As you look ahead, think about scheduling a fireside to prepare children for baptism. Some children have January birthdays, so it’s never too soon to plan! Sometimes this special fireside is held on a ward level, sometimes on a stake level.
Looking for ideas? Check out Jackie’s post: “It’s Great to be 8!” Fireside for Children Preparing for Baptism
While this fireside is optional, it does help the children to go beyond the mechanics and the excitement of being in the spotlight, and truly understand the eternal significance of this first covenant (of many) they will make with their Father in Heaven.
“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” Mosiah 18:10
Thinking of a meet-your-new-Primary-teacher activity in the new year? Try Breakfast with the Bishopric! Read Jenn’s step-by-step how-to here, complete with downloadable template!
As Jenn said, “I felt strongly that if we were going to ask parents to bring their kids to the church on a Saturday morning, the experience needed to be extremely valuable – on a spiritual level as well as a social level.”
Such an activity really gets Primary off to a good start, with bonding as well as “solid doctrine-based fun.” You’ll reap the benefits throughout the year!
Did you notice the “Chalk Service” idea in this month’s November 2018 Friend magazine? Nathan H., age 10, Arizona USA, suggested doing “nice sidewalk chalk messages at homes of people who needed encouragement.” His motto is “a service is a service, no matter how small.”
With your bishopric’s permission, you might like to try the same idea at church! Pulling in plenty of adult helpers, you could bring the children outside to draw on the church sidewalk. They could write a welcome home message to a returning missionary, or draw what they have learned. This is a good conversation starter on the way home for children to share gospel concepts they are discussing in Primary with their families. Be sure to have a backup rain plan!
Looking for more easy chalk ideas? Check out Chalk talk – inside and outside!
More service ideas? See Serving as Jesus Served: Sharing Time project or family activity and Pint-Sized Service Projects , a free download of a chapter from the book Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids, the book that was born on this blog!
It’s never too early for children to learn that service is “the only true and lasting happiness. Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.” (Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” October 1982).
Looking for interesting ideas for using a simple piece of chalk? Try these:
- Black construction paper makes a simple “chalkboard.” You can make visual aids ahead of time and post the construction paper chalkboards around the room, or one-by-one as your lesson unfolds. (Remember you can’t erase on black construction paper.)
- Hand the chalk to the children! They can each have their own black construction paper chalkboard to draw a picture of what they learned. Or a child can draw on the classroom chalkboard what they learned, or write the answer to a question. Usually you can get at least 2 children at the chalkboard at the same time. The more children are involved in the lesson, the more they learn. Also see Singing Time – Art Class!
- Colored chalk adds interest.
- With the permission of the Primary presidency and bishopric, and with plenty of adult helpers, bring the children outside to draw on the church sidewalk what they have learned. This is a good conversation starter on the way home for children to share gospel concepts they are discussing in Primary with their families. Be sure to have a backup rain plan!
Don’t forget the hand wipes for chalky fingers.
For more ideas for interesting lessons, see Potatoes every night: Variety in Teaching and 14 Bean Bag Ideas – Easy Kid Involvers!
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