On Friday we had our children's church. This is a 40 min service for children that follows a set pattern each week. We typically start with an opening prayer, then have some songs, some exploration of a biblical theme (often using godly play), a response to this in some craft form (play-doh is very popular at the moment!), some more songs and a closing prayer. Then we all go and eat cake.
LittleLanky certainly seems to be enjoying it and she along with the other children run to the chapel in their excitement to start. Always encouraging.
This week LankyAnglican led us in singing and one of the songs he chose was the Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Alleluia; praise ye the lord (although we used more modern words which tripped up the adults considerably). Now this song can be split into two sections and you stand when it's your section to sing which involves a lot of bobbing up and down. LittleLanky loved it! She was shrieking with laughter at being thrown in the air and was trying to jump up and down at the right times. So this felt like a great success.
It then got me thinking about songs with actions as we discussed how the children would love them and I realised I don't like action songs. It is just my own inadequacies coming out but I don't know all the actions to any song and suddenly I felt like when I was a teenager and I didn't know all the actions to the Macarena (for the record, I don't think this is necessarily a problem!). So my problem with action songs is that they can make people feel excluded or just inept as they are trying to mime various animals.
I know there are ways round it to some extent - ie. someone teaching the actions at the front - but it still doesn't feel comfortable to me. The other thing I have noticed is that LittleLanky immediately starts getting more restrained if there are proper actions to a song because she doesn't like getting it wrong.
I'm not saying people shouldn't do actions to songs or prayer but it was a wonderful experience watching LittleLanky and the other children enjoying something as simple and jumping up and down to a song in church.