Category Archives: Activity

Inspiring, Easy Ideas for a Kids’ Temple Trip!

Guest contributor Chardell is a wife and mother of three who enjoys baking bread and traveling.

Children of all ages can feel the sacredness of the temple, even from the outside. A temple trip for Primary or for families can instill an early love for the temple.

Chardell recently took her ward Primary to the temple. For a temple craft, Chardell had lots of different kinds of white or clear beads and the kids glued them on a blank template. On the back they wrote

I love to see the temple
I went there today
(Name of temple and date)
(Child’s name and age)

See a step-by-step outline of possible Primary/family temple trip activities in the book born on this blog,”Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids!” (Read the story here: Primary in Zion becomes a book!) See the free download of the temple activity necklace/passport here.

You might like to use these Temple coloring pages and journal (feel free to customize). You’ll see one page with a blank temple for people to draw their family inside. The second temple coloring page has lots of detail; older kids might enjoy getting serious with colored pencils or markers. The third page is the journal for each child to complete, with help from adults or older children if needed. A journal page that records thoughts and feelings from child’s first temple visit becomes a lifelong keepsake, perhaps even displayed at their temple wedding reception.

See Michelle’s story about her children’s reaction to a beautiful 15-minute video that helps children understand the temple: Primary Children Looking Toward the Temple

Also see the Sept 2011 FRIEND article, “Preparing to do baptisms for the dead” to give children an idea of what to expect when they actually get to go inside someday.

May you and your children have an eternally memorable experience visiting the Lord’s holy house.

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February Sharing Time – cherishing our bodies, treating them well

sharingtime.lds.org

The February 2018 Sharing Time theme is “The Earth Was Created for Heavenly Father’s Children,” with week 3 being “I have been sent to earth to gain a body and to be tested.” It’s so important for children to know early on that their bodies are a special gift from Heavenly Father. This is not a universally accepted idea in the world today. Some faith traditions teach that our physical bodies are filthy and our spirits are pure, so the way to progress is to deny our physical bodies. We can teach the children that their bodies are precious gifts to be enjoyed within the bounds set by the Lord.

Many topics around caring for our bodies and using them appropriately can enrich your Sharing Time or family night lesson. Our #1 All-Time Favorite blog post with the most visits from the beginning is this one: “Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea” with printable visuals to make a sorting game.

Also consider working in this concept: “But how can it be so bad if Aunt Susie does it?”

Check out these resources about modesty from the Friend magazine, including this maze activity about our bodies as temples. You might enjoy this experience from guest author Becky: Teaching modesty in Sharing Time or Family Night: clothing as advertising

-Marci

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Hello Song in multiple languages made easy!

Here’s a twist on the popular welcome song in Primary! Children love the “Hello Song” (Children’s Songbook, 260) Laura S. shared how growing up in many countries gave her exposure to different languages which she uses for a variation on the welcome song.

Looking for an easy way to do it? Sister D. shares this idea. She prints flags from the different countries on one side with the words and phonetic spellings on the back side. She adds a popsicle stick for a “flagpole” and laminates it. Voila! An easy-to-stuff-in-your-Primary-bag prop for children to choose a language to sing the welcome song!

Not only does this add variety to keep children’s interest, but it exposes them to the idea that there are many children, many languages, and many different sounds in the world. They’re never too young to learn that people are different but all seek the same Heavenly Father.

Welcome to ALL children in Primary!

-Marci

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In Case of Emergency – being prepared at church

ldsblogs.com

Today in church, a service project was announced: bringing meals to families of victims of a recent shooting in a church of another faith within our stake boundaries. It was a chilling reminder that we are in the last days, with many challenges — but the Lord’s promises are sure.

I thought of this post: Planning for Safety: a fire drill in Primary

The ideas are useful for emergencies of any nature. We need not alarm the children, or become alarmed ourselves, just make sure we are prepared. We put our trust in the Lord, but He expects us to do our part to make sure we and our children are safe.

These issues need not be discussed in Primary, but you may also want to let families know about these ideas: Helping children understand violence and tragedy.

God bless us all in the last days.

