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by Emily McDonald 


NAMES ON PAPER: Instead of the choosing sticks we wrote every child's name on a small piece of colored cardstock and laminated them. Each class had a different color. For example, the CTR 4 class has purple, the CTR 5 has green, etc. The paper for the names also coordinates with the class folder that holds the roll. Or, if you can't find enough different colors, you can use different shades of certain colors and then tape that color to the front of the roll folder. We used the sticky Velcro to put the names inside each of the folders that has the class roll. At the beginning of opening exercises, the teachers take roll and then take the names of the children off who are there that week and place them in a small pail at the front of the room. Then we choose names out of the pail when we need helpers. That way, all the names in the pail are of children who are there. Since the papers are color coordinated for each class, they're easy to put back inside the roll folders. It works great. (Credit Unknown)

An idea for choosing a helper in Primary by Mindy Hardy

SOUP CANS:  I use two cans (soup can super glued inside a pumpkin pie filling can).  I take the sticks out of the middle can and put them in the outer can.  I have red tips on the sticks for the junior primary and blue tips on the sticks for the senior primary.  It has worked really, really well because everyone knows that I won't start over until everyone has been called and it is very fair.  (Idea by Christine Layton)

CHOOSING HEART - To be sure all the Primary children have the opportunity to participate, make a large heart, paint and decorate however you'd like. Buy or create small hearts (wooden ones can be found in craft stores, or laminate card stock hearts) and write each child's name on a heart.  When they have helped, have them move their heart into a basket, or stamp their hand with a fun stamp. (Credit Unknown)

GOLDEN HELPERS by Allison Jessop

POPSICLE STICKS - "In order to randomly select children during singing time, I took 50 or so different color popsicle sticks and wrote different things about children on the back of each one. For example, one stick might say, "girls wearing red," "black shoes," "birthday in January," "Valley View Elementary," "wearing stripes," "wearing red and blue," etc... I chose the first stick and only the children who fit the criteria can raise their hands to be chosen. After each child has their turn at whatever we're doing, they pick the next stick and get chose from the children who meet the criteria. The children enjoy figuring out if they or their neighbor meets the criteria." (Idea by S. Caron)

ANOTHER VERSION OF POPSICLE STICKS (goes with 2007 Primary Theme) - I saw a cute idea in our Primary room last week that the music leader for the other ward did. It's with popsicle sticks again, :), but I thought it was really cute. She got a big flower pot with potting soil, and made popsicle sticks with each child's name on them, and glued a seed at the top of each stick. She wrote "I'll Follow Him in Faith" on a big sunflower and stuck it in the pot, and then wrote "Faith is like a little seed" on the flower pot. Then she can either pull a stick from the pot to pick a child, or can start with it empty and have each child plant their "seed" after they have a turn. I thought it was a great idea. (Shared by Alison in Victor, Idaho)

MUSICAL STAFF & NOTES - "This is a great way to involve children in music time. Make a large musical staff, including the treble clef, time signature, and notes. (white foam board works great). Make large black notes (quarter notes, 1/8th notes, and etc.) out of heavy duty construction paper. You can laminate the notes so they will last longer. This can be used several different ways: 1) Place the names of each child on the notes to choose helpers. 2) Place the names of Primary hymns on the notes to choose songs. 3) Use the notes to teach the up and down tones of the melody of a new song. 4) Let the children place the notes on the staff to create their own melodies. The pianist can "play" their tunes back for them.  Hint: The folding foam board used for science projects works good because you can make lots of extra "notes" and store them on the sides of the board. You can attach the notes with tape, the blue tacky stuff, or Velcro." (Idea by Robin Chugg)

NAMES ON SHAPES WITH DIFFERENT THEME POSTERS - Have each child's and teacher's name written on a small red heart (or whatever goes with the theme) made from poster board. Have the hearts in 2 containers, 1 for junior and 1 for senior primary. (We used red, heart-shaped boxes from Valentine chocolates). Use these to choose helpers for Sharing Time or Singing Time. Have a theme poster prepared for each different month (i.e. Feb.- Heart, Mar. - shamrock, Jul. - flag, etc.) When the child's name has been chosen tape it to the poster. This way she can see her name on the poster and that she's had a turn to help. When all of the hearts are used, put them back in the box and start again.

