Primary Prelude music to increase sacrament meeting reverence!

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Brilliant Primary president Lindsey writes about a recent ward council meeting: “The bishop asked how we could increase reverence in the chapel, and the discussion led us to this idea.”

Imagine Primary children singing songs they know well as prelude music for an occasional sacrament meeting. Just ask the families to arrive early (heroic, I know). Start with whomever you have, then as children arrive, they join the group singing on the stand.

You can be sure that folks will quiet their chatter to hear the children sing. They can’t help but feel the Spirit. In addition, the children will enjoy this opportunity to share their feelings about God through song, and it gives them additional practice to embed these gospel songs with powerful messages into their hearts.

For a related idea, see Stake Children’s choir made easy.

Sing on, children!

-Marci

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Getting acquainted with Pres. Nelson: May Sharing Time “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel”

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May’s Sharing Time theme gives us a great opportunity to get acquainted with our new prophet, Pres. Russell M. Nelson. The theme “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel” is a chance to teach children that no matter who the living prophet is, he speaks for the Lord and teaches the same gospel truths.

See “Meet Our New Prophet” in the March 2018 Friend magazine. You may want to play the matching game with statements and pictures about Pres. Nelson. Be sure to read Pres. Nelson’s three statements the day the announcement was made, encouraging kids and adults to live the gospel.

Week 3 Sharing Time theme is “Prophets teach me to pay tithing.” Consider this idea: Paying Tithing on Treats.

Week 4 is “Prophets teach me to live the Word of Wisdom.” Try this idea: Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea (our most popular post of all time!)

God bless our prophet.

-Marci

 

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Stake Children’s choir made easy

LDS Church News photo

Remember the children’s choir in General Conference? This photo is from the Saturday afternoon session of the 2004 General Conference. Primary children CAN rise to the occasion for YOUR stake conference! Nothing brings a sweeter spirit than children singing, and it gives them enormously valuable experience and confidence, strengthening their own testimonies as well.

See Children’s Choir, 60 strong for the how-to breakdown.

Download this letter to the parents, suitable for customizing for your stake: Children’s choir letter to parents and leaders

I love the words of the seldom-sung hymn, “In Our Lovely Deseret” (Hymns, 307):
Hark! Hark! Hark! ’tis children’s music—
Children’s voices, oh, how sweet,
When in innocence and love,
Like the angels up above,
They with happy hearts and cheerful faces meet. 
Sing on, sweet children.
-Marci

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Tracking baptismal clothing made easy

Thanks to guest Jen H. for this great idea! Jen H. is mom to 3 children, loves reading, organizing and good food.  She loves serving in Primary and sharing good ideas. 

The Primary presidency is part of the team managing baptismal clothing. It’s not a glamour job, keeping track of wet baptismal clothes. But it’s one of the important tasks behind the scenes, to make this sacred day go smoothly for each Primary child.  Here’s one way to do it.

Tape a brightly colored label to an ordinary gallon-sized ziploc bag with the following text.

(Click here for the ready-to-print label, 6 on a page: Baptismal clothing plastic bag label )

Baptismal Clothing Bag

After getting baptized, please wring out the jumpsuit in the sink and place it in this bag. Please give this bag to your Primary president before leaving the church. Please do not put any personal belongings in this bag. Please do not take this clothing home to wash.

It’s the little things that keep the kingdom running smoothly.

-Marci

For more great ideas from Jen H, see

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Holy Week: The Atonement and Resurrection–Palm Sunday and Easter lesson idea or family activity

When I was a missionary in Spain I experienced an amazing celebration called La Semana Santa, The Holy Week.  In Spain the entire week leading up to Easter is a celebration.  This was something I wanted to take with me when I returned to the United States.  I have always loved celebrating Easter, but experiencing La Semana Santa made me really think about the amazing events in Christ’s last week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.

In our family our tradition is to celebrate Jesus’ last week by reading and discussing the things he did in his last mortal days on earth, day by day in the same order that they happened.  We begin on Palm Sunday, often with a feast and our own little “procession” to the temple with palm leaves. (Now that we live in Hawaii it’s easy to get palm leaves for such an activity.  But even before we moved to Hawaii we would often just use a similar looking branch, fern or leaf.)  We like to take a few minutes at breakfast, or before bed each day to share the scripture stories with our children. We open the scriptures so they know where the story comes from, then we simplify the words a little to make it more developmentally appropriate for our toddlers and preschoolers.  The older kids follow along in their copy of the Bible. I have  simple drawings of some of these events that I like to show the kids while we are talking (See the Gospel Art Kit suggestions below if you are searching for pictures). These discussions have elicited wonderful questions from our children. I feel more in tune and aware of the meaning of Easter because we are thinking about it and discussing it all week!

This is a wonderful family activity, but it could also be an idea for Sharing Time or an individual class lesson. In Sharing Time, the Sunday before Easter–Palm Sunday, you could introduce the idea and share the scripture story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then give parents this handout as a reference for more scripture study during the rest of the week.  Consider bringing in some palm leaves or other similar tree branches so each of the children can reenact what it might have been like to wave a palm while Jesus entered Jerusalem.  I often wonder how I might have felt.

Then, on Easter Sunday you could share the scriptures about Christ’s resurrection and discuss how the children felt learning about Jesus’ last week–the Holy Week.

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life-Easter PDF

Gospel Art Kit (GAK) pictures online

~Michelle

Triumphal Entry GAK 223

Jesus Cleansing Temple GAK 224

The Last Supper GAK 225

Jesus Washing Apostles Feet GAK 226

Gethsemane GAK 227

Judas Betrays Jesus GAK 228

Crucifixion GAK 230

Burial of Jesus GAK 231

The Tomb GAK 232

The Empty Tomb GAK 245

Jesus Appears to Mary GAK 233

Jesus Shows His Wounds GAK 234

 

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April – Apostasy paper cup tower activity

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Download a ready-to-use lesson plan: Apostasy lesson outline

The April 2018 theme for week 1 is: “After Jesus Christ and His Apostles died, gospel truths were lost.”

I learned about the apostasy when Elder Mantle and Elder What’s-His-Name taught me the gospel as a 16-year-old. They used a memorable activity to teach about the apostasy that sticks with me today, decades later.

They pulled a stack of nested cups out of their backpack, each labeled with a gospel principle that was lost or changed during the apostasy such as baptism, priesthood, temples, the sacrament, living prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ. First they put down the cup labeled Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, then living prophets and apostles. Then they built the rest of the cups into a tower representing the church that Jesus himself founded when He was alive.

“Then Jesus Christ died, and the apostles were killed,” they explained, removing those cups. The rest of the paper cup tower tumbled. “In those days, the apostles couldn’t come together often enough to name new apostles as fast as the apostles were killed by the wicked people trying to stop the church. The apostles met together to replace the apostle Judas who betrayed Jesus, choosing Matthias to take Judas’ place (See Acts 1:15-26). But after that, the apostles died off and weren’t replaced, and precious truths were lost.

“But the good news is that all those truths are restored in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The apostasy can’t happen again, because each time an apostle passes away, he is replaced with a new apostle at the next General Conference.”

I’m grateful for those missionaries who taught me these vital life-changing truths years ago. You can be the bearer of this wonderful news to the hearts of the children.

As you teach the restoration of the priesthood, consider teaching the restoration of the Relief Society! Here’s a ready-to-use lesson plan and visual aids: Sharing Time Lesson – Restoration of Priesthood AND Relief Society

-Marci

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Swapping roles – children as teachers!

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“When children explain in their own words the gospel doctrines they have just been taught, real learning takes place,” said Sisters Wixom, Stevens and Esplin, former Primary General Presidency (Church News, July 15, 2012, 15). Russell Wilcox adds, “I realized that I had learned many wonderful principles in Primary, but it was when I was required to teach those principles to others that I fully internalized them” (Ensign, Oct 2013, 48).

How can we create opportunities for children to teach, so they truly master gospel principles that will help them grow?

  • Save the last five minutes of the lesson for review and summary. Ask the children, “What is one thing you heard today that you didn’t know when you came to Primary today?” or “What are you going to do this week because of what you heard today?”
  • At the end of the lesson, ask the children to think of a Primary song that teaches the principle illustrated in the lesson, then hum that song together as you leave.
  • Invite a class of older children to visit a younger class or the nursery and teach a scripture story. Children can bear testimony of what it means for children today.
  • Challenge the children to teach a brother, sister, or grandparent (on the phone?) something they learned, or make it part of the dinner conversation.

When the Lord visited the Nephites, “he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude . . . and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things. . . ” (3 Nephi 26:14). We have much to learn from the children.

-Marci

 

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Primary Singing Olympics!

Here’s an easy idea to get the kids motivated to sing their very best! Here are our very official judges for the “Singing Olympics” during singing time. We split into 3 teams. Each team performed the song we’ve been learning all month (one team at a time), and we awarded a gold, silver, and bronze medal at the end.

All you need are a clipboard, pen and paper for each judge, and paper medals for each team or each child. Have fun with it!

-Michelle

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March Sharing Time: Jesus as Savior – Easter and more

The concept of Jesus as Savior can be a relief to children who expect to be punished for their mistakes. It may be that kids’ choices will have consequences that might be uncomfortable (and sadly memorable!). But they are never too young to learn that they have a Savior.

I’ll never forget the feeling of introducing another adult to the concept of Jesus as Savior. She grew up in a non-Christian church, and the concept that Someone would pay for her sins if she repented was a relief of eternal proportions. She thought she’d have to suffer for her own sins, and she had suffered plenty already. The Atonement is a magnificent gift from our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Children too can appreciate this gift. As you ponder the needs of the children, you may be inspired to focus more this month on Easter, the Resurrection, or the gift of the Atonement. Here are some ideas:

Happy Easter!

-Marci

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Rainy Day prop for choosing songs or choosing turns

Guest contributor Sister D. strikes again! (See her previous clever “Hello Song” post here.)

Looking for a fun way to choose songs or for kids to choose turns? Open up an umbrella, hang strings from the metal ribs, and hang paper raindrops from the strings! Label the raindrops with names of songs for review, or numbers that correspond to a list of songs to sing or scriptures to read. (Hint: putting numbers on the raindrops makes them reusable for different purposes.)

Let it pour!

And if it’s more like snow season than rain season, try this “Year Round Snowball Fight!”

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