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Parents, primary leaders and teachers

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

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

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!

-Marti

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

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

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!

-Marti

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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 1 of 4

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

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.

Michelle writes: When my husband and I were newly married we moved into our first family ward.  On week two we were called to c0-teach the Sunbeams class in Primary.  Our Primary Presidency held a training for all the teachers shortly thereafter and gave each of us a homemade bean bag.  That was more than 12 years ago and I still have that bean bag that was simply made with a scrap of material and some beans and stitched up by hand.  I like to keep this bean bag in my church bag for emergencies in Primary!  Making a bean bag for each of the teachers in your ward would be a great resource for their teaching arsenal.  You could also print off this page of ideas on how they could put it to use! Watch for a single page printout at the end of this series.

Today’s guest author is Marti, mother of five and grandmother of nine.  She is a former Primary President, now in the Stake Primary Presidency.  She is retired from dental hygiene and is now working as a real estate agent. Marti has compiled this list of bean bag ideas she has collected over the years.

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. To make a bean bag, simply sew 3 sides of a small square of fabric, fill with dried beans, rice or popcorn, then stitch closed. 

  1. TAKE TURNS for the prayer, reading a scripture, holding a picture, etc. Tape a number on the bottom of the bag. Everyone says a number. The one closest to the number takes first turn.
  2. REVIEW.  At the end of the lesson, ask each child to think of something related to the lesson. “Today we learned about. . . ” For example, if the lesson is about the Word of Wisdom, ask each child to say something against the Word of Wisdom. Repeat and have each child say something that is healthy. Or you can ask specific review questions, throwing the bean bag to each child in turn.
  3. CHOOSE WORD STRIPS, PICTURES, or QUESTIONS: Lay out wordstrips, questions, or pictures (in page protectors!) on the floor face down. Children take turns tossing the bag. Whatever it lands on, the child reads the word strip, tells what the picture is about, or answers the question.
  4. MUFFIN TIN: Prepare a muffin tin with numbers in the bottom of each cup. Prepare a list with the same number of questions. Have the children stand back and throw the bean bag into one of the cups. The child answers the corresponding question from the list. The same technique can be used for Articles of Faith, in which the child recites corresponding Article of Faith. Younger children can repeat the Articles of Faith with you.

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month!

-Marti

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2016 Primary Sacrament Meeting Program: Invitations, program covers and more!

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

Back by popular demand, the 2016 Primary Program Invitation is here! Thanks to Laura H. for putting this together, and special shout out to Tami Ray and her blog for the beautiful artwork!

Primary Program Invite 2016 (customize & print back to back, 4 invites to a page)

Matching printed program cover: Primary Printed Program 2016

Try printing out enough copies of the invitation for the Primary children and missionaries to distribute. Check out  “Children inviting neighbors, coaches and schoolteachers to Primary sacrament meeting program” about the wonderful missionary tool it can be (including a baptism that started with an invitation just like this!).

One year, my ward set up a small reception of cookies and drinks after the program to celebrate the Primary children’s hard work, and so that visitors feel welcome and have a chance to chat comfortably and ask questions. This gave visitors a chance to casually stick around and congratulate the child that they came to see, and not feel like they were obligated to go to class after, or make a hasty exit. They could stay longer and talk with others in a relaxed setting. The missionaries also joined the reception so they could talk with the investigators they brought, as well as meet other visitors who attended the program. Then everyone attended third hour classes as usual, and some hardy investigators stuck around.

If you’re planning your presentation outline, see Kim’s easy-to-follow way of putting it together at “Primary Sacrament Meeting Program outline – click, print and go!” Kim assigned each class one of the monthly themes, then interviewing each child by pulling them out of singing time to get a quote to go with the theme. The outline comes together really easily in the kids’ words that way.

Also see “Inviting Audience Comments – Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation

-Laura S.