CLOTHESPIN PICK by Michele Richards

CRAFT STICK BOYS AND GIRLS - "I use craft sticks that have a little boy head and a little girl head, laminated for durability, use double stick tape to stick on the craft sticks. Names go on the back of the craft stick, boys go on boy's head, girls on girl's head. All sticks are put into a flower pot, one for Jr. Primary, one for Sr. Primary. When the head is drawn from the pot, it goes into a basket labeled Jr. or Sr. When all heads have been drawn all the heads go back into the pot. If the child is absent that week that head goes back into the pot. It works great and gets me off the hook a lot for picking favorites, everyone gets a turn." (Idea Del Marie Greenburg)

CHOOSING HELPERS WITH STICKERS - "Children always love stickers! I needed something that I could choose my helpers, without selecting them twice. First, I wrote the names of the children on the back of individual stickers and cut them out. I then decorated a jar with "happy" stickers and called it my happy helper jar. Once I have selected a name out of the jar, I let the child keep the sticker. Now that the child is happy that he/she got a sticker, I'm happy because I won't have to worry if every one is getting a turn." (Idea by Julie Mayo)

PRIMARY HELPLINE - "The primary children were complaining because the same children were being picked each week. We fixed this by taking a piece of "foaming" and made a phone. We had buttons for the phone buttons. We covered two small Pringles containers with "foamy"  and glued them to the front of the phone. One was labeled Jr. and one Sr. In the back of the phone, were two large Pringles containers covered with "Foamy". We put each child's name on a plastic token. When their name was drawn out of the small front container, they would come up and place the token in the slit in the phone. The token would fall in the large container glued to the rear of the phone. After singing or sharing time, we just put the lids on each of the containers and the next week we drew from the front again until the tokens are gone and then we take them from the back and place them in the appropriate small container in the front and start again. It is working very well for us and the children were thrilled when they saw the phone." (Idea by Lisa B.)

HELPING HANDS - "This idea was given to me by our Stake Primary Music Leader. We have a hand with each child's name on it in a box (one for Junior and one for Senior). Then when we need to have a helper, we pick a name from the "helping hands box". The children love the "fairness" of it."  (Idea by Lorie Pierce)  

CHOOSING HELPERS BY PHONE NUMBER - "One of the best ways I have found to choose a helper is to put each child's phone number on a 2x3 card or Popsicle stick. (If there is more than one child in the family put their phone number in for as many children as they have.)  I also put their name in small print in the corner for reference or on the opposite end of the Popsicle stick. I pull out a card/stick and read the phone number. The children are very quiet because they need to listen to all of the numbers. When they hear their phone number they get to come up and be a helper. When I do Music Time I put the names of the song under the numbers of the phone. (I drew a huge poster of an old fashioned telephone with removable numbers. I even glued on a curly rope telephone cord.) The other nice thing is that you can use the opposite end of the stick/name on the card when the telephone choosing gets old."  (Idea by Michele Christensen)  

