This is a picture from last year when my daughter Maria got baptized.
Monthly Theme: The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Make It Possible for Me to Live with God Again.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).
Week 1 Faith in Jesus Christ leads us to love Him, trust Him, and keep His commandments.
* "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness...if our faith does not change the way we live—if our beliefs do not influence our daily decisions—our religion is vain, and our faith, if not dead, is certainly not well and is in danger of eventually flat lining. Obedience is the lifeblood of faith. It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls." By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf General Conference April 2016 He Will Place You on His Shoulders
Bring in some small clothes, even a baby shirt. Does it makes sense that when we grow we have to get bigger clothes? Try putting on the baby shirt... it doesn't even fit on my arm!! As our faith grows, so do the good things we need to do!
Make a layer book for each child. Grab 2 pieces of paper, layer them, then fold and staple.
Did the pages/layers in your book get bigger? Repeat the quote from President Uchtdorf, "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness..."
* "Most of you are familiar with Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. As she contemplates which way to turn, she is confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”1
Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life leads to our destination in the next life. May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals." President Monson General Conference April 2016 Choices
Have a path to a table set with a nice tea and a couple crazy hats. We know our path and where we want to go! And today our path leads to learning more about faith! Invite a primary friend to start on the path and state where they want to go - eternal life with Heavenly Father! They walk the path and sit down to tea (of course decaffeinated and don't forget to pretend pour it!!), wear a hat and get to answer a question about faith. Prepare 10-12 questions and have 2 scriptures to read about faith also! Have 3 paper Cheshire Cats hidden in the room. If someone can find one, remind them that the Chesire Cat says it's not important what path you take... wrong! What are some things we should avoid that don't help our faith??
(Yaya Christina and my Christina.... we're so Greek... these were the most fun hats to make!! I had to share.)
Bring in a blindfold and ask for a volunteer. Do they trust you? Set up a mini obstacle course. Guide the primary friend by the hand, talk to them when they get to an obstacle and help them through it. Would this have been pretty easy to do blindfolded without my help? Faith in Jesus means relying completely on Him!!
Have about 10 pictures of people from magazines cut out with paper thought bubbles coming from their heads and a ? in each bubble. “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36)." Invent 10 different scenarios/short situations for each person. Invite a primary friend to come up front and choose a person. Read their scenario and ask the primary child how that person can be faithful! For example- Sara just had a really long day at school. 2 of her friends got in an argument and wanted her to choose a side and choose who she liked more. Sara had a bad feeling.... what could Sara do to show faith? A response could be- First off, Sara doesn't know what will happen. She has to trust Heavenly Father that He will help her. She can say a prayer, she can tell her friends that she doesn't want to choose... Jesus loved everyone and so can she!
Week 2 Repentance brings forgiveness.
* “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.And I will remember [them] no more." Jeremiah 31:34
HERE is some really interesting information with GREAT VISUALS!!! I would have 6-7 red pieces of paper covering white pieces of paper throughout the room. Invite a child to take off the red paper, read an interesting fact from the article, then crumple the red paper and throw it away.
Repeat the scripture often throughout the lesson and try to help the children memorize it by leaving out words here and there or having them fill in the blank as you say it. Are the red papers gone? Yes!! And our sins or mistakes (if we are younger than 8) can be too when we repent or prepare for repentance by saying sorry!!
* Bring in 5 paper bags with a couple simple costumes and props to tell the story for the following: Alma the Younger repents (Mosiah 27), Saul repents (Acts 9), Enos repents (Enos), The Anti-Nephi-Lehies (Alma 23-24), Jonah repents (Jonah 2).
Do the children know these stories? Have them break into groups and prepare a short skit to present the scripture story of repentance. They must use all the items in the bag. Just in case the children aren't familiar or can't remember the story, type up 2 paragraphs to summarize and put that into the bag too. After 5 minutes, have the children present their story to the entire primary.
* HERE is a link to the FHE Resource book. If you scroll down there is a 5 question True or False test that would be a great introduction activity to your lesson. Children can stand on their right foot if they think the answer is True or left foot if they think the answer is false.
Break into small groups of 3-4 primary friends and give each group a scripture on repentance. Have them read it and come up with a true/false question for the entire primary, then share.
* "In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it." Elder Robert D. Hales November 2010 Ensign Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life
Play a game of 4 corners, label each corner with a color. Bring a bag with 4 small pieces of paper to match the colors of each corner. Draw a color from the bag and all the children in that corner are out. In between each round have questions (8-10), scriptures (2-3), or songs (2-3) on repentance for a child to answer or read. Songs of course are sung by the entire primary. You might not get to all the questions or scriptures, that's OK! It's better to be over prepared than under prepared!
