Ideas to Prepare for LDS Primary Program


It’s Primary program time and your Primary needs to prepare!  But what is the best way to practice? Use these Primary program ideas to ensure your Primary is prepared!  All while keeping the kids engaged!

Camille's Primary Ideas: How to Prepare for the Primary Program singing time ideas

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LDS Primary Program: Invitations for the Primary to show what they have learned

I’ve led the music for the Primary program for over 10 years!  These suggestions are what I use because they are simple and they work!  You won’t need to spend hours at a Primary program rehearsal if you follow these tips…
So let’s assume your Primary has their songs all memorized!  You’ve spent the last few weeks reviewing during singing time for your program using an engaging singing time review activity.
And the program outline is all created.  Parts are all passed out and memorized (we can dream here, right!?!).

Simple tools to prepare for your LDS Primary Program

Time to put it all together using a few simple tools and methods to ensure your Primary program comes together nicely (click on the link to jump to that section):
  1. Chapel Balloon Review
  2. Posting the Words
  3. Knowing Where to Stand

1. Chapel Review Primary Program Idea

The Primary’s favorite (who am I kidding … and mine!) is this guy!  I use this helium balloon to help the Primary project volume when practicing in the chapel.

Camille's Primary Ideas: How to Prepare for the Primary Program singing time ideas
1.  Find a smiley balloon at any party story or online here (Amazon affiliate link):
2.  Take it to your local party store and fill with helium.
3.  Attach it to a REALLY REALLY long string!  Long enough so it can touch the chapel ceiling!
4.  During your practice in the chapel, when the kids are singing, have have a counselor raise and lower the balloon contingent on how well the children sing.  If they are not loud enough, the balloon comes down.
5.  If they are singing out, the balloon stays high.
NOTE: Try to not emphasize “loud” as that connotes yelling.  Rather try, “never sing louder than lovely”.

More Visuals to Create Volume

If your Primary needs more visuals for singing out, check out my post Practice Volume and Breathing When Singing.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Practice Volume & Breathing when singing

Or try this Sing-O-Meter poster in the chapel during your practice or during singing time!  It’s easy to put together and sure to be a hit!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Sing-O-Meter singing time review lesson plan idea

2. Post the Words

My second tip to encourage singing during the Primary program is to post the words.  If you follow me, you know I post words in singing time using simple flip charts.
Camille's Primary Ideas: posting words for singing time, singing time flip charts
I use this same format during the program with one simple addition!  Why?  I’m so glad you asked!  I have several reasons!
  1. Part-time Primary children typically show up to the program who don’t know the words
  2. I get all reading eyes on me
  3. What the children see is also what I see
  4. They know what’s coming next

1. Part-Time Primary Children

Most of my Primary kids KNOW our program songs by heart.  But there are always a handful of kids who only occasionally make it to church (split parents, semi-active families, etc.).  They still need help in order to participate.
So for the program I post the words mainly for them.

2. Reading Eyes on Me

Posting the words also gives children something to direct their attention to!  Thus putting all eyes on me and the words.  It’s a fun little trick!

3. See What the Children See

In addition to having the words face the children, the same words face me!
It’s SO much easier to have these big words than the Children’s Songbook.
TIP: Use the songbook as a weight to hold the binder from falling over the back or just in case something goes terribly wrong!
This way I know when to flip the page over.  What they see is what I see – it’s really nice to just flip the pages. 

TIP: On your copy on the corner, write the time signature to the song for quick reference.

As Lavar Edwards from Reading Rainbow says, “you don’t have to take my word for it!”  Check out other responses on the PML FB group about posting the words during the program.

4. Know What's Coming Next

With the words facing out, the kids (and I!) also now know what song and/or verse comes next.  There’s never any confusion on both sides of the music stand!
Of course none of this pertains to the little ones as they just mimic what I sing but that should go without saying, right?
So try posting the words in this format during your chapel practice before your program. This will ensure your pages are in the right order :).

How to order the LDS Primary Program Songs

  1. Place the first song to sing as the last song in the binder.  Place any verses in front of it. Basically it’s all backwards if you looked at it like a regular book).
  2. All your pages to flip are right in front of you and as you go to the next verse or next song
  3. Then take the page you are reading and flip it over the music stand.
You can also check out some other of my program helps HERE if you like.

3. Know Where to Stand

Camille's Primary Ideas:How to Prepare for the Primary Program singing time ideas
This question comes up a lot!  And honestly, because Primaries and chapels differ so much, there’s really no one solution fits all.  But the best tip I can give is this:
Stand where you can be best seen by your pianist and by the children all while not blocking the audience’s view.  Every family wants to be able to see their child sing.
Here’s what I do:
  1. I stand right in front of the first center pew but off to the side by the piano.
  2. Stand on the chapel’s riser that’s big enough to fit my music stand and myself. 
  3. When it’s time to lead the song, I stand on the riser
  4. Then I raise the music stand so it’s just above the privacy wall for the Primary to see.
  5. When we’re finished, I lower the stand then sit back down on the first row.

Pretty simple!

After the Primary Program (LDS)

Once your Primary program practice is over, take a deep breath!  Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff.

There will most likely be a few hiccups and the congregation will smile at whatever the random Primary child does on the stand.

But remember, that’s okay!  This is not a production!  This is simply the Primary showing what they learned in Primary and singing time from the year.

Singing Time AFTER the LDS Primary Program

Camille's Primary Ideas: use Mini Children's Songbooks to Stump the Primary
Then for Primary right after our program, take it easy!  Pull out some treats, a simple activity, a little bit of singing, and even a movie!
Check out all my After-the-Program ideas

Now What?

After the program is my FAVORITE time of year as the possibilities are endless!  Have your Primary learn some oldies-but-goodies or sing all those fabulous fall songs!  Or do both!
Stay tuned and I’ll carry you right into the holidays!

Make singing time easy!

Get it to go!

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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6 thoughts on “Ideas to Prepare for LDS Primary Program”

  1. I followed your idea of posting the words to the songs during our practice and program. It worked wonderfully. The kids were all looking at me, and I noticed they sang louder. Also, I didn't realize how much this format helped me. With the words so big in front of me, I never lost my place 🙂

  2. Hi Camille! The description of the balloon you posted says it is 18". The Dollar Store in our area has 12" smileys – do you think that is too small? Did you choose this one for it's size also, or only availability?

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