punch-a-song / a primary music time favorite

punch-a-song game for kids

i’ve been trying out some new games and activities for our kids in primary music time. and this one, well, they LOVE it! i tried it out a few weeks ago and as soon as they saw that they got to come up and punch out one of the holes to get a slip of paper with the song inside, they instantly all started raising their little hands, begging to have a turn! (fortunately, we have a jar holding their names on popsicle sticks, so it’s all luck of the draw.)  and what’s even more amazing is that the following week when they announced it was music time, all the kids cheered (cheered!!) and were asking if we were playing the punch-a-song game again! it’s really that fun!

here’s how i made it:

1. start by making a really big fruit salad. seriously. you need 5 big cans, whether it’s fruit or whatever other canned food you want, they need to be big enough for a little fist to easily get through! i used 5×29-oz fruit cans. whatever you end up using, get a regular can opener, empty the cans, and wash and dry them really well.

2. i used garden shears (i didn’t know what else to use, so you might have something more appropriate!) to cut 8 tabs out of the top of the cans…

cut cans to make your own punch-a-song game board

…all of the cuts go down just to the first ridge. (the more cuts you make, the more rounded your opening will end up being. if i make one of these again, i’d make more cuts.)

directions to making a punch-a-song board

3. use that first ridge to help you fold the tabs out, like this:

punch-a-song board instructions

4. they’ll end up being somewhat curved…

can games for primary singing time

5. …so use  a hammer to flatten them out a bit. also use the hammer to flatten any edges the can opener may have left behind (these edges will get covered over later, too, but let’s be safe).

flatten cans to use in primary music time game

6. use the bottom of the cans to trace 5 (or however many openings you want to make) holes in some styrofoam board. (i got mine at the dollar store.) cut out the circles using an exacto knife. then use this as a template to draw the same circles in the exact same places on a second styrofoam board.

cut holes out of styrofoam board

7. if your exacto-knifing skills aren’t the greatest on styrofoam boards, just use a little masking tape to smooth it out, if you want. but it really doesn’t matter. no one will see it anyway.

smooth out edges of a hole with tape

8. to decorate the front (foam board #1) a little bit, use the cans to trace a circle (yellow), free-hand a smaller circle inside (teal) and then use a plate to trace a circle all the way around the outside. cut out the big circle. then cut out the smallest (teal) circle. then cut slits all the way around the inner circle, up to the line where you traced the bottom of the can (in between the teal and yellow circles).

how to decorate a punch-a-song board

9. flip the board over and use masking tape to secure all the little tabs you’ve just made in the paper. again, no one will see this so don’t worry how it looks!

secure paper on the board

10. next, get the second styrofoam board, and slide the cans through the holes. the back should look like this:

the back of a punch-a-song board

11. the front of the second styrofoam board, with the can inside, will look like the picture below. all of this stuff will be sandwiched between the two boards, so again, don’t worry how it looks! in this step, you’ll want to make sure and use HEAVY, SUPER THICK packing tape. we don’t want anyone to get knicked (that would be so sad!), so be SURE you tape heavily over every single square inch of these metal tabs. cut strips of the packing tabs and secure them inside the can, pulling the rest of it out and over top of the tabs. and them them down on the surface of the styrofoam board. tape in every direction. be sure to include the inside “corners” and also the edges of the tabs. i don’t know if you can tell by this picture, but this can is taped EVERYWHERE and i’ve run my fingers in, over top of, and around this thing to be sure there was absolutely nothing uncovered by the packing tape. i can’t stress enough that you just need to be so careful putting this part together!

securing cans to punch-a-song board

12. now it’s time to cut squares of waxed paper (or tissue paper) and tape them up over the openings in the cans. make sure you put the slips of paper with the songs written on them inside the can before you secure the waxed paper over top! tape them down pretty well – you want to make sure the waxed paper is taut.

how to make a punch-a-song board for primary

13. it should look like this when you’re done:

making a primary music time activity

14. the last step in making this is to secure the front board to the back board. i used some inexpensive nuts and bolts and literally poked a hole in the board with a pencil. nothing fancy.

securing a punch-a-song board

that’s it, you’re done! it might take a little bit of time to make, but you will get a lot of use out of it, so it is well worth the time and effort. once the waxed paper has been punched out, just unscrew the nuts and bolts, take off the torn waxed paper, replace with new paper, and do it all again!

primary singing time activities

have fun! try it out for yourself – punch-a-song!

singing time activity


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  1. Becky Olsen says:

    This is amazing! So well thought out and will last a long time! I love it!

  2. This is a great idea. I can also see making fabric bags to replace the cans. It would make this easier to store and transport. Pinning it for a future group.

  3. Amme Stephens says:

    I made this today! I would’ve NEVER been able to do this without your perfect step-by-step! I love your site! Thank you for helping those of us that aren’t creative! There are Sooo many fun things that you’ve done! I want to copy all of them! You’re amazing!

    • YAY!!! I’m so happy you made it! They are going to LOVE it! Seriously, I think it’s our Primary’s favorite game!
      P.S. Thank you so much for the compliments – you’re so nice! :)

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