Follow the Prophet Tic Tac Toe – sharing time idea

The March 2015 theme has to do with prophets. Here is an idea for involving the children in learning the prophet’s teachings and how to follow them.

Prophet tic-tac-toe board

Follow the Prophet Tic Tac Toe lesson plan

You can also adapt the Tic Tac Toe game board for any lesson you’d like to teach, inserting other clip art.

While the children are learning to “Follow the Prophet,” it’s great to encourage them to find out exactly what that means, and
for them to commit to DO IT.  

“He knows the way!”



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Activity Day Gatherings with Families!



Guest author Heidi is a mother, former ward Primary president and current stake Primary president. Heidi shares this fun idea:

My daughter is quickly approaching her 8th birthday with anticipation that is only matched by a wedding, graduation or other major life celebration!  She’s planning her special baptism dress, shoes, bow for her hair, and invitation list for her special baptism.  She is equally thrilled that she’ll be able to attend Activity Days twice a month, as she has seen these girls at the church when we are there for her older brother’s mid-week church activities! The Activity Day program for the young girls in the church is a wonderful way for them to learn and grow, develop talents and friendships that will span the decade until they leave home for college and missions.
A few years ago our ward started a great tradition of holding two annual activities for the girls and their families. These activities have been a huge success and are completely in line with the program as outlined in the Faith in God for Girls booklet under “Orientation and Recognition,” bullet #2 on page 19.  They have allowed the girls to showcase their talents, accomplishments and have fostered wonderful friendships and camaraderie between the families.
The first event is an annual Talent Show. It has been held on a Saturday morning, but could easily be held on a mid-week night. Decorations and refreshments were simple but fun. The girls and families were so excited and love every moment of the show. Girls this age LOVE the spotlight and are so supportive of each other -and a Talent Show is a wonderful way to grow these desires.
The second annual event the Activity Day program conducted was a Family Hike and Picnic on a Saturday in spring to a wonderful nearby recreational site. Families enjoyed the hike together then brought their own meals for a picnic at the park nearby. These two events have become traditions and the girls absolutely look forward to them each year. They are both low-budget events with high-value results! Even more importantly, these activities strengthen these wonderful daughters of God, their families and their testimonies of the gospel and their Savior.

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Primary in Zion becomes a book! “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids”

SundayLessons_Front_RGBIt started with you, our readers. We began this blog and watched in astonishment as it spread all over the world. We dreamed of turning the best posts and other ideas into a book you can take with you to read on the beach or on your couch, to savor the stories and refer to the ideas and helps again and again. We took your favorite Primary in Zion blog posts, invited new voices from other authors, and put them together in a volume called “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids”.  It is now available on,, or wherever LDS books are sold.

Here’s what it’s about: Children. If you’ve ever wished you could send the entire church class into timeout, then basked in the radiance of a child’s face when the Spirit speaks to her spirit, this book is for you. In these pages are memorable stories of the exuberant joy as well as the real-world challenges of working with children. You’ll also find ready-to-use ideas for channeling boundless energy, teaching about ideal families to children who live in other-than-ideal families, staffing challenges, bullying, children’s music for a lifetime, kids with special needs, building a celestial nursery, pint-sized service projects, and behavior management. And you’ll find some of the best children’s lesson enhancements and activities of all time.

Click here for downloadable files of the figures and handouts in the book.

Here’s what they’re saying about this new book:

“Why didn’t I think of that?!” you ask yourself, then gratefully acknowledge: “Thank goodness Marci McPhee did!” With sensitivity to the needs of all children, and love beyond measure for these precious little ones, McPhee lights the way to joyfully leading our children “home.” —Lori Henderson, co-creator of 


Learning of my son’s disability and being called to teach Primary were both scary events in their own right. I wasn’t sure how to react to either situation. I wish I had found Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids sooner! This book speaks to both men and women about how to fulfill this special calling. —Marc Buchanan, father and Primary worker 


Drawing first-hand examples from thoughtful Latter-day Saints, Marci McPhee has put together a guide that is an engaging, provocative, reassuring, and, importantly, faithful resource for teachers and parents. —Ron Scott, journalist, novelist, and author of “Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics” 


This is the most honest, heart-warming collection I have read about teaching children. The tips are practical, real-life, and easily adaptable. This book reminds us of the transforming power of viewing children as the Savior did. It will give new vision to leaders, teachers, and parents. —Gladys Farmer, author, mother, and grandmother with many years of Primary experience

Contributing authors:

Julia B. Blake

Jon Forsyth

Lori Forsyth

Char Lyn Grujoski

Kristine Haglund

Danielle Harrell

Roz Hawk

Michelle Henderson

Jackie Herrera

Tina Huntsman

Jenn Iverson

Whitney Johnson

Caroline Jones

Linda Hoffman Kimball

Rebecca Lewis

Brigitte Madrian

David Madrian

Emily Mangum

Marci McPhee

James McQuivey

Megan McQuivey

Michelle Purrington

Helen Claire Sievers

Laura Stowell

Martha Wingate

With special thanks to anonymous contributors.


