I’m looking for a movement that matches the smooth and reverent mood of this song.
I’m looking for something to hold for my younger children that can have a gentle sound and a pattern for their bodies.
Hold an egg shaker in your hand. Ask the children to pretend they have an egg shaker in their hand, and to follow your movement. (video example below)
(Sing the first part of the song as you do this movement.) Hold the egg shaker high and shake it four times. Move the shaker down low and shake it continuously for four beats as you move it back and forth slowly across your body. “I am a child of God…”
Call out: Freeze! Ask the children if their hand went up in the air and down just like your hand. Continue singing and do that same pattern again, asking the children to follow you. “And He has sent me here.”
Again call out: Freeze! Ask the children to turn their bodies facing the side wall AND keep following your movements. Continue singing and do the same pattern again facing the side wall. Do the pattern twice. “Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.
Tell the children you think it is time for them to hold their own egg shaker and do the pattern. Ask other adults in the room to pass out an egg shaker to each child. (Note: I sometimes will put a small bag of egg shakers under the teacher’s chair, one for each child in the class. The teacher then passes out the egg shakers when asked.)
Ask the children to hold the egg shaker high in the air, now move it down low. Now ask them to follow your motions. (This small step pulls the children’s attention to you after the newness of getting a shaker.)
Continue singing the song using the pattern of shake 4 times high, then moving down low for a continuous shake across the body and back. (Each of the lines of the song is one full pattern.)
“Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.”
(Note: Children are sensing the steady beat of the song and where the words fit into that beat just by doing these movements with the song. They don’t even have to be singing, just participating. The words will slip into the back door of their memory. The physical movement attaches an energy to the whole song which links into the children’s feelings about the song and memory of the song.)
Extender – Ask the older children to find a younger child as a partner. Tell them you will be the helper so that the younger child can do the pattern all the way through.
Sing the song again, doing the pattern. At the phrase, ask the children to change directions: face the side wall, switch to the other side, face the back, face the front.
Hold an egg shaker in your hand. Ask the children to use their words to describe the pattern you are going to do after you show them. (video example below)
Beat one: Shake it high to the right. Beat two: Switch to the other hand. Beat three: Shake it high to the left. Beat four: Switch to the original right hand. Beat five and six: Move shaker behind your back and grab with the left hand. Beat seven and eight: Bring shaker from behind your back in your left hand and tap/hold the shaker on your left thigh (patsch).
Receive their answers. Now ask them to pretend they have a shaker in their hand and to do the pattern with you. Describe the pattern as you do it.
Shake. Switch. Shake. Switch. Around the back. Hold.
(You may want to do this step twice if you notice there are children that are not getting the pattern.)
Continue doing the pattern and sing verse of the song as you move and shake the egg shaker.
Call out: Freeze! Tell the children they are too good so you are adding an extra challenge. (You are actually changing the pattern slightly at the chorus which signals the brain unconsciously that you have reached a different part of the song.) Show the new pattern.
Shake. Switch, Shake. Switch. Around the back. Quick taps on the legs – left, right, left.
Ask the children to do the new challenge pattern as you continue to sing the song. “Lead me, guide me, …”
Extender – Ask the children to stand up. Tell them you are going to sing and do the pattern again, starting with the first pattern. You will call out front, side, or back as they are doing the pattern and the children will turn that direction to continue doing the pattern and singing.
Sing the song, do the pattern, and at the phrase ending, call out which direction you would like the children to face.
(Note: Older children need the challenge of a pattern that is a little complicated. There will be children that don’t get the pattern at first. Encourage them to keep trying. The challenge of trying is much better for their brain than boredom because it is too easy.)
Thank you for this! I am so excited to see your ideas for this new year. How can I find out where your workshops are this year? I’m in Utah County and would love to see you teach in person. 🙂
I’m not teaching in Utah this year, but we are trying to film the January 27th workshop in Washington. (The other dates are Feb. 3 in Menlo Park, California and March 3rd in Atlanta, Georgia.) You are welcome to come to any of these and I will post it when we get the editing done on the video. Thanks for asking!
Sara Jane Taylor
Thank you so much for your awesome ideas! I have a combined primary. Would the younger pattern be too simple for the older primary children? I don’t want to lose the little ones by trying to do something too hard, but I don’t want the older ones to be too bored. Any ideas of a “middle” option?
The younger pattern is not challenging to the older children. You can, however, ask an older child to pair up with a younger child to help him. You can ask a teacher to lead the older children, and you lead the younger children. Thank you for being aware of both needing challenges at their appropriate developmental level!
Sara Jane Taylor
How do you make your egg shakers? What do you put inside? How do you keep them sealed? Thank you!
I have used Easter eggs with rice, the sealed them around the middle and around the whole egg with duct tape. I also buy professional egg shakers a few at a time. (They are so much better )
I have been reading your book and I’m learning so much! Which category are egg shakers considered-kinesthetic or living music?
Both. And that’s the beauty of it, because it reaches more than one kind of learning style. Anything that reinforces steady beat, melody, or harmony is living music, but often there is a cross over with another learning style.
I would love to find out when you post a video of your training for this years songs. I purchased it for 2017 and it was super helpful. I couldn’t have done this calling without those amazing ideas!
Can You do a video with the whole song so we can practice it with you?
I really appreciate you sharing the patterns! The videos are so helpful!
I try to come up with some of my own, but yours are better. I did a rhythm stick pattern for Army of Helaman last week in senior primary. Sitting in a circle, passing to a neighbor. Patsch, patsch, tap, patsch, pass, grab. It was hard for my group. I think they liked the challenge, but we had little success. Do I try it again? Give up? Or simplify? Thank you for sharing all your training with us.
Dear Carrie, Passing to a neighbor and taking from a neighbor requires two counts each, even for adults. Here are the beats I usually do to start a group: Patsch, patsch, tap, tap, pass (empty beat), pick up (empty beat). I would ask for a partner to come and help you, then demonstrate it with just you two doing it. Add two more people to the demonstration and do it. THEN add the whole group. It’s so helpful to see what you are supposed to be doing.
Thanks for the tips!!
We did this today and it was a huge hit in both junior and senior primaries. The kids were engaged, concentrating, and having fun! Thank you!
I did these activities with my primary today, it went really well!! Thank you! I can’t wait to see what ideas you have for the other songs and verses 🙂 Thanks for sharing, it’s greatly appreciated!
What is n the egg shaker , rice?
You can put rice, small dry beans, and other things like that.
I save up and buy professional shaker eggs a few at a time, also.
I did this activity last week and it was such a hit! The new little sunbeams especially were engaged, which made their parents so happy and relieved! Thanks for sharing these helpful activities! Your philosophy has helped shift my paradigm and takes the pressure off me to “get” the kids to sing. 🙂
Yea!!! This makes me smile.
Do you prefer any particular professional egg shaker brand(s) over another? Thanks!!
Dear Julie, I have picked some up at my local music store that are quite heavy and louder. I have ordered others from the learning store Lakeshore that are cheaper and much lighter. Both work very well. My purpose for buying professional egg shakers is so they are sure not to break and spill! Thanks for asking!