Category Archives: Lesson

August 2018 Sharing Time: “Heavenly Father Hears and Answers Prayers”

from “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids,” by Marci McPhee

The August 2018 Sharing Time theme is “Heavenly Father Hears and Answers Prayers.” Your children may enjoy this charming experience from Eva and Michelle: Faith and Miracles: A Child’s prayer can save a (duck’s) life

Your children may be ready for the next step: adding repentance to prayer. Instead of four steps of prayer (address Heavenly Father by name, thank Him, ask Him, and close in Jesus’ name), consider the FIVE steps of prayer (add repentance as a vibrant, daily part of prayer). Here’s a free downloadable handout from the book that was born on this blog, Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids! (See also “Personal Prayer Lesson Plan – with visuals for children, especially those with Special Needs.”)

Prayer – a lifelong habit that starts early.

-Marci

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Join the Journey: Children’s Pioneer Trek

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.

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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.

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See also Pioneer Experience – Frozen Feet and All and Black Mormon Pioneers.

God bless the pioneers of yesterday and today.

-Marci

 

 

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“All Are Alike Unto God” – a timely Sharing Time or family night lesson at the 40th anniversary of OD 2

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Today we share a family night or Sharing Time lesson outline about unity in the face of prejudice and intolerance. “All Are Alike Unto God” is a valuable lesson for children (and adults) from TimesAndSeasons.org. It’s an easy-to-follow, step-by-step lesson plan for Junior and Senior Primary. Feel free to adapt it to the needs of your children.

This message is particularly timely given the 40th anniversary of Official Declaration 2, extending priesthood and temple blessings to all God’s worthy children. BeOne.lds.org has links to the June 1, 2018 “BeOne” event, an essay on Race and the Priesthood, and links to bios of Black Mormon Pioneers such as Jane Manning James (pictured above), Elijah Abel, and others.

Also see the FRIEND magazine articles about Jane Manning James: “Jane’s Choice” and “Jane’s Journey”

Kids may enjoy singing (and moving their bodies!) along with Sister Gladys Knight’s arrangement of “Come, Come Ye Saints” with a beat.

The June Sharing Time theme is “I Will Follow Heavenly Father’s Plan by Being Baptized and Confirmed.” Each month the Sharing Time manual encourages:”Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own. Each week, plan ways to (1) identify the doctrine, (2) help the children understand it, and (3) help them apply it in their lives. Ask yourself, “What will the children do to learn, and how can I help them feel the Spirit?”

In your Sharing Time lesson, you may want to teach these principles of unity and love for all God’s children as a way to “follow Jesus Christ by being baptized and confirmed and keeping baptismal covenants.” You may want to teach about Jane Manning James as a faithful woman who did just that, despite tremendous obstacles.

Jesus gets the last word on this one. He said: “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33) and “I say unto you, be one.” (Doctrine & Covenants 38:27)

-Marci

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Is Anything Getting Through? Proof #1

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Especially on discouraging days, sometimes we wonder whether anything we say really penetrates children’s minds. I have proof.

recent post included the story of Jesus’ service to the paralyzed man let down through the roof. This sweet story is one that has particular meaning for me. I learned it in Vacation Bible School when I was about 7 years old. I was amazed at the faith of the man and his friends and the love of Jesus for the paralyzed man. I didn’t know personally anyone who actually got into crowded houses by making holes in roofs (my parents would tan my hide), but just like that paralyzed man, I would do anything to get to Jesus if I had the chance.

Then my parents stopped going to our Methodist church (that’s another story). I didn’t hear that Bible story from the time I was 7 until I was 16. That’s when found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I heard that story again, I instantly remembered it from my childhood, with total recall of the room, my short plastic chair for my little legs, the face of my teacher holding the picture of that heart-tugging story.

I remember that every time I wonder whether anything is penetrating when we teach children. I have proof that some things do stay with a child. You’re doing more good than you may ever know when you lovingly introduce children to their Savior.

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Holy Week: The Atonement and Resurrection–Palm Sunday and Easter lesson idea or family activity

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

~Michelle

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

 

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April – Apostasy paper cup tower activity

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Download a ready-to-use lesson plan: Apostasy lesson outline

The April 2018 theme for week 1 is: “After Jesus Christ and His Apostles died, gospel truths were lost.”

I learned about the apostasy when Elder Mantle and Elder What’s-His-Name taught me the gospel as a 16-year-old. They used a memorable activity to teach about the apostasy that sticks with me today, decades later.

They pulled a stack of nested cups out of their backpack, each labeled with a gospel principle that was lost or changed during the apostasy such as baptism, priesthood, temples, the sacrament, living prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ. First they put down the cup labeled Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, then living prophets and apostles. Then they built the rest of the cups into a tower representing the church that Jesus himself founded when He was alive.

“Then Jesus Christ died, and the apostles were killed,” they explained, removing those cups. The rest of the paper cup tower tumbled. “In those days, the apostles couldn’t come together often enough to name new apostles as fast as the apostles were killed by the wicked people trying to stop the church. The apostles met together to replace the apostle Judas who betrayed Jesus, choosing Matthias to take Judas’ place (See Acts 1:15-26). But after that, the apostles died off and weren’t replaced, and precious truths were lost.

