Friday, December 9, 2016

Easy Christmas Family Home Evenings

I ran across some ideas the other day that I thought would be easy for any last minute Family Home Evenings or Primary Singing Times.

1. Candy Cane Fishing - Make a simple fishing line and hook (pipe cleaners work!!), put numbered candy canes in a glass, and a child fishes one out. The numbers can correspond to certain songs, or questions about The Nativity.

2. Christmas Bells Matching Game - Have 2 sets of 12 Hershey's Kisses with numbers 1-12 written on the bottom. Sing Christmas Bells (CS 54). Each child gets one or two tries to find a set of matching numbers on the bottom of your bells. Once all the matches are made, have 12 pictures having to do with the story of Jesus' birth. Whoever has 1 tells about picture number one, and so on.
3. Christmas Card Puzzles-  Let the children cut up old Christmas cards into 10-12 pieces (4-5 pieces for younger children). Have them put their Christmas Puzzle in a Ziploc bag and pass to another family member. Who can put their puzzle together the fastest?? After, have each family member share a favorite memory about Christmas or something they love about the story of Jesus' birth. Switch puzzles and repeat a few times!!
4. Christmas is the Best! Jenga - Each family member shares their  favorite part of Christmas before they remove their block! If you have older children, you can add a small letter sticker to some blocks, so when they pull out a block with, say a T, they have to come up with a Christmas word starting with T... like treats or temple where baby Jesus was presented!
" Sometimes it seems that our efforts to have a perfect Christmas season are like a game of Jenga—you know, the one played with small wooden blocks that are precariously stacked up to a tower. As we try to increase the height of the tower, we pull out one wooden block before we can place it on top of the delicate structure.
     Each of those little wooden blocks is a symbol of the perfect Christmas events we so desperately want to have. We have in our minds a picture of how everything should be—the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect gifts, and the perfect family events. We might even want to re-create some magical moment we remember from Christmases past, and nothing short of perfection will do.
      Sooner or later, something unpleasant occurs—the wooden blocks tumble, the drapes catch fire, the turkey burns, the sweater is the wrong size, the toys are missing batteries, the children quarrel, the pressure rises—and the picture-perfect Christmas we had imagined, the magic we had intended to create, shatters around us. As a result, the Christmas season is often a time of stress, anxiety, frustration, and perhaps even disappointment.
      But then, if we are only willing to open our hearts and minds to the spirit of Christmas, we will recognize wonderful things happening around us that will direct or redirect our attention to the sublime. It is usually something small—we read a verse of scripture; we hear a sacred carol and really listen, perhaps for the first time, to its words; or we witness a sincere expression of love. In one way or another, the Spirit touches our hearts, and we see that Christmas, in its essence, is much more sturdy and enduring than the many minor things of life we too often use to adorn it." President Uchtdorf    Of Curtains, Contentment, and Christmas 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

December 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart (1888)
by Alice Havers

Monthly Theme: The Scriptures Teach Me about the Savior’s Birth and Second Coming
Monthly Scripture: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” Matthew 16:27

Week 1 Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.

* Have a box with a picture of baby Jesus in it. You will be wrapping the box 13 times. In between each layer of wrapping paper, have a small envelope with a question (or scripture) having to do with the week's topic.
HERE is a link to information that can help you develop questions.
      "Heavenly Father gave this gift to all of us, young or old, rich or poor. We did not have to search the shops for it. It did not cost us a single penny. It did not come wrapped in shiny wrapping paper. The most treasured gift of all was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. It was sent to all of us with love from our Heavenly Father." The Gift Ensign Dec. 2010

* HERE is an "Advent Calendar: Prophecies of Christ’s Coming,” NewEra, Dec 2008, 21–25. It'd be a great handout for the children to take home to families.

* Numbers 24:17 "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob..." Who was the prophet Balaam, from the Old Testament, prophesying would be born? Who was that Star?? Jesus!!
Have 10 different glow in the dark stars throughout the room. Turn off the lights and invite one Primary friend to choose one. Turn on the light. Have scriptures, songs and questions having to do with this week's theme attached to the stars. (OR you could just put up these STARS)

* HERE is a mobile children can make from The Friend about different prophecies.

Week 2 Jesus Christ was born.