PRIMARY STARS - "In an effort to choose a helper fairly, I made an "Our Primary Stars" can. From the craft store I purchased a bag of large Popsicle sticks, a bag of cut out wooden stars and a yellow foam board. Cut out a Large star shape from the foam board. Gather 2 soup cans or formula cans and glue together. Print or Paint on the foam board star: "Our Primary Stars!" I choose to decorate the yellow foam board star by painting staggered red stars with blue speckling to stay with the primary colors. Attach foam board star to cans. Paint the small wooden star cut outs red, yellow and blue. Glue one star to each Popsicle stick. Write the names of your children on each stick. Label one can "HAVE" and the other "HAVE NOT". When you need a helper draw from the "have not" can then place in the "Have" can. Our children love the idea that they are "STARS". When drawing a name tell the children you will need a reverent "star" - this helps quiet things down! Enjoy your STARS!"  (Idea by Heather Shill)
CLASSROOM JOB CHART - "I have a poster with the jobs listed. I have the children names next to the job for the day and rotated each week.  (Velcro saves the day again! ) ...for example: Prayer--prays that day; Leader--has a decorated 'sunbeam' wand to lead the song and the other children sing into the recorder, also gets to be line leader; Weather-- Gets to open the window and check out the weather, and report what it is like outside and puts a picture on our weather rainy, sunny, cloudy, snowy)."  (Idea by Susie Huckvale)

CHOOSING CLASSROOM HELPERS - "Each week, I bring to class a small basket filled with pieces of paper upon which are written the day's assignments: Opening Prayer, Question #1, Question #2, Lesson Activity Leaders, etc. I also include such things as "Pass to someone else", or a special assignment of some kind, so that there are surprises once in a while. Each child chooses at least one paper; more if there are fewer in the class that week. The children LOVE this! It helps all the children to become involved and interested."  (Idea by Lorri Summers)

FOLLOWING HIS FOOTSTEPS - "As a variation on another idea, I bought a red piece of foam board (for its sturdiness!) and some white cardstock footprints at a teaching supply store. We put the name of each child on the footprint and laminated them. We put a picture of the Savior with the Children on the poster board and wrote "Following in our Savior's Footsteps" on the top. Then I laminated (with clear contact paper) the board to preserve it. Each week, when we need helpers we choose a name from the basket and then tape it up on the board. The children get to see their name and it reminds them to always follow our Savior's example. We carried the theme "Following in our Savior's footsteps" over to our baptism preview and put a picture of footsteps with the theme on the cover of the program. We pointed out that thru baptism we follow in Jesus' footsteps." (Idea by Amber Curtis)  

POPSICLE OR CRAFT STICKS - "I believe that involving the children is great! So, to avoid any child feeling like I have "favorites" or that I only choose the best singers ("favorites"), I have a can filled with Popsicle sticks that have had the children's names written on them. Then, instead of picking just the best singers, or picking the same children again and again--because I can't remember who I chose last week!-- I use the sticks, and then EVERYONE gets a turn. If they choose not to participate when their name has been drawn, at least they were asked. And I think that makes them feel important. Also, I tie the chosen children's sticks up with a rubber band after each game or activity to avoid picking them again until everyone has had a chance to participate. If the child is absent, I put their names back in the can and try again. That is all we can do for some of these little ones, TRY, TRY AGAIN!" CAMILLE GOLD, SHELLEY, IDAHO CHOOSING HELPERS - "Here is a little added hint for Camille Gold's wonderful idea about using craft sticks with children's names on them for choosing helpers. Color one end of the stick green and the other end red. When you have picked their stick and they have had their turn, just turn the stick over from green to red and you won't have to rubber band them or get them mixed up. Green means waiting to be picked, red means already picked. When all are red turn them over to green and start over!"  (Idea by Judy Flynn)

MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS A TURN - "We use popsicle sticks with one end painted red and the other painted green. Each has a child's name written on it in pencil (they are easy to change this way) I also have several blank ones and when ever we have visitors, I quickly put their names on a stick.  As we go through our sharing time, I put all the popsicle sticks in a small plastic cup, green side up. For each turn in the game or activity we are doing, I pull one out, call on that child and then put it back in the cup red side up to let me know I have already called on that child. We go through each of the sticks this way and then when all the sticks are red side up, I turn them over and we start again!  Sometimes this takes more than one Sunday, but that's ok, cause the children all know that everyone will get a turn. We have a very small branch, so sometimes we even get through the sticks twice in one Sunday! I have sticks with the teachers names, and only occasionally will call on them too.  I have to admit, I do peek and if we have visitors, I try to make sure they get picked toward the beginning just to make sure they get their turn!" (Idea by Mari Fritz)

