Paper Cup Pop: Older, I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ

Patsch, pop, patsch, pop, Grab, pop, tap, pop.

Instructions for opening a soda bottle?  No, instructions for a very fun movement activity to go with the song “The Church of Jesus Christ.”  Here is a video:

To teach this, I slow the movement way down and speak the descriptive words above as the children hold their IMAGINARY cups.  As I say the word “grab,” I call out “Freeze!” and freeze my motion.  That allows those who are behind to catch up without calling attention to them.  We then continue on with the pattern. After doing it once or twice, I begin to sing the song and do the pattern.  (The first patsch comes on the word “-long.”  When you switch sides, the first patsch on the other side comes on the word “Lat-.”)  I sing the whole song, doing the pattern and having the children follow along to the pattern with imaginary cups. Hint:  I usually have to practice this at home so that I can sing AND do the pattern!<grin>)


I have other adults in the room pass out the cups.  I stay up front and ask the children’s hands to follow mine as we do the pattern and I sing, even if they don’t have a cup yet. Keeping up with the movement holds their attention instead of allowing them to drift off to chaos.  The children continue moving to the pattern once they get their cup.

Extension:  Now that you have sung through the whole song and done the pattern over and over, ask for 4 or 5 children who think they could lead the activity to come up front.  Sing the song again as the children lead the activity.  You are singing, sometimes alone, but sometimes a few children will be able to both sing and do the pattern.  The words of the song slip into the backdoor of their brain because they are concentrating so hard and participating.

The children are challenging their brains to move to the beat, AND do the complicated cup movements.  They are practicing steady beat without knowing they are doing it.  They are hearing the song from start to finish (whole to part to whole) while being involved and participating.  Even though they are often not singing, they are participating, and the words to the song slip in the backdoor of their brains along with the beat, the rhythm, and even a feel for the harmony. Most of all, it is fun!

2 Responses

  1. Misty Pope

    I found you, Sharla!
    I met you years ago at a music learning type classroom instruction in Boise. I was newly called to be Primary Chorister and was clueless. I was also a new mom, so my world was in a spin! We never got to talk, but I never forgot what you taught me. I still have my notes from that weekend classroom instruction.

    Your techniques and ideas to help every type of learner learn the songs, and your ability to challenge every age group (but not too challenging) made my next 15 years of Primary Chorister and Primary President the best callings ever! I have taught many choristers your techniques (from Idaho to Texas)! Thank you for all you do and have done. Through your sharing, you have taught many more children the gospel than just the ones you see. I love you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Misty, What a kind note! I remember that workshop in Boise. My hosts introduced me to Spuds and showed me around the town. I’m amazed at all the good you have done. Thank you for reconnecting!


Leave a Reply

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