Category Archives: Sharing Time

Getting acquainted with Pres. Nelson: May Sharing Time “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel”

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May’s Sharing Time theme gives us a great opportunity to get acquainted with our new prophet, Pres. Russell M. Nelson. The theme “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel” is a chance to teach children that no matter who the living prophet is, he speaks for the Lord and teaches the same gospel truths.

See “Meet Our New Prophet” in the March 2018 Friend magazine. You may want to play the matching game with statements and pictures about Pres. Nelson. Be sure to read Pres. Nelson’s three statements the day the announcement was made, encouraging kids and adults to live the gospel.

Week 3 Sharing Time theme is “Prophets teach me to pay tithing.” Consider this idea: Paying Tithing on Treats.

Week 4 is “Prophets teach me to live the Word of Wisdom.” Try this idea: Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea (our most popular post of all time!)

God bless our prophet.

-Marci

 

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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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March Sharing Time: Jesus as Savior – Easter and more

The concept of Jesus as Savior can be a relief to children who expect to be punished for their mistakes. It may be that kids’ choices will have consequences that might be uncomfortable (and sadly memorable!). But they are never too young to learn that they have a Savior.

I’ll never forget the feeling of introducing another adult to the concept of Jesus as Savior. She grew up in a non-Christian church, and the concept that Someone would pay for her sins if she repented was a relief of eternal proportions. She thought she’d have to suffer for her own sins, and she had suffered plenty already. The Atonement is a magnificent gift from our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Children too can appreciate this gift. As you ponder the needs of the children, you may be inspired to focus more this month on Easter, the Resurrection, or the gift of the Atonement. Here are some ideas:

Happy Easter!

-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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5th Sunday Strikes Again!

As you look ahead for the year, watch for those 5th Sundays that give you an extra week to do something special. In 2018, fifth Sundays occur in April (but the first Sunday will be General Conference, so no Primary), July, September and December. But each monthly outline in the Sharing Time manual only has 4 weeks? What to do?

  • Use the time for your favorite lesson or activity on the monthly theme or another gospel principle. My personal favorites: “Simple Pioneer Trek” (not just for Pioneer Day on July 24!), “Lesson from a Laundry Basket” (suitable for Junior Primary as well as nursery), and Women and Service in the Kingdom: a Sharing Time or family night lesson for girls AND boys (about the power of women and girls, what children might like to know about Relief Society, etc.) Each of these is featured in the book that was born on this blog: read more here about “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids“! For more ideas, click on the “Categories” box to the right here, and select “lessons” or “sharing time.”
  • Review one of the lessons for the month on the theme. Or review all 4 lessons, tying them together to reinforce the monthly theme.
  • Teach a lesson missed because of Stake Conference, General Conference, or a snow day.
  • Involve the children in a service project during Sharing Time. Ideas here and here.
  • “Children’s Choice – Songs & Scriptures.” Ask a child to choose his favorite song. Look up the song in the Children’s Songbook (CS) or Hymns. Sing the song, then go to the bottom right corner of the page in the songbook for two scriptures that relate to the song topic. Easy. For example, a child chooses “Baptism” (CS, 100). The bottom right corner of the songbook page leads you to Matthew 3:13-16, the story of Christ’s baptism, and the 4th Article of Faith. Teach about that principle, bearing testimony as you feel prompted, perhaps asking a child to share an experience. Repeat as time allows.
  • Practice the Articles of Faith. Here are 3 fun ideas: Learning the Articles of Faith: 3 fun ideas
  • Watch one of the marvelous videos for children on lds.org, Scroll down past the videos for teachers, leaders and parents to the videos for children. The children might enjoy the “One in a Million” videos of LDS children around the world, or perhaps a video of a favorite scripture story. There are games and activities on that site as well.

Any other favorite ways to fill 5th Sundays?

-Marci

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January Sharing Time: agency and choices

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A new year, a new manual, a new theme! The theme for Week 4 is “I have agency, and I am responsible for my choices.” This is such a critical concept for children to understand as they begin to experiment with their God-given power to choose in this mortal life. The manual reminds us on every page, “Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own.” Here are some supplemental ideas to try:

 

-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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Sharing Time ideas for December: “Jesus Christ Is the Son of God”

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While we think and talk about Jesus often, it’s particularly sacred to think of Him in December, when we join with the rest of the Christian world and celebrate Jesus’ birth. Here are some special Sharing Time or family night ideas to celebrate Jesus:

Enjoy this sacred season! Merry Christmas to you from all of us at Primary in Zion!

-Marci

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November: I Can Choose to Be a Missionary Now

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Next in the ways to Choose The Right is the November 2017 Sharing Time theme: “I Can Choose to Be a Missionary Now.” In addition to the good ideas of serving others, setting a good example, teaching my friends about Jesus, and preparing to serve a mission, consider these ideas:

 

“Fourth Floor, Last Door” for Children

Preparing (emotionally) for a mission and for life!

Be a Missionary NOW! Sharing Time or Family Night ideas

 

 

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“Why do we pray in the name of Jesus Christ anyway?”

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I write this on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. A simple question from my beloved little friend Eva almost a year ago has led me on a quest for a way to explain the profound concepts of Advocate, Redeemer, Savior and Mediator to a child. After much prayer, temple worship, and lots and lots of scripture searching, here is my response.

In a previous post, we told about Eva asking a question in Primary that Michelle followed up on at home, highlighting the value of bridging home and church for the sake of these children we both love. But the answer to this simple question from a child has profound significance.

Eva asked, “Why do we pray in the name of Jesus Christ anyway?” Has any child ever asked you this? How can you explain the concept of Christ being our advocate with the Father to a child? Here’s my attempt.

“Beloved child(ren), we pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ because we are not worthy. If we were perfect, we could pray to Heavenly Father in our own name. But we all make mistakes — big and small — and “no unclean thing can enter” into God’s presence, not even for a moment, not even just to talk to Him in prayer. (1 Nephi 15:34) Only Jesus can do that, because He is clean. He is perfect. Jesus never made any bad choices, not even once.

“But Jesus knew we would make mistakes, so He paid for our sins in Gethsemane and on the cross. He agreed to be our Advocate with Heavenly Father. Advocate means someone who begs or pleads for someone else — asks really earnestly and hard. (see Doctrine & Covenants 45:3-5).

“At the Last Supper, just before He died, Jesus said, ‘No man cometh unto the Father but by me’ (John 14:6).

“And that, beloved child, is why we pray to Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name. It reminds us that we are too imperfect to talk to God on our own, but our perfect older brother Jesus pleads for us in front of our perfect Heavenly Father.”

Several memorable songs teach this truth as well; see the Children’s Songbook (CS) index under “Atonement,” including these personal favorites:

  • “I Lived in Heaven” (CS 4)
  • “He Sent His Son” (CS 34)
  • “Help Us, O God, to Understand (CS 73)
  • “Third Article of Faith” (set to music in CS 123)

Side note – I’m trying to learn the 23rd Psalm in Spanish. Instead of “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (verse 3, emphasis added), the Spanish translation reads “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for the love of his name (por amor de su nombre).” It doesn’t surprise me that in the end, it all comes down to love.

How have you helped a child understand why we pray in Jesus’ name? Comment below!

-Marci

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