-Marci

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Whose Turn to Sing? Check Your Outfit!

Today’s idea comes from guest contributor Shellie, who describes herself like this: “I’m a Primary music leader with little musical talent, but I believe strongly that we can strengthen and bear our testimonies through the songs of the gospel.”

When it comes to learning and remembering new songs, repetition is key. But if the kids keep singing the song over and over again, they’ll be bored stiff — and so will you. Try different activities to mix it up and keep the children’s interest, to make Primary songs memorable and fun.

Shellie has the children sing based on what color they are wearing. She holds up one of these color swatches. Children wearing that color stand and sing while the other children hum. Every few lines she changes it up and holds up a different color. Occasionally she holds up all the colors and everyone sings.

You can use the same idea for taking turns reading scriptures aloud together, or answering questions, or selecting teams for reverent Primary games. You can get a lot of mileage out of a set of colored cards on a ring!

Looking for more ideas to liven up singing time? Look for “music” in the search box to the right.

Also see Shellie’s previous post Fizzing, Bubbling Chemistry Experiments in Primary!

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Chorister Training for Kids

lds.org

lds.org

Who says kids can’t get in on the action? Learning to conduct music is a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives. Why not learn how to conduct while they’re young?

It starts with hearing the beat and identifying rhythms. You can teach children — even very young children — how to follow the rhythm by simply clapping their hands together or patting their legs in rhythm to the music.

Then you can demonstrate how the rhythm translates to conducting, which is nothing more than drawing the rhythm with your hands. Have them watch you and imitate you as you clap out the rhythm with your hands. Children can all lead the music together, or you can ask a certain child or a whole class to come up and lead a song with you. (Remember that when children watch you lead, it’s like looking in the mirror.)

If your children are ready for more, you can teach them how to tell which diagram above you should use — whether 3 beats or 4 beats. Show them the sheet music. Ask them to identify the top number of the time signature. That tells them whether to beat in 3’s or 4’s, pictured above. Those two patterns will get you through most of the songs sung in Primary. (See “Explanation of Symbols and Terms” and “How to conduct a song” from the music resources at lds.org.)

Try this activity in Singing Time or in Activity Days for extra practice in a smaller group.

Learning to conduct gives children another way to enjoy uplifting Primary music. Have fun with it!

-Marci

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Happy Birthday, Primary!

azbirthdaycollections.com

Primary began in 1878 to address the rowdiness of the boys, with lessons on not taking fruit from orchards or melon patches. Girls were included in that first Primary because their voices were needed to make the singing sound good, although girls too were admonished not to hang on wagons.

Obedience is still taught today in Primary, although children need fewer reminders about melon swiping and wagon hanging. Today’s lessons on obedience are more likely to focus on such topics as honesty and being kind to those who are different from you, such as refugees. Lessons for children in the home may include pornography prevention, including an original song “My Mind’s a Sacred Place” to protect children from today’s dangers.

Check out these ideas on how to celebrate both Primary’s birthday AND President Monson’s birthday, both in August!

Happy birthday, Primary! 139 years old looks good on you.

-Marci

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“Passing Kindness” game for Sharing Time or family night

lds.org, colored by Alexavier, age 6

Whenever we teach about keeping the commandments, being kind to others often comes to mind. In addition, this activity also talks about what to do when others are unkind to you, even bullies.

This fun activity from the Friend uses paper and a small treat (enough for everyone) with different situations about ways to show kindness to others, and how to defend themselves when others are unkind. Write each question from the Friend on a separate piece of paper (using a full-sized sheet of paper per question works best), wrap each paper around a small shareable treat, and keep going until you have a medium-sized ball. When it’s time for the activity, unwrap the ball and answer the question, until you get down to the treat!

For step-by-step instructions and a list of questions, see “Passing Kindness” in the August 2015 Friend.

~Marci

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Pioneer Experience – Frozen Feet and All

Give your children a pioneer experience they’ll never forget. You can do this in Primary or for family night.

