Video: Royal Singer–a memorable activity for Singing time!

When I teach Singing Time in Primary one of my favorite activities is what I call “Royal Singer”.  All it takes is a simple robe or cape, a crown and some eager children and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable day in Primary!  In the video below I demonstrate how “Royal Singer” works with a child volunteer (and we sing I Love to See the Temple  together while I do some simple sign language).

Watch on YouTube: “Royal Singer”–Activity for Primary Music Time

For more great ideas, see “Making Music Time Fun and Interactive.”


Find this story and other great ideas in the book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.” Read more here.


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by | August 31, 2015 · 9:07 am

Prayer and Scripture Study: “I Obey Jesus Christ Because I Love Him”

The September 2015 Sharing Time manual lists this theme: “I Obey Jesus Christ Because I Love Him.” Weeks 3 and 4 deal with prayer and scripture study. These two gospel habits go together beautifully. “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures . . . His words.” (Elder Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov. 2006, 26-27)

Buchanan family - scripture study

PRAYER: Instead of four steps, consider the FIVE steps of prayer. Read more here, with a downloadable handout to use in your Sharing Time lesson.

SCRIPTURE STUDY is an ideal way to address boredom as well as give the children the gift of an early start to this lifelong gospel habit. Read “Scriptures in Primary: Raising the Bar and Addressing the Boredom Challenge.”

Building these habits in children’s early years will pay rich benefits throughout their lives, as they become more Christlike by talking to God (prayer) and listening to Him (scripture study).



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Support and Unity: Primary Appreciation Dessert Night

Guest author Jen H. returns!

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

I don’t think that a Primary presidency can ever say ‘Thank You’ enough to those who serve with us in Primary. This feels especially true with those who serve every week in the quietest ways– the pianist, nursery workers, in Cub Scouts and Activity Days. They work with our Primary children but can often feel disconnected from the Primary organization.

One Sunday evening, we held a Primary Appreciation Dessert Night for our entire Primary board & their families. This meant that everyone who worked with the children in our ward was invited– our bishopric counselor over Primary, Primary teachers, chorister & pianist, nursery workers, nursery chorister, Activity Day leaders, Cubs Scout leaders, 11-year-old Scout leaders — and their families (about 100 people!).

We wanted to keep it intimate (for those who don’t often get a chance to socialize with others on Sunday) and simple (because this was a big group). We chose a local park with a playground and picnic tables for our activity. This worked out perfectly! The children were able to play and have a great time together and the adults got to eat and chat. We served brownies and shortcake that we could top with strawberries and whipped cream, with water to drink. We gave balloons to children as families left.

Everyone who attended our Appreciation Night left feeling a part of the Primary and knew how much we appreciated all of their service. They appreciated that we planned an activity that included their families and didn’t ask them to do anything. We plan to make this a yearly activity.

-Jen H.

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Primary Motto: Instilling “Faith in God” message each week

Painting by Del Parson, text from Faith in God booklet inside front cover

Text from “Faith in God” booklet, inside front cover. Painting by Del Parson.

Guest author Cathy is a ward Primary president who is employed in her dream job as stay-at-home mom.  She has enjoyed serving in Primary in Australia and the Philippines as her family has moved around the world with her husband’s job. She writes:

As a recently called Primary president, I was talking with a friend who had many years experience in the calling. I was looking for wisdom about how to make a difference in the lives of the young children of God that I was called to love and teach.  She shared with me something that she had done that she felt was very successful.  She had been reading through the Faith in God pamphlet and noticed the short motto inside the front cover:

I am a child of God.
I know Heavenly Father loves me, and I love Him.
I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere.
I am trying to remember and follow Jesus Christ.

She said to me, “If that is all those Primary kids learned from coming to Primary, that would be enough.”  And so they started reciting this theme each week during their opening exercises.

That really struck me.  Four simple sentences – but such important principles that can impact our every decision and shape our entire life.  Just as each week the Young Women around the world “stand for truth and righteousness” and together recite the Young Women’s theme, I knew I wanted to make this motto part of our weekly Primary routine.  Even as an adult, well out of my young woman years, I can still recite that theme and list off those values. I know even more clearly now the way that foundation influenced me, knowing that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me and I love Him.  I wanted to give a similar foundation to my Primary children, even at the young age of three!