GLOVE POINTER - " This could be used in singing time or in a sharing time. I was visiting a primary and the chorister had taken a white glove and stuffed it with batting and sewn the fingers down with one finger pointing out. She then gathered the glove around the opening and hooked it with hot glue on a long pole, probably about 2 yards long. When she wanted to choose a child, she would point the pole in a child's direction with the finger of the stuffed glove pointing. It was very effective and she mentioned that she doesn't use it very often but when she does, it's a real treat."  (Idea by Jillyn Wells)  

CHOOSING LITTLE HELPERS - "I pick names from a hat to make a scene i.e. Turkey with no feathers I have the names on the back of the feathers and as I pick a feather to make the Turkey have feathers the children come up and help me. To keep in line with the scripture theme I am going to use Noah's Ark and have the name on the back of rainbows, Daniel in the Lions Den with names on the back of Lions, Shepherd and the names on the back of a flock of sheep, Jesus feeding the multitude with the names on the back of fish and bread (great for Easter). That why all children will have a chance and helps then to think of the season." (Idea by Wanda Simon)

LEARNING THE TEMPLES - "We have two black laminated posters one for Jr. and one for Sr. primary with the children's names on the back of the small temple cards. They can't wait to find out which temple they are each week. it's become a great way to get familiar with the temples."  (Idea by Titania Williamson)

CHOOSING HELPERS - "I have found a way to make sure every child gets a turn in singing time (and they will remember they got a turn, too.) I have something with each child's name that when I pick it out, the child can keep it. For instance, when it starts to get close to school time, I buy a package of crayons then attach name labels to each crayon. When I pick out the crayon with "Spencer's" name on it, he gets to keep it. Pencils, homemade flags on popsicle sticks, paper cut-outs, and other inexpensive items would all work.  When all the items have been handed out, everyone has had a turn and I make something new." (Idea by Alayne Randall)

PROMPT HELPERS - "I have been newly called to serve as the primary music leader in my new ward. While thinking about how I was going to choose who my helpers will be each Sunday, this is what I thought of.  I arrive to primary early. Any child that comes into primary early is given a little laminated picture of a blue bird. I punched a hole and put yarn through it so that it can be worn as a necklace and can be used time and time again. Later, when it is time to choose helpers, I choose the early birds. It works great. (Idea by Jodi Sorensen) 

MINI ME - "I am a big fan of scrap booking, and while primary music leader, I used my scrap booking supplies and made miniature people. I traced a simple body pattern and made a pattern for Sunday clothes for both boys and girls. Then I cut out hair the color and style of each child in primary, and put them on the bodies, then I added Sunday clothes that are similar to some that I had seen the children wear. That way when I pulled the "mini-me" out of the box, they knew who's turn it was to help. They had a fun time guessing who it was, then they got smart enough that I didn't even have to say the child's name, they already knew which one was them.  I also had a few extra generic children made up for visitors. The children loved it." (Idea by Melody Riches)

CHOOSING MUSIC HELPERS - "I had a red treasure box that I had gotten as a gift with perfume inside, but you could make one out of a shoebox; I call it my Music Helpers Treasure Box. Inside I put every child's name on slips of paper. I include less active members as well, then when they are drawn out to be a helper, I remind the boys and girls to be sure and tell these children that we miss them in Primary and that their name was drawn to be a helper! I refer to the children in my treasure box as my treasures and I think it makes them feel special. " (Idea by Linda Loveless)

FUNNY GLASSES - "I purchased some silly glasses at the dollar store that have fake eyes on the front, and walked around saying I was LOOKING for someone to help who was folding their arms." (Credit Unknown)


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