Giving a Tried-and-True Song a Thrilling New Twist

Jul 16, 2019 7:00:00 AM / by Cathy Skogen-Soldner

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Older songs are often good songs; however, if we repeatedly sing the same songs in the same way, we run the risk of wearing them out. Whether we are choosing children’s songs for an educational worship hour or traditional worship service, we need to ensure that we are being creative and keeping music engaging.  

Psalm 144:9 says, “I will sing a new song to you, O God,” but, just like you, I hear a handful of songs that the children love and request over and over.  When our children request to sing an old song, let’s honor that request and embody Psalm 144:9 at the same time.  Here are some ideas to help us do our part to keep things fresh by adding something that will “spice up” our tried-and-true songs so they can be sung in a new way: 

Ways to make an old song new: 

  • Play kazoos for a verse. 
  • Invite the children to write words for a new verse. 
  • Make or hand out puppets to sing a verse. 
  • Add sign language to a hymn or a song. (Sign language resources are available online.) 
  • Speak or rap a verse and sing the refrain. 
  • Toss bean bags or balls around a circle as the song is sung. 
  • Stand or sit on key words that repeat. 
  • Try rhythmic passing on keywords or specific beats.
  • Hum or whistle a verse. 
  • Create new motions, a line dance, or a circle dance to go along with a song. 
  • Play the Kristal Bells.
  • Hand out Boomwhackers and whack a song.  
  • Try doing a verse with motions only - no singing. 
  • Dust off those children’s instruments and let them play. 
  • Use snapsstomps, leg pats, or a combination of these instead of claps. 
  • Pass the song between two groups. One side sings the first line and then the other sings the next. 
  • Clap hands with a partner instead of clapping your own hands together. 
  • Toss out balloons and instruct the kids to keep the balloons from touching the floor while they sing. 
  • Learn the song in a new language.

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Don’t throw out the old songs - just put a little effort into reviving them! Engage your singers and audience every time you sing by using one or a combination of these suggestions. Can you think of any more ideas that you could add to your own list? 


For more blog posts on children's ministry, see "The ABC's of activity-based learning", "Relational Youth Ministry 101", and "3 teaching tips to try next Sunday".


Topics: Children Ministry

Cathy Skogen-Soldner

Written by Cathy Skogen-Soldner

Cathy Skogen-Soldner is composer and owner of Cathy’s Music and works as Coordinator of Children’s Worship Participation at St. Timothy Lutheran. Some of her best insights and creative ideas have come from nuggets she has received from the children in her life.


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