“But the good news is that all those truths are restored in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The apostasy can’t happen again, because each time an apostle passes away, he is replaced with a new apostle at the next General Conference.”

I’m grateful for those missionaries who taught me these vital life-changing truths years ago. You can be the bearer of this wonderful news to the hearts of the children.

As you teach the restoration of the priesthood, consider teaching the restoration of the Relief Society! Here’s a ready-to-use lesson plan and visual aids: Sharing Time Lesson – Restoration of Priesthood AND Relief Society

-Marci

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Swapping roles – children as teachers!

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“When children explain in their own words the gospel doctrines they have just been taught, real learning takes place,” said Sisters Wixom, Stevens and Esplin, former Primary General Presidency (Church News, July 15, 2012, 15). Russell Wilcox adds, “I realized that I had learned many wonderful principles in Primary, but it was when I was required to teach those principles to others that I fully internalized them” (Ensign, Oct 2013, 48).

How can we create opportunities for children to teach, so they truly master gospel principles that will help them grow?

  • Save the last five minutes of the lesson for review and summary. Ask the children, “What is one thing you heard today that you didn’t know when you came to Primary today?” or “What are you going to do this week because of what you heard today?”
  • At the end of the lesson, ask the children to think of a Primary song that teaches the principle illustrated in the lesson, then hum that song together as you leave.
  • Invite a class of older children to visit a younger class or the nursery and teach a scripture story. Children can bear testimony of what it means for children today.
  • Challenge the children to teach a brother, sister, or grandparent (on the phone?) something they learned, or make it part of the dinner conversation.

When the Lord visited the Nephites, “he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude . . . and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things. . . ” (3 Nephi 26:14). We have much to learn from the children.

-Marci

 

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Dodge those arrows and rocks like Samuel the Lamanite!

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Download the free audio MP3 and sheet music here (available exclusively on PrimaryinZion!)

Kids don’t have to stand on a wall to have arrows and rocks thrown at them — or words that hurt like arrows and rocks. But just like Samuel, they might be unhurt. Here’s what happened to Samuel:

“(They) were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.” Helaman 16:2

Like Samuel, children can have the Spirit of the Lord with them, no matter what others do. A little ignoring can go a long way. Kindness to the verbal arrow-shooter can work too. (See “Passing Kindness” game from the Friend magazine for ways to show kindness to others, and how to defend themselves when others are unkind.)

But if the situation is serious, crossing over into bullying, it may be time to take action. Try these ideas:

And in case Samuel the Lamanite is one of YOUR heroes too, teach your children this unforgettable original song (only available here at PrimaryinZion!): Samuel the Lamanite song (with sheet music)!

Don’t let those arrows hurt you. Keep the Spirit of the Lord with you, just like Samuel.

-Marci

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February Sharing Time – cherishing our bodies, treating them well

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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

-Marci

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How the Christmas Story DIDN’T Happen, aka “What’s Wrong with this (Christmas) Picture?”

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We’re so used to the Christmas story that we forget how startlingly unusual it is. The Son of God, born of a woman? The King of Kings, arriving from heaven in a stable? No room at the inn for the newborn Son of God? You can help children think about this remarkable story by telling it the way it might have happened, if Jesus had been given the princely treatment He deserved at His birth.

I love telling the Christmas story this way with a completely straight face with no warning or prelude, waiting for the children to discover, one by one, that this is no ordinary retelling of the Christmas story.

Click here for the downloadable 1-page pdf, complete with references that correct the errors in this fascinating lesson, Sharing Time or family night lesson, “What’s Wrong with this (Christmas) Picture?” Senior Primary children might each read a scripture reference and correct the errors. (Hint: one of these facts below actually IS true, just slightly disguised.)

“Boys and girls, I know you’ve heard it before, but I love telling the Christmas story. I’ve written it down here so I don’t forget any of the details.

“It starts with Mary who was about to have her first baby, who was Jesus. Because He was the Son of God, King of the Jews, King of Kings, everyone in the entire country of Israel knew He was about to be born. His mother Mary and his stepfather Joseph were well known throughout the land. Joseph was a wise and good governor of Judea.

“Jesus was born in the royal palace, wrapped in the finest linen and laid in a cradle of the most prized Lebanese cedar wood overlaid with pure gold, fitting for the Son of God.

“The first to hear of Jesus’ birth were the governors of all the provinces. Angels appeared to all the provincial governors to announce that their King was born. Everyone knew the way to the palace where Jesus was born. The provincial governors scheduled a visit to baby Jesus when Mary had a little time to recover from giving birth. The governors were very pleased to meet their King.

“In fact, three kings from the East came to bring Jesus gifts: which were gold and two different kinds of tree resin, which is like tree sap only a thicker.

“That’s the way the Christmas story happened, right?”

Click here for the downloadable 1-page pdf, complete with references that correct the errors

 

 

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