Create a Singing Time Music Bag

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Set yourself up for success as primary music leader or nursery music leader by creating a singing time music bag!  This bag helps with last minute substitutes, filling extra time, singing time in nursery and even at home for family home evening!

Create a Singing Time Music Bag

**This post contains affiliate links.  That means I receive a small commission from sales at no cost to you.  But know that I wouldn’t recommend this product if I didn’t LOVE it!

Purpose of a Music Bag

Having a music bag readily available makes singing primary songs exciting and fun, especially for little wiggly ones!  While at the same time, it creates an easy way to implement more songs into your primary, nursery or family!

It’s also a do-the-work-once kind of thing.  After you have your own singing time music bag, you are ready to sing a variety of songs in a moment’s notice!

It’s also great to use as a back-up plan in singing time, nursery and/or at home! 

  • Don’t have a singing time plan planned?
  • Need something quick for a substitute?
  • No time to create a specific singing time for nursery each week?
  • Wiggly kids don’t want to listen to your FHE lesson? 

No problem!  Singing time music bag to the rescue!!

Use in Music Bag in Primary!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Wiggle Worm Jar Singing Time Lesson Plan Idea

Many of the items in the singing time music bag are used in a variety of lesson plans.  My favorite is to use them with a Wiggle Worm Jar HERE.  When a worm with a song is drawn and it coordinates with items from a music bag, use them.  

TIP:  If your Sunbeams are struggling with singing time, try going into their class for the last 5 minutes of their class. Sing a few songs each week using your music bag, in addition to the song of the month.  It’s great movement and repetition for those little kids who have been trying to sit still for so long.

 

Use a Music Bag in Nursery!

Simplify singing in nursery by using the singing time music bag.  Sing songs in the same order, with the same actions or movement item every time.

Repetition is best for younger kids as they know what to expect, how long it will last (about 10 – 15 minutes) and what to do.  The music bag provides this list, the order and what to do when.  

In addition to using a music bag in nursery, check out all of my Nursery posts HERE for more activities!  There’s also a section on churchofjesuschrist.org entitled “Nursery Music” with some great information HERE.

Use a Music Bag at Home!

In our family, we sing for 30 or so minutes (singing each song 4 or 5 times each) getting all our wiggles out just in time for a lesson.  Even though sometimes that FHE lesson only lasts for 2 minutes :).

My 13-year old twin boys are good sports and do the activities with all their younger siblings!  Secretly I think they still really enjoy it!  So it’s not just for the nursery aged kids!

Check out my YouTube video of how my family uses it at home:

I’d love it if you’d like and subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE!

How the Singing Time Music Bag Works:

A music bag contains items associated with several primary songs.  It also contains a suggested song list.  But remember, many of the items can be used in a variety of ways in singing time.
 
In nursery, it’s best to sing directly from the song list.  In primary, however, sing any song in any order and mix up the items to sing with a variety of songs!
TIP: When possible, use the primary room for nursery singing time. It’s a great way to have nursery kids become familiar with the primary room, sit in the chairs, sing with the piano and leave all the toys behind.  If nothing else, put away the toys before singing time in nursery.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag

There are several variations for creating a music bag.  You can make all the items using supplies found around your house, or purchase pre-made items.  It all just depends on your time and budget constraints.

This is my original homemade version:

Camille's Primary Ideas Music Bag singing time ideas

After years of use, I upgraded my homemade bag to be mostly store-bought items which were more durable:

Create a Singing Time Music Bag

When creating your singing time music bag, make or purchase enough of each item to accommodate the size of your primary, nursery and/or family.  It’s no fun to have some participate while others must only watch.

Music Bag Song List:

Start with a song list.  Create a list of songs your primary, nursery or family will:
  • enjoy singing
  • that will provide great movement
  • teach doctrine in an engaging way
Then match these songs on your song list with a movement item or actions. 
TIP: Rotate songs so the order contains a movement item then actions, movement item, actions, etc.  It works well to only be handing out an item or returning an item rather than trying to do both.
This is my song list recommendation (especially for nursery and/or a young primary):
Create a Singing Time Music Bag

There are 2 printing options.  One page prints 2 per page (perfect to give to a copy to a pianist).  The other is one larger version on one page.  