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Autism, Life Threatening Food Allergies and Primary

photo provided by author

photo provided by author

Today’s guest author is DeeDee, a wife and mother of two who loves the temple and loves to be outdoors enjoying nature with her family. See her 3 specific suggestions below about caring for her children in Primary. 

My beautiful son is four years old. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. My amazing eight-year-old daughter has life threatening (anaphylactic) allergies. Both of these conditions shape our children’s experience in Primary.

What is it like to have a child with autism at church? For me it is wonderfully challenging, but I recognize it’s an opportunity for growth and development, for both me and for my child. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a variable diagnosis. That means each child with ASD has unique strengths and challenges. Before my son was diagnosed he was struggling in nursery. A sentence kept going through my mind at that time, “The one matters.” I know that every child matters to the Lord and belongs in Primary, at church and in other church activities. Figuring out how to make that happen is the challenge.

What is it like having a child with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies at church? Life-threatening allergies are about safety. I want my daughter to be safe at church, in Primary and at church activities. It is scary for me to know that if my child eats a certain food it can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. This makes church different for me than it was before I had a child with severe food allergies. My husband and I are diligent about constantly checking to see if food is involved at church. Sometimes snacks are given in class or as a reward for performances (like Primary programs). Other times food is used to make crafts, provide service or celebrate holidays. We have strict rules for our daughter about food & washing hands. She is very careful about what she touches and eats at church. My guard is always up to some degree at church because I want her to be safe and have a good experience.

What has helped our family:

1. We take responsibility for our children. My husband and I have learned that it is our responsibility to ensure our children are set up for success in Primary. Simply dropping them off doesn’t work. Our experience has been that things go best when we communicate our children’s unique needs with ward and Primary leadership so we can partner with them in helping our children do well in Primary. My 4-year-old son with autism doesn’t communicate verbally like many children his age. When he was diagnosed I notified our Primary presidency and spoke with his nursery leader about his unique challenges. His wonderful nursery leader did well with him, keeping the classroom calm and encouraging open play that doesn’t require 2-way verbal communication. She speaks to him as she does other children but also gives him gentle nudges to help him as needed. I also shared with her behavioral signs that may suggest he is having a difficult time, when it may be best to include me or my husband. Similarly, my daughter can’t eat nuts. Her life threatening allergic reactions can result in death or serious injury. My husband and I take responsibility for her condition by sharing applicable medical information with Primary leaders and our plan to help her if she has a reaction in Primary. We keep emergency medication near her at all times and ask to approve any food offered her in Primary. We hope that Primary leaders and teachers appreciate the steps we take to educate and include them so they aren’t left to interpret things on their own.

2. Have realistic expectations. We attempt to maintain realistic expectations at church. Church leaders, Primary leaders and teachers are imperfect people, volunteers at best. They make mistakes and can misinterpret things like we all do. A Primary leader may misinterpret my son’s behavior. A teacher may bring a snack my daughter is allergic to and forget to check with us first. These things can happen, and it helps to remind us to keep working with ward and Primary leaders.

3. Listen to the Spirit. Numerous times at church my husband or I have felt prompted to check on one of our children in Primary, sometimes urgently. We recognize these as promptings from Holy Ghost and are very grateful for them.

~DeeDee

 

For related posts, see Special Needs page and

Helping children accept others with special needs

Also see “Accepting Allergies” by Thira Christianson from a kids’ point of view in the Friend magazine, Sept 2011, 18-19.

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Bridging Home and Church: a quick note from the teacher

timeout.com

timeout.com

Today’s guest author is Valerie, wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 13, who loves to cook, quilt, read, serve in the temple, and teach Primary!

