Singing Praises: Learning Our Hymns and Children’s Songs

Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997), 294


Sunday is a good day for the family to spend some time learning our hymns and children’s songs. Singing together brings joy, and knowing the words to a song makes singing more fun. Encourage all family members to sing. Remind them that if only the birds with the prettiest songs were allowed to sing, the forest would be a mighty quiet place.

Materials Needed

A copy of Hymns

Children’s Songbook

Squares of paper or 3-by-5 inch cards

Activity

These five games all involve singing. Playing them often can help family members learn the words to their favorite hymns.

Game 1

A number of words are used in more than one of our hymns. Here is a list of some of these words: come, home, mountains, high, how, fire, Zion, let, there, sing, now, hills, guide, 0, Oh, we’ll, hark, light, thank.

The family leader calls out a word, and each family member has a chance to sing part or all of a hymn using the word in the lyrics. When no one can think of any other hymn using this word, go on to the next word. Everyone stays in the game to the end, even if he misses a word. There is no particular winner in this game. It is a participation game. After the last word is given, the whole family can sing a hymn suggested by that word.

Game 2

Each person takes turns clapping or tapping out the rhythm of a Church hymn or children’s song. The first person to guess the song may sing along with the clapping.

Game 3

Have family members sit in a circle around the room or on the floor. Choose a hymn or song from Hymns or Children’s Songbook that family members want to learn better. The leader will read the words to the song. Play the melody if you have a piano or other instrument available. The family then sings the first verse two or three times. The leader then gives each person a turn to sing one word alone. The leader sings the first word, then points to another member to sing the second word, another to sing the third word, and so forth until someone misses. Starting where they left off, the leader points to the next members to sing a word at a time until the song is completed. The leader should try to keep the rhythm going as each sings his word in turn. At another time, each of the verses might be learned in the same manner.

Game 4

From Hymns or Children’s Songbook, pick as many songs as there are family members playing the game. Then pick one extra hymn or song. Divide each song into four fairly even sections or phrases and write each section on a separate card. Include the page number of the hymn in the lower left-hand corner of the card. In the upper right-hand corner, the cards should be numbered 1, 2, 3, or 4 according to the position of the phrases in the song. Also, make several free sing cards, according to the number of players as follows:

two players:

2 free sing cards

three players:

3 free sing cards

four players:

1 free sing card

five players:

2 free sing cards

No more than five players can play this game effectively. If there are more in the family, divide into two groups. One could be for younger children, using easy songs.

Mix up all the cards and give each player an equal number. There will be one extra card. Turn the extra card face up on the table as a discard or an exchange card if desired.

The first player sings a phrase from one of his cards. He then can pick up the discard or draw one card from another player. He puts one card down as a discard. If he draws from a player, that player picks up the discard on the table. Players rotate turns around the table. The second player has the same choices. He sings one phrase from his hand and either picks up the discard or draws one card from another player. If he picks from another player, that person picks up the discard to keep his original number of cards.

The point of the game is to find out who holds phrases from the different hymns and try to choose those that complete a hymn for you. The free sing cards can be used in place of any phrase to complete a hymn as long as the player can sing the missing words. The first person to collect all four cards for one hymn or to complete a hymn by using the free sing cards is the winner.

A player should pick a different phrase to sing each time he has a turn or at least until he has sung them all. Then he can repeat as he chooses.

Game 5

Divide the family into teams, or individuals if the family is small. Each team or person will choose a well-known Church hymn or song and act it out as a charade. The other members try to guess the title of the song. When the correct title is guessed, the family sings the hymn together.

Additional Activities

  1. 1.

    Make up your own musical games.

  2. 2.

    Listen to the Tabernacle Choir sing hymns on records and tapes.

  3. 3.

    Use the musical accompaniments for the hymns and songs available on compact disc (Hymns:50166, 50866; Children’s Songbook:50428, 50505) and audiocassette (Hymns:52175, 52297; Children’s Songbook:52428, 52505).

  4. 4.

    Advanced singers might hum the alto, tenor, or bass parts to a hymn and see if the other family members can guess what the song is.