Category Archives: Activity

Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 2 of 4

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!



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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 1 of 4

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!



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A Golden Opportunity to Review!, colored by Cara Lu, age 7

from, 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!



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Teaching kids about refugees: Activity Days book club or geography study

Church News photo by Michelle Mullis

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:

  • Invite a Refugee to Dinner” about families from Bhutan and USA who shopped together for ingredients and cooked together (4 minutes).
  • Dutch Potato Project” about former enemies in WW2 sacrificing for fellow Saints, despite deep distrust and war trauma (12 minutes). What was accomplished when they gave up their potatoes? What is YOUR potato?
  • Ye Have Done It Unto Me” from Bible videos (3 minutes). Notice the people’s surprised response, “When saw we thee a stranger?” You may be doing more than you realize.

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.


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August Sharing Time or family night lesson: “My Body Is a Temple of God”

word of wisdom


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.


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Summer special days – Pioneer Day, President Monson’s birthday, and Primary’s birthday!

Painting of the first Primary from

Painting of the first Primary from

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

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 hereSundayLessons_Front_RGB


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June/July Sharing Time or family night lesson: Game about the First 4 Principles of the Gospel


(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:

  1. Faith
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism
  4. 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)

  1. 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)
  2. Jesus set the example for us in the River Jordan. (Matthew 3:13-17)
  3. Alma did this when he left King Noah’s court. (Mosiah 17:2–418:1–17)
  4. Alma compared this principle to a seed. (Alma 32:28 – 30)
  5. This principle has to do with the third member of the Godhead. (Article of Faith 1)
  6. Children younger than eight years old have to wait for this principle. (Moroni 8:10 – 11)
  7. The brother of Jared had so much of this that he saw Jesus Christ. (Ether 3:6, 9-10)
  8. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies did this when they buried their swords. (Alma 23:4–1824:6–19)
  9. This principle comes last because you need the other three first. (Article of Faith 4)
  10. Enos prayed all night to receive this. (see Enos 1:1–4)


  1. Jonah (Repentance — perhaps also Faith)
  2. Jesus in the River Jordan (Baptism)
  3. Alma after King Noah (Repentance AND Baptism)
  4. Alma compares this to a seed (Faith)
  5. Third member of the Godhead (as needed, explain Godhead and who the other two members are). (Holy Ghost)
  6. Age 8 (Baptism AND Gift of the Holy Ghost)
  7. The brother of Jared (Faith)
  8. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies buried their swords (Repentance — perhaps also Faith)
  9. This principle comes last because you need the other three first (Gift of the Holy Ghost)
  10. 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



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June Sharing Time or family night: The most overlooked of the First 4 Principles

from backyardbaseball2003ard

from backyardbaseball2003ard

The June 2016 Sharing Time theme is “The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Make It Possible for Me to Live with God Again.” Start by having the children recite or sing the 4th Article of Faith so they can name those first four principles and ordinances:

  1. Faith
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism
  4. Holy Ghost

Of these, which do you think is most overlooked when we teach children? My vote is for Repentance. We teach children to have faith, and we talk a lot about baptism, confirmation, and listening to the Spirit. But we seldom teach kids about how to repent, or teach them that this is a positive principle of self-improvement, not self-scolding, because Jesus already paid for our sins when we repent. Repentance is the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action, giving us a fresh start anytime we want it.

We can teach scripture stories about great men who repented, such as:

  1. Enos who pleaded with God all night for forgiveness (see Enos 1:1–4),
  2. Alma leaving King Noah’s court and becoming a prophet (Mosiah 17:2–4; 18:1–17);
  3. Jonah (Jonah 1–3); the
  4. Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their swords (Alma 23:4–18; 24:6–19).

But we can also make this principle of repentance relevant to children’s everyday lives and teach them how to repent like those scriptural heroes. They may need a bit of guidance in connecting Jonah’s repentance to their need to repent after breaking a rule, for example.

Here’s a lesson about how to incorporate repentance into a child’s daily personal prayer, along with a coloring activity: Daily repentance in daily prayers

Also see this story about repentance that children can relate to: Mailbox Mischief: repentance and atonement for Sharing Time or families by Jackie.


