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Using a Music Bag Starter Kit

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Set yourself up for success in primary as the primary music leader or the nursery music leader by having a Music Bag Starter Kit!  You can put your own kit together or purchase a pre-made Music Bag Starter Kit from my shop.  The supplies and props found in my Music Bag Starter Kit can be used in wide a variety of ways including singing time, nursery and family home evening! 

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Starter Kits Cover

You can purchase a pre-made Music Bag Starter Kit in my shop!  (includes almost everything you’ll find below!). Order yours HERE.

What’s the purpose of a having a Music Bag Starter Kit?

Inspired by the new home-centered, church-supported curriculum Come Follow Me, this Music Bag will get your primary and nursery more excited to sing primary songs at church and get your family singing more at home!  It makes singing primary songs more engaging, especially for little ones.

It’s also a do-the-work-once kind of thing.  After you have your own Music Bag Starter Kit, you’ll be able to easily sing a variety of songs in multiple ways!

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

  • Don’t have a singing time plan planned? 
  • 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!  Music bag to the rescue!!

Use it in Primary!

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

I mainly use the props in my music bag in conjunction with my Wiggle Worm Jar HERE.  When I draw a worm with a song that coordinates with a prop from my music bag, I use it.  I also use the individual props quite often with my singing time lesson plans.  

TIP:  If your Sunbeams are struggling with singing time, I HIGHLY suggest going into their class for the last 5 minutes of their class time. 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 it in Nursery!

We sing in nursery each week using the props from my music bag.  The songs are sung in the same order, with the same actions or item every time using a song list.

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.  I have the list of songs printed out (with the page numbers and actions/items) so I remember what goes where – it can get a little chaotic!

In addition to using my 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 it 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 will 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 it Works:

My music bag contains props that can be associated with several primary songs.  It also contains a song list.  In nursery, it’s best to sing directly from the song list in order.  In primary, however, sing any song in any order and mix up the props to sing with any song!
TIP: When possible, use the primary room for nursery singing time. It’s a great way to have the kids get familiar with the primary room, sit in the chairs, sing with the piano and leave all the toys behind in the nursery room.  If nothing else, put up the toys before singing time in nursery.
If you create a Music Bag Starter Kit on your own, it will look something similar to this:

 

The Music Bag Start Kit available in my shop is a HUGE upgrade from this!  Find it HERE.

Music Bag Song List:

To create your own, I recommend starting 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 prop or action.  If you’ll notice, my order of each song is – prop then action, prop, then action, etc.  It works well to just be giving an item or handing one out than trying to do both.
 
Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Song List

To create your own, you can download my Nursery Song List.  It’s available at my Resource Library.  Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are at the bottom of this post. 

 
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.
 

What To Include:

These are the songs with props or actions that I’ve included in my Music Bag Starter Kit and what I suggest.  Put similar items in a music bag you create yourself.  You can always add to it (which I’ve got suggestions for that at the bottom of this post!).

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

In nursery, we sing this one first.  It sets the tone for our whole singing time in nursery!  The kids just hold a simple picture of the temple:

 
To make your own, purchase several of the church’s Temples magazine found HERE.  Purchase enough copies of the magazine to make the number of desired pictures.
 
There are about 6 full page pictures of the temple that I just cut out of the magazine, put some colored card stock behind them to hide the other side, then placed in sheet protectors (laminating would work as well).  I did tape the sheet protectors closed for more durability.
Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Temple Images by Susan Fitch
My Music Bag Starter Kit available in my shop includes beautiful temple artwork from Susan Fitch that are unavailable anywhere else!  They have a colorful decorative border that’s perfect for kids!  Printed on premium card stock and laminated.
 

Book of Mormon Stories p. 118 (actions)

 

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

I made these from foam cutouts of a sun (that I can’t find for purchase now).  You can simply cut out your own from big sheets of foam as well.  Cover in contact paper and tape to a popsicle stick. Raise them up when you sing the word “beam.” You can also optionally stand up for more movement.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Starter Kits suns

My Music Bag in my shop has adorable sunshine squeeze balls instead!  Perfect for little hands!

Popcorn Popping p. 242 (actions)

 

If You’re Happy p. 266 (jingle bells)

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag jingle bells
I put 2 small bells on pipe cleaner and made them into a circle by wrapping the ends around each other. So they don’t poke, I put a dab of hot glue on the ends. The kids put them around their wrists and we clap while we sing “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” We also like to put them around our toes and “shake our toes” so we sing it twice).
Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Jingle Bells

My Music bag to purchase has professional-grade jingle bells (they have great sound!) on colorful velcro straps so no more pokey wires that come undone!

Daddy’s Homecoming p. 210 (actions)

 

Do As I’m Doing p. 276 (egg shakers)

THESE SERIOUSLY ARE THE FAVORITE !! I filled plastic Easter eggs with a few dry beans and hot glued them together (UPDATE – forget the hot glue and check out my post HERE for keeping the eggs shut FOREVER!). We can shake them high and low, fast and slow, etc. as we sing and there’s enough for each child to get 2)
 
Amazon sells them year round, I think the best deal is when you purchase 50 here:
 

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Egg Shakers

The Music Bag in my shop contains pre-filled egg shakers made from a thick plastic that won’t come apart.  They come in a reusable plastic egg carton.

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

We do the first time normal speed and then we like to do it really fast and race the piano)

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission p. 169

I made simple name tags on white card stock that say “MISSIONARY” and “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” with a black background, and laminated them.  I pin them on each child with a clothes pin. We stand in place and march while we sing.

You can find my document at my Resource Library.  Instructions for accessing that can be found at the bottom of this post.

 

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Missionary Tags
Similar missionary tags in my Music Bag Starter Kit available in my shop are professionally printed on quality paper and laminated.  They come with clothes pins.

 

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 only p. 110

I got 5 x 7 pictures of President Monson, glued them to cardboard and laminated them. Then I taped them to small dowels. Then we march around the room).  See my updates for President Nelson HERE.


The original idea was to just have one stick and everyone else follows the leader but it led to fighting over who got to be the leader so I just made one for everyone!

**I’d suggest also 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 :). 

Camille's Primary Ideas: Music Bag Prophet Sticks

My Music Bag available for sale does just that! It contains Susan Fitch’s Artwork professionally printed on quality paper, laminated and adhered to big wooden sticks. 

My Hands p. 273 (actions)

 

“Give” Said the Little Stream p. p. 236

Purchase these wands from the link in my shop HERE.  I use wands in primary a lot, check out my post on wands HERE for more details.

 

The Music Bag available in my shop has enough supplies for 12 children.  If you create your own, make sure you have enough of each item to accommodate your primary, nursery and/or family.

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

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

Smiles p. 267.  Check out details HERE.

 

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man p. 281.  Check out deatils HERE.

 

For nursery, I like to end with giving the children a sticker. Occasionally I find church or Christ themed stickers at Wal-Mart):

(affiliate link)

All my printables are free and can be downloaded from my Resource Library.  Access to my Resource Library is sent to you via email and not linked here.  If you need initial access to my Resource Library or need access sent to you again, click on the button below, fill out your information then check your email.  Instructions for accessing each printable on my Resource Library are below the button.  Check out my email tutorial HERE for more help.

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

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Make singing time easy!

Follow my monthly schedule!

It is simple, but it works! Keep yourself, your pianist, any substitutes and those conducting primary on the same page.

A great singing time idea for primary - a singing time schedule

56 thoughts on “Using a Music Bag Starter Kit”

  1. Avatar

    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. Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

      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. Avatar

      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://www.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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

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

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

    ~Camille

  24. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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!

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