June Sharing Time: Repentance for kids

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Even kids can learn the joy of repentance (and many parents and leaders sure wish they would!). Week 4 Sharing Time theme is “When I repent, I can be forgiven,” part of the June theme “I will follow Heavenly Father’s plan by being baptized and confirmed.”

Leaders can take this foundational gospel principle of repentance and put it in kids’ terms, teaching them that repentance is a positive, joyful principle of change and turning to the Lord. See these ideas:

For other ideas for June Sharing Time, see “All Are Alike Unto God” – a timely Sharing Time or family night lesson at the 40th anniversary of 40th anniversary of OD 2.

 

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Singing Time Improv!

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Today’s guest author is Brenna, a mother of 3 and a piano teacher who loves  reading, hiking, and volleyball.  She writes: 

Our Primary chorister had a family emergency and wasn’t able to come on Sunday. Luckily, we have an amazing chorister Craig that was released about a year ago, but he was more than happy to fill in last minute. He always has fun ideas.

He taught the kids “Thanks to Our Father” (CS p. 20). It’s a short, two-line song with three simple verses. After the kids got the melody, then he asked four kids to come up front and tell him something that they are thankful for, and to be specific! He then had the whole Primary sing those words to the melody (and if possible, Craig would make them rhyme). For example: “Super Lego Racetrack”, “family that I love”, “pepperoni pizza”, “Jesus up above!”

Three kids said “family” and didn’t give any specifics, so that verse went: “Fa-a-a-a-a-mi-ly, Fa-a-a-a-a-mi-ly, Donuts on Saturday, Fa-a-a-a-a-mi-ly!”

The kids loved it and it was perfect for a last-minute singing time!

Over the summer, Craig did a similar game with the song “Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?” (CS p. 245). He taught them the first verse and then had a few kids come up to tell one thing they did in the summer. He tried to get them to rhyme and then we would sing them to the melody. It was a lot of fun.

These ideas work for last-minute fill-ins or when you have time to plan ahead!

-Brenna

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“All Are Alike Unto God” – a timely Sharing Time or family night lesson at the 40th anniversary of OD 2

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Today we share a family night or Sharing Time lesson outline about unity in the face of prejudice and intolerance. “All Are Alike Unto God” is a valuable lesson for children (and adults) from TimesAndSeasons.org. It’s an easy-to-follow, step-by-step lesson plan for Junior and Senior Primary. Feel free to adapt it to the needs of your children.

This message is particularly timely given the 40th anniversary of Official Declaration 2, extending priesthood and temple blessings to all God’s worthy children. BeOne.lds.org has links to the June 1, 2018 “BeOne” event, an essay on Race and the Priesthood, and links to bios of Black Mormon Pioneers such as Jane Manning James (pictured above), Elijah Abel, and others.

Also see the FRIEND magazine articles about Jane Manning James: “Jane’s Choice” and “Jane’s Journey” (Sept 2017 and Oct 2017 FRIEND magazines).

Kids may enjoy singing (and moving their bodies!) along with Sister Gladys Knight’s arrangement of “Come, Come Ye Saints” with a beat.

The June Sharing Time theme is “I Will Follow Heavenly Father’s Plan by Being Baptized and Confirmed.” Each month the Sharing Time manual encourages:”Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own. Each week, plan ways to (1) identify the doctrine, (2) help the children understand it, and (3) help them apply it in their lives. Ask yourself, “What will the children do to learn, and how can I help them feel the Spirit?”

In your June Sharing Time lesson, you may want to teach these principles of unity and love for all God’s children as a way to “follow Jesus Christ by being baptized and confirmed and keeping baptismal covenants.” You may want to teach about Jane Manning James as a faithful woman who did just that, despite tremendous obstacles.

Jesus gets the last word on this one. He said: “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33) and “I say unto you, be one.” (Doctrine & Covenants 38:27)

-Marci

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Is Anything Getting Through? Proof #1

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Especially on discouraging days, sometimes we wonder whether anything we say really penetrates children’s minds. I have proof.

recent post included the story of Jesus’ service to the paralyzed man let down through the roof. This sweet story is one that has particular meaning for me. I learned it in Vacation Bible School when I was about 7 years old. I was amazed at the faith of the man and his friends and the love of Jesus for the paralyzed man. I didn’t know personally anyone who actually got into crowded houses by making holes in roofs (my parents would tan my hide), but just like that paralyzed man, I would do anything to get to Jesus if I had the chance.

Then my parents stopped going to our Methodist church (that’s another story). I didn’t hear that Bible story from the time I was 7 until I was 16. That’s when found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I heard that story again, I instantly remembered it from my childhood, with total recall of the room, my short plastic chair for my little legs, the face of my teacher holding the picture of that heart-tugging story.

I remember that every time I wonder whether anything is penetrating when we teach children. I have proof that some things do stay with a child. You’re doing more good than you may ever know when you lovingly introduce children to their Savior.

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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

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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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