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 a 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. (Learn here)
- Hand out Boomwhackers and whack a song. (Find them here)
- Try doing a verse with motions only - no singing.
- Dust off those children’s instruments and let them play.
- Use snaps, stomps, 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.
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?