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.
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 wonderful resources about modesty from the Friend magazine, including this maze activity about our bodies as temples.
Painting of the first Primary from lds.org
Summer in the northern hemisphere brings Pioneer Day on July 24, President Monson’s birthday on August 21, 1927, and Primary’s birthday on August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org).
To celebrate Pioneer Day, or illustrate any lesson about faith or courage, try this lesson: Simple Pioneer Trek for children. This is one of the favorite lessons of all time, and will stay with your children for a lifetime — guaranteed.
To celebrate President Monson’s birthday or Primary’s birthday, try this lesson: August: Celebrate birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson. What do you think President Monson would like for his birthday? I’ll bet his favorite present would be if you served someone else.
Enjoy these special days with your Primary children!
“Simple Pioneer Trek for Children” appeared in the book Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids, the book that grew from this blog! Read about it here.
Filed under Activity, Lesson
(Download the one-page lesson plan here: First Four Principles lesson outline.)
Four weeks in June, four First Principles and Ordinances of the gospel! Teach one per week – Check. Then, you can do this review game or quiz! Luckily for you, there are five Sundays in July but only four lessons in the Sharing Time manual. So you can spend the first Sunday in July reviewing what the children learned in June.
Start by having the children recite or sing the 4th Article of Faith (Children’s Songbook, 124) so they can name those first four principles and ordinances:
- Gift of the Holy Ghost
Then try this review game. Prepare word strips with the following statements. Feel free to substitute other statements from the lessons taught earlier about the first principles of the gospel.
Divide the children into four groups (perhaps by class) and give one person in each group a sign with one of the first four principles listed above. Explain, “I’m going to read some situations, and you tell me which one applies to which of the first four principles of the gospel. If it’s your group, the whole group stands up! For example, if I tell a story about someone who has faith, the faith group stands up. Some situations might apply to more than one of the first principles, so both groups stand up. Ready? Let’s go!”
Review Game: (answers below)
- Jonah said he wouldn’t preach in Nineveh. But after he was swallowed by the whale, he changed his mind and went to Nineveh. (Jonah 1–3)
- Jesus set the example for us in the River Jordan. (Matthew 3:13-17)
- Alma did this when he left King Noah’s court. (Mosiah 17:2–4; 18:1–17)
- Alma compared this principle to a seed. (Alma 32:28 – 30)
- This principle has to do with the third member of the Godhead. (Article of Faith 1)
- Children younger than eight years old have to wait for this principle. (Moroni 8:10 – 11)
- The brother of Jared had so much of this that he saw Jesus Christ. (Ether 3:6, 9-10)
- The Anti-Nephi-Lehies did this when they buried their swords. (Alma 23:4–18; 24:6–19)
- This principle comes last because you need the other three first. (Article of Faith 4)
- Enos prayed all night to receive this. (see Enos 1:1–4)
- Jonah (Repentance — perhaps also Faith)
- Jesus in the River Jordan (Baptism)
- Alma after King Noah (Repentance AND Baptism)
- Alma compares this to a seed (Faith)
- Third member of the Godhead (as needed, explain Godhead and who the other two members are). (Holy Ghost)
- Age 8 (Baptism AND Gift of the Holy Ghost)
- The brother of Jared (Faith)
- The Anti-Nephi-Lehies buried their swords (Repentance — perhaps also Faith)
- This principle comes last because you need the other three first (Gift of the Holy Ghost)
- Enos prayed all night to receive this. (Repentance)
Have extra time? Additional lesson ideas:
- Show pictures that illustrate each of the statements. AND/OR
- Briefly review each story. AND/OR
- Ask followup and application questions, such as “Why did Alma compare faith to a seed? What can we do to help our ‘faith plant’ grow in our hearts?” AND/OR
- For Senior Primary, give the scripture clue instead of reading the statement.
See other 5th Sunday lesson ideas here:
5th Sunday: Restoration of Priesthood AND Relief Society
5th Sunday Sharing Time Ideas