A portion of the proceeds will support immigrant mothers and their children at Waltham Family School in Massachusetts.

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Filed under Activity, Bullying, Discipline, Lesson, Life Lessons, Music, Nursery, Opening Exercises, Overheard in Primary, Parent Involvement, Reaching the One, Sacrament Meeting Presentation, Scouts, Scriptures, Sharing Time, Special Needs, Teacher Support, Transitions

Handouts and posters for “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids”

SundayLessons_Front_RGBYour favorite Primary in Zion blog posts, plus new voices from other authors, in a volume you can take with you! “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids” is now available on,, or wherever LDS books are sold.

Here are downloadable files of the handouts and posters in the book, suitable for printing or customizing.

Figure 1: Articles of Faith in Pictures - page 22 in the book

Figure 2: Five Steps of Personal Prayer - page 26 in the book

Figure 3: Temple Necklace - page 38 in the book

Figure 4: Father’s Day Handout - page 66 in the book

Figure 5: Class Rules - page 81 in the book. This is the class rules chart as a single document. You can print this out on 8 1/2 x 11 as a handout or send it to a copy shop to  print poster size.

Or if you prefer, here is the chart as 6 different documents. Print these out and tape them together for a large poster.

Figure 6: Ten Ways to Review Class Rules - page 82 in the book. This document plus the one-page class rules poster above makes a terrific doublesided handout for teachers.

Figure 7: Children Giving Talks: A Blueprint for Secretaries and Families- page 95 in the book

Figure 8: Primary Sacrament Meeting invitation side 1 aqua - page 102 in the book 

Figure 9: Primary Sacrament Meeting Invitation, side 2 - page 103 in the book

Illustrations by Emiliano Leon of

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Filed under Activity, Lesson, Life Lessons, Opening Exercises, Parent Involvement, Scriptures, Sharing Time, Teacher Support

A Primary Showcase during Linger Longer

Many wards have after-church social gatherings with refreshments, sometimes called a “Linger Longer.” Generally the ward activities committee takes charge of potluck signups. People munch and mingle, enjoy each other’s company and get to know one another better.

What if Primary provided spiritual nourishment as well? Can you imagine the cultural hall with tables set up on which children display their thoughts on the yearly theme (for 2015, it’s “I Know My Savior Lives“). Perhaps children would like to bear their testimonies by drawing a picture, or writing a short story, or making a clay sculpture or other artwork to express their feelings about what it means to have a Savior, to know He lives, and to get acquainted with Jesus. Children might make their creations during Sharing Time or class time. Activity Day girls and Scouts might do more substantial projects during their midweek gatherings.



Such a display might be a good springtime activity, to balance the busy fall with its Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentations and children’s involvement in Christmas programs.

“And a little child shall lead them.” — Isaiah 21:6


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The Infinite Potential of a Child: A Visit to The Birthplace

Recently we took a family trip to visit Sharon, Vermont to see some church history sites and introduce them to our children.  My 5-year-old was particularly excited.  I asked her, “Would you like to go see where Joseph Smith was born? You can stand right in the very spot!”And she excitedly responded, “Yes!  And I might get the Holy Ghost!”

20141025_162220As we stood there and I read this plaque aloud we were indeed filled with the Holy Ghost testifying to us, letting us know this was a special place.  There was no need to ask if they could feel it, the look on their faces made it known. “Around this hearthstone…and fireplace, two days before Christmas 1805, the Smith family washed, dressed, and cuddled the future organizer of God’s kingdom restored.”

Cuddled.  That word was very powerful to me as I read it.  A man, once a baby like the rest of us, was called by God to restore the true Church of Jesus Christ.  Having babies (twins!) in our own home at the moment and knowing how sweet, tender, and special they are made it easy to imagine our Prophet Joseph Smith as a baby with a great future work to do.  It was also a good reminder of the divinity, greatness and potential in each of the small children our Heavenly Father has entrusted to our care.



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Scripture Power! Where to find that memorable song?

Memphis, age 9, at

Memphis, age 9, at

Download the sheet music for the popular children’s song “Scripture Power” here.  Read just the words here, suitable for a handout or Primary newsletter.

