A Child’s Prayer: Paper Plates

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Prep: I have put 20 paper plates (the cheaper kind) under each teacher’s chair.

Tell the children: Older – Here’s the pattern. Younger – Can your hands follow my hands?

Do the pattern with the paper plates. (The children will not have paper plates. Only you currently have the plates in your hands.) You will start on the downbeat with the word “Father.”

Younger: Patsch, patsch, patsch (a patsch is tapping on your leg, one hand on each leg), swish, swish, swish. Repeat 4 times. After the words “…close around me as I pray,” call out “Freeze!”

Younger Children: Paper Plate pattern, then freeze
Younger Children: Switch to this Paper Plate Pattern half way through the song

Tell the children to watch carefully because you are going to change what your hands are doing. Switch to this pattern. Tap, tap, tap (left side), tap, tap, tap (right side). Repeat 4 times.

Older Children: Paper Plate Pattern then Freeze

Older: Patsch, swish, swish, Shoulders, swish, swish. Repeat 4 times. After the words “…close around me as I pray,” call out “Freeze!”

Older Children: Switch to this paper plate pattern halfway through the song

Tell the children you are going to change the pattern and to watch carefully. Switch to this pattern. Half circle taps in the air 3x (left), quiet drum roll on your lap for 3 beats, Half circle taps in the air 3 x (right), quiet drum roll on your lap for 3 beats. Repeat 4 times.

After we have sung the whole song doing the actions WITHOUT paper plates, I then ask the teachers to hand out the plates, two for each child. Asking the children to join me, I immediately start singing the song and doing the patterns as I sing.


As as extender to the activity, I ask the children if there are two or three people that think they know the activity well enough to come up and help me lead the patterns as I sing. The children come up front. I stand half way back in the room facing the front (so that the children “leading” can see me).

The children are moving to the beat of the song, crossing the midline to engage both sides of the brain, and are engaged in conquering the pattern. They are hearing the whole song while being focused on only parts of the song (the beat and tempo). They are laying down a map in their heads of the song for the words and meaning to attach to. The words are coming in the back door of their memories because they are actively engaged. And it is fun!

4 Responses

  1. Susan Hawkins

    THANK YOU for taking the time to make these videos and help us be better teachers! I love your stuff!

  2. Kate McOmber Hunter

    You are wonderful. Thank you for making videos and giving us all such great ideas. I have found your ideas to be very effective. Love them all!

  3. Joan Harris

    Your activities never become outdated! I’ll be doing this paper plate activity tomorrow as I introduce “A Child’s Prayer.” I appreciated your videos. I learn best by seeing. Thank-you!

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