games

10 Movement Activities for Children's Choir

10 Movement Activities for Children's Choir

When was the last time you saw a child really excited about something? They jump up and down and wave their arms and run around. Movement is a natural response for children (source). After all, we learn by doing, acting, observing, experimenting, and feeling. This is especially important to remember when teaching children to sing. Singing is a full-body activity (source) and movement invites children to connect and engage with music in a whole new way.

Use movement activities in your choir rehearsal to help develop critical listening skills, that all-important sense of steady beat, responsiveness, discernment, sensitivity to phrase-shaping and other elements of music expression, inner hearing, understanding of harmony and tension-release, and musicality. Movement also helps children develop coordination skills and connects eye and ear and body and mind.

My Favorite Pinterest Boards for Children's Choir

My Favorite Pinterest Boards for Children's Choir

Where can you find music resources, tried-and-true teaching strategies, fun games, creative visuals, and accessible craft projects?

Pinterest.

It's crazy how much content there is on this social media platform. In addition to all the recipes, inspiration, art, and home-decorating ideas you could ever need, there are tons of resources and ideas for choir, teaching, and ministry. It seems every time I search, I find something new!

Earlier this year, I shared some of my favorite finds for worship planning and design and handbell choirs. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite Pinterest boards for children's choir

How to Plan an Awesome Christmas Choir Kick-Off Party

How to Plan an Awesome Christmas Choir Kick-Off Party

Who doesn't love a Christmas party in September?! A Christmas choir party is a great way to kick off the new choir year, welcome new members, and build community, and a fun way to create some hype around whatever you have planned for Christmas.

My first year as Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Westminster, MA, I surprised my choir one Wednesday night in September with a Christmas party. I hung up twinkle lights and pulled out a box of Christmas decorations for the tables. We drank hot chocolate, ate Christmas cookies, and played a few hilarious games (see below).

As an aside, for a group that didn't really enjoy spending time together in social settings, this was the start of building community. Within two years, this group of singers became a group of friends who truly enjoyed spending time together.

The next year, I planned a Saturday workshop. I brought in a friend (a professional conductor) to rehearse the group (a great learning experience for all of us), we read through our Christmas cantata, played a few Christmas games, and had a potluck lunch.

Fun, Easy Gathering Activities for Children's Choir

Fun, Easy Gathering Activities for Children's Choir

Are you ready for choir rehearsal this week? The music is neatly sorted into everyone's folders, you have your rehearsal plan ready to go, and you have a stack of brightly-colored reminders on the piano to send home to parents. What's missing?

A gathering activity.

It's easy to overlook, but that short period before rehearsal when children sometimes show up early (sometimes really early) calls for a little extra preparation. What can you plan that will keep any number of children engaged for 10-15 minutes? Some people use worksheets, but I like playing some kind of game that gets everyone involved (from the moment they walk in the door) and promotes listening skills, keeping a steady beat, movement, music-reading skills, and creativity. 

Most of the ideas in this post take little to no preparation or facilitation on your part - just lay out the materials in advance and maybe turn on some music to get them started. This way, you can do any last-minute to-dos before rehearsal starts while the early-arrivers play a fun, musical game.

Here are a few fun, easy gathering activities to do with your choir:

Clap Your Hands: 16 Clapping Games for Children's Choir

Clap Your Hands: 16 Clapping Games for Children's Choir

Remember those clapping games we used to play as kids? Between the silly (or nonsense) lyrics and the fast-paced sequence of claps, taps, snaps, and crosses, clapping games provided hours of entertainment. It might seem like just fun and games, but there's actually more to it than that. Clapping games can be beneficial to children's development.

Dr. Idit Sulkin has conducted research on the topic of children's hand-clapping games, noting:

"These activities serve as a developmental platform to enhance children’s needs — emotional, sociological, physiological, and cognitive. It’s a transition stage that leads them to the next phases of growing up.” (source

Clapping games are a great way to incorporate rhythm and movement into your choir rehearsals while reinforcing gross motor skills, rhythmic concepts (such as steady beat and subdivision), coordination skills, and the concept of sequencing (source). If you're working with a younger group, try modifying the clapping sequence to fit their ability level (scroll down to the bottom of this article for a few helpful tips).

5 Ways to Make Memorizing a Choir Anthem Fun

5 Ways to Make Memorizing a Choir Anthem Fun

For most of us, memorizing is not a "fun" task. It can be tedious, repetitive, and sometimes, just plain boring. However, we all know that memorizing music is an important part of singing in a choir and making music, in general. Rather than just singing through a piece over and over again, here are a few hands-on, engaging activities that are so fun, your choir won't even know they're memorizing their music! (Bonus points if you try any of these with your adult choir!)

1. Fill in the Blank

This is a quick, easy way to scaffold memorizing at the beginning. See how much of the text the children remember by speaking the first few words of each line and having them finish.

7 Fun Games for Children's Choir

7 Fun Games for Children's Choir

It's a rainy evening and the 1st graders in your children's choir are extra wiggly. You need a quick change-of-pace to keep their attention and get through rehearsal. 

Been there? I think we all have. 

There are lots of games you could play, but I like choosing games and activities that keep the focus on music (and maybe get the children up and moving for a few minutes). Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorite (musical) games and activities for children's choir.

Enjoy!