Click here for a pdf of this ready-to-use lesson plan!
The February 2017 theme is “When We Choose the Right, We Are Blessed.” The Sharing Time manual has some wonderful stories of scriptural heroes (men and women) choosing the right – including Noah.
Children love the story of Noah and the ark. If your children are ready for a scripture challenge, teach them the difference between Noah’s ark and the brother of Jared’s eight arks (an ark just means a ship or boat). Review each scripture story (Genesis chapters 6-8 and Ether chapters 1-3, 6). Then hand out these six questions to groups of children to find the answers in the scriptures. Click here for a pdf of the following questions, with and without answers:
For extra drama, help the children visualize the size of Noah’s ark: Genesis 6:15 gives the dimensions in cubits. Each cubit was about one and a half feet (see “Cubit,” Bible Dictionary). Ask a few math whiz children to figure the dimensions in feet: about 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high. If your chapel has a cultural hall, the average basketball court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide by 10 feet tall to the top of the basketball rim. That means Noah’s ark was about the length of 4 1/2 cultural halls put end to end, about 2/3 as wide as a cultural hall, and about as tall as 4 1/2 basketball poles. That is a big floating house for a year.
APPLICATION: There are many lessons embedded in these stories, such as obedience (build that boat when God tells you!), faith (really, God? I’m going to get into that thing and not steer?), and trusting in God no matter what storm is raging outside (don’t think about the rain or the winds, just stay in the boat). Help the children see the connection to situations in their own lives.
Interested in more challenging scripture activities like these?
Getting Children to Open – not just bring – Their Scriptures
Primary as Pre-Seminary: Raising the Bar and Addressing the Boredom Challenge.
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!
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!
“The Second Coming,” by Harry Anderson. Gospel Art Kit 238
Teaching children about Jesus’ birth (First Coming) AND Second Coming accomplishes several good things:
- It puts the Savior’s birth in the context of Jesus’ eternal lifespan, helping to keep Christmas focused on Jesus.
- It removes the confusion about what that baby Messiah was supposed to do. As one of my Jewish co-workers said, “Look around – if that was the Messiah, we need a better one!” Of course she did not believe what we understand –that he would come twice: once to show us the way and atone for our sins, and a second time to conquer and establish his kingdom, subdue evil, and establish peace on earth.
Very few lessons teach the Second Coming in a way that is understandable to children. Most rely on analogies about virgins and lamps that are useful, but often leave children without an understanding of what exactly Jesus’ Second Coming means. Here is a lesson to fill that gap and prepare children to meet Him, whether in this life or the next: Jesus’ First and Second Coming.
It’s that time of year again – wrapping up an old year and beginning a new one! And that means lots of changes in Primary, which can be confusing for children. Here’s our readers’ favorite posts for doing it smoothly and with love:
Happy New Year – a little early!
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!
Want to keep children’s interest by keeping them challenged and engaged? One of my favorite resources is right in front of you, and you may not have known it!
Open your Children’s Songbook (CS) and check out the bottom right corner of the page for one or two scriptures that relate to the song topic. Then weave those scriptures into your lesson or singing/sharing time. For example, the November 2016 Sharing Time theme is “Reverence is Love and Respect for God.” Week 4 is “Reverence for God helps me respect and love others.” The Sharing Time manual suggests that you sing a few songs such as the ones below. After each song, discuss the accompanying questions.
- “Kindness Begins with Me” (CS, 145). Ask: What are some ways we can show kindness to our friends? The scriptures at the bottom of the page are: Luke 6:31 (“The Golden Rule”), Luke 10:30-37 (the parable of the Good Samaritan), and Ephesians 4:32 Choose one or more of these scriptures to deepen the children’s understanding. Senior Primary children can look up the scriptures and read them aloud; Junior or Senior Primary children might enjoy acting out the Good Samaritan story as a child or teacher reads it aloud from the scriptures.
- “I’ll Walk with You” (CS, 140–41). Ask: Who are some of the people who need our kindness? How can we show kindness to them? The scripture at the bottom of the page is: John 13:15: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” And how did Jesus “do unto us?” How would He like us to follow His example?
- Read the corresponding scriptures
(By the way, are you looking for that catchy tune? Find it here: “Scripture Power“)
Photodisc/Thinkstock via lds.org
Naturally, every family is imperfect. But as we teach children that “families are forever” and “honor thy father and mother,” some children may need to hear a more nuanced message. Here are some messages of encouragement from our leaders that we can incorporate as we teach children true doctrine about families.
Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, from from “Parents in Training,” New Era, August 2016, 17.
- “No matter what kind of home you come from now, you can choose what kind of parent you will be in the future.”
- “Please don’t expect your family to be perfect — because it will not be. It doesn’t help anyone to dwell on faults and imperfections. Instead, focus on what your family does well. . . . As you strive to become a constant source of goodness, you’ll likely influence your family for the better.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve, from “Fathers,” April 2016 General Conference.
- “To children whose family situation is troubled, we say, you yourself are no less for that. Challenges are at times an indication of the Lord’s trust in you. He can help you, directly and through others, to deal with what you face. You can become the generation, perhaps the first in your family, where the divine patterns that God has ordained for families truly take shape and bless all the generations after you.”
- “Wherever you rank your own father [or mother] on the scale of good-better-best (and I predict that ranking will go higher as you grow older and wiser), make up your mind to honor him and your mother by your own life. Your righteousness is the greatest honor any [parent] can receive.”
Also see other related posts:
Honoring parents – even if parents make poor choices?
Father’s Day – sensitive, but where else will they learn?