Reverence-O-Meter made by Kelli, photo by Heidi
The theme for July 2017 is a continuation of the June theme: “I Choose the Right by Living Gospel Principles.” This terrific theme gives kids the opportunity to put solid doctrine into practice in their lives. Here are some supplemental ideas to consider:
Week 1: Fasting and Prayer – see Fasting for Beginners – teaching children about fasting
Week 2: Kindness – consider a Pint-sized Service Project to put this principle into action
Week 3: Reverence – try Quiet Game – Reverence Builder, especially as children enter the Primary room. Or try making the simple Reverence-O-Meter pictured here. Elinor explains that if the marker showed “reverent” at the end of sharing time, the children earned 3 cotton balls in a container, “almost there” earned 2, and so on. They were filling a container with cotton balls to earn a party.
Week 4: Honesty – see Honesty: teach them how, as well as what and why
God bless the children of the latter days, and those who love them.
Guest author Marina is a stay-at-home mom of three boys and loves it. She shares this gem from her son Simon on how to repent: “You need to fall down on the ground and sleep for two days like Alma did (Mosiah 27). Then you will wake up with a new heart.”
In case you need something a bit more specific, here are some ideas about helping kids learn about repentance:
Today’s idea comes from Heather D, who says, “I love singing, my family, and puppies (but who doesn’t).”
This simple game is for any season. You can use it for Sharing Time, singing time, or a lesson. Here’s how it works: Ask the children a question, then have them write or draw their answer on a piece of paper. Use white paper for snowballs or baseballs; use orange paper for basketballs. When everyone is finished, each child crumples their paper into a ball and throws!
Children can throw their balls all at once (try having them throw their snowballs at YOU, with or without a cardboard CTR shield, as Heather D. did here!). Or each child can take turns throwing their ball into a bucket or basket. There are lots of variations!
How to use this idea? Choristers can ask children to write their favorite song (with help for younger children). Those songs can be sung that week or next week, as time permits.
For a lesson or Sharing Time, ask the children a review question such as “What is one thing you want to always remember about _____?” Or ask an application question such as “What is one way you can (follow Jesus, be a good friend, show love to your family)?
Have fun with this activity!
The theme for June 2017 is “I Choose the Right by Living Gospel Principles.” This terrific theme gives kids the opportunity to put solid doctrine into practice in their lives. Here are some supplemental ideas to consider:
Week 1: Prayer – see Taking Prayer to the Next Level (including “A child’s prayer can save a (duck’s) life”)
Week 2: Tithing – see Paying Tithing on Treats
Week 3: Word of Wisdom – see Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea (our most popular post of all time!)
Week 4: Modesty – see Teaching modesty: clothing as advertising
In the month of May we will be teaching the Primary children about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: 1) Faith to follow Jesus Christ 2) Forgiveness through repentance 3) Baptism by immersion like Jesus showed us 4) The gift of the Holy Ghost and 5) Renewing our baptismal covenants by taking the Sacrament each week.
I still love this Baptismal Promises sharing time lesson I posted a few years ago. This is a simple lesson with printables to teach about the promises we make at Baptism and each week when we take the Sacrament. I think we often use words that are very familiar to the adults at church and forget that the kids really don’t have a clue what we mean when we say “covenants” “ordinances” “principles” “Atonement”. This lesson is a great way to break down the concept of covenants. When I teach it I introduce the word covenant so they can become familiar with it but I mostly use the words “big promise” to describe what a covenant is.
On week 2 of the month you could teach about these Baptismal promises and then on week 4 teach the same promises, review the idea that a covenant is a “big promise” and review all the things we promise at baptism and then renew each week when we take the Sacrament. The schedule of this month’s theme is so perfect for repetition and giving the children a chance to absorb these important principles. If we’re going to make a “big promise” with out Heavenly Father I think we better understand what we’re promising.
And as always, since I am a huge believer in the power of music and how much better we remember concepts when taught through music, there are so many fantastic Primary songs about these topics. Songs always teach better than too much talking!
I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus (CS 78)
Faith (CS 96)
Baptism (CS 100)
When Jesus Christ Was Baptized (CS 102)
When I am Baptized (CS 103)
The Holy Ghost (CS 105)
The Still Small Voice (CS 106)
Listen, Listen (CS 107)
The Sacrament (CS 72)
I Feel My Savior’s Love (CS 74)
Today’s guest author is Tina, mother of 6, a high school physics teacher who loves reading and listening to Broadway musicals. Tina shares the following Primary lesson idea:
Today I taught my last Primary class to my wonderful 7 and 8-year-olds. I made them each (9 boys and 1 girl) a “Sword of Truth.” The sword was made of Styrofoam wrapped with duct tape and aluminum foil. I wrote “Sword of Truth” on each one with an ordinary ballpoint pen.
For the lesson I read a scenario where a child either told a truth or a lie, each on a separate piece of paper. (Here’s the pdf: Telling a Truth or Telling a Lie) The children would tell me which it was. Then I crumpled up the strip of paper and they got to hit the crumpled paper with the sword of truth.
It’s been a wonderful year with them. They are the most energetic, enthusiastic, and delightful group of kids I’ve dealt with in a long time. I’m sure going to miss teaching these children.
It’s easy to make one or a dozen of these swords. Children of all ages would be thrilled to wield their “Sword of Truth.”
