Swing that Sword of Truth!

sword-of-truthToday’s guest author is Tina, mother of 6, a high school physics teacher who loves reading and listening to Broadway musicals.  Tina shares the following Primary lesson idea:

Today I taught my last Primary class to my wonderful 7 and 8-year-olds. I made them each (9 boys and 1 girl) a “Sword of Truth.”  The sword was made of Styrofoam wrapped with duct tape and aluminum foil. I wrote “Sword of Truth” on each one with an ordinary ballpoint pen.

For the lesson I read a scenario where a child either told a truth or a lie, each on a separate piece of paper. (Here’s the pdf: Telling a Truth or Telling a Lie) The children would tell me which it was. Then I crumpled up the strip of paper and they got to hit the crumpled paper with the sword of truth.

It’s been a wonderful year with them. They are the most energetic, enthusiastic, and delightful group of kids I’ve dealt with in a long time. I’m sure going to miss teaching these children.

It’s easy to make one or a dozen of these swords. Children of all ages would be thrilled to wield their “Sword of Truth.”

~Tina

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Children Following Jesus’ Example: Service

lds.org

lds.org

The April 2017 Sharing Time is “Jesus Christ Teaches Me to Choose the Right.” The lesson for Week 1 suggests cutting a puzzle into four pieces, representing four ways that “Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me:”

Of course there are an infinite number of ways that Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me, but we suggest cutting that puzzle into FIVE pieces as you teach the children this one more way:

  • He served others (see Mark 2:1-4, 11-12). Friends lowered a paralyzed man down through the roof when the house was too crowded for them to get to Jesus. Then Jesus healed the man immediately. Afterwards, his friends didn’t pull him back up through the roof; the man picked up his bed and walked home.

In addition to teaching about Jesus’ example of service, you may want to help the children apply it, real time. Add an actual pint-sized service project to your Sharing Time lesson, to help children to serve as Jesus served. If you have time, this can happen in the same lesson, or in a followup lesson. Think about someone in need in your ward or community: perhaps a homebound ward member, a sick child, local nursing home residents, hospitalized children, missionaries serving in your ward, missionaries serving elsewhere who grew up in your ward, firefighters or police officers who work around the clock every day of the year, etc.

Children can draw them a picture or make a card to cheer them up. Older children can write letters about what they’re learning in Primary. This can be simple (paper and crayons/pens) or elaborate (stickers, markers, buttons, lace).

Children can create holiday cards for upcoming regular holidays or for unusual holidays held throughout the year. For example, DaysOfTheYear.com says that Saturday, April 15 is Microvolunteering Day! Even micro-people can help in micro-ways. There’s an occasion to celebrate for every month and every day of the year.

Here’s more ideas for service projects with kids, including great resources to share with Primary families as well: Pint-sized Service Projects and Creating a Culture of Service.

Here’s to serving as Jesus served.

-Marci

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“Fourth Floor, Last Door” for Children: Teaching Persistence, Obedience, Good Choices

20170101_121802

I love Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk about the missionaries who found the young girl who later became his wife – by knocking at all the doors of an apartment building until they came to the only one who would listen, located on the “fourth floor, last door.” And I’ll bet your children will love this story too.  This story underscores lessons about persistence, obedience, good choices, missionary work, and faith.

Start by making a poster with four floors of doors, 6 doors on each floor. Simple index cards taped to a large poster will do. Behind the last door on the 4th floor, place a picture of a smiling family. The rest of the doors will be blank underneath.20170101_123311-rotated

 

Ask 24 (yes, 24!) children to line up. (If you have fewer than 24 children, they can go to the end of the line and take several turns.) Each child takes a turn knocking on a door in order, opening the flap and finding nothing there, until the last door is opened. Ask the children, “Are you ready to give up?” “Should we stop knocking on doors?” Discuss how these missionaries showed persistence, obedience, good choices, and faith. Remind children that God seldom answers prayers immediately; keep at it!

(Thanks to Gisel for this great visual and lesson idea!)

-Marci

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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 4 of 4 – Music Games!

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

We’re listing just a few each month so you have a chance to try these and don’t zone out when faced with a long list. Click here for Part 1 (ideas 1-4), including the story of Michelle’s lifesaver beanbag, how to make a bean bag, and more about guest author Marti. Click here for Part 2 (ideas 5-8) and Part 3 (ideas 9-11).