* Bring in some paper for the primary children and blindfolds. (If possible!) Have everyone help each other get ready with the blindfolds. You'll need pencils too. You are going to do a blind drawing of a Christmas tree. They will have 1 minute to draw the tree, ornaments, star, presents.
    After the minute is up, have them look at their art. What do they think??
    Read John 9:1,5-7, 25 "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth....As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."
     Jesus Christ was born into this world as the light of the world!! Because of Him, we can see!! We don't have to be blind, stumbling to know what to do each day. Hold up a picture of The Savior's birth. Now take a minute to draw a Christmas tree with ornaments, star, and presents... but with no blindfold!! Which one was better??

* Gather 15 medium sized pictures having to do with the nativity story. Place them on the chalk board with magnets. Invite one child to leave the room and one child up front. The primary child up front will choose a picture to take down, then the other primary friend who was outside will come in and see if they can remember what picture was taken down. In between each round, ask some questions or have the children read scriptures having to do with Jesus being born on earth!

* Trip to Bethlehem!! As each primary friend comes into the room, give them an index card with a letter on it. Divide into groups and tell them you are going to play a game! Does anyone play the alphabet game when they go on a car trip? Well today we are taking a trip to Bethlehem and are going to come up with a word that starts with that letter. Give everyone 2-3 minutes to help each other in their group.
     Next, call up the letters one at a time and invite the primary children to share their word and what it has to do with Jesus being born. Try to have pictures or a nativity displayed so they can hold up something if it has to do with what they are talking about.  (Like A for Angel, they hold up an angel figurine)

Week 3 Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth.

* Will Earth Be White with Snow?? Sing I Wonder When He Comes Again and ask the children to repeat/fill in the blank... "Will earth be...." they say, "white with snow?"
     Today, we've got some snowballs (crumpled paper, or Styrofoam balls) and a basket to toss them in. Have 15 questions and scriptures (total) for children to answer about the week's topic- Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth. Let 1 reverent primary friend come up front, answer a question, then take a turn to throw 5 snowballs in the basket!! Can anyone get all 5? Don't worry if you miss, you're doing better than I would do!!
Some questions could include:
What is the parable of the 10 virgins and what does it have to do with Jesus' 2nd coming?
How will we know that Jesus is coming again? (SIGNS)
Will ALL the words of the prophets be fulfilled? (Yes!)
Some wonderful things will happen before the Lord comes- Fill in the blank:“Light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my.......” (D&C 45:28). (Gospel)
Where will the gospel be preached before Jesus comes again? (In all the world, in all the languages)
Before the Savior comes again, Elijah will appear on earth.... has this happened? (Yes, in 1836 in the temple)
A new city will be built before the 2nd coming, what will it's name be and where will it be? (New Jerusalem, Missouri)
Do the prophets know when the 2nd coming will be? (D&C 49:7)
How can we remain calm and at peace even when some of the signs are devastating?
What will no longer be when Jesus comes again? There is something big that will be done away with.... (Death)
How does the following scripture make you feel D&C 45:57–59?

* Create a small Welcome Back party for the Savior. Divide into groups. Have one group make an invitation, another few groups plan some simple games, another few groups can work on gifts to give, one group can plan decorations, one can do a food list (remember no meat!!).... give them plenty of paper and crayons!! Have them share their work as a whole group after 7 minutes!!

* Awesome idea from Sister Sydney Reynolds:
"To learn more about what life will be like in the Millennium, when Christ returns to earth to reign for a thousand years, choose 2 children to role-play TV news anchor persons, and assign each class to choose a “field reporter” to report the class’s findings on the following subjects in the scriptures: • animals / Isa. 11:6–9; Hosea 2:18 • people / Isa. 54:heading, 3; Micah 4:4; D&C 63:50–51 • nations, government / Micah 4:1–3; Jer. 31:33; D&C 29:11 • miscellaneous—time of His coming / Matt. 24:36, 44; Zion and the return of the city of Enoch / D&C 45:66, 71; Moses 7:62–64. Have the anchor persons make up questions for each field reporter to tell what his/her class learned about their subject. Tell the children that we do not know exactly when the Savior will come, but we must be preparing to meet Him (see Matt. 25:1–13). Sing “When He Comes Again” (CS, pp. 82–83) and discuss what the things are that we need to do to “be ready there.” (Dec. 1999 Friend)

Week 4 To prepare for the Second Coming, I will follow Jesus Christ.