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Free State Park Activity Days Program – “Bugs, Buddies and Botany at Borderland” Photo by Joe Phelan Photo by Joe Phelan

Today’s guest author Marti is 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. 

As a Stake Primary Presidency, one of our goals has been to help the children to realize they are not alone as church members, even though they may be the only member in their school.  We felt that a bonding activity with other children from the stake would help accomplish this goal, as well as increase their social skills.  We also wanted to have a fun activity which would help children earn some Faith In God requirements.

We thought we’d look into holding it at a local state park called Borderland. The park ranger planned several activities and provided the supplies. The only cost to those attending was the parking fee of $5 per car, with senior citizens free! With stake activities, we never know how many children will actually show up, but the park was very flexible around attendance. The Stake Primary provided the food and the take-aways. We also did a little introductory game at the beginning so the children could meet each other and find out which ward they were from. This made for a simple and affordable activity.

We chose a date at the end of August, when most families would be back from vacations but sports and school activities would not have started yet. A date in late May or June might also work, after sports seasons and before the end of school. I met with Ranger Paul, who had many suggestions for group activities no matter how many children actually attended.   He asked us to inform him of an approximate number of attendees two weeks before. They had a special public event planned for the day we had chosen, with two professional entymologists doing a Discovery Walk Insect Tour at 10 AM, and we could plan our activity work around that.  He suggested the following itinerary:

9:00 Tour, Games, & Stations: The children were divided into groups that could go on a tour, play old-fashioned lawn games (crochet, bocce, pick up stix, provided by the state park), or visit stations (identifying skins of various animals, or dissecting owl pellets, which are clusters of what owls cough up that can’t be digested, such as bones and skulls of other critters). The park provided rubber gloves and hand sanitizer, too.

10:00 Discovery Insect Walk: Some children brought their own nets, and the park provided some as well.

11:00 Lunch:  We could use their kitchen or bring a portable gas grill. We decided to grill and provided hot dogs, watermelon, potato chips, fruit snacks and water bottles.

As a memento for the day we gave each child a zipper pull with a crown and star to remind them that they are children of royalty and divine birth, a light to those around them, and that their example can be a positive influence as stated in Romans 5:19: “…by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Each of us CAN influence others around us, for good. “Always wear your invisible crown,” said Elaine Dalton in April 2010 General Conference.

Our goals of having fun, making new friends, experiencing the power of gathering with fellow saints, understanding we’re not alone in our quest to keep God’s commandments,  all the while surrounded by nature and His glorious creations, were achieved. You may find local state or national parks in your area might have similar program offerings!

Download the Hingham Stake Primary Activity flyer and permission slip.


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“I Was a Stranger” and how this initiative can apply to children

I think God knew what he was doing when He included Primary girls in the audience when the new initiative “I Was a Stranger” was announced at the General Women’s Meeting in March 2016. I think God knows that children have something important to contribute to this good work. Not only that, but the Sharing Time theme for the very next month was “Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me.” And what did Jesus do? He served others with love.

You may have already noticed our blog post Serving as Jesus Served: Sharing Time project or family activity, with ideas for pint-sized service projects, with new ideas directly related to the new #IWasAStranger initiative. For example, one ward Relief Society in my area recently did a service project for refugees through a local community organization. They put together bags of items children could play with or might need during the refugee screening process. Primary children could help collect the items or decorate the bags.

“I Was A Stranger” (available in multiple languages) has suggestions of how folks can get involved (scroll to the bottom of the webpage and look for “Getting Involved”). Some ideas are as simple and child-friendly as this:

  • Make a new friend
  • Do something you enjoy with someone new
  • Invite someone to your family night

We hope you’ll prayerfully read that website, and see what you feel inspired to teach your Primary about service, perhaps even about refugees in age-appropriate ways. Remind the children about times when they were strangers and how much they appreciated people helping them feel at home.

Also see the Church News article, Teaching Kids About Refugees: Every One of Us is a Child of God.

And now a question for you: Have you read any children’s books that taught the concepts addressed in I Was A Stranger? Any child-friendly service projects in your area?

Yours in this great work,








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