The song list printable is available to Singing Time To-Go PREMIUM subscribers at no charge.  Find out more details about Singing Time To-Go here:

If you’ll notice, I’ve split it into 2 weeks.  I don’t have enough time to do them all in nursery.  But if you have more time, then by all means sing them all!  We begin and end each week with the same songs – I Love to See the Temple and I am a Child of God.
 
I have mine printed on some neon colored card stock, cut out and laminated.  It stays in the pocket of my music bag where I also keep a stash of stickers.  I pass out stickers at the very end.

Suggested Songs To Include:

These song suggestions contain songs that have actions or a movement item that correspond to the Song List printable above.  You can always add to it (scroll down for even more suggestions!).

Here’s the list of songs included…

I Love to See the Temple p. 95 (temple pictures)

Starting off with I Love to See the Temple sets the tone for the whole singing time!  The kids simply hold a picture of the temple.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag

These 13 temple printables are available to Singing Time To-Go PREMIUM subscribers at no charge.  Find out more details about Singing Time To-Go here:

These temple printables are also available in my shop HERE.   The illustrations are from Susan Fitch.  Each of the 13 contain a different colorful border.

Or simply find temple pictures!  Print them from the church’s website, cut out from church magazines, etc.

Camille's Primary Ideas: I Love To See the Temple singing time lesson plan activity
These pictures come from the church’s Temples magazine found HERE.  There are 6 full page pictures of the temple available in the magazine.
 
Once you have your temples, laminate or place in sheet protectors (then tape the top shut). 
TIP: If using magazine cut outs, glue to colored card stock  to hide the other side before laminating.

Book of Mormon Stories p. 118 (actions)

Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam p. 60 (sunbeam sticks)

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Starter Kits suns

These sunshine squeeze balls are from Oriental Trading HERE.  Perfect for little hands!

Another alternative is to create sunshine foam cutouts. Cut out sunshine shapes from sheets of foam.  Then tape to craft sticks.

Raise them up when you sing the word “beam” as you sing. You can also stand up on the word “beam” for added movement.

Popcorn Popping p. 242 (actions)

If You're Happy p. 266 (jingle bells)

These wrist musical jingle bells are a primary favorite!  Purchase them from Amazon  HERE.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag

You can also make your own!  Place 2 small bells on pipe cleaner.  Twist the pipe cleaner once around each bell so they don’t slide around.  Then create a circle by wrapping the ends around each other.

For added safety, place a dab of hot glue on the ends of the wire so they don’t poke.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag jingle bells
Have the kids put them around their wrists and you clap while you sing “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.”
TIP: It’s also fun to put them around your toes and “shake our toes” so you can sing it twice.

Daddy's Homecoming p. 210 (actions)

Do As I'm Doing p. 276 (egg shakers)

These are also a favorite and singing time staple! Especially when each child gets 2 – one for each hand.  Purchase these from Amazon  HERE.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag
But you can also make your own!  Fill plastic Easter eggs with a few dry beans and tape them together using electrical tape.
 
TIP: check out my post HERE containing more details for creating your own.
Camille's Primary Ideas: Singing time and Nursery Shaker Eggs

Store in an empty egg carton.  The kids LOVE to take them in and out of the egg carton – so fun!

To use when singing Do As I’m Doing, shake them high and low, fast and slow, etc. as indicated by the song’s lyrics. 

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes p. 275 (actions)

We like to sing the first time normal speed, then race the piano (or each other) the second time!

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission p. 169

Pin a missionary name tag on each child using a clothes pin.  

Camille's Primary Ideas I Hope They Call Me On a Mission singing time lesson plan activity

These missionary name tags are simple to make using this printable: 

Access these printables at my Resource Library.  Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are found at the bottom of this post.

Then print on card stock, laminate and cut out.  Add a clothes pin for each one.

When you sing, stand in place and walk in place because missionaries do LOTS of walking!  Check out my post HERE with additional details.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag
Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Missionary Tags

Once There Was a Snowman p. 249 (actions)

We also sing “Once I Was a Baby” to the same tune with actions.  They come from the Nursery Manual HERE.
 
Here are the words:
Once I was a baby, baby, baby (start on the floor)
Once I was a baby, small small small (crouch really small)
Now I’m growing bigger, bigger, bigger (begin to stand up)
Now I’m growing bigger, tall tall tall (stand on tip toes and stretch arms out)

Follow the Prophet, chorus p. 110

Create a prophet stick using artwork from Susan Fitch HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Prophet Sticks

Print the various prophet images with their background as a 5×7 lustre photo at Costco or the like.  Glue to cardboard for (added durability) and laminate.  Attach to a craft stick.