* Make a huge saran-wrap ball with things inside it that have to do with the Second coming. Pass it around to some piano music and when the music stops, that child gets to unwrap until they find a surprise inside.
Some objects could include:
stop sign (signs)
flashlight (we don't have to be scared, we have the light)
Book of Mormon (the gospel will be restored)
water gun (lots of wars and rumors of war)
keys (priesthood will be restored)
clock (no one knows when the 2nd coming will be)
toy trump (trump will sound to signal Jesus is coming)
red cloth (what Jesus will be wearing when He comes again)
lamb & lion (they shall lie down together in peace)
happy face (in the millennium, all will be happy and righteous on earth)
picture of Jesus (how can we prepare for the 2nd coming??)

* Secret Service Time!! Today in primary we are going to follow Jesus Christ by doing something kind. Did you know this helps us prepare for the 2nd coming?? Don't sign their name on the paper!!
   Invite the children to draw a picture and write something nice down on a note. Go into Relief Society, with the cards and with the children!! Randomly hand out the notes and have the children sing a song. (You'll have to speak with the Relief Society President beforehand to see if this is OK) It should only take about 5 minutes.
     When you get back to the primary room, ask the children how it felt to do something without a person knowing you did it? How do you think Heavenly Father feels today knowing that you did this? Is this something you can do often?? Why is this important for when Jesus comes to earth again?

* HERE is a simple illustrated story talking about the second coming. You can make copies and have the children read in small groups. Draw a simple stick figure on the chalk board, this is Forgetful Fred. Forgetful Fred just read this story too, but can't remember what it was about!! Let's raise our hands and I'll write on the board some important things Forgetful Fred should remember from the story we read!!! (And us too!!)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Little Derek

This is our cousin, Derek. He is 3 years old and loves sports! Which is so fitting, because his dad was obsessive and is obsessive about anything that involves a ball.

His dad Daren, is my cousin, and was nicknamed Cheeseboy. When we were little, he'd either be glued to the game on TV or outside with a bat and ball. He always, always, always had the happiest smile and most free-hearted laugh!! Even just thinking about it brings a smile to my face!!

I love my cousin dearly. I hate to see them suffer. I'm so sad that they have to watch their little boy be sick.

Just 2 weeks ago, Derek was diagnosed with Leukemia. Derek was life-flighted to San Francisco. He was so confused, "Mommy please. I'll be a good boy if we can just go home." My heart was broken when I heard that. Hannah and Daren, Derek's parents, have not left his side.

Sometimes life can be so hard. But we know. We know God lives. We know He loves us. We know that through Christ, all things are possible.

I just wanted to do what I can to help. And maybe you might feel the same. Thanks so much!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

November 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Help & Ideas

When my daughter and I hiked Mt.Rose for a 4th grade field trip, it was quite the reverent experience. It started snowing heavily and peace just blanketed everything around us. We were very blessed to make it off the mountain in time, but I'll never forget the quiet as the snow fell.

Monthly Theme: Reverence Is Love and Respect for God
Monthly Scripture: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” Matthew 22:37

Week 1 Reverence is love and respect for God.

*   "Even the temple where Jesus taught and worshipped in Jerusalem was built in such a way as to establish respect for and devotion to the Father. Its very architecture taught a silent but constant lesson of reverence. Every Hebrew was privileged to enter into the outer courts of the temple, but only one particular class of men could enter into the inner court or holy place. Into the innermost sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, only one man was permitted to make his way, and this was limited to only one special day each year. In this way a great truth was taught: that God must be approached carefully, respectfully, and with great preparation."
Hallowed Be Thy Name President Howard W. Hunter 1977
     Display a picture of the ancient temple of Jerusalem. Play a game of "Steps of Reverence". Have a number spinner and invite a primary child to spin a number. After they answer a question on reverence, or read a scripture about reverence, or fill in the blank from a song on reverence... they get to walk that many steps toward the temple. (Normal steps!! Not giant steps!!) The 1st primary friend waits there until another primary friend spins, answers another question, then takes their spot to walk the number they spun. Once you reach the temple, you can start again (if there is time) and see if you can get there in less steps!!
      We approach Heavenly Father in reverence like they did in ancient times. We show respect for God by walking the path that Christ walked in reverence and love.

* Jonah's Reverent Shirt is a good little story from The Friend. Share the story with the primary children. Discuss some ways to show reverence and write them on the chalk board. Bring in some paper and show the children how to make an origami Reverent Shirt!! HERE is a link and it's easy enough for sunbeams!! (You'll have to have scissors for each class and teachers/older children can help little ones on that part!)
    Have the children choose one thing listed on the board that they can work on this week to show reverence, then write it down on their shirt they made!