Week 3 When I am baptized, I make a covenant with God.
* HERE is a great board game from The Friend on our baptismal covenant!
* Camp Covenant!! Write it on the chalkboard!! Bring in some camping supplies and have a reverent child come up and choose to learn more about baptismal covenants today at Camp Covenant!!
lantern (Please read Mosiah 18:8, emphasize LIGHT)
cast iron pot (How can we develop strong testimonies to prepare for baptism and help us afterwards?)
tent (Fill in the blank. Baptism is the gate that helps us to enter this shelter of The Lord...)
sleeping bag (Use the sleeping bag to demonstrate immersion)
backpack (What does it mean to bear one another's burdens that they may be light?)
mosquito repellent (How does keeping our covenants repel sin?)
marshmallow roasting stick (Sometimes we are a lone marshmallow in the fire. What does the covenant to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places mean?)
matches (What does Heavenly Father promise us once we are baptized and confirmed? Please read Matthew 3:11)
hiking boots (Why was Jesus baptized and how can we follow Him?)
hat (Using your beautiful mind and brain, come up with 10 ways to comfort a person who needs comfort!)
picture of the mountains ( Sometimes it can be very peaceful when we camp in the mountains. What can we do to bring peace or mourn with a person who is mourning?)
Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." We might not have been exactly in the wilderness camping today, but hopefully we were able to feel the Holy Ghost (a feeling of happiness or calm or peace) while talking about baptism and covenants! Challenge the children to go somewhere in nature this and pray about something they can do to keep their baptism covenant this week.
* HERE are some good ideas from The Friend. I like the one about inviting a priesthood holder to come in as John the Baptist (with the permission of the Bishop).
* I Like My Birthdays (CS 104) is a great song!! The first verse is pretty easy to learn:
Have 2 birthday hats for children to wear on I like my birthdays every one
Have a party horn blower toy for a child to blow on the word JOY only!! in the phrase Each brings a greater joy to me
Have 2 children come up and hold up 8 fingers for the phrase But I can't wait until I'm 8
Have a child hold up a picture of Baptism on the phrase For then I'll be baptized you see -and have the child point to their eye on the word see
After you've gone through the song a couple times, have an undecorated REAL birthday cake. Have 10-12 questions/scriptures (Not each, TOTAL!) about baptismal covenants for the children to answer/read. After the child answers have them add some frosting to the cake. Once it's completely frosted, children who come up can add sprinkles. Have the missionaries come in and give them the cake and sing I Like My Birthdays for them!
Week 4 The Holy Ghost comforts and guides me.
* Have you ever heard about a breathing buddy? How does it feel when we take nice deep breaths? Bring in about 10 small stuffed animals. When you lie down on your back, you place your breathing buddy on your stomach and breath in and out... really noticing you buddy going up or down.
Have 10 questions about the Holy Ghost attached to the breathing buddies. Invite a primary friend to come up and choose a breathing buddy. The Holy Ghost can give us comfort, calm, and peace. He's just like a breathing buddy- helping us stay focused, ready, and aware. After the primary friend answers the question, invite them to put the breathing buddy on their tummy and take 3 deep breaths. The primary can also do this in their chairs!
"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4
* Bring in a snow globe. Ask a child to come up front and shake it. Sometimes we feel angry, or sad, or afraid. We feel like there is a snowstorm inside of us. Will this storm last forever? Will the snow keep on falling and the wind never stop? What happened in our snow globe?
The Holy Ghost can comfort and guide us. When we feel shaken up (shake the snow globe), He can be there for us to help us settle down and be at peace no matter what the situation. Has anyone had a time when the Holy Ghost has comforted them?
Make some snow water bottles during sharing time. Save up some of your plastic water bottles, bring in a funnel and let the children add 1 tablespoon of glitter to it and a little bit of baby oil. (Try it out at home first!! HERE is one that uses glitter glue) Have some adults on hand to help out. For those that are finished, have them look up scriptures about the Holy Ghost or act out the story of when Jesus calmed the storm.
"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." Psalms 107:29
* After a long day, I love to change into my jammies and cozy socks! They are so comfortable and help me to relax. Does anyone else feel the same way? The Holy Ghost helps to give us comfort and guide us. He helps us to be calm and is there for us during and after a long day!! Hide some jammies and socks around the room. Invite a primary child to go and find an item. Have short stories attached where the Holy Ghost gave comfort or guidance.
"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Isaiah 51:3