Friday, July 22, 2011

Pioneer Cattle Drive

I have wanted to do something really fun for Pioneer Day, especially since Pioneer Day falls on Sunday this year. I wanted to do something different than reviewing all our program songs, "pioneer style".  Something new and refreshing! Something where the children can move around a little, and just have fun singing. Hey, the pioneers had fun, too!

This activity, however, just might get me released early. I can hear it now...You won't believe what that CrAzY Sister Patterson did in primary today...  LOL! Oh, well. I was told last Sunday that my days are numbered. Four weeks ago we had a changing of the primary presidency. I have been the chorister for four years (this will be my 5th program!), and the new counselor over me wanted me to know last Sunday that I'll be released after this year's program, and hoped I didn't mind staying in that long. I wanted to cry. Now I have to mourn over leaving the children for three more long months! It's going to be hard for me.

Any-hooooo...*wiping away the tears*

Pioneer Cattle Drive

Quickly review these songs (or songs of your choice).  I plan on having my pianist play through the song while I speak the words, then have the children join in and sing with me the second time through.
  • The Handcart Song
  • Pioneer Children Sang as they Walked
  • The Oxcart
  • Little Pioneer Children
  • To Be a Pioneer
Prepare a strip of paper for each class to read to themselves. On these strips of paper are specific instructions for each class. Randomly hand each class a slip of paper and give them about 30 seconds to group together in their classes and figure out what they are supposed to do. If they are not sure, have the teacher send a runner up to you for clarification, and the runner can go back to their class to explain it.

On the strips of paper:
  • Whenever the word "Pioneer" or "Pioneers" is sung in a song, exclaim in an inside church voice,  "YeeeeeeHaaaaaw!" and swing your pretend lasso.
  • Whenever the word Handcart, Oxcart, or Cart is sung, cry out mournfully and dramatically,  "OOOOOHHHHH!"
  • Whenever Sister Patterson (me) says "OK", stand up and curtsey (girls) or bow (boys).*
  • Whenever anyone in the room curtseys or bows, clap to the rhythm of the song 16 times.
  • Whenever another class exclaims "YeeeeeeHaaaaaw!", turn to them, put your finger to your lips and loudly "SHHHHHHHHH!" them. 
  • When anyone cries out mournfully, "OOOOOHHHHH!", stand up, wag your finger and say "Noooo whining!" 
  • Whenever there's "marching" or "walking" (actions or words) in a song, stand up and freeze like a marching statue until that part of the song has past, then sit down. 
  • For the Primary Presidency: Whenever a song is sung slowly, "Moo-ooo" like a herd of cattle.**

After the classes have had a chance to talk about their instructions together, call them to order and explain that you will now be singing all the pioneer songs you have already rehearsed again, but this time, each class must follow the specific instructions they were given on their slips of paper, during the songs. "Ready then? OK!"

When you are finished singing all the songs, ask the children if they can guess what everyone else's actions were, and why they did them.

I plan on passing out hymn books and closing this activity with the song, Come Come Ye Saints

*As the chorister, be sure to say "OK" plenty of times!
**Don't forget to slow down some of the quick songs in the middle, so you can get some extra mooing from the Primary Presidency in!

Have fun!


  1. This sounds fun! Sorry that you were told after all your hard work this year - you will be released. I Love Primary

  2. I want to get a sub just so I can come up north and see you do this! I am definitely not as fun as you are. But I love this idea! You rock!

  3. I'm going to be so sad when you leave! I'm in a small branch and the kids LOVE all of your fun ideas! I am hoping with 6 in our primary that they can do those things by themselves!! They are going to love the cattle drive!!

  4. This is so brilliant! I'm going to try it tomorrow!!!


  6. How sad that you will be released. I just recently found your blog and have been trying out your ideas. The kids have loved them--especially the Pop Boppin'! I really hope that you will keep your ideas posted on here-even after your release so we can use it as a resource. You are so amazingly creative!

  7. I have just been called as primary chorister in my ward and I love your flip charts. The pictures and words are big enough to see. If you won't have this calling any more, I'll need to start making my own, so Where do you find most of your images. Do they have images from the friend online?

  8. I am sad that you are getting released! Would you consider still taking the time to update your blog. I have used so many of your ideas for my ward. Thanks

  9. Tolm2535: Thanks! I love primary too.

    Peggy: I would have loved for you to be here! It was very fun! Even worked for the little ones. We'll have to meet up sometime and do lunch or ideas! Anyone else wanna come?

    Andrea, I would love to hear how it worked for you! Did you make any changes or adaptations to make it work for your small primary?

    SAH in Suburbia, How did it go for you? Any ideas for adaptation or additional ideas for kids' actions during the songs?

    Sher, YOU KNOW I totally love you too! Wish we lived even closer!!

    Michelle, Thanks so much. Yep, I'll leave them up. :)

    The Hardy's, Thank you. You can download PDF versions of all the church magazines for about the last 10 years (at, and copy art into your own flip chart. I loved using for pictures in my Praise to the Man flip chart, and I also use the Gospel Art Picture Kit as much as possible. Sometimes I manipulate or combine images in Photoshop to complete an idea. I use Microsoft Office Publisher (Part of the Office Suite) to assemble a flip charts. Maybe a tutorial would be a good idea? Hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

    Stoutenburg, Thanks, I am sad too, but I look forward to what lies ahead! I have at least 3 solid months until the program and my release. I'll do the best I can!

  10. Thanks for all of your great ideas! I know exactly how you will feel. I was Primary Chorister for 5 years in one ward ... and I cried and cried when I was released. We moved 2 years later and I was able to be Primary Chorister again ... and then 2 1/2 years into that ward my husband found a home in another ward. I begged to not be released until the Primary Program, but alas ... no. I am now assistant primary chorister and love being able to sub whenever possible (is it bad to hope the chorister might become ill?)

    I love your attitude ... looking forward to what lies ahead. That is what I need to do. I'm happy where ever I can serve (but my heart is in Primary ... as the chorister).