* HERE is a great link to a reverence maze. You could make a copy for each child (pair younger ones with older children and have the younger children point to the picture of who is being reverent while the older child draws through the maze)
    Has anyone ever been in a corn maze? They sure are fun... if you like that sort of thing!! Sometimes though you can get lost and it can become frustrating. Life is a little bit like a maze sometimes! Sometimes we get to a wall or are not sure which way to go. But reverence invites revelation!! (President Boyd K. Packer) Reverence would help us in the maze of life by inviting revelation to steer us the right way!!
     Bring in a little maze game if you have it. They look like this:

(If you are feeling generous, Oriental Trading has 72 mazes for $8, but beware- some reviews say they are flimsy and were shipped broken. Yikes! Or you can find them at party supply stores to buy for your primary children.) Have a primary child come up front and try to get the ball to the end of the maze. Have all of the children listen to hear if they can hear the ball. Was that  pretty quiet?? Reverence is more than being quiet!! But being peaceful and still definitely helps in setting a reverent atmosphere!!
      Invite children to come up front and take turns with the maze. They will have 20 seconds to get the ball to the end, but first they have to answer a question on reverence. Each time, have the children listen to see if they can hear the ball. Wow!! That was really peaceful and quiet!! When it's reverent we can hear the Holy Ghost and feel love for Heavenly Father!! Bear testimony that we don't have to be confused or lost, like in a maze, we can show reverence and love and be guided back to Heavenly Father.

* THIS is a great story!! I LOVE IT!!! If you are able, call a few families before you teach (not on Sunday!!) and gather some family camping or hiking pictures. About 10-12. Get information on where they went and maybe a fun experience about that trip!!
     On the day you teach, share that story from The Friend. What did the children like about that story? Have they ever thought about reverence being more than just something we do at church?? Put up the camping and hiking pictures you received throughout the room. Invite a primary friend to come up and choose one picture. If they answer a question about reverence, you'll tell them about this picture, or even the picture of who it is can briefly share about their trip!! After each picture, ask how they felt when they were quiet and listening to the nature around them??
    Reverence is love and respect for Heavenly Father, for all He has given us. The peace we feel in nature, we can feel everywhere as we take the time to ponder about The Savior.

Week 2 Reverence during the sacrament helps me to remember Jesus Christ.

* HERE is a great talk to prepare yourself for this week's topic!!
What stands out to you from this talk?
Is there anything you feel you should share with the children?
What do the words and spirit prompt you personally to do better about reverence, the sacrament, and remembering Jesus?

* Go on a Primary Field trip, if you can!!
     What is reverence?? Sing The Chapel Doors, Children's Songbook pg. 156. When we come to church, how do we enter the chapel? Do we think about where we are going? Do we rush to our seats and dream about snacks or coloring time while elbowing our annoying younger sister?
    Today we are going on a field trip. The only rule is that we listen carefully, speak in whispers, and walk with mindful feet!! Those that can do that get a special treat.... because on field trips you always need a snack!! Let's see if we can feel reverence and the Holy Ghost when we go to the special place.
      We are going to walk in the halls with our arms folded. We are going to look at the art on the walls and listen to our breathing. We are going to gently touch the chapel doors and look at the wood on it. We are going to walk slowly across the chapel and look at the lights. Look at the sacrament table. Look at the windows. Close your eyes and think of a song that is played on the organ. We will place our hands on our hearts and feel our breathing, our hand going up and down with the rise of our chest. Now it's time to end our Primary Field Trip and talk about what we felt!!!
    Head back to the Primary Room and pass out a healthy snack. Invite the children to share what they felt or thought about on their field trip. Bear testimony that when we show reverence, especially in the chapel during the sacrament, we can remember Jesus and be close to Him!!

* HERE is a ready made activity from The Liahona with a Sacrament wheel. All you will need to bring are scissors and a brass fastener to hold it in the middle.

* HERE is a wonderful talk from General Conference on the sacrament! It has GREAT pictures. You could easily turn it into a matching game where you write the 5 ways to help us show reverence during sacrament on the blackboard. A child comes up and chooses a picture to match to one of the ways. When a match is made, have a child read a quote from that section of the talk or answer a questions.
Such questions could include:
1. Prepare in Advance
What are some things you can do before church in the morning?
Throughout the week, do you think about the sacrament? If not, what can you do to help you remember?? (Small signs by the mirror, look at pictures of Jesus in your home)
2. Arrive Early
How can you help your family to get ready before church?
What do you feel when you listen to prelude music?
Do you just have to sit when you get to church- can you look at scriptures or hymn books? What else could you do? (write in a journal spiritual thoughts, look at Faith in God)
3. Sing and Learn from the Words of the Sacrament Hymn
What is your favorite hymn and why?
Do we know where the sacrament hymns are in the hymnal??
4. Spiritually Participate in the Sacrament Prayers
Are you able to say the words of the sacrament prayer in your mind as they are spoken out loud?
Do you know the meaning of some of the larger words, if not... who could you ask to help you?
For the young gentlemen in primary, why do you look forward to blessing and passing the sacrament?
5. Ponder and Remember Him as the Sacrament Emblems Are Passed
What does it mean to ponder?
What are things about Jesus that you can remember?
Why do you think we are commanded to remember about Jesus?
     The sacrament is a time to be reverent. And when we are reverent we can remember Jesus Christ and feel close to Him!

Week 3 I can show reverence for sacred places and things.

* HERE and HERE are GREAT talks to prepare for this week's primary message!!!

* Have a REVERENT ROAD!!! (masking tape on the ground... make it fun and go all around the room and in between chairs if possible) Bring in 5 small cars. Along the road have pictures of places or things that are sacred. Invite a thoughtful and kind primary friend to choose a car, and drive it on the ground or in the air, along the road to a reverent stop. Have them tell what makes that place (or thing) sacred and how we can show reverence for it.
    If there is still time, you can pass out some car coloring pages (just google car coloring pages) and have them write down a sacred place they'd like to drive to someday. They can also take the car home and drive it around the house to spots where they can show reverence - kitchen table where we pray over the food, picture of Jesus, by the bed where we kneel to pray, the front door where we welcome friends in love and gratitude, the dresser where we place our Book of Mormon, etc. I also made a little bookmark to remind them of the lesson. (If you mouse over the square on the top right of the bookmark page then click it, it will take you to a new page where you can click a print button)

* Have a Reverence Race!! Break into groups and see who can come up with the longest list of places where we should be reverent or things that we should show reverence for. Teams will have 3 minutes!! After, invite a member of the team to share from their list.
    Have children draw a picture of the temple, or something/somewhere off the mentioned lists. Let them take it home and share with their family why it's important to be reverent!!

Week 4 Reverence for God helps me respect and love others.

* Tender Turkeys!!! I know. Something is wrong with me and alliteration. Invite primary friends to draw a turkey, then write a note to someone they love and are thankful for. If they don't know how to write, older children can help! Have them make as many as they can, but DON'T SIGN THEIR NAME!!! During the week they will hide their tender turkeys to show their love. Reverence is love and we can be grateful to Heavenly Father for blessing us with so many wonderful friends and family members!

* Reverence Review (I know!!) Jeopardy!!
Primary friends, how many points can we get!!!???!!! Invite one friend to sit by the board and be the score keeper, someone who is a math whiz!!

Shh!!! Be Still
100 Show with your entire body what you do when walking in church halls.
200 Show with your body what we do during prayer.
300 What gospel story from the New Testament has the words, "Peace, Be still."? (Jesus calming the storm, have a picture to hold up while they tell the story)
400 Why does reverence involve being quiet? (One answer is so we can hear and feel the Holy Ghost)
500 Can you name a time in your life when you were still and felt the Holy Ghost? (If not, you can call on another primary friend or teacher!!)

More than just Quiet
100 How do I dress in a reverent way? (Be clean and modest)
200 Many people take The Lords name in vain, why is this not reverent? (It's not showing respect or love for all Jesus has done for us.)
300 Can you be reverent at school, how? (Have a grateful heart for all God has given you and serve friends to show your love)
400 Why shouldn't we play games or text on the cell phone at church? (And please be mindful, we don't judge!! We just do the best we can do!! One answer could be because when we do that we aren't focusing on The Savior or the feelings of the Holy Ghost.)
500 What can we do to make our home a reverent place?

Sacred Place, Special Feeling
100 This sacred place has the words, Holiness to The Lord on it. (Temple)
200 This sacred place we visit weekly and renew our baptismal covenant. (The chapel, or sacrament meeting)
300 These are sacred books, and we should only treat them with the highest respect. What are the books and where should we put them? (Scriptures, in safe places and never on the ground.)
400 Who gives us feelings of peace, joy, and happiness when we show reverence in sacred places? (The Holy Ghost)
500 What makes a place sacred or holy? (One answer is it's where we show reverence and worship in a respectful way)

Reverence in the Scriptures
100 This brass ball only worked when Nephi's family showed reverence and love by keeping the commandments (Liahona)
200 Name someone in the scriptures who wasn't very reverent.
300 Joseph Smith knelt in the sacred grove for prayer. What made that grove of trees sacred? (He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ)
400 Moses saw the burning bush and was asked to do this, to show reverence? (Take off his shoes as he stood on Holy ground)
500 DOUBLE JEOPARDY- Get this question right and you get your choice of points up to 500. How did Jesus show reverence in the Garden of Gethsemane? (One answer could be He atoned for the sins of all mankind, the greatest act of love, and did His Father's will showing the ultimate example of respect)

Softly Sing our Melody (Children will have to sing their answer!)
100 Hum the tune of Reverently, Quietly
200 In the Chapel Doors it goes, "The chapel doors seem to say to me, shhhh be still.... " what is the next line? (For this is a reverent place to be, shhhhh be still)
300 In the hymn book, in Our Savior's Love, verse 3, it says, "Our Father, God Of all creation, hear us pray In rev'rence, awed By thy Son's...." Please fill in the blank.  (Sacrifice. And yes, they can have 30 seconds to look it up if they need to)
400 In Two Happy Feet it says, " I have two happy little feet
To take me where I go. They hop me and they skip me,
And make a noise, I know. But in my Heav'nly Father's house
So softly do they fall That, though I walk, you cannot hear
My little feet at all." Can your feet still be happy at church? (Yes! Bonus points of 100 if you can hum the tune!)
500 In Reverence is Love it goes, " When I'm rev'rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.The pathway to follow is clear..." What is the next 2 lines?
(And when I am rev'rent, I know in my heart Heav'nly Father and Jesus are near.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Prophet Ezekiel FHE: Bones!!!

Happy Halloween!
I'm not a big fan of the scary side of Halloween.
Peanut M&M's, yes.
Zombies, no.
I've always liked the story found in Ezekial 37:1-14.
This is a simple idea for Family Home Evening.
We each took a turn reading a verse of the scripture.
For my younger children we sang this song:
Questions we discussed:
What do you think this vision was about?
How do you think the story could relate to Halloween?
How do you think Ezekiel felt when he saw an army of bones?
Why do you think people make something sacred like the resurrection and opening up the graves, into something that is spooky?
Is it OK to have fun and enjoy skeletons?
Do we need to be scared of things in life? Why?
If we are scared, what can we do to find safety and peace?
How does it make you feel to know that your bones will be resurrected and that you can live with our Savior, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father again?
We made some Day of the Dead skull art. My 5 year old was obsessed! He's been drawing them all week!!
But I also saw this idea on pinterest and thought it looked fun for older children!! You just grab some popsicle sticks, clothespins, pipe cleaners, and cotton swabs. Children have 10 minutes to create a bridge of bones!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

October 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Gethsemane by Bulgrarian Artist Julia Stankova (for more of her artwork
The greatest prayer ever given and answered.

Monthly Theme: Prayer Is Reverent Communication between God and Me
Monthly Scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5

Week 1 I Can Pray to Heavenly Father.

* Bring in a glass bottle (or jar). A long time ago people stranded on islands, would take glass bottles and write messages on paper. They would then seal the letter in a bottle and throw it out to sea in hopes that what they had to say would be found.
    Do you think this is a very good form of communication? Why or why not? What are some ways we communicate in today's day and age?? Are they good forms of communication, why or why not? What is the only perfect form of communication?? PRAYER!!! No matter where, when, or why... Heavenly Father ALWAYS hears His children's prayers and will answer.
     Have 10-12 plastic bottles with paper that has a question about prayer on it. Have them scattered throughout the room and invite a reverent primary friend to come up and find a bottle and answer the question. If there is time remaining, invite the children to write some things they can pray for this week on a piece of paper. Bring in enough dry, plastic water bottles for them to put their paper in and take home.
     We are never stranded, we are never on a deserted island alone!! Help is always available when we pray to Heavenly Father. He will hear us!! Sing A Child's Prayer (CS pg. 12) to end.

* I love The Friend. It always has such great stories! HERE is a captivating story about a little girl who learned the importance of prayer after facing PIRATES!!!!
     After reading the story, with possibly a patch on your eye and a sword on your belt... invite the children to share their thoughts about the story. Have 2 ship pictures on opposite sides of the room. One picture will have small post its with even numbers 1-10, and the other picture will have post its with odd numbers 1-10. Have a long strip of tape (a plank) to one ship. Have a strip of cloth to tie 2 children's legs together (to make a pirate peg leg/3 legged race type thing). You will need corresponding questions (or scriptures or songs for the whole primary to sing) for the numbers about prayer.
(This is the ship Brooklyn and would have been similar to what the Hudson looked like)

      Invite a reverent friend to walk the plank and choose a number or choose a friend to become a peg-legged pirate and choose a number on the other ship. Then have them answer the question or read a scripture.
       Do we have to shiver our timbers or live in fear, ARGH!!!!??!!!? NO!!! Heavenly Father is always a prayer away and will give us the strength and comfort we need!!

* Prayer Partner Tag. This is NOT a running activity, even though it has the word tag in it!! Also, we want to have the spirit with us in primary, so everyone please be positive and cheerful when you are tapped. Group primary friends in partners. They are going to have 1 minute-ish to share a story from their OWN LIFE about a time they prayed. Go ahead and think carefully about what you want to share. Now tell your partner. Did you feel the spirit when you prayed? Did something special happen? When time is up you are going to say find a new partner by tagging/tapping their shoulder. If someone taps you, sit down. Repeat YOUR story to your new partner (or if you can think of a new one, you can share that too!). Do this about 7 times. Afterwards, have someone reverent share a story FROM ONE OF THEIR PARTNERS that they really liked with the whole primary.
If a child cannot think of a personal experience with prayer, invite them to share one they remember from the scriptures.

Week 2 The scriptures teach me how and when to pray.

* HERE is a link to that has scripture retellings in an easy to read format. There are many that talk about prayer, you can print out about 5. I would have teachers read one to their class, then switch teachers!!! Rotate the teachers between classes to share the story with the new class. Take about 2 minutes for the teacher to read, if they are done early invite the children & teacher to talk about their favorite stories from the scriptures about people who prayed.

* HERE is a link to with scripture cut out figures. Print out about 5 of the stories and attach to popsicle sticks (the Rameumpton one is great!!) Divide into groups. Have the children choose a person who can tell about the story. Have other children hold the sticks, what can those people say to add to the story?? Prepare in the groups and then share with the whole primary. If you are able to, maybe set up a puppet theater (A box with a square hole would work) and have the children with the sticks behind it.

* Have a tic-tac-toe square drawn on the board. There should be 9 spaces. In each space write a person from the scriptures that prayed. (For example: Enos, Jesus in Gethsemane, Abish, Alma the Elder, Nephi, etc.) Invite a primary friend to place an X on a story they can tell the primary about and how that scripture story taught us about prayer. Repeat with another player and an O.
    Invite the children to play this game at home for a Family Home Evening!!

Weeks 3 & 4 Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

* I LOOOOOOOOOVE THIS Friend story!!! And the reason I love it is because there have been a lot of times I've prayed for something and didn't get what I wanted. But I'm grateful for this, because I know Heavenly Father knows best!! Share the story and do an art project together...
HERE is an easier turtle project for Junior primary
HERE is a more challenging (but VERY doable) turtle project for Senior primary
The projects linked involve watercolors, but you can skip that and just have the children color with crayons or markers. Practice drawing before hand so you know how to instruct the children. Use the chalkboard to show them the steps of the drawing. On the bottom of their art, if they know how to write, invite them to write - Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers!!

HERE is a great sharing time from The Friend. It has step by step pictures on how we can receive answers to prayers then gives many case studies/examples for children to decide what step was used.

* THIS talk is quite powerful and full of good doctrine. He Knows You by Name Sister Elaine Dalton May 2005
     "Did you know that Heavenly Father knows you personally—by name? The scriptures teach us that this is true. When Enos went into the woods to pray, he recorded, “There came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”  Moses not only prayed but also talked to God face-to-face, and God said to Moses, “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son.” The Lord knew Jacob’s name and changed it to Israel to more accurately reflect his mission on the earth.Similarly, He changed the names of Paul and Abraham and Sarah. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 25, Emma Smith is given a blessing for her comfort and guidance in life. The Lord begins this blessing by saying, “Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter.”     
       You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “I testify to you that God has known you individually … for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Ps. 147:4; Isa. 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!"
     In larger primaries, sometimes the children can recognize each other, but don't know everyone's name!! Isn't it amazing that Heavenly Father has so many children and can remember every single one?!?!? Line up 10 children up front. Invite them to share their name and favorite animal or color. Choose a person from the primary who can remember every person up front and what they said. Have a few questions, scriptures, or songs prepared on the topic of prayer. In between each naming round, ask the prepared questions. Is there a superstar that can name everyone in Primary??? Wow!!! End with the quote, "You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name." And He will hear and answer your prayers!!!
* Sweet Hour of Prayer!!! Read the 2 verses of the song. Or pass out some Hymn books and sing together!!
    Play build a cupcake! Draw some cupcakes at home and cut them into 3 parts- cupcake liner, frosting, cherry or chocolate on top. Here is an easy step by step chart to help.
Have about 4 cupcakes total, 12 pieces in all. On the back of the cupcakes, have questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with prayer. Invite a reverent primary friend up front to choose a part and build a cupcake on the bulletin board (you'll need magnets to hold up the pieces).
    Cupcakes and sweet, and prayer is even sweeter!!! Why?? Because the sweetness of prayer is more than sugar, it's a peace and calm. It's a way to feel happiness, comfort, and joy! Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

September 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Elder Anderson holds a really special place in my heart. I feel like everything he says resonates bold and true. If you don't remember the amazing and inspiring story of these missionaries pictured above, I highly recommend reading THIS!! I think this talk/wisdom/gift from God is absolutely crucial to understand and apply in Primary callings.

Monthly Theme: The Gospel will be Preached in All The World
Monthly Scripture: “This gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” D&C 133:37

Week 1 The scriptures teach that the gospel will be preached in all the world.

* HERE and HERE are some AMAZING videos put together from about the gospel in Africa and Asia!! But wait, there's more!! HERE are more videos of different members, in many different parts of the world, and some travels of the apostles!! Look through and see what you'd like to share with the kids! Aren't people around the world beautiful!! God loves ALL His children!!

* President Ezra Taft Benson has said, "You are needed in the service of the Lord today as never before. “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few.” (Luke 10:2.)" May 1984 Ensign Our Commission to Take the Gospel to All the World
    What does harvest mean? How can we labor in the field? Why will the gospel be preached in all the world?
      Have 10-12 questions about missionary work. Divide into groups and give each group a box of straws or toothpicks. After a person from the group answers a question, they have 20 seconds to pick up as many straws or toothpicks... with ONE hand (the other hand behind their back) and put it in a cup. Try to make sure everyone in the group gets a turn to answer a question and pick up straws!
    Was it fun to see how many straws you could get??  D&C 18:15, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" We do our best to help as many people as we can, but like the scripture says, even if it's just one person who we help, our joy will be great!!!

* Studies have shown the more senses you involve in the learning process, the more concrete the lesson learned will be. Rarely do we get to use the sense of smell in teaching, but today's our lucky day!
     Bring in different spices in a Ziploc bag. Now, when we smell, it's NOT a big sniff, just a little one!! We don't want spices in our nose!! You can have pictures of the place and it's flag on the board for the children to point to when they guess. You can also invite a super helper to very carefully walk around the room holding the bag of spice, so others can smell. ONLY that super helper gets to touch the bag!!!
Oregano - Greece
Onion Powder- Hungary 
Chili Powder- Mexico
Curry Powder- India
Jerk Seasoning- Jamaica
Basil- Italy
Soy Sauce (careful!! don't spill!!)- China
     Choose a primary friend who is sitting quietly, hands to themselves, feet still, eyes up front, and ready to learn! Is everyone in the world the same? Why do you think Heavenly Father created us all different? Do you think He loves all His children? Where are some places you have traveled? What are some delicious foods you enjoy??
     Around the world, our brothers and our sisters enjoy different meals. We have some spices used in cooking and if you'd like to smell them and guess what country, then please raise your hand. I'll ask you a question about missionary work or have you read a scripture, because today we are learning, "The scriptures teach that the gospel will be preached in all the world." (And of course, have about 10-12 questions and scriptures prepared ahead of time about missionary work.)

Week 2 Missionary work blesses everyone.

* Beforehand, have some children do detective work!! They are going to search out and find all about how missionaries have blessed people in their family.
    Bring in a brown trench coat, sunglasses, and a hat. Tell the primary friends that we have some detectives that did some digging this week and are going to share how missionary work blesses their family. Invite them to dress up if they like!
     After a few children who dressed up have shared, hold up a small stone. What