Available in my shop are 13 Follow the Prophet sticks that are printed on thick, quality paper, laminated and attached to big wooden sticks.  Shipped right to you!  Order yours HERE.

Create a Singing Time Music Bag Follow the Prophet Sticks

Another option is to print 5 x 7 pictures of the current prophet.  Glue them to cardboard (for added durability) then laminate. Tape to craft sticks.

**I suggest using Susan Fitch’s artwork found HERE.  Print the various prophet pictures as 4×6’s or 5×7’s at Costco or the like and laminate them.  That way they are timeless :). 

My Hands p. 273 (actions)

"Give," Said the Little Stream p. 236

Purchase these wands from my shop HERE. The ones pictured below are the teal option.

TIP: Wands are another versatile movement item frequently used in primary! Check out my post on wands HERE for more details.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Wands

I am a Child of God p. 2 (arms folded)

End singing time in nursery by passing out stickers. Occasionally I find church or Christ themed stickers at Walmart.

These are available at (Amazon affiliate link):

Bonus Songs

If you want to add more to your music bag, Check out these bonus songs below!  Note that these are not included in my song list above.

Smiles p. 267

Check out details HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Smiles using paper plate smile and frowny faces

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man p. 281

Check out details HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: The Wise Man and the Foolish Man Singing Time Lesson Plan Idea

Singing Time Tote Bag

Now that you have all your items, you need to store them in a bag!  This singing time tote bag HERE is my FAVORITE.  But any bag will do, just make sure it’s big enough to hold everything!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Singing Time Tote Bag

Questions? Comments?

Do you have and use a singing time music bag?  Why do you love it?  How do you use it?  Leave a comment adding any information you have regarding yours!  

Check out this quick tutorial video for accessing the Resource Library:

These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Category Title > Music Bag.

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Singing time just got even easier!  With my Singing Time To-Go, all you have to do is print!  Be prepared for the entire month – every month!

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60 thoughts on “Create a Singing Time Music Bag”

  1. This is a part of my calling that I am not very good at. I never really know what to do and most of the kids just keep playing with the toys while I sit and sing with the older ones. This idea will completely change my singing time for the nursery kids. Thank you!

    I never would have thought to do the exact same songs each week, but it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? I am going to share this idea with all the music leaders in my stake. Thanks again.

    1. I used to have the problem of children playing with toys while we were singing so I asked the nursery leader if the toys could be tidied up for when I come in. They were happy to do that and now use it as an opportunity to clear up for snack which they have right after and then put fresh toys out.

  2. I just got called to be the chorister and was so excited to go into our nursery…something that hasn't been done for years because our ward was like a branch but now we combined with another ward and we are bigger but we still only have 2 kids in nursery…but I am so looking forward to doing these ideas…I know they will love them. Love Them!!!!

  3. I am getting all my stuff ready but I had a question out of curiosity. Do the nursery kids sing much with you? I've been told that in our nursery the kids don't really sing along.

  4. to answer Evelania's question…

    I'll be honest, the youngest kids usually don't sing but they will do most of the actions. And in January all you usually have are the youngest kids left in nursery. But I've found that by the end of the year they will all be singing.

    That's why I stick to the same songs each week. Boring for the adults but the kids need the repetition to be able to eventually sing along.

  5. Thanks for all these wonderful ideas. I've been chorister for almost a year now, but have just been asked to spend a few minutes in the nursery each week. You've been a great help, thanks!!

  6. This.is.AWESOME! I know to repeat repeat repeat with the big kids…but I keep trying to give variety in Nursery for some reason. Our singing time is only 10mins long, but we can certainly have some fun…even repeating the same 10 songs. This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Help! I started this a couple weeks ago and LOVE it. But I cant find the prophet pictures. I saw the ones you had of all the latter day prophets so I held off ordering the Pres. Monson ones from the LDS catalog. Still no luck finding them. Can you help? Thanks! I'm a new/first time chorister and I love your blog. It has help me so much!