MUSIC GAMES with BEAN BAGS:

  1. HAVE A SEAT: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the music stops, the person holding the bean bag sits down. Resume the song until everyone is sitting.
  2. HOT AND COLD: While one child is out of the room with a teacher, ask another child to hide the bean bag. When the child returns, sing louder as the child gets closer to the bean bag, softer as they get farther, until they find the hidden bean bag.
  3. NEXT LINE of the SONG: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the pianist stops playing, the person holding the bean bag says the next line. If they don’t know it, they pass the bean bag to the next person who does.

Watch next month for a single printout of all these ideas!

-Marti

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Happy Birthday! from Primary to Relief Society

Women PR lesson 3On March 17, the world’s oldest continuing organization for women, the Relief Society, turns 175 years old! Children who are turning 4 or 7 or 11 may have a hard time imagining a birthday cake with 175 candles.

What could we give our women’s organization to wish them a happy birthday? What would Relief Society like for it’s birthday? I think Relief Society would like children to understand what Relief Society is about.

The March Sharing Time theme is about living prophets. It was the Prophet Joseph Smith who organized the first Relief Society 175 years ago. The First Presidency, in the preface to Daughters In My Kingdom, said “We testify that the Lord has restored the fullness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that Relief Society is an important part of that restoration” (page ix).

Here are some ideas for a quick birthday message, for children to understand a little about Relief Society:

  • Have the children repeat with you the Relief Society purpose: “Faith, Family, Relief” (from the headline of the Visiting Teaching message in the ENSIGN each month).
  • Teach the Relief Society motto: “Charity Never Faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Explain what “charity” and “faileth” mean.

If you have more time,

  • Have the children make and deliver birthday cards to Relief Society, drawing a picture of what any of the words above mean to them (faith, family, relief, charity) or how those Relief Society words help them choose the right. Each child could give a card to one of the women in Relief Society. You may want to do this at the very end of the Relief Society/Primary hour. The Relief Society secretary could pre-label blank cards before the children decorate them, to make sure the sisters who need them most receive a card. Or you could let each child give the card to any sister in Relief Society (except their mom? including their mom? your choice).
  •  Consider teaching this marvelous lesson about the history and purpose of Relief Society and its powerful women leaders, past and present, complete with visuals and games for younger and older children: Women and Service in the Kingdom: a Sharing Time or family night lesson for girls AND boys

By the way, when is Primary’s birthday? It’s August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org). President Monson’s birthday is on August 21, 1927. You may want to start planning ahead to celebrate! Here are some ideas: August: Celebrate Birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson

Happy birthday, Relief Society! from your pint-sized fans in Primary.

-Marci

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“Follow the Prophet” March sharing time ideas

IMG_9725Follow the prophet! A favorite theme for kids and adults alike. Here’s a roundup of some of our “greatest hits” about Following the Prophet to help you get started on your planning your March Sharing Time: “Living Prophets Teach Me to Choose the Right.”

You also might want to suggest to parents this classic to prepare: General Conference Chart – Prophets, Apostles and Velcro OH MY!

Follow the prophet, he knows the way!

-Marci

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Introduction of New Primary Leaders: Show and Tell Music Time Idea!

I just got called as the Primary chorister in our new ward!  I’ve served in ward and stake Primary presidencies, taught Sunbeams and CTR 4 and subbed in Primary in various capacities but this is the first time I’ve been the Primary chorister and I’m so excited!  I have secretly wanted to have this calling for years!

I’m new to our ward already so I don’t know a lot of the kids in Primary yet.  I am excited to get to know them.  I also thought it might be fun for them to learn a little about me.  So, for my first Singing Time I decided to bring a few different items as show and tell and use them to tell the kids something about myself and then sing a Primary song that I chose to go with each particular item.  While music was playing, I had the kids play “Hot Potato,” passing an object around until the music stopped. Whoever was holding it got to choose an item from my show and tell display.  I would tell the pianist what song it was so she had a minute to find the page number I had written down on the list I made for her  And then I would tell the kids a little something about that item.  Below are the items I chose:

primary-music-picHere’s the song list for you and the pianist:

  1. “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!)
  2. “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228)
  3. “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008)
  4. “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78)
  5. “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173)
  6. “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95)
  7. “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169)

Here’s the object and explanation to go with each song:

  1. A Book of Mormon–I showed the picture in the front of the book of Samuel the Lamanite to go with “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!) When this was chosen I said, “One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon about Samuel the Lamanite.  I love Samuel the Lamanite because when he was scared he trusted in the Lord and the Lord helped him do hard things.  I get scared too, a lot, but I know the Lord can help me do hard things.  We are going to sing a song called Samuel the Lamanite.  It’s a new song to you because my husband and his father wrote and arranged it.  I think you’re going to love it!”
  2. A real leaf from my favorite plant to go with “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228). I said, “I love nature.  I love camping and hiking and being outside.  How about you?  Do any of you like hiking or camping?”  (Suddenly we had something in common.) “My favorite Primary song is called ‘Heavenly Father Loves Me’ but I always call it ‘Beautiful World’ because it’s all about all the beautiful things that Heavenly Father created for us.”
  3. A picture of my family to go with “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008). I told them about my family. Only 2 of my 4 kids are in Primary (my twins are in Nursery) so they were surprised to learn that my Senior Primary-aged son has 2-year-old twin siblings.
  4. A picture of Jesus to go with “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78) I said, “I love Jesus.  And my most important goal in life is trying to be like Jesus.  But guess what?  I’m not always very good at it and in fact, I make a lot of mistakes and have to repent and try again. I hope you will always try to be like Jesus and know that when you make a mistake you can repent and try again.”
  5. My baby book–I showed a picture of my baptism to go with “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173).  Of course, I might have chosen one of the songs specifically about baptism, but getting baptized is like joining God’s Army so I thought it was appropriate.
  6. My wedding album to go with “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95). I showed them a picture of my wedding day at the temple and told them how special it was to be married there.
  7. My missionary name tag to go with “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169) I told them that I served my mission in Spain and it was the best and hardest thing I did as a young adult.

Next week I am going to sing a few of these same songs and see if anyone can remember any of the details I told them such as where I served my mission or what my favorite plant looks like.  I’d like to also do something similar when I ask for a child helper; I’ll ask the child to share one thing about themselves so I can get to know them better.

It would also be fun and simple to do a show and tell like this to introduce a new Primary Presidency or new teachers or new pianist.  You could potentially bring in one item for each person if you wanted to do several people at once.  I think the kids would really enjoy seeing into the real lives of their leaders who they often only see in church clothes on Sunday and never out hiking or camping.

~Michelle

 

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Original song: “Repent and Forgive” audio, sheet music and backstory

Download the sheet music  and listen to a recording (with vocals or accompaniment only) of Catherine’s original song: “Repent and Forgive.” (Copyright © 2017 Catherine Doxey White. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.)

Janie

Janie

 

Our remarkable guest author Catherine is back! Mother of five children ages 7-22, Catherine loves to sing (very loudly and occasionally off-tune), scrapbook, read, and write. She is the author of the LDS young adult novel, Cupcake Girl (Walnut Springs Press). She has written a few songs, from the silly to the sacred. Catherine writes:

Ever since she was a very young child, my daughter Janie has been very hard on herself when she makes mistakes.  If she accidentally hurts someone, Janie feels so bad that that she cries harder and longer than the person she hurt.  Though Janie is only seven years old, she already has a repertoire of self-criticism to beat herself up with when she makes mistakes.

One Sunday morning I was in the car and was thinking about how to help Janie better understand the repentance process, and more importantly, the deep love that our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ have for her. I was blessed with a gift of inspiration as this song began to take shape in my mind:  “When I make a mistake, I know just what to do—I will turn to the Lord to repent.”

I tried to include in the lyrics each step of the repentance process, from the ABCD’s (A—Admit; B—Be sorry; C—Confess; D—Don’t do it again) to the Repentance R’s (Recognize, Remorse, Repent, Right the Wrong, and Repeat the sin no more). When I shared the lyrics with my brother-in-law, he noted the irony that I’d written a song about repentance that was not about the Savior.  The original lyrics were too much about what WE do to repent and very little about the miracle of what actually happens:  the Savior extends His grace to change us and make us clean.

I stopped trying to cram each step of the repentance process into the song, and changed the lyrics to hopefully capture the humility and awe we feel when we repent.  I changed the last few lines of the song to a testimony of the Savior: “I know Jesus will help change my heart.  Through His mercy and grace, Christ will make my soul clean, when I turn to the Lord to repent.”

I was blessed with another gift when I started singing the words to the second verse:  “And when someone wrongs me, I know just what to do—I will turn to the Lord to forgive.”  This verse required additional thought and prayer, since to my knowledge, there isn’t a recognized process or series of steps for forgiveness like there is for repentance.  The strength to forgive and ability to find peace after pain always comes from the Savior.  His atonement helps us to heal as we exercise faith to forgive.

