Category Archives: Activity

What would Pres. Nelson like for his birthday? (Sept 9)

President Nelson is having a birthday celebration! Anyone can join in online on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Utah time, available afterwards on the website anytime. The program will be rebroadcast in seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin and ASL. Artists are taking care of the entertainment (Donny Osmond, The Bonner Family, Nathan Pacheco, Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, GENTRI and of course the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square). Maybe your family would like to watch it together and enjoy birthday cupcakes in your own home!

But what about presents? What would Pres. Nelson like for his 95th birthday? I think the greatest present we can give him is to do what he asks. In his closing remarks in the last General Conference, President Nelson said: “Despite contention all around us, one’s home can become a heavenly place, where study, prayer, and faith can be merged with love. We can truly become disciples of the Lord, standing up and speaking up for Him wherever we are” (April 2019).

In Pres. Nelson’s words, I hear three specific requests:

  • Children consciously choosing to avoid fighting (Pres. Nelson called it “contention”).
  • Children energetically joining in family scripture study and prayer.
  • Children standing up and speaking up for Him wherever we are.

How will Pres. Nelson know? He’ll know. He’s a prophet.

Or if you like, you could send a letter, poem, drawing or photo to the FRIEND magazine (instructions here).

Children can give Pres. Nelson the gift of following his counsel. I think that’s the best birthday present he could receive.



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Who’s the Pioneer now? Today’s children in exciting times!

“Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked. . . ” And today’s children are pioneering their way through major changes in the world!

Who’s the first generation to grow up with the “home-centered, church-supported” curriculum? Our children. Who’s the first generation to implement the coming youth program to replace Scouting and Activity Days? Two-hour church? An exploding roster of temples worldwide? A new hymnbook and children’s songbook in the works, accepting contributions from regular folks all over the world? The first ever meeting of a prophet and a pope? 18-year-old missionaries (perhaps siblings of our children) calling home weekly, with sister missionaries wearing dress slacks? 11-year-old deacons and girls doing baptisms for the dead? Family history so easy a child can do it, even if they aren’t old enough to do temple baptisms? Children memorizing the names of the apostles, including the first Chinese-American and South American apostles? And all this in little over one year – one fast-forward, breathtaking year.

And our children are up to the task. Led by intrepid parents also saved for the last days, they’re preparing the kingdom of God to sail triumphant through the last days and into the millennium. They’re getting ready for Christ’s second coming.

A pioneer is defined as “a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area” with these synonyms: “explorer, trailblazer, discoverer.” Our children may not be crossing the plains, but they (and we) are pioneering a “cultural wilderness, while still keeping the faith.” (Neal A. Maxwell, If Thou Endure it Well). 

And yes, we hope they do sing as they “walk and walk and walk . . . and walk,” every day.

This year, for Pioneer Day (July 24), as we commemorate the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley, let’s remind the children that they too are pioneers — explorers, trailblazers, discoverers!

For a simple 10-minute pioneer trek for children (with or without frozen feet), visit Join the Journey: Children’s Pioneer Trek.  Suitable for Singing Time or family night!

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Rollout of Church’s new Youth Program – save the dates!

News from the First Presidency about the new youth program. Save the dates!
SEPT 29, 2019: Fifth-Sunday Presentation
Wards should reserve class time on this Sunday for prerecorded presentations featuring
President M. Russell Ballard. Two separate meetings should be held. The bishop will conduct a
meeting for adults, and a counselor in the bishopric will conduct a meeting for children and youth,
ages 8–18.

NOV 17, 2019: Face to Face Event for Children and Youth
Children and youth, ages 8–18, and their parents and leaders are invited to a broadcast event
with Elder Gerrit W. Gong and the Young Women, Young Men, and Primary General
Presidencies. Time TBA.


We’re excited to see what the Lord has in mind for these choice youth going forward!  Details about the global initiative for children and youth will be shared at as the implementation date approaches.

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Children creating their own parables!

from “Come Follow Me for Primary”

The “Come Follow Me” curriculum for this week (March 18-24) is about Jesus’ parables. A parable is just a simple story that teaches gospel truths. In Matthew 13, Jesus taught His followers using ordinary objects such as a seed, bread-making, a treasure, and a fishing net. There is much to unpack in these wonderful brief stories Jesus told.

Children may enjoy writing or telling their own parable. Using Jesus’ sentence-starter in Matthew 13, they could start with “The kingdom of heaven is like. . . ” and finish the sentence using an ordinary object that illustrates their feelings. Go ahead and write or tell your own parable to give them an example.

Or you might pick a different sentence starter: “Trying to be like Jesus is like . . . ” or “Prayer is like  . . . ” Finish the sentence with an ordinary object, then explain why you chose that object in a few words.

These need not be long; Jesus told the parable of the leaven in 24 words (Matthew 13:33).

Your children — at home or in Primary — might surprise you with their insight. Asking them to create using Jesus’ teaching style can help make the gospel more real in their ordinary lives.


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“Home church” and the book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids”

Are you getting settled into a rhythm with Come Follow Me and your family and/or yourself? Are you finding what works for you? A child called it “home church” — taking the third hour home.

You may be making more liberal use of the Friend magazine than ever before, with its monthly resources that support the Come Follow Me curriculum. Watch for the diamond that reads “Come Follow Me” on the top corner in certain articles and activities.

Here’s an additional resource to add more fun gospel learning to your sabbath: “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids,” the book that was born on this blog! It’s your favorite Primary in Zion blog posts, plus new voices from other authors, in a volume you can take with you! “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids” is available on, or wherever LDS books are sold.

Read how the book came about here. Download the handouts and posters here.

You’ll find

  • A mini pioneer trek, a temple trip, talking about girls’ and women’s roles in the church, and other memorable lessons and activities
  • Pint-sized service projects
  • Clever pictures to memorize the Articles of Faith
  • Creating simple play stations (at nursery and at home!)
  • and more!




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Merry CHRISTmas Eve!

Looking for a ready-to-use idea for your family for today or tomorrow? Here’s our collection of favorites!

Merry, merry CHRISTmas, our readers and friends!


PS – Yes, this blog has had a visitor from North Pole, Alaska – as well as the rest of the 50 states in the USA, 9 of 10 Canadian provinces and a total of 181 countries. Read more at What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?


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Planning ahead: baptism fireside “It’s Great to be 8!”

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

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Meet your new teacher activity – Breakfast with the Bishopric!

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!


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“A Service is a Service no Matter How Small”

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).





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Chalk talk – inside and outside!

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!



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