Notice the oxen yoked together and the pioneer children hauling their laundry-basket-handcart.
Teens all over the church re-enact the 1847 pioneer trek. Youth are trekking in Taichung, Taiwan and across the pampas in Argentina. In fact, the Church News reported that “in recent years the two-wheeled wooden vehicles have made a comeback that likely outsizes their original numbers.” That is, more people have pushed a handcart in recent years than ever pushed handcarts across the plains in the 1800s. Youth have life-changing personal experiences, strengthen faith and build testimonies as they learn about these everyday pioneer heroes.
But why limit this faith-building trek to youth? Children too will be inspired as they understand the Lord’s hand in guiding His people through wildernesses of all kinds, then and now. 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.”
See also Pioneer Experience – Frozen Feet and All and Black Mormon Pioneers.
God bless the pioneers of yesterday and today.
Filed under Activity, Lesson
When I was a missionary in Spain I experienced an amazing celebration called La Semana Santa, The Holy Week. In Spain the entire week leading up to Easter is a celebration. This was something I wanted to take with me when I returned to the United States. I have always loved celebrating Easter, but experiencing La Semana Santa made me really think about the amazing events in Christ’s last week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.
In our family our tradition is to celebrate Jesus’ last week by reading and discussing the things he did in his last mortal days on earth, day by day in the same order that they happened. We begin on Palm Sunday, often with a feast and our own little “procession” to the temple with palm leaves. (Now that we live in Hawaii it’s easy to get palm leaves for such an activity. But even before we moved to Hawaii we would often just use a similar looking branch, fern or leaf.) We like to take a few minutes at breakfast, or before bed each day to share the scripture stories with our children. We open the scriptures so they know where the story comes from, then we simplify the words a little to make it more developmentally appropriate for our toddlers and preschoolers. The older kids follow along in their copy of the Bible. I have simple drawings of some of these events that I like to show the kids while we are talking (See the Gospel Art Kit suggestions below if you are searching for pictures). These discussions have elicited wonderful questions from our children. I feel more in tune and aware of the meaning of Easter because we are thinking about it and discussing it all week!
This is a wonderful family activity, but it could also be an idea for Sharing Time or an individual class lesson. In Sharing Time, the Sunday before Easter–Palm Sunday, you could introduce the idea and share the scripture story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then give parents this handout as a reference for more scripture study during the rest of the week. Consider bringing in some palm leaves or other similar tree branches so each of the children can reenact what it might have been like to wave a palm while Jesus entered Jerusalem. I often wonder how I might have felt.
Then, on Easter Sunday you could share the scriptures about Christ’s resurrection and discuss how the children felt learning about Jesus’ last week–the Holy Week.
The Last Week of Jesus’ Life-Easter PDF
Gospel Art Kit (GAK) pictures online
Triumphal Entry GAK 223
Jesus Cleansing Temple GAK 224
The Last Supper GAK 225
Jesus Washing Apostles Feet GAK 226
Gethsemane GAK 227
Judas Betrays Jesus GAK 228
Crucifixion GAK 230
Burial of Jesus GAK 231
The Tomb GAK 232
The Empty Tomb GAK 245
Jesus Appears to Mary GAK 233
Jesus Shows His Wounds GAK 234
Here’s an easy idea to get the kids motivated to sing their very best! Here are our very official judges for the “Singing Olympics” during singing time. We split into 3 teams. Each team performed the song we’ve been learning all month (one team at a time), and we awarded a gold, silver, and bronze medal at the end.
All you need are a clipboard, pen and paper for each judge, and paper medals for each team or each child. Have fun with it!
Filed under Activity, Music
Guest contributor Sister D. strikes again! (See her previous clever “Hello Song” post here.)
Looking for a fun way to choose songs or for kids to choose turns? Open up an umbrella, hang strings from the metal ribs, and hang paper raindrops from the strings! Label the raindrops with names of songs for review, or numbers that correspond to a list of songs to sing or scriptures to read. (Hint: putting numbers on the raindrops makes them reusable for different purposes.)
Let it pour!
And if it’s more like snow season than rain season, try this “Year Round Snowball Fight!”
Filed under Activity, Music
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.
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
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!
Filed under Activity, Music
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.
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!
Filed under Activity, Music
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!
Filed under Activity, Music