Category Archives: Sharing Time

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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Sept 2017 Sharing Time – the delicate situation of honoring parents

2017 outline for Sharing Time

The Sharing Time manual for Sept 2017 is about the Ten Commandments. Week 3’s lesson about honoring parents contains this important note: “Tip: The lessons as written may not speak to the specific needs of your children. You understand their abilities and circumstances and can adjust the sharing time ideas to make them effective in your Primary.”

This thought is important in today’s world. Parents may be struggling on their own life path in ways that can be confusing to children. This may apply to only a few of your children that you know of, but it’s important for children (and some adult teachers with difficult pasts) to hear a more nuanced message. They may need to understand the difference between the traditional understanding of honoring one’s parents (doing what they say) and honoring parents by bringing honor to one’s parents.

Read more here (including a ready-to-use lesson plan): Honoring Parents – even if parents make poor choices?

See also For children in imperfect families (that’s all of us!): Encouragement from leaders.

 

Looking for ideas for Week 4’s honesty lesson? See Honesty: teach them how, as well as what and why

-Marci

And here’s a bonus picture of the Hillbilly Ten Commandments, spotted in a drive-through window in Oregon:

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Instant Lesson 2.0

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This also makes a great instant family night lesson — just add refreshments!

See also Instant Lesson 1.0

Here’s another instant lesson idea to add to your bag of tricks. In a perfect world you will never be in the situation where a teacher cancels, or someone asks you to substitute at the last minute.  But we all know how it is to get a stomach bug in the middle of Saturday night and be laid up in bed.  Or how miserable it is to wake up Sunday morning with your child running a high fever.  When you get asked to fill in for a teacher who’s had to cancel last minute remember these instant lesson ideas! You may have no time to even pull up the lesson on your phone, much less read and prepare it, before you’re thrown into a classroom of children.  We’ve got you covered!

Grab the Gospel Art Book from your bookshelf. Or send a deputy to the library to grab several pictures of scripture stories from various books of scripture. Then ask each child to choose a picture and tell the story depicted. If you have time, turn to the actual scriptures and read at least one verse, to hear it in God’s words.

Then, ask the child to personalize the story: Have you ever felt like this scripture character? How did you face that situation in your own life? How might we show the same good qualities today? Can you think of a song that goes with this scripture story?

Now you’re ready for the unexpected!  (And the one thing you can expect with children is the unexpected!)

-Marci

Thanks to Sister Brown for this great idea.

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Happy Birthday, Primary!

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Primary began in 1878 to address the rowdiness of the boys, with lessons on not taking fruit from orchards or melon patches. Girls were included in that first Primary because their voices were needed to make the singing sound good, although girls too were admonished not to hang on wagons.

Obedience is still taught today in Primary, although children need fewer reminders about melon swiping and wagon hanging. Today’s lessons on obedience are more likely to focus on such topics as honesty and being kind to those who are different from you, such as refugees. Lessons for children in the home may include pornography prevention, including an original song “My Mind’s a Sacred Place” to protect children from today’s dangers.

Check out these ideas on how to celebrate both Primary’s birthday AND President Monson’s birthday, both in August!

Happy birthday, Primary! 139 years old looks good on you.

-Marci

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August 2017 Sharing Time – Fill your life with things that invite the Spirit

These ideas also make great family night lessons!

The August 2017 Sharing Time theme is “I Choose to Fill My Life with Things That Invite the Spirit,” with this favorite song for this month: “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, 78–79). Here’s some ideas for each week:

Week 1: Having good friends will help me choose the right. Looking for the video of that wonderful story about the positive prank of hiding a silver coin in a poor man’s shoes? Watch the 4 minute video above.

Week 2: I should read, listen to, and look at things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father. Teach your children a song to help them make good media choices and fend off pornography. See “My Mind’s a Sacred Place” (new original song), with audio, sheet music, and the backstory.

Weeks 3 and 4: I should do things on the Sabbath that will help me stay close to Heavenly Father. Try these ideas: Teaching about the Sabbath Day through Activity & Music. Also see Emma Lu’s story about how rotten it felt NOT to honor the Sabbath day: A child’s safe space to choose the right.

-Marci

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