FREE Giveaway of book about Girls’ Camp, by Primary in Zion contributors!

girls-camp-cover-200x300And now this public service announcement:

If you like this blog Primary in Zion, you’ll love the book “Girls’ Camp: Ideas for Today’s Leaders” with contributions by Marci and Michelle (co-founders of this blog) along with some of your favorite Primary in Zion guest authors! Like the Primary in Zion blog, this Girls’ Camp book aims to connect the ideal world with real people’s lived experiences.

Relive your own Girls’ Camp memories, or give to a friend in Young Women leadership, or a parent of a Young Woman — we hope you love it!

Better still, your copy could be FREE! Walnut Springs Press is giving away 3 copies of our book. Enter by Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day) for a chance to win! Anyone in one of 241 countries is eligible, from Australia to Zimbabwe. To enter, visit Goodreads here!

The book is endorsed by Hailey Smith, co-writer, co-producer, and actress in the movie Once I Was a Beehive (read her endorsement on the back cover of the book, or online here). Here’s the teaser for the book:

The power of girls’ camp is young women joining capable, positive leaders who are organized and who make things happen. Divine nature is strengthened by being in nature. But how do you translate Mormonspeak for nonmember friends at girls’ camp? How do you hold to modesty standards while making every girl feel accepted? What about campers with special needs or diet restrictions? How do you break up cliques at camp?

A spectrum of women and men from across the country have come together in this volume to talk about real-world situations faced at girls’ camp. You’ll find practical ideas and powerful stories, from the first day of camp, to lifetime lessons that continue to bless lives long after camp is over. Whether you’re a leader, lifeguard, nurse, craft-barn leader, or priesthood visitor, whether your camp is primitive or modern, there’s something in these pages for you.

#giveaway #free #win #book #goodreads

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More ideas: Choices and Agency

January’s Sharing Time theme about agency is a great way to start the year! I’ll confess — that idea we posted a few weeks ago is among my favorites about agency and choices: see “When Bad Choices Seem to Work Out Just Fine (at least temporarily).

And for more resources, check out these ideas:

CHOOSE the right!



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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 3 of 4

Watch for music bean bag ideas next month! We’re listing just a few ideas 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 2-8).

9. CATEGORIES: Start the bean bag moving by naming one thing in a category, then pass the bean bag. Categories could be reasons why we’re grateful for our families, stories about Jesus, books in the Book of Mormon, latter-day prophets, names of children in our Primary, etc.

10. PROGRESSIVE STORY: Start a story about good choices, then pass the bean bag to a child, who advances the story until you say “And then. . . ” The passes the bean bag to another child to continue the story.

11. REVERENCE – ONE PERSON SPEAKING AT A TIME: Tell the children that only the person holding the bean bag may talk. “Right now I am giving the lesson so I am the one holding the bean bag. If you have something to share or know the answer to a question, raise your hand. When I toss you the bean bag you may talk.”

Watch for music bean bag ideas next month!


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Christmas news: Winners of giveaway of the book that was born on Primary in Zion!


Merry CHRIST-mas to you, our beloved blog readers! We hope it was full of joy and love.

And now this news: What do Serbia, Illinois and Kansas have in common? Those are the homes of the winners of our Goodreads Giveaway! We’re thrilled that there is interest in the book from all over the world. Read here to see how this book was born on this blog: Primary in Zion becomes a book! You can take some of the best of these blog ideas and other good suggestions for parents and Primary leaders along with you in book form. Thanks to you, our readers from 160 countries (see What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?) Watch for more Goodreads Giveaways in 2017!

And if you’re not already, don’t forget to follow this blog (click on the right sidebar here) and LIKE our page on Facebook!

#giveaway #free #win #book #goodreads

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When Bad Choices Seem to Work Out Just Fine (at least temporarily)

Here’s a January sharing time idea.

Choose the Right! It’s the 2017 theme and a timely message for children. As children are beginning to choose which voices to listen to and make their own decisions, being taught to Choose the Right is a strong message at any stage in a child’s development.

At the same time, a child may steal a cookie from the cookie jar and escape undetected. She may convincingly blame a sibling for her own mess and not get in trouble. Or children may see it in others: bullying behavior may go unaddressed week after week, or cheating may result in good grades without deserving it. What happens when poor choices don’t lead to immediate consequences? Children (and adults) may wonder how agency and consequences really works in the real world.

Yes, good choices lead to good consequences, and bad choices lead to bad consequences. But there can be invisible consequences and delayed consequences. Ask children to define invisible consequences (outcomes you can’t see) and delayed consequences (outcomes that don’t happen right away). Back to the stick with “choices” on one end and “consequences” on the other: take a colorful handkerchief and cover over the consequences end of the stick. Ask, “If you can’t see the consequences, are they still there?” (Yes.) Now remove the handkerchief. Raise the choice end really slowly. Ask, “If it takes awhile for the consequences to catch up to you, are the consequences still there?” (Yes.)

Let’s see how this works. You may want to cut the following four situations into wordstrips and discuss each one.

