Away in a Manger


This clever lesson plan to teach Away in a Manger incorporates simple shapes drawn on the board that eventually come together to create a manger scene!  It’s so simple that you don’t even need to be an artist to pull it off!  The kids may want to even give it a try on their own!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Away in a Manger Singing Time Lesson Plan Idea

Start with the chorus

To teach Away in a Manger, I recommend starting with the chorus.

Split the primary in half and have half of the kids sing the first “asleep” that’s higher in pitch, then have the other half sing the lower “asleep.”  To divide the primary, I suggest using my Review Necklaces!  I always use these when I need to divide the primary into 2 groups – they are SO fun!!  Check them out HERE.

VIRTUAL TIP: Review Necklaces are a great way to make the individual kids feel like they are part of a group!  And BONUS…no moving necessary!  Each child simply gets an assignment!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Practice 2 part songs with these review necklaces

When each group sings their assigned “asleep” lyric, have them raise their hands with a gentle shake as they hold their note and stand up.  Then stop and sit down when the other group begins their “asleep” lyric.

When you sing the words “asleep the Savior in a stall” and “asleep the Lord of all” cradle your arms and mimic rocking a tiny baby.

Each time you repeat, choose a new necklace to change up your 2 groups!

Then I always suggest posting the words whenever you begin teaching a new song.  Check out how I do that HERE.  I suggest highlighting the different “asleep” words in different colors (or circle them with markers or whatever) to help each group sing the correct “asleep.”

Camille's Primary Ideas: Away in a Manger Singing Time Lesson Plan Idea

Teach the Verses

Then to teach the verses to Away in a Manger, I came across this idea HERE that uses simple drawings on the board.  I’ve added the printables to my Resource Library in case you aren’t on FB.  Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are at the bottom of this post.  Here’s what this sister posted about using her visuals:

Teach “Away in a Manger,” phrase by phrase, along with the corresponding shape or portion of the picture. (I plan on uncovering each phrase on the paper as I teach it, so the kids don’t sing ahead).
Have the children trace the shape in the air as you sing and repeat the phrases. Use the shapes, one by one, to draw the manger and shepherd scene on the chalkboard. Once the children sing a couple of times through, you can have an older child come up and draw the scene on the chalkboard while you sing it with the kids. Then, pass out paper and pencils and have all the children draw the scene while you sing it.
I like this idea, because the first half of the song talks about the little baby Jesus in the manger, and that’s what you draw while you sing. Then, the second half of the song talks about asking the Savior to be with us, and during that time, you draw the shepherd. It provides an opportunity to talk about how the Savior is the Good Shepherd, and how we can invite His presence in our lives.

Use Scarves

This is another idea for teaching the verses that uses scarves.  I LOVE using scarves – and so do the kids!  And even more so around Christmas time!  Somehow when used in singing time, they simply and easily mimic the gentleness of the newborn baby Jesus so well!

If you want to arm your primary with scarves, check out my shop HERE with the link to where I bought mine.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Using Scarves for Movement

But if scarves aren’t in the primary budget right now, no problem!  You can find easy an substitute around your house such as:

  • Dish towel
  • Fabric
  • Handkerchief
  • Bandana
  • Wash cloth
  • Tissue

If you have more suggestions on what you use for scarves in singing time, please leave a comment!

VIRTUAL TIP:  It might be fun to drop off a scarf before singing time to each child to keep OR collect them afterward.  If that’s not possible, have the kids search for an item above found around their house!

If I haven’t convinced you yet to use scarves in singing time, check out all my lesson plans that involve scarves HERE.  Especially When Joseph Went to Bethlehem HERE. It ranks as a top all-time favorite singing time lesson plan for me!  But really, scarves are so versatile – no primary should be with out a set!


The actions I came up with move to the beat of the song, and mimic as if you were literally swaying back and forth to rock a baby to sleep!

For the verses, on count 3, draw your arm across your body holding your scarf (notice the song begins on count 3!).  On counts 1 and 2, you tap the scarf twice off to the side.  Repeat on the other side.  Then whenever you hold a word for 3 counts, you make a big circle using the scarf.  If making a circle is too confusing, just keep the other movements instead.

If you need, sing along using the Sing Along App or the music on the church’s website HERE or post the words like I do HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Help children and teacher sing by posting the words in singing time during your lesson plan

Continue to review the chorus as indicated above.  You can, however, use the scarves on the actions in the chorus and when they raise their hands as they sing their assigned “asleep” lyric.

I created a video I’m sharing with my primary this week that demonstrates the actions a little more.  You can check it out here:

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


Then if you know me, you know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE handbells at Christmas time!  I’m not sure if handbells will work for every primary this year but our primary is putting together a bell choir to play in sacrament meeting the Sunday before Christmas.  We will be following all social distancing guidelines and wearing masks.

I sent out an email to all our primary families asking if any Sr. primary children were interested.  And if they were, to email me.  Then I’ll be having a few practices with our pianist before we perform.

I’ve created a bell chart that uses mostly chords (the exception is on the chorus – the bells play the both echoes of the “asleep”).  If you need more information on using bells, check out my post HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Away in a Manger handbell chart

My bell chart for Away in a Manger is available in my Resource Library. Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are found at the bottom of this post.

Then make sure to check out all of my other Christmas singing time lesson plan ideas HERE!

Camille's Primary Ideas Primary Christmas Singo Singing Time Lesson Plan Idea

All my printables are free and filed on my Resource Library. Filing instructions for accessing each printable on my Resource Library are below the button.

These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Song Title > Away in a Manger.


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