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Tips for Selecting Songs & Doing Music with Children

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There are 3 things you need if you are going to do music with children:
1.  Children
2.  Songs to sing and a place to sing them
3.  A cheerleader . . . and THAT’S YOU!


Selecting Songs for your Children to Sing
. . . Select songs that have a message.  It might be the only thing your kids remember when they get home so send them home with a message!
. . . Select songs that help children to learn the promises of God and the stories of God’s people.
. . . Select songs with a vocal range that is accessible.  Middle C-D is a good range for most children.  Avoid songs that are really high . . . you want your 5th grade boys to sing, too!
. . . Select songs that are packed with motions and hand rhythms and lots of extras.
. . . This is a time to expose children to lots of styles of music.  Be sure to include 50’s, blues, island, waltzes, 6/8, country, marches, rag-time, rap, rock, contemplative and the list goes on and on.
. . . New music is a must, but be sure to sing some familiar songs, too.  Familiar songs promote ritual and ritual provides comfort for children.


“Spice up” your familiar songs or purchase children’s songs that include the following options:
. . . Play kazoos for a verse.
. . . No one is volunteering to sing a duet?  Give a couple of children a puppet and have the puppets sing a verse or two.
. . . Use flowing scarves or streamer sticks and make sure you have lots of room for large arm movements.  (See the Instructions page for details on making your own streamer sticks.)
. . . Teach sign language for the refrain of a song. (There are lots of great sign language video resources available online.)
. . . Invite the children to write their own verses to a song.
. . . Stand or sit on key words that repeat in a children’s song.
. . . Add sun glasses to your kids’ blues number.
. . . Add bandanas and cowboy hats to the children’s country-western number.
. . . Try rhythmic passing.  (See the Instructions page for details on trying rhythmic passing with your kids)
. . . Hum a verse.
. . . Whistle a verse.
. . . If a children’s song includes motions, invite the children to do one verse with motions only – no singing.
. . . Dust off those rhythm instruments and let the children play and sing.
. . . Change claps in a song to snaps or stomps or leg pats.
. . . Pass out plastic drink cups in all sorts of wonderful colors (you can clap the cups together or tap them on the floor).
. . . Add jingle bells.
. . . Give your children a couple of balloons and tell them to keep the balloons from touching the floor while they sing the song.
. . . Distribute white gloves for the children to wear when they do sign language or a 50’s number.
. . . Split your choir.  Invite side one to sing the first phrase of the song and then side two will sing the second phrase of the song.
. . . Clap hands with a partner.
. . . Invite children to create their own motions or hand rhythms for a song.

There are two things I remember as a child growing up in the church:  the adults who cared about me and knew my name AND the songs we sang.  Do not underestimate the power of the songs you are choosing for your children to sing.  Those songs are going to stick with them for a lifetime . . . they did for me!

God’s blessings on your children’s music ministry!