Being able to lead singing activities with 40+ children for a couple hours every Sunday for the last two years has been much more personally enriching than I imagined it would be. Joining them in the purest Christ-centered music has made the calling a faith promoting experience in the same way described in this Church video - you would simply have to be there, join in the dance, feel the music.
For anyone recently called to be Primary Chorister, here is what I have learned over the last two years (in order of most to least important):
There is so much content online written for primary choristers and it’s more from individuals than it is from the Church. The Church’s content is best for providing a base standard. Before seeking inspiration from Chorister blogs, reference the Church’s instruction first.
I never figured out how to effectively make the kids angel children eager for more spiritual thought. The danger of being too strict is teaching the kids to not like church. Since I couldn’t pull off making every sharing time every week just about singing spiritual songs reverently, I was primarily interested in giving the kids a good time. I prayed multiple times to be able to make my sharing times more spiritually edifying, but in practice kept finding myself having to just give the kids a fun time with the songs. The words of the songs are so good, I eventually came to peace with the idea that as long as singing songs is the primary focus, the how of doing so is less important. Church is three hours long and one of those hours is sacrament meeting. The need for kids to just have a good time is felt particularly strong in the third hour.
I planned my sharing time songs around this order of priority:
Primary Chorister blogs are filled with more examples of gamification than game-based learning. Gamification draws from the external motivators of games - visually stimulating, external rewards. In practice, this means spending hours on making stuff for primary and bribing the kids to do what you want them to do. They have the appearance of games, but they’re not games and even a kid can quickly see through it. Game-based learning draws from the substance of games - what makes games actually engaging. In practice, you spend much less time preparing for primary, you keep the kids’ attention more effectively, and it’s no longer about the prize or candy but about the songs. A straight-forward example of this is tic tac toe for junior primary - a kid from one team draws an X on the board after a song, a kid from the opposing team draws an O after the next song. This grabs their attention the whole time and requires zero preparation. This is way better - for the kids and for you - than spending 45 minutes on a craft whose sole purpose is visual stimulation. (Tic tac toe is not a gold standard activity, I'm just illustrating a point.) Another universal example throughout the church is the picture matching game. It’s great for incorporating Church visuals, can be used for any sharing time topic, and keeps both junior and senior primary’s attention the whole sharing time. Games other than Matching that you can cycle through on occasion are Mad Gab (for song titles), a simple board game with a die and you see which team makes it to the end first, Sing or Dare, jeopardy... All of these games can be used every few months with variation tailored to new songs.
Treat spot lighting a student as your wild card that you can draw on any time you need to fill 5 minutes. When your sharing time fills 15 minutes of your 20 minute slot or when a guest teacher only takes 10 minutes, you can start your sharing time with no worries about having to think on the spot of more songs to sing and activities to facilitate. Spot lighting a student will fill the time and the kids always love them.
Visiting the nursery is cake. Visiting the nursery to lead a 5-10 minute singing time isn't about much more than:
Some parents want to avoid having to resort to sugar to engage kids. My wife and I are such parents. Modern American sugar consumption is objectively an outlier and we’re not benefiting from it. This is just something to be cognizant of. Between all the adults who run primary, it can pretty much be counted on for kids to be given fun dip, candy bars, brownies, etc on most weeks at least once. I have increasingly avoided contributing to that.
If you're a chorister, hopefully this helps. Enjoy the experience. You have so much to learn and benefit from kids!