    1. Hi Barb, I bought just the Latter-Day Prophet Poster at the Distribution Center, matted it (to make it a little more sturdy), cut out the pictures and included the names when I cut it out, then laminated it. I just searched lds.org/store and found it there:

      http://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product3_715839595_10557_21095_-1__195728

      Looking online it appears to be 8.5 x 11 and I think I bought one that was a little bigger but I don't see it. This one will probably suffice though. I don't understand why I can buy a huge poster of the current RS leaders but can't get the same of the prophets. Maybe we should put in a suggestion to headquarters ;).

      I hope that helps!!

      ~Camille

  8. These are really great ideas. Another idea I have used with the nursery or sunbeams is the song Happy Family and I put pictures of family member faces on Popsicle sticks and they hold up whichever person they have when we sing it like mommy or daddy,

  9. I was visiting my sister's ward once and attended nursery with my shy 2 year old, and the nursery leader did something very similar to this. I loved it. Now that I've been called as the primary chorister in my own ward, just have a question, or a few… 🙂

    What should you do if you find that most of the kids, old and young, just kind of stare at you while you sing? I don't have props for them yet, but I do sing with actions. They don't go off and play, but they just stand and stare. Some cry.

    Our nursery is HUGE. At least 20 kids every Sunday. We are discussing a split, but it might take a while to get that going. Any suggestions for a large class?

    1. Hi Dessie,

      You'll find that most of the kids won't sing – just expect it. They'll all stare at you while you sing. Just make sure you are confident in singing solo! I always include the nursery leaders in singing time – they get a prop or help me demonstrate the actions to the kids.

      But the longer you keep at it, you'll get more singers and more participants. Be really consistant at first – keep the order of the songs the same, the props and actions also the same. They'll quickly catch on. They'll begin participating by doing the actions and holding props then very last, singing.

      Some kids will never sing in Nursery. I've had a few kids who I never sang but a few of their parents have come and told me that they sing at home all the time, know the words, do the actions, etc. So you may never see it but they are learning those songs. I also have parents come and tell me that their nursery child loves singing time and it's their favorite part in nursery so don't give up!

      As for a big nursery, I'd suggest splitting music time and you doing it twice – a little bit of work but less kids are definitely easier to manage. If you do split it, I'd even suggest seeing if you can get someone who just does music in Nursery as their calling. That could get to be a lot for you.

      If you can't split it, I'd maybe have baggies with each individual prop so at the beginning, each child gets a bag of props and they have to pull out their prop at the right time. The leaders could help. It just takes a long time passing out and retrieving stuff, especially with a lot of kids. I've never done this so I don't know if it would work but just a thought.

      I hope that helps. If you have more questions, let me know!

      ~Camille

    1. Hi Gina,

      I just looked up a few of the "action" songs I have listed above in the book, "A Children's Songbook Companion" and a lot of the actions are all there. You can find details of this book here:

      http://camillesprimaryideas.com/2012/01/childrens-songbook-companion.html

      I hope that helps! Most of the actions are really very simple and self-explanatory. You could even find another member of your ward/branch to teach you the actions if you can't get a copy of this book.

      I hope that helps!

      ~Camille

  10. This is great! I wish I would have thought of this when I was doing it a few years ago, it would make this a lot easier instead of trying to think of something new every week or just winging it. Love it! I'm substituting this summer a few times so I think I will make a few of these.

  11. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas! I just got this calling for the first time as Primary chorister and am trying to gather fun ideas for the kids! Love them all!

  12. Thank you for the ideas. I am a nursery leader but always like to add to my ideas and things in nursery. I have made the egg shakers and used colorful electric tape or duck tape strips to hold them together. It works great! I am surely using more of these fun ideas.

  13. Another idea for head shouders knees and toes is to sing it backwards. Eye ears mouth and nose, mouth and nose….ect. the kids love it. And it makes us all think!

  14. We have used dollar store flashlights and turned them on with the classroom lights off and sing "I am like a Star"
    Also, use cotton balls and drop them like snow when singing "Falling Snow" – easy for nursery kids to learn. Store both items in Gallon ziploc bag. Kids like to take the items out and put them back in all by themselves. Thanks for all the other fabulous ideas.

  15. My nursery kids will love these! I was recently called, and going in for singing time in Nursery (part of the Primary Chorister calling in my branch) was the most intimidating, in part because I didn't know what songs to use. This helps sooooo much!! Especially having a set playlist, if you will.

  16. Hi thegenealogygirl!

    Thank you for the tip! I updated my post! I'm going to post here soon another way for the eggs…don't hot glue, as it just cracks. Use colored electrical tape and go around the circumference twice! It works like a charm! I'll have more details posted here shortly!!