This catchy song first appeared in the October 1987 Friend magazine. It only takes a listen or two for that chorus to be stuck in a child’s head forever!

Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.

Scripture power is the power to win.

Scripture power! Every day I need

The power that I get each time I read.

 For other ideas of how to use the scriptures themselves in Singing Time, visit “Instant Lesson.” You can read a related scriptures at the bottom right corner of the page of the Children’s Songbook or Hymns as you sing the music.
Scriptures and music – a powerful combination to invite children to come to Christ.


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Activity Days: Birding! Recording Studio! Research Lab! College Tour!

This was the summer of birding for our family.  My husband rekindled his love for birding and the rest of us joined in.  We already love hiking, picnicking and just generally being in nature.  Birding added a new layer of awareness for what was going on around us.  Instead of just hiking we were simultaneously listening for bird calls, trying to identify that flash of yellow that flew by,  and tracking down the tap-tap-tapping of an unknown woodpecker.

Shore birds!

Shore birds!

One Saturday we convinced some of our good friends to join us on a birding adventure. They enjoyed it as much as we did! Our friend asked, “Would you be willing to take a group of girls and leaders on a birding tour for Activity Days?  I’m the new Activity Days leader.”  My husband was thrilled someone took interest. They talked about the best time to do this guided tour and how to collect a bunch of binoculars for the group.

This conversation made me realize how fun and valuable it would be to tap into ward members’ or neighbors’ hobbies or professions in order to plan some interesting, varied Activity Days experiences.  Do you have a birding enthusiast in your ward?  Is your neighbor a master gardener?  Is your home teacher a researcher in a lab that you could visit?  Does a ward member have access to a recording studio that you could tour?  Does your friend work on a college campus? Any professional musicians or actors you know?  Perhaps a simple survey sent around to ward members would dig up a bunch of potential opportunities that you wouldn’t know of otherwise.

When children help to plan such an outing, it may qualify for one of the activities under “Serving Others” or “Developing Talents” in the Faith in God booklet.


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Filed under Activity, Life Lessons, Parent Involvement

2015 Primary Scripture and Song Memorization Chart

One of our favorite guest authors, Jen, has done it again and created a chart for the scriptures and songs that the children are learning during Primary this year.Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.18.20 PM

Jen writes:

These memorization charts can be copied onto card stock and passed out to each child in Primary, along with small round stickers to help them mark their progress by covering over the symbol for each item as they memorize it.  Along with the chart, we’ll include a CD of the songs we’ll be learning this year, including the new song.  Our CD will also include the songs for the Articles of Faith.

We have added our own choices of songs to the charts. If you want to use it but would like to use different songs than the ones that our ward chose as optional songs, feel free to leave a comment with a request and I will personalize it and send it to you.

These charts can also be used for the basis of a daily family devotional with kids of all ages. You can read more about this idea here .

Download the 2015 scripture and song chart here.


Filed under Music, Opening Exercises, Parent Involvement, Scriptures, Sharing Time

Sharing Time: We Believe In God the Eternal Father

The new year is just around the corner, so lets plunge into the 2015 Sharing Time theme of “I Know My Savior Lives.”

Image from

Here are a few more activity ideas for January Sharing Time that focus on our belief in God, the Eternal Father. You may want to use these ideas to supplement the excellent Sharing Time suggestions in the outline if you find you need more activities to fill the time with meaningful learning.

Goal: Help children understand that God is the Father of our spirits and loves us.


Preparation: Prior to Sunday, invite a mother, father, and baby to attend Sharing Time. Ask them to talk about how they prepared for this baby to come (buying diapers, setting up a crib, etc.), how they felt waiting for the baby to come and how they felt when the baby was born.

On Sunday have the family come and talk about their experience with their new baby. Ask the Primary children if they have had a baby come to their family, how they prepared for it and how they felt when it came.  Explain that Heavenly Father feels the same way about us because he is the Father of our spirits. He prepared a world for us and created our spirits.

Read Moses 2:26.  Just like our parents here on earth, Heavenly Father is excited about everything we learn and accomplish. When we are sad or hurt he wants to make us feel better because He loves us.


Preparation: Cut 5 paper doll silhouettes out of colored paper.

Sing: I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me, Children’s Songbook, 228

Pass out the paper dolls throughout the room. When the music starts have the children start passing the paper dolls while they sing the first verse of the song. When the song ends, whoever is holding a paper doll gets to share one way that they know Heavenly Father loves them. Repeat with the second verse.

Download these activities here.


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Filed under Activity, Music, Sharing Time