Primary Helps

Primary Helps

Last year I was called to be the Primary Music Leader. While I was raised in a very musical family and have been musically minded my whole life – the calling was slightly terrifying. Sure, I had been teaching in Primary, the CTR4 class, for almost a  year and I was familiar with some of the kids. I could recognize their siblings and began to connect parents to kids – which was very helpful! We were fairly new in the ward when I was called into Primary – I figured this would isolate me from the women since I wouldn’t be in Relief Society. But to my surprise, I was able to get to know (or at least know who they were and put a name to a face) the parents of my nine wiggly 4 and 5 year-olds.

But, regardless of knowing some of the kids, I still had no idea how to properly lead music, and the previous Music Leader seemed perfect for the job – large shoes to fill! She was also a close friend and when I found out that she was moving… I had a feeling it would only be a matter of time before I’d get the call from our Bishopric asking me to step into Stephanie’s place. Stephanie was happy to find out that I was next in line to take over this responsibility and assured me that the calling was wonderful and that I’d enjoy it.

My first Sunday was terrifying.

My palms were sweaty, I doubted that I could do it. I was awkward and uncomfortable and felt stiff in my seat and standing in front of a hundred little eyes. I introduced my fishing game, we sang some songs, and time flew by so quickly – the one of the Primary Presidency had to remind me of the time! I quickly closed, and collapsed into my chair, dragging my music stand with me. Seconds later I realized, after I taught the Junior Primary, I needed to go teach the Nursery* kids!

I rushed down the hall – reverently, of course – and poked my head through the door. Our nursery is VERY small and VERY young. Three of the nursery kids – that made up the older population – all turned 3 throughout the year and when the new year began they all moved up to Primary and became Sunbeams (their class’ name)! So for instance, last week, I had two 2-year-olds. The sweet little girl is very quiet but gets excited when I ask her about babies. The boy is super energetic and loves to sing Do As I’m Doing while jumping up and down… during the ENTIRE song. Talk about a ball of energy! There are a few kids who are there some weeks and not others, but those two are generally my regulars.

* Our church divides the kids up by age – Nursery consists of babies and toddlers aged 18 months-3 years. Primary consists of children from 3 through turning 12: divided into Junior and Senior Primary. When the children turn 12 they move up to the youth program.

So using Pinterest and other Music Leader’s blogs, I put together a few things to help keep my Nursery kiddos busy.  Okay, and I use them for Primary too. (You’d be surprised at how much Senior Primary loves “little kid” helps in Singing Time, ha.)

On Sunbeam Singing, she has some great ideas! On her YouTube, she also went through a prize that she had won and after seeing it, I thought it would be perfect for my Nursery! Give them something to hold and at least attempt to engage them, etc. And I only have two! Eesh! Her video is here. So with that in mind, I started this:

I took most of the songs from the list that Amanda won and made my own list of Nursery Songs. Then I set out to find similar “helps” for the kids to hold or look at while we were singing the the songs. I printed them out and started cutting.


Are your hands throbbing yet? Mine are. Just from the memory, lol.

Now plug in your handy-dandy laminator and Nursery-proof those helps! To do this, you have to plug it in, switch it on, and sit and stare at the light until it says it’s ready.

NO, you can’t do something else. It’s a requirement. Stare.

Good, it’s on!

Next up: Same working area, just too lazy to crop and suddenly it looks really messy. Annoying.

Comes out nice and clear! (Ignore laminator box [have to keep it away from grubby nerdling fingers] and the stack of ready-to-laminate papers in their sheets. What a mess.)

Then! Everything is run through the machine, you look at all your waste and get on with life. Could I have put them closer together? Yes, but ideally, I’d like for these to last as long as I do with this calling. And if that’s going to happen, I don’t want to cut into any micro-pockets around the paper that was laminated.

Then… trim again. Maybe I should have started this post with a warning for people with hands like mine. You might want to pop a Tylenol or two before you begin this hazardous activity – hope for the best, prepare for the worst?

But the best – is after you’ve finished!

Gorgeous laminated helps! I use the bird singing cues in Primary for transitional times (I’ve started to, at least) so that they can reverently “Whoo” or “tweet tweet” their way through the prelude music to help keep everyone seated and reverent for the most part.

In Nursery, I use the prophet pictures for when we sing the chorus to Follow the Prophet. The missionary tags clip on with a clothespin and they get to be mini missionaries while we sing I Hope They Call Me on a Mission! We use the Sunbeam necklaces for Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam – they get to wear them around their necks (I attached a soft blue yarn) and then when we say “sunbeam” they hold up the picture on the necklace. I actually LOST my list of Nursery songs after my first week – whoops! My busy boy in there was determined to take every rattle or shaker out of my bag! I got distracted and it was lost! Plus, I somehow spaced when I wrote down my page numbers and completely screwed them up. So the songs work great, but bad page numbers and a lost list aren’t super helpful! So, that’s on the list to make again!

All in all, it has totally helped with Nursery. I felt like I was counting songs wanting to make sure I was in there for long enough, and I never knew which songs we should do, it was sort of like starting out as a Music Leader. But every Sunday, all over again! This way, I have our list of songs, and we repeat repeat repeat! By the time they’ve graduated to Sunbeams, I’m confident they’ll at least know the tune if nothing else!

Look here for:

– Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam necklaces

– Future Missonary badges

– Prophet Pictures

– Idea for Nursery Song list and more!

– Bird Singing Cues

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