The April 2017 Sharing Time is “Jesus Christ Teaches Me to Choose the Right.” The lesson for Week 1 suggests cutting a puzzle into four pieces, representing four ways that “Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me:”
Of course there are an infinite number of ways that Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me, but we suggest cutting that puzzle into FIVE pieces as you teach the children this one more way:
- He served others (see Mark 2:1-4, 11-12). Friends lowered a paralyzed man down through the roof when the house was too crowded for them to get to Jesus. Then Jesus healed the man immediately. Afterwards, his friends didn’t pull him back up through the roof; the man picked up his bed and walked home.
In addition to teaching about Jesus’ example of service, you may want to help the children apply it, real time. Add an actual pint-sized service project to your Sharing Time lesson, to help children to serve as Jesus served. If you have time, this can happen in the same lesson, or in a followup lesson. Think about someone in need in your ward or community: perhaps a homebound ward member, a sick child, local nursing home residents, hospitalized children, missionaries serving in your ward, missionaries serving elsewhere who grew up in your ward, firefighters or police officers who work around the clock every day of the year, etc.
Children can draw them a picture or make a card to cheer them up. Older children can write letters about what they’re learning in Primary. This can be simple (paper and crayons/pens) or elaborate (stickers, markers, buttons, lace).
Children can create holiday cards for upcoming regular holidays or for unusual holidays held throughout the year. For example, DaysOfTheYear.com says that Saturday, April 15 is Microvolunteering Day! Even micro-people can help in micro-ways. There’s an occasion to celebrate for every month and every day of the year.
Here’s more ideas for service projects with kids, including great resources to share with Primary families as well: Pint-sized Service Projects and Creating a Culture of Service.
Here’s to serving as Jesus served.
I love Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk about the missionaries who found the young girl who later became his wife – by knocking at all the doors of an apartment building until they came to the only one who would listen, located on the “fourth floor, last door.” And I’ll bet your children will love this story too. This story underscores lessons about persistence, obedience, good choices, missionary work, and faith.
Start by making a poster with four floors of doors, 6 doors on each floor. Simple index cards taped to a large poster will do. Behind the last door on the 4th floor, place a picture of a smiling family. The rest of the doors will be blank underneath.
Ask 24 (yes, 24!) children to line up. (If you have fewer than 24 children, they can go to the end of the line and take several turns.) Each child takes a turn knocking on a door in order, opening the flap and finding nothing there, until the last door is opened. Ask the children, “Are you ready to give up?” “Should we stop knocking on doors?” Discuss how these missionaries showed persistence, obedience, good choices, and faith. Remind children that God seldom answers prayers immediately; keep at it!
(Thanks to Gisel for this great visual and lesson idea!)
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. Click here for Part 2 (ideas 5-8) and Part 3 (ideas 9-11).
MUSIC GAMES with BEAN BAGS:
- HAVE A SEAT: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the music stops, the person holding the bean bag sits down. Resume the song until everyone is sitting.
- HOT AND COLD: While one child is out of the room with a teacher, ask another child to hide the bean bag. When the child returns, sing louder as the child gets closer to the bean bag, softer as they get farther, until they find the hidden bean bag.
- NEXT LINE of the SONG: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the pianist stops playing, the person holding the bean bag says the next line. If they don’t know it, they pass the bean bag to the next person who does.
Watch next month for a single printout of all these ideas!
On March 17, the world’s oldest continuing organization for women, the Relief Society, turns 175 years old! Children who are turning 4 or 7 or 11 may have a hard time imagining a birthday cake with 175 candles.
What could we give our women’s organization to wish them a happy birthday? What would Relief Society like for it’s birthday? I think Relief Society would like children to understand what Relief Society is about.
The March Sharing Time theme is about living prophets. It was the Prophet Joseph Smith who organized the first Relief Society 175 years ago. The First Presidency, in the preface to Daughters In My Kingdom, said “We testify that the Lord has restored the fullness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that Relief Society is an important part of that restoration” (page ix).
Here are some ideas for a quick birthday message, for children to understand a little about Relief Society:
- Have the children repeat with you the Relief Society purpose: “Faith, Family, Relief” (from the headline of the Visiting Teaching message in the ENSIGN each month).
- Teach the Relief Society motto: “Charity Never Faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Explain what “charity” and “faileth” mean.
If you have more time,
- Have the children make and deliver birthday cards to Relief Society, drawing a picture of what any of the words above mean to them (faith, family, relief, charity) or how those Relief Society words help them choose the right. Each child could give a card to one of the women in Relief Society. You may want to do this at the very end of the Relief Society/Primary hour. The Relief Society secretary could pre-label blank cards before the children decorate them, to make sure the sisters who need them most receive a card. Or you could let each child give the card to any sister in Relief Society (except their mom? including their mom? your choice).
- Consider teaching this marvelous lesson about the history and purpose of Relief Society and its powerful women leaders, past and present, complete with visuals and games for younger and older children: Women and Service in the Kingdom: a Sharing Time or family night lesson for girls AND boys
By the way, when is Primary’s birthday? It’s August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org). President Monson’s birthday is on August 21, 1927. You may want to start planning ahead to celebrate! Here are some ideas: August: Celebrate Birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson
Happy birthday, Relief Society! from your pint-sized fans in Primary.