Whether you communicate with the parents each week or just occasionally, it helps the parents reinforce the child’s learning. Here’s how Valerie does it:

Every Sunday afternoon/evening I send a group e-mail to the parents of the kids in the class.  (I know this is easy for me since I have no children at home making demands on my time!) I tell them what we talked about, maybe mention it would be a good subject for family home evening,  maybe explain the papers they brought home, tell them who said prayers and if they participated in any way in Sharing Time.  I always tell them how much my co-teacher and I love them, how reverent they are in sharing time (which is true–I think they are the most reverent class!), and if anyone said anything cute, funny, or  spiritual in class (as long as it doesn’t embarrass the parents).  Anything about individual behavior I talk to the parents separately.  The Primary presidency says that the parents really like the note.

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Overheard in Primary: a lesson that backFIRED!

lds.org - Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children, by Robert T. Barrett; GAK 322

lds.org – Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children, by Robert T. Barrett; GAK 322

Today’s guest author is Valerie, wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 13, who loves to cook, quilt, read, serve in the temple, and teach Primary! 
 
I teach 4-5 year olds in Primary — they are so cute! I taught a lesson about how Jesus loves each child and wants to bless each of us, His children. I told them the story from 3 Nephi 17 about Jesus blessing the Nephite children. My Primary kids said it did NOT sound like a good thing to be surrounded by angels and fire and they DID NOT want that to happen to them!  So funny! I told them it was a special fire that didn’t burn them and the angels were friendly but they still weren’t buying it!
Have any of your Primary children had the same reaction? Tell us how you handled it in the comments below!

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Safe and Loved in Primary

Coloring page from lds.org, artist is Cora Lu, age 7

Coloring page from lds.org, artist is Cora Lu, age 7

Although it has been decades since Emma Lu was in Primary, her story illustrates how Primary can influence a child for eternity. Today’s guest author Emma Lu is a wife, mother of seven, and grandmother. She is an author and lecturer, and she enjoys writing histories and life events.

As a young child, I hurried along the cool, dry sidewalk toward the church-house. I had an appointment to keep. I did not want to be late.

When I arrived at the chapel, I joined my friends on the church bench, where my feet barely touched the floor. As I sat there, listening to soft music on the piano, I knew I was in the right place at the right time. My home seemed so unhappy and messed up. Often times my mother and dad didn’t speak to each other. It was a cold war. My sister and I lived in fear, because of my dad’s occasional demons of alcoholism. But at Primary I felt happy, safe, and loved. Primary made all the difference.

Just like today, we began with an opening prayer followed by singing time. The chorister was a jolly woman whose well-groomed hands led us in the fun and sacred Primary songs. Often she told us we were bearing our testimonies in song. I felt a warm, joyous feeling and with gusto raised my singing voice. She encouraged my love and talent for music.

Our classrom teacher gave each child personal love. As she shook my hand, she cupped her hands around mine and gave me a pat on the back. I remember the twinkle in her eyes as she told wonderful stories of Jesus and led us in rousing classroom discussions. For me, one benfit of being in her class was to open a need for Christ and his teachings. My testimony blossomed in Primary.

I saw my teacher often in our neighborhood, and her eyes always had the same twinkle sending love. To me she appeard as if she were a heavenly angel. I felt she needed me and I needed her.

It has been some time since I attended Primary as a child, but guess what? I still love Primary. Today when I hear the beautiful children’s songs my mind and feelings wander back to our choister and teacher extending love to children. They both were on an errand for Christ. He said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

I love Primary. It was my salvation, my place of learning, my place of peace.

-Emma Lu

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Electronic scriptures in Primary?

lds.org

lds.org

The end goal is for children to learn to love the scriptures and hear God’s voice in His holy word. But how best to accomplish that goal? Specifically, should scriptures on electronic devices be allowed in Primary? You and the Lord will figure out the right answer for your Primary, and that answer may change over time. But here are a few considerations, and a list of pros and cons. Thanks to guests Stacy and Jennifer R. who added their thoughts!

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS:

  • Using phones to access scriptures should never be a means of separating those families with more money from those with less, or making any child feel uncomfortable if they don’t have a phone.
  • Stacy: “Whichever method you choose, give kids plenty of wait time for them to find the reference. It is very frustrating to still be looking for a scripture when someone is already reading it. When this happens a few times, kids lose interest in even trying to look up the reference.”