  1. What if you steal a cookie from the cookie jar and nobody notices? You made a bad choice, but you got away with it without consequences, right? No? What are some possible invisible consequences of taking something you’re  not supposed to? (Answers might include feeling bad about it, not having enough cookies for everyone in the family, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of taking something you’re not supposed to?  (Answers might include being found out later, not being trusted.)
  2. What if you blame your brother for your own mess to avoid getting in trouble? What if your parents believe your lie and your brother gets in trouble?  What are some possible invisible consequences of saying something that is not true, even no one finds out? (Answers might include feeling bad about it, having your brother be mad at you, etc. God always knows.) What are some possible delayed consequences of taking something you’re not supposed to?  (Answers might include being found out later and getting into double trouble.)
  3. What if someone is mean to others and doesn’t get punished?  What are some possible invisible consequences of being unkind? (Answers might include that the person making mean choices might feel unhappy inside, have no friends, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of being unkind?  (Answers might include having others be unkind to you, being punished later, etc.)
  4. What if someone cheats in school and gets good grades without deserving it? What are some possible invisible consequences of cheating? (Answers might include that the person cheating might feel unhappy inside, go on to harder work without understanding the work on the test, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of being unkind?  (Answers might include being found out and having all your good grades turn into zeros, etc.)
In God’s plan, no one ever gets away with anything. Sooner or later God will reward everyone according to their works. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!” (“To ‘the Rising Generation,’” New Era, June 1986, 5). Put the following wordstrip on the board: “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10) Ask the children to repeat it with you a few times, including the reference.
Related songs include:
  • “Choose the Right Way” (Children’s Songbook, 169)
  • “Dare to Do Right” (CS, 158)
  • “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS, 78)
CHOOSE the RIGHT – every time!


Filed under Bullying, Lesson, Sharing Time

Temptation and Repentance for Kids

Did you catch this profound truth from “Matt and Mandy” in the August 2016 Friend magazine, at the bottom of the article “The Hidden Video Game”?

Mandy: “Watching movies or playing games that make you feel bad. . . ”

Matt: “. . . is like eating worms just because they’re there!”

Children can learn that just because something is there doesn’t mean you have to do it, play it or watch it. Even if it’s fun or interesting, it may not pass Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ “good, better, best” test – especially if done in excess.

Whether children have made truly terrible choices or just not the very best choices, there’s always repentance – even for kids. See “Daily repentance in daily prayers.”



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Service with Kids in 0, yes Zero, Minutes

You read that right. Zero minutes. Yes, service with kids.

Service rightly takes center stage in December, thinking of others at this joyous time of celebrating the Savior’s birth. I love the church’s “25 ways over 25 days” — an advent calendar of 30-second videos and service project ideas until Dec. 25. But busy, overwhelmed parents and Primary leaders may feel like they’re doing well to get through another day! How can we add more thing to a busy season, added on top of a busy life?

Michelle puts it this way: “I would just like to remind all of us to recognize and give ourselves credit for ALL the amazing things we are already doing for our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We are raising children, serving in our church congregations, teaching our children morals, visiting our neighbors, volunteering at school, smiling at our fellowman, offering words of encouragement, supporting our spouses, helping our extended families and so so much more! These acts of service do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

“During your lunch break, or if you’re doing dishes today or sit down to fold laundry here’s a little workshop video all about service and how to ‘Create a Culture of Service’ in our families without killing ourselves: Video Workshop: Kids and Service.” Check out the resource sheet and service grids on that same page with ideas for service projects that can be completed in 0 minutes, 5 minutes, a few hours, or 1/2 day.

Service in zero minutes? It boils down to doing something you’re already doing, but focusing it on service. You can have books in your home about being a good friend and neighbor, post a picture of someone your family knows who is serving a mission, or genuinely say “You really tried hard on that” or “I love you.” And never underestimate the power of children and families simply praying for someone in need — a refugee, a family member, a ward member, or a stranger. God hears and answers those prayers offered to Him as genuine acts of service — calling down the powers of heaven on behalf of someone in need.

Also see:

Make it a merry Christmas — through service in as little as zero minutes!

God bless,


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Filed under Activity, Christmas, Reaching the One

Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 2 of 4

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month! 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.

A simple bean bag has many uses! Here’s a few favorite ideas of how to use one to add interest and kid-involvement to your lesson, Sharing Time or family night.

5. FINISH THE SENTENCE: Start a sentence, then toss the beanbag to a child to finish the sentence.

6. CHILD TO CHILD: Ask a question, then while your back is turned, have the children pass the bean bag from one child to another. When you turn around, ask the child holding the bean bag to answer the question. Or, instead of turning your back, you can use the same technique with music playing, then stop the music and the child holding the bean bag answers.

7. GETTING ACQUAINTED: Toss the bean bag to a child. Say something you like about that child. Then that child tosses it to someone else and says something nice about them. Be sure you complement their character, effort, obedience, kindness or contribution to Primary, not just their clothes or physical appearance (every child is handsome or beautiful in their own way!).

8. GRATITUDE: Have each child say something they are thankful for when you toss them the bean bag, in preparation for thanking God for those things in prayer.

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month!


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December: The Scriptures Teach Me about the Savior’s Birth and Second Coming

"The Second Coming," by Harry Anderson. Gospel Art Kit 238

“The Second Coming,” by Harry Anderson. Gospel Art Kit 238

Teaching children about Jesus’ birth (First Coming) AND Second Coming accomplishes several good things:

  • It puts the Savior’s birth in the context of Jesus’ eternal lifespan, helping to keep Christmas focused on Jesus.
  • It removes the confusion about what that baby Messiah was supposed to do. As one of my Jewish co-workers said, “Look around – if that was the Messiah, we need a better one!” Of course she did not believe what we understand –that he would come twice: once to show us the way and atone for our sins, and a second time to conquer and establish his kingdom, subdue evil, and establish peace on earth.

Very few lessons teach the Second Coming in a way that is understandable to children. Most rely on analogies about virgins and lamps that are useful, but often leave children without an understanding of what exactly Jesus’ Second Coming means. Here is a lesson to fill that gap and prepare children to meet Him, whether in this life or the next: Jesus’ First and Second Coming.


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Planning ahead: Your Dec/Jan Transition Survival Kit!

It’s that time of year again – wrapping up an old year and beginning a new one! And that means lots of changes in Primary, which can be confusing for children. Here’s our readers’ favorite posts for doing it smoothly and with love:

Happy New Year – a little early!


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