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.
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!)
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
On 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.
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!
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!
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.
Make it a merry Christmas — through service in as little as zero minutes!
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
from lds.org, colored by Cora Lu, age 7
You’ve put up your visual aids one by one, and conveyed to little minds a memorable gospel truth. Now it’s time to take down those visual aids and either set up for the next wave of Primary children coming in the next hour, or pack them away in your Sunday bag.
Take this time as a valuable opportunity to review your lesson as you take down the visual aids! Talk through each visual aid and remind them of its meaning. It’s a basic educational principle that reviewing helps cement the message. You’ll have the children’s attention with the action at the front of the room, and you won’t have to be in a rush to break down after your lesson is over. Better for them, better for you!
Church News photo by Michelle Mullis
Catch these great ideas from the Church News article by Rachel Sterzer, “Teaching Kids About Refugees: Every One of Us is a Child of God,” suitable for families or Primaries!
- Book Club for Activity Days. Michelle Mullis of Ogden, Utah “had been teaching her 11-year-old daughter Anna and other children in a book club about Corrie ten Boom and the role she played in helping Jewish refugees in Holland during World War II.” The book is called The Hiding Place. That book club inspiration, plus the announcement of the “I Was A Stranger” initiative by Sister Linda K. Burton, led the children to collect items for hygiene kits for the Utah Refugee Center. Would your girls like to read a compelling book for an Activity Days book club?
- Geography study. What countries do the refugees in your area come from? Or how much do your children know about Syria, with 13.5 million refugees, including 6 million children (as of Feb 2016), making Syria the largest displacement crisis globally? (see UN report) The Church News article continues: “Once you have found a community or a country that resonates with you, you can take that deeper dive and look at the cultural aspects of the country and the people from there.” “Study their food, traditions, and the way they celebrate holidays or their religious differences. Helping children become informed propels them forward in service, Sister Mullins said. After looking at photos of the refugee camps and seeing how some refugees live, ‘the kids were ready to do whatever they could to help.'”
For service ideas, see “I Was A Stranger” and how this initiative can apply to Primary. Add your service ideas for kids to the comments section!
Children may also enjoy these videos:
Would your children enjoy studying refugees, then taking action, small or large? Imagine the power of children whose eyes are opened and hearts stirred as they come to ponder Sister Burton’s question, “What if their story were my story?” Even children are needed in this tremendously important lifesaving work, serving as Jesus Christ served.