    ~Camille

  17. Thanks for all the ideas. I just got called to be the nursery music teacher. I am a guy and my baby is 18 years old, so this will be interesting. I'm guy that the little kids look at and just start crying. Lol…. All of these ideas make me feel a little more confident. Thanks again. Wish me luck

  18. I love these ideas but have one reservation. I have found that if I don't keep things moving the nursery children get distracted and bored and I lose their attention. Do you find that the time spent handing out props and retrieving them again creates a disturbance? If so, how do you navigate that?

  19. I love these ideas but have one reservation. I have found that if I don't keep things moving the nursery children get distracted and bored and I lose their attention. Do you find that the time spent handing out props and retrieving them again creates a disturbance? If so, how do you navigate that?

  20. I love these ideas but have one reservation. I have found that if I don't keep things moving the nursery children get distracted and bored and I lose their attention. Do you find that the time spent handing out props and retrieving them again creates a disturbance? If so, how do you navigate that?

  21. Hi unexpectedleaven,

    I haven't found the props to be a distraction but maybe it's different for everybody. The pattern that I set with one song using props, then the next song using only actions (repeated) has worked great for me. I'm never trying to turn in props AND give out another one. If there are lots of kids, I give a few to all the teachers and they help pass out. It hardly takes any time at all. I also have a simple rule: only kids sitting in their seats get a prop.

    I hope that answers your question.

    ~Camille

  22. I have recently been called to be the nursery chorister. I currently dread it each week for a few reasons: the chorister before me chose to teach them some silly, fun songs that aren't from the primary children song book – songs they can get on Sesame Street or other places like that. I want to use the church songs only (there are plenty of fun ones!) but they always ask for these other ones. Do you have suggestions for transitioning them away from those and into these?

    Second, I was given a bag with these types of things – shakers, hearts and stars on sticks, and finger puppets. I am using them. I also want repetition like you show here but to teach them some new songs also, especially ones that go along with the lesson that day. Is it best to do the same songs week after week (I like change so this will, I'm afraid, make me crazy) or can I introduce/teach one or two new ones each week (or maybe month?)
    Thanks for your tips and suggestions! I'm going to fix our shakers and make some new stick signs for the prophet song.
    – Jana

  23. Hi Jana,

    I'm a HUGE fan of following the songbook! There are so many songs in there that there's no reason to deviate. I figure, if the kids knew every song in the songbook, then I'd move on but that will never happen.

    I'd go in to Nursery with very low expectations as far as attention span goes. I've been singing the same songs with them and I know the repetition has been very beneficial – they love it and respond well knowing what is happening and what will happen next. If I had more time in there, I'd increase the song list to 20 if I could. As is, my nursery kids KNOW our 10+ songs and will be prepared to move into primary when it's their turn. On occasion I've brought my primary lesson into nursery (thinking they'd like it) but every time it's been a bombshell. They don't know what to do and never sing when I change it up. But it may work differently for you. The repetition is convenient for me, and I don't mind it, but if it bothers you, definitely do what works best for you.

    If I were just the nursery chorister, I would definitely sing a birthday song when it's someone's birthday (but it would be the SAME song each time) and maybe do one new song every 3 months or so – so maybe something seasonal. I'd definitely increase the weekly list to as many songs as I had time for. If you check out my Wiggle Worm Jar list of songs, those are the ones I'd add to nursery (some of which are already there):

    http://camillesprimaryideas.com/2011/01/wiggle-worm-jar.html

    Anyway, I hope that helps – good luck in nursery! How fun!!

    ~Camille

  24. Thank you for the great resources! I absolutely love your idea about bringing the nursery children into the primary room for singing time. Seriously, that is BRILLIANT. I am in a ward where this would work and can't wait to talk to the primary presidency about it!

  25. Brand new, first time chorister here. Our ward doesn't use the chorister in nursery and I am excited to start. This is such a great resource. Thank you!

  26. You mention the temple magazine to get temple pictures but you also have pictured some drawn pictures of the temples. Where did you get those?

  27. I don’t know if anyone else has been having this problem, but every time I try to find your lesson plan for “I hope they call me on a mission” all the links send me to this Starter Kit page. I tried the link that should go to the flip chart for the song but when I press on the link to see the flip chart I’m sent here again. Very confused.

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