Monthly Plan for Praise to the Man: Older and Younger Children


“Teach a child a song, and the song will teach

the child.”  

This was shared with me years ago in a music workshop. I have come to find out more and more how true it is.  Hymns that I learned as a youth are still teaching me more and more things as I am ready for them.  How does that relate to us as teachers of songs to children?  For instance, do we have to teach all of the concepts of a song all in one month?

No, I don’t believe so.

We teach the song in a variety of ways, some visual, some movement, some puzzles, etc. and let the song teach the child once he or she is ready.

This is a big song, with big words.  If we teach the song, focusing in on a few concepts each time we teach it, it will be enough.  The song will eventually teach the child (and us) as we are ready for it.

Here are some ideas to teach this hymn:


  1. Egg carton drums
  2. Beat and Action Word Actions for Younger Children (1st verse)
  3. Action Word Actions and Beat for Younger Children (3rd verse)
  4. Song Story
  5. Partner Arm Swings and Freeze!
  6. Silent Video
  7. Beat Versus Rhythm
  8. Paper Clap
  9. Clap Instead
  10. Magic Paintbrush



  1. Follow the poster body rhythm
  2. Body Rhythms and Partner Body Rhythms
  3. Silent Video
  4. Song Story
  5. Beat Versus Rhythm
  6. Word Link Game
  7. Paper Clap
  8. Clap Instead
  9. Maori Sticks


Third verse story song

19 Responses

  1. Erin

    Thank you with a tear and sigh of relief. Thank you. I really appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and experiences with all of us. I find myself saying a gratitude prayer to Heavenly Father for your insight and efforts and I need to start praying that you feel rewarded enough to keep it up even though it is not your calling!

  2. Leslie

    Oh my goodness!! This isn’t your calling?!?! [Just blow-out-of-the-water-amazed by you even more.] You are truly a gift to so many. Thank you for so willingly sharing you with us!!! Huge Hugs!!

  3. Amy Barlow

    Do you do all these “activities” a cappella or do you have the pianist playing with you? And do you have the words to the verses written out and posted somewhere or are the kids just learning the words by following you? Do you say the phrase before you sing it or just jump right into singing? I’m new to this calling and really appreciate all the help you provide by sharing your ideas! Thank you so much!!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Amy,

      1. I dont’ do all the activities a cappella. But the pianist follows the tempo, the stopping, and other differences.

      2. No, I don’t write out the words. The brain research behind that is that humans are great at split second repetition. They can sing words without ever having them enter their brain or memory. They repeat it split seconds after seeing it. All of these activities are actively trying to get the words, the meaning, the melody, the rhythm, and other parts of the song deep down into their memory, both kinesthetic memory and intellectual memory. There is an emotional memory, too, and most of these activities are engaging and intriguing or challenging. We associate that feeling with the song if that’s what we felt when we learned the song.

      3. I just jump right into singing. You’ll notice that most of these activities repeat the song many times with a different challenge each time. The children don’t realize how many times they are repeating the song, or how they are capturing the words through the back door of their brain without them even realizing it.

      Thanks for asking!

  4. Kori

    Is the paper clap like the paper plate activity?

    I really appreciate all you share. My primary loves your activities.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Kori,
      The paper clap uses one piece of paper. You make a pattern with that piece of paper that has a paper clap (put your hands together with the paper in between, open your hands to clap, and clap on the paper before it falls down too far). I might do a pattern like hit, hit (the paper on my leg), clap, clap, wiggle (making the paper rustle), wiggle, clap, clap.

  5. Angela Pearson

    I am new to your site, and so very grateful I found you! Could you tell me what egg carton drums are and how you use them? I would love to be pointed in the right direction to find more about this. Thanks!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Angela,
      I discovered egg cartons to be great extenders for the children that are low cost. I use the upside down bumps on the bottom and a stick (for scraping I prepare a pattern for the children (like scrape, scrape, hit, hit or something like that). Last year’s video has an example of using the egg cartons, plus a lot of other activities. I think you can order it on Please keep asking questions! Take care, Sharla

  6. Gina Hill

    Hi Sharla! I have loved using your resources here in my new calling as primary chorister. I was talking to my mom about how it was all going and when I said your name, she said you and my dad are cousins! She said you were very musical, and so I figured it had to be the right person. Anyway, just wondering if we can figure out what our connection is, unless it is a different Sharla Dance! My dad is Veldon Messick.
    Take care,
    Gina Hill

    • Sharla Dance

      Yes! Veldon is my cousin. His mom, Aunt Dot, and my mom, Anna, were sisters. I love their family! Hi cousin!

      • Arren Quigley

        I was browsing through the replies when I saw a familiar name. Hi Gina! My brother-in-law’s mom saw me reading Sharla’s book and mentioned how fun it was to go to one of her seminars. I think I found her in one of the videos. This calling and Sharla’s ideas is like a new level to 6 degrees of separation. What a great gathering place for wonderful people!

  7. Laura Bickmore

    Hey Sharla! What do you think about doing a version of your memory matching to this song? We started learning Praise to the Man a little back in Feb (I think) and I was thinking a visual of sorts might be fun… Just thought I would ask. ^_^

  8. Amy

    Hi Sharla!

    I’m wondering what “magic paintbrush” and “partner arms sing and freeze are”? Both sound like they would be a hit with my primary! Would you mind explaining? Thank you so much for all you do!

    • Sharla Dance

      Magic Paintbrush
      “I have a magic paintbrush. It can turn different colors. Poof! My paintbrush is green with white polka dots. Take out your magic paintbrush and decide what color you would like your paintbrush to be.” (You begin to sing the song and paint a side wall, moving to the pulse of the music.) “Freeze! (You stop singing and moving.) Let’s change the color on our paintbrush. Poof! Now mine is yellow striped. What colors are yours?” (Receive their answers.) (Begin singing and painting either the ceiling or the other walls as you sing.)

      Partner Arm Swing
      Ask one of the children to come up and be your partner. Stand in front of each other. Grasp each other’s hands (right to right, and left to left) Push your right arm forward and you pull your left arm back, then switch the arm you push forward. Do this to the beat of the music.

  9. Becca

    Could you make a video of partner arm swings? I have read the description several places and still don’t understand how it works. Thanks!

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