BENEFITS OF ELECTRONIC SCRIPTURES:

  • What better time to learn to use the Church’s extensive online materials and to learn appropriate etiquette regarding phone use than in Primary? Jennifer R.: “The Church has been asking all members to move toward online class manuals for years, in addition to the amount of resources being put into apps and web materials. Two weeks ago I showed both Junior and Senior Primary how to access the music app (the icon is green with a gold note) and make a playlist of this year’s Primary songs. (CDs are so ‘old school!’ They want mp3’s now!) Some may say the kids could end up just playing games on their phones. That could be true in some cases, just as some adults do in class. But the adults were never taught as children how to self-govern with smart phones. Perhaps we have a golden opportunity to teach the next generation of leaders some e-manners. Our Primary presidency does a good job of being in different parts of the room. They can see who isn’t looking up scriptures and then gently redirect the child. Phones get put under chairs if an activity or song requires action.”
  • Navigating in the scriptures can be easier with technology. This is especially helpful as children are beginning their exposure to the scriptures. For example, children need not know what book of scriptures contains Moses 1:39 in order to locate this scripture: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (from the Pearl of Great Price, not the Old Testament with the rest of Moses’ story, naturally).
  • Stacy adds: “For new or struggling readers there is the option of text to speech, which aids in comprehension. You can have one word read or a whole verse or chapter.”

BENEFITS OF BOUND SCRIPTURES:

  • I’d hate to think we’re raising a whole generation that can’t study the scriptures if the power is out. Or what if they’re called on a mission to a remote region where technology is scarce and electricity is precious and expensive — will their scripture study skills grind to a halt?
  • Research is mixed about how electronics affect understanding. For example, this Scientific American article states, “Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.” An article in Wired.com is titled “Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper.” It states “in a world of screen ubiquity, many people still prefer to do their serious reading on paper. When I need to read deeply—when I want to lose myself in a story or an intellectual journey, when focus and comprehension are paramount—I still turn to paper.” This absolutely applies to scripture study: focus and comprehension ARE paramount.
  • Stacy: “If using hard copies I always write the reference. And give tips, like this: Alma is in the Book of Mormon, about in the middle of the book, maybe even a page number.”

Stacy adds: We need not suppose that one way is better than another when we are working with children. Our way may not be better for them.

With all this in mind, here’s my personal thoughts. Ideally, I hope children learn to read the scriptures in both formats over time, and make intelligent choices about which format works best for them in what circumstances. Perhaps Primary leaders might have some weeks using only paper scriptures (borrowing copies from the library) and other weeks where either paper or electronics are allowed.

I’m sure the Lord will guide you as you seek to immerse His beloved children in His word in the scriptures.

-Marci

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Listening for “My Word” in the Scriptures

20160111_184714Today’s guest contributor is Mackenzie, who has a fun family scripture study technique that would work beautifully in Primary as well. Mackenzie is a mother of two who enjoys outdoor sports and warm weather.

During scripture reading, Mackenzie gives her children a popsicle stick with a word that frequently appears in the scriptures, such as “Lord” or “God” (see photo) or “faith.” Then, as the scriptures are being read, each child holds up their word when they hear it. Mackenzie says it helps the children to focus and stay involved in scripture reading.  This would be a great Primary activity that even the Sunbeams would enjoy, whether they can read the words or not!  In fact, for the Junior Primary you might consider writing a word and adding a simple little drawing with it.

I can also imagine older children doing a “Word Choir” (!!) like a verbal equivalent of a bell choir. Cut out the words of a scripture individually. Give each child a word and ask them to unscramble themselves and stand in order. Then, each child reads their word in turn, holding up their word until the whole scripture verse comes together.

Even very young children can have positive experiences with the word of God in the scriptures.

~Marci with guest contributor Mackenzie

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