My inspired friend and co-author, Andrea Landaker, suggested that we repeat the phrase “I know Jesus will help change my heart” in both verses.  A change of heart is the essence of both repentance and forgiveness as we humble ourselves and turn to the Lord.

Though I originally thought that I was writing this song to help Janie, I quickly realized how much I need its inspiration and hope to both repent and forgive.  I pray that this song will help Janie and children everywhere to “know just what to do” as they humbly turn to the Lord in faith to both repent and forgive.

 

For sheet music, a recording of the song, acknowledgments, more resources, and more information about Catherine (author of the lyrics and melody) and Andrea (arranger of the music), click here.

See another powerful, relevant song by Catherine published on this blog: My Mind’s a Sacred Place: Arm Your Children with the Power of Music to Fend Off the Evils of Pornography!

For another memorable original song published first on this blog, see The Power of Music: NEW Samuel the Lamanite song (with sheet music)!

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Supporting refugees: Children are needed!

IWasAStranger.lds.org

IWasAStranger.lds.org

Click on the photo to watch the 1 minute video.

To all of our readers, throughout the USA and in the 168 countries who have visited this blog, we express our love and support for you and your neighbors, no matter what religion or none, no matter what skin color, no matter who you are or where you live — you are God’s child and we love you.

On Saturday, January 28, 2017, the following was published on Mormon Newsroom, the official LDS media source: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.”

Latter-day children of all faiths (or none) can join the effort! It can be as simple as befriending someone new, or as robust as these ideas:

Teach children these songs to help them internalize this message and apply it every, EVERY day:

  • “Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too.” Children’s Songbook, 61
  • “If you don’t talk like most people do, some people talk and laugh at you, but I won’t! I won’t!” from “I’ll Walk with You,” CS, 140
  • “I’m trying to be like Jesus.” CS, 68

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”   Matthew 25:35-36 #IWasAStranger

God bless the refugees and those who seek to help them.

-Marci

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February Sharing Time idea: Noah’s Ark vs. The Brother of Jared’s Arks

latterdaythinking.org

latterdaythinking.org

doveandtheark

nothingwavering.org

 

Click here for a pdf of this ready-to-use lesson plan!

The February 2017 theme is “When We Choose the Right, We Are Blessed.” The Sharing Time manual has some wonderful stories of scriptural heroes (men and women) choosing the right –  including Noah.

Children love the story of Noah and the ark. If your children are ready for a scripture challenge, teach them the difference between Noah’s ark and the brother of Jared’s eight arks (an ark just means a ship or boat). Review each scripture story (Genesis chapters 6-8 and Ether chapters 1-3, 6). Then hand out these six questions to groups of children to find the answers in the scriptures. Click here for a pdf of the following questions, with and without answers:

  Noah Brother of Jared
How many boats? One (Genesis 6:14) Eight (Ether 3:1)
What did the boat(s) look like? Three-story ark with a window and door (Genesis 6:16)  

Closed small barges with a door and holes on top and bottom that could be stopped up (Ether 2:16-17, 20)

How did they gather animals? Animals came to Noah (Genesis 6:20,  7:8-9)  

Brother of Jared had to catch the animals (Ether 1:41, 2:2-3)

 

How many people were in the boat(s)?

 

8 people (Genesis 6:10, 7:7)

 

At least 32 people (Ether 6:14-16)

 

How many days on the water? about 378 (Genesis 7:11-13, 8:13-16) (also see Liahona Sept 1984)

 

344 days (Ether 6:11)
Where did they land? Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4) Seashore (Ether 6:12)

 

For extra drama, help the children visualize the size of Noah’s ark: Genesis 6:15 gives the dimensions in cubits. Each cubit was about one and a half feet (see “Cubit,” Bible Dictionary). Ask a few math whiz children to figure the dimensions in feet: about 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high. If your chapel has a cultural hall, the average basketball court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide by 10 feet tall to the top of the basketball rim. That means Noah’s ark was about the length of 4 1/2 cultural halls put end to end, about 2/3 as wide as a cultural hall, and about as tall as 4 1/2 basketball poles. That is a big floating house for a year.

APPLICATION: There are many lessons embedded in these stories, such as obedience (build that boat when God tells you!), faith (really, God? I’m going to get into that thing and not steer?), and trusting in God no matter what storm is raging outside (don’t think about the rain or the winds, just stay in the boat). Help the children see the connection to situations in their own lives.

Interested in more challenging scripture activities like these?

Getting Children to Open – not just bring – Their Scriptures

Primary as Pre-Seminary: Raising the Bar and Addressing the Boredom Challenge.

-Marci

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