I requested the help of my talented friend Rachel to come up with something visual that we could hold each week for the children to read and memorize this Primary theme.  Along with the words, she incorporated a sweet painting by Del Parson of our loving Savior surrounded by children (see above).  We now have the 11×17 sized theme printed and framed to remain in our Primary.  The children are excited about it and I hope that the Spirit touches their hearts as we say these words together each week.


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Filed under Opening Exercises, Sharing Time

I Know My Savior Lives–2015 Primary Program Invitations

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: this year’s Primary Sacrament Meeting Program invitation.  In years past this has been a popular resource for so many of our readers.  This year we got wiser and started seeking out some good ideas early.  Thanks go to our guest contributor Laura H. who willingly designed and created this fantastic invitation early enough for us to share it with you.

Front of Invitation, page 1

Front of Invitation, page 1

Customize the second page of the invitation by downloading the Word document below and editing the details for your ward’s date, time, and place.

Primary Program Invitation 2015 Final, Page 2 JPEG

Invitation back, page 2

Download and customize this invitation: Primary Program Invitation Word Doc

Once you print both pages simply make double sided copies, cut and distribute to friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and family members.

Here’s some more good ideas for making the most of your Primary Program: Children inviting neighbors, coaches and schoolteachers to Primary Sacrament Meeting Program and Inviting Audience Comments–Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation

~Michelle, with guest contributor Laura H.

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Filed under Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration, Reaching the One, Sacrament Meeting Presentation

Video: 10 Quick Ways to Review Classroom Rules in Primary

Two of our most popular posts are Classroom management: a few easy rules in kid language and Mastering Classroom Rules: Repetition without Boredom.  We’re delighted that teachers and leaders worldwide are finding these ideas useful in channeling kids’ behavior, so that the Spirit can be present.  In these posts I suggest five simple rules that can be used in the classroom as well as Sharing Time and Singing Time.

In the video below I act out ten fun ways to review the classroom rules, with Michelle as “director.” Remember that reviewing the rules is not the lesson itself; it should be very brief at the start of each class so you can get into the lesson.

Watch on YouTube: 10 Ways to Review Classroom Rules in Primary

It’s amazing what 5 basic classroom rules can cover!  Take just a quick 30 seconds each week before you begin teaching your Primary class to review the rules so they are fresh in everyone’s mind.  Repetition without boredom!


SundayLessons_Front_RGBThis idea appears in “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids,” with downloadable posters here.


by | July 27, 2015 · 9:09 am

Faith and Miracles: A child’s prayer can save a (duck’s) life

The August Sharing Time theme is all about miracles. Miracles are not limited to Jesus’ time on earth, but they’re happening today, all around us. Sometimes small miracles can be overlooked and unappreciated if we aren’t paying attention.  Here’s a true story of a miracle we experienced in our family. You may want to read or tell this story to the children, to supplement the good ideas in the Sharing Time Outline.

Recently my husband and 6-year-old daughter were on a bird-watching date. They had snuck away one Sunday afternoon for a little bonding time in nature. Not long into their trip I received a distraught phone call from my husband: they had stumbled upon a Mommy Mallard who had been hit and killed by a car near the edge of a marsh. Nearby were 6 very small, very fluffy, very orphaned ducklings, chirping in distress.  I immediately got to work trying to find some information out online; what should they do with them?  Bring them home?  Leave them alone?  I quickly learned that baby ducks are at great risk at that young age and aren’t able to survive on their own.  So, my next step was to find out where we could take the ducklings for care — if they were able to collect them.

Meanwhile, my daddy-daughter-duo was trying to gently corral and collect the little balls of fluff-on-legs, who did their best to hide from what they no doubt assumed to be gigantic human predators.  After more than 30 minutes and some serious effort, they had only been able to collect 5 of the 6 ducklings, who were chirping frantically in a box.  They knew there were 6 since they had seen them all briefly when they first arrived on the scene of the accident.  But try as they might, they could not spot that sixth bird.  These ducklings were well-trained, nestling deep into the reeds and long grasses of the marsh and sitting completely still and quiet.  Daughter was resolved to find that last baby bird and told Daddy they were not leaving without it!  But duckling number six had scurried off and gone completely silent, and they thought they had looked everywhere.  Finally, Daddy decided to go across the way and look in a new area while Daughter kept watch over the 5 ducklings in the box.  After searching fruitlessly Daddy returned unsuccessful.  Daughter told him, “I said a prayer for you so you can find that duckling.  I know you will find it!”  Seconds later she thought she heard a chirp nearby.  Daddy thought it was just the birds they had already collected.  Daughter was adamant that she heard another chirp and pointed into the reeds.  Daddy followed her directions, spotted the last baby duck, and collected it up gently and reunited it with the others.  Daddy was thrilled that Daughter encouraged him not to give up and thought to say a prayer for extra guidance.

