Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Singing Time Game

For the weeks leading up to Christmas, this year, I'm using a friend's old advent calendar (thanks, Mandy!) as a lucky dip tool rather than a countdown, during Singing Time in Primary (at church).

I tucked inside each little bag a paper strip with a song title and number (or a few songs to choose from) drawn from the carol collection in the songbook and hymnbook, along with one magnetic alphabet letter.  In class, children take turns picking a bag number to choose the next song we'll sing (merrily! of course!), and thrill if they have another choice to make from the paper strip within (thrill).  We then add the magnetic letter also drawn out to a large picture of a present on the board to slowly spell out a message.  The fact that the kids' delight over a game that avails no form of sugar, but choice and singing alone, surprises me every. time.

The message I chose that required exactly 24 letters?
Christmas celebrates light
(count 'em, I dare ya)

I'm looking forward to discussing all of the ways Christmas is a season of light, once the message is fully revealed.  The kiddilicks can brainstorm all of the symbols of light first, (e.g. candles, fairy lights, stars etc.) before we talk about the gift of light we received on that first Christmas.  I am going to flick the switch on some fairy lights once they spell it all out.  Yes'sir.  I also hope I can strategically sneak a treasure-hunt clue into the final bag (whichever it turns out to be) that points to where the novelty/gift/treats are hidden on the 22nd (Sunday closest to Christmas this year).
That is my pyjama sleeve in the shot, holding the filled tree up.  Well, they're Haki's pyjamas, on my arm...since I have recently taken to wearing his pyjama tops, since he only wears the bottoms.  I know, I know, I swore off pyjamas that look like pyjamas because I was sick of meter readers catching me in flannel.  At 2pm.  Alas, I cannot stand waste...and overly baggy pyjama tops are irresistable attire for late-night children's game design.  That's right, that is what this post was about, despite the volume of text there appears to be dedicated to a tangent.  Golly.  Back to it...

SO -- you could repurpose any kind of advent calendar from a dollar store or similar, make something similar (/hand wave of disgust, "stop it!"), or use one you've retired from your own stock -- even a peg board with cards they can flip.  I think the appeal of the idea, basically, is that at this time of year there are a lot of affordable, ready-made Christmas themed things with 24 slots -- and they are great for more than advent!

If you don't want to select your own songs, ready-made wordstrips for the songs are here -- simply print the page a few times and chop the songs in combinations of rows to fill 24 bags (E.g. cut one page into individual strips, then one into groups of 3/4...OR print more pages and do groups of titles only so the kids always choose!  I think it is nice to have the option of repeating favourite carols in the game, or else the younger ones are just getting the hang of the song and then we're onto the next...then the season is over!  I also print one copy as an index for when you are pulling out your song sheets when you set up, and one for the pianist!).

>> Here's another Christmas Singing Time game idea
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