Today’s guest contributors Emily, Shanda and Ashna brought a picnic cooler full of ice and water to Primary to help teach this lesson. Emily invited two children to remove their socks and shoes and stick their feet in the freezing water. They kept their feet in as long as they could (with no hard feelings when they’d had enough). Meanwhile, all the children watched the 4-minute video “Mormon Pioneers: Act of Courage,” President Gordon B. Hinckley’s touching account of the three 18-year-old boys who carried members of the pioneer company across the icy Sweetwater River, then died from the effects of that ordeal.

Pairs of children volunteered to be oxen, yoked together with a hula hoop.Other children were divided into “families,” where pairs of children packed a laundry basket full of supplies. All the children watched while the trekkers packed the laundry basket with flour, dried beans, crackers, a frying pan, a gallon of water, extra clothes, rope — whatever pioneer essentials you have on hand. Then the children carried the basket, one on each handle, on a trek around the edges of the room, while everyone sang (you guessed it), “Pioneer Children Sang as they Walked” (Children’s Songbook, 214), “Little Pioneer Children” (CS, 216) or “To Be a Pioneer” (CS, 218). Simple costumes are fun if you have time — cowboy hats, sunbonnets, bandannas as neckerchiefs or head scarves.

For an extra touch (optional), Emily brought small glass jars for each child, filled halfway with heavy cream and a dash of salt. The children shook the cream into butter while watching the video and singing. Baby food jars or small jelly jars work nicely for this. Then, as the cream turned into butter, each child brought their jar to the back of the room, where Emily spread the homemade butter onto saltine crackers for a pioneer snack for the journey.

You could do the trek with just one or two groups of children pioneers. You could also just have 1-2 children shake cream into butter, perhaps passing along the jar to other children.

Emily writes, “The Sweetwater River crossing was a story that I wanted to include because it is personal to me. According to her biography, my great-great grandmother was a 13-year-old girl in the Martin Handcart company. Her father had died on the plains in Nebraska, but she continued on to Salt Lake City with her mother and sister. My purpose in sharing these stories was to help the children understand that living the gospel brings its challenges, but choices we make today affect not only us, but our posterity. After our Sharing Time, one of the brothers who teaches Primary came to me and told me his ancestor was one of the young men who carried the people across the river.”

Materials needed:

  • cooler with ice (add water at the church building)
  • towels for drying off feet
  • hula hoops for yoking oxen
  • laundry baskets
  • pioneer supplies such as flour, dried beans, crackers, a frying pan, a gallon of water, extra clothes, rope — whatever pioneer essentials you have on hand
  • simple costumes (optional) – cowboy hats, sunbonnets, or bandannas as neckerchiefs or head scarves.

If desired:

  • small glass jars
  • heavy whipping cream
  • crackers
  • knife for spreading
  • napkins

For another idea, click here for a simple “how-to” for a 10-minute pioneer trek for families, nursery, Junior or Senior Primary. You can trek on July 24 (Pioneer Day) or any day. This is a free chapter from the book that was born on this blog, “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.

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Spring means Popcorn Popping – Even in Israel!

Date farm in Jerusalem

BYU Jerusalem Center

I just got back from the Holy Land with my 92-year-old mom. What a sacred privilege to visit the land of the Bible, the land Jesus loved.

Seeing date trees everywhere made me think of this post about the way children in Israel sing the beloved activity song “Popcorn Popping.” Try teaching your children this fun new spin on the beloved favorite song!

By the way, this very blog has visitors from Israel AND the Palestinian Territories. This region of the world, beloved of the Lord Jesus Christ as His earthly homeland, is revered as holy by many. But even today’s heart-wrenching, devastating conflict doesn’t stop Latter-day Saint Primary leaders coming together in this troubled region, at least on this blog, on behalf of children. My personal wish is that this tiny moment of virtual connection might expand to engulf the region — and the world — in God’s love.

All over the world, we share a common desire for strong, faithful children who know and love the Lord, and a desire to build a better world for them. I wish that these common desires might bring us all just a little closer to Zion — through Primary. It wouldn’t be the first time that “a little child shall lead them.”  (Isaiah 11:6) See “What’s Primary Like in Nepal or Bahrain?

-Marci

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