Make Way for Ducklings!

The power of a child’s prayer is limitless.  Daughter had complete faith that her prayer would be answered and that Daddy would find that last baby duck.  Because of her faith they were blessed to see a miracle that day. That prayer and the faith of one little girl saved all of those ducklings. After bringing them home we found a Wildlife Center an hour away that could take them immediately.  Finding a place that was open on a Sunday evening, after a half a dozen dead ends, was also a miracle.   We drove the ducklings to their new home where they will be raised with other ducklings until they are ready to transition back into the wild.  Our whole family was brought closer together by witnessing this miracle and in serving others…even if they were ducks!

“And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also.  Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.” Alma 32:23

Also see this related post: Children Receiving Revelation–How can we prepare them?

What miracles have you seen in your life recently?



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Filed under Life Lessons, Parent Involvement, Reaching the One, Scriptures

A child’s safe space to choose the right

Our guest author today is Emma Lu, a wife, mother of seven, and grandmother. She is an author and lecturer, and she enjoys writing histories and life events.

This story took place, you might say yesteryear, when it was safe to leave a child alone, but not so in today’s world; to protect a child from harm is a parents/guardians greatest responsibility.  I invite you to read and ponder the message of a wise parent letting their child learn self-discipline by consequences.  It is my wish, as you read, that you will consider the question: Does a child learn best by being forced to choose the right, or whether to provide the space for children to (safely) learn from their mistakes.

I remember well the day I made a choice to attend church; I was six years old.  It was a lazy Sabbath day with the summer sun beginning to ride the horizon.  The scene opens on my neighbor’s front porch.  I recall playing with friends and having a great time.  I was straddled across the porch railing pretending, along with my friends, to be cowpokes riding gallant horses in the the untamed west.

While being in never-never land, I heard my mother’s engaging voice call out, “It’s time to come home and get ready for sacrament meeting.” My thought was, “I’ll come later.” Soon her voice called again and I pretended not to hear her.  The next voice was my father’s.  With a deep commanding tone he confirmed, “Your mother has called you home; it is time for church.”  Not wanting to obey, I called back in a defiant voice, “Do I have to go to church?”  There was an uncomfortable time lapse as I waited for his response.  “No, you don’t ever have to go to church.”  With his final statement he departed into the house.

As he left, my friends laughed, but I felt confused and crushed.  I really didn’t want to be a “brat” in the eyes of my parents.  However, I put on a good show of cheerfulness for my friends.  I continued to ride my imaginary stallion and galloped across the dry prairie like a fearless rider.  Soon my noble steed slowed to a trot, and then to a slow pace, coming to a stop.  I slid off the porch railing and wandered home as if I were a forgotten child in the dungeon of doom.  My parents were going on without me!

I returned home to empty rooms and felt completely dejected. That’s when I made my own personal choice to be a church attender because my parents let me experience the emotional consequences of my poor choice. That was the key…natural consequences accompanied with a kind, calm, firm manner.  Once again as stated, it is not wise to leave a child alone where harm could come, but the method of natural consequences is a wonderful example to follow.

As parents/guardians we can wisely choose to help a child safely learn self-discipline through the principle of natural consequences. It takes courage, prayer, genuine love, and guidance from the Holy Spirit.  It is not easy, but as parents/guardians we must remember the wise counsel from the book of Proverbs: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

-Emma Lu

A version of this story originally appeared on as “Why Does God Want Me to Go To Church?” 

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Filed under Discipline, Life Lessons, Parent Involvement, Reaching the One

Celebrate August birthdays: Primary AND President Monson!

Ok, you call it a coincidence. I call it a sign.

Painting of the first LDS Primary,



In 2014 Laura S. published “5th Sunday in August: Celebrate Birthdays of Primary and President Monson.” She mentioned that the first Primary was held on August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at President Monson was born on August 21, 1927.

Happy birthday, President Monson!

Happy birthday, President Monson!

I thought it was amazing that 2014 had five Sundays, to accommodate this extra lesson idea. But 2015 ALSO has five Sundays.

So if you saw the idea go by in 2014 and said “That sounds like fun,” but didn’t get your head above water to make it happen, maybe 2015 is the year to do it! See lesson plans and service ideas here.

Happy birthday, President Monson!    Happy birthday, Primary!


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Planning for Safety: a fire drill in Primary

MARCI: In our church service, I know we’re helping save spiritual lives. This time we might be helping save a physical life. I’ve never heard any discussions about building safety in meetinghouses. A recent alarm (false alarm, thankfully) left teachers and parents baffled — do they stay with the children in their classes? go find their own children? Michelle and Tina were also in similar false alarm situations and we decided to tackle it together.

MICHELLE: I was sitting in Relief Society one Sunday when I experienced my first fire alarm in the church.  The lesson had just begun, I was juggling my twin babies and trying to pay attention when suddenly a loud repetitive noise began.  It was so unexpected and foreign it took me a minute to register that it was a fire alarm!

No one took it seriously.  In fact, a discussion amongst the sisters ensued about whether or not we should bother evacuating or just continue with the lesson.  Finally, one sister holding a young baby said, “I’m evacuating.”  I looked into the hall and noticed a rush of people. I decided to evacuate as well.  For the first time, the thought crossed my mind that this might be a real fire alarm and I realized I had no idea what that meant for my children in Primary!

We all filed out into the congested hall. The crowd moved at a snail’s pace toward the front main entrance.  On the way I picked up my two Primary-aged kids who were standing near their classrooms with teachers who looked as perplexed as I felt.  I slowly attempted to navigate the crowds with my double stroller, twin babies, and two bigger kiddos while everyone stood around looking confused.  It wasn’t until later that I realized how ridiculous I had been.  In fact, I think I passed at least 4 exits while I was slowly plugging along toward the front door of the church building — the exit we usually use.

Not long ago one of the stake centers in the neighboring town actually burned down on a Sunday during Stake Conference!  I’m guessing that when those fire alarms first sounded, that congregation also wondered if they should bother evacuating.  I thought: Does my ward Primary have a safety plan?  Do the teachers know the nearest exit to their classroom and where to gather outside the building?  As a Primary parent I certainly didn’t know what the plan was (if there was one) so “notifying parents” definitely needed to be on that safety plan so that I didn’t panic and go rushing around trying to collect my children from various classrooms instead of just meeting them outside safely.

TINA: Though we’re still working out the details, here is the tentative safety plan in our ward.


  1. In the case of a suspected emergency, someone–anyone–needs to pull the fire alarm so everyone knows to get out! Don’t wait to investigate the cause.
  2. Stay calm, but take the fire alarm seriously. Even if you think it might be a false alarm, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY and evacuate the building.
  3. The evacuation plan should be posted in EVERY classroom and it needs to be part of the training of each new teacher.
  4. The evacuation plan should be reviewed at least once a year in ward council, with instructions that each auxiliary or quorum should review with their leaders and teachers. The evacuation plan should include identifying several individuals to be trained in how to silence (NOT reset) the fire alarm, and designated individuals to sweep the building (if safe to do so) to ensure it is empty.


  1. Adults and youth: Get out of the building using the nearest exit (signs should be posted in each room so people know where the nearest exit is).
  2. Children: Stay with your teacher and get out of the building.  Teachers are responsible for each child in their class until they personally hand the child off to a parent.
  3. EVERYONE walks quickly to the gathering place.
  4. Parents will gather their children one by one at the outside gathering place.  Then the head count will be taken by family, not by class.
  1. Head counts will be done by Priesthood quorum.  Families with no priesthood holder will still be accounted for based on which quorum home teaches them.
  2. Once a family has been accounted for, they should leave the parking lot (drive or walk away).  With fewer people standing around, it’s easier to see what still needs to be done and which kids still need to find parents.
 MARCI: I’d rather be safe (in a hundred false alarms) than sorry (in one I didn’t take seriously). I hope you’ll take this information to your wards and discuss a plan that will work in your building. A ward-level plan may inspire families to come up with similar evacuation plans at home. (See here for ideas from the Family Home Evening Resource Book.) Let’s work together to make sure our children are spiritually safe AND physically safe.

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Filed under Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration