shape. Are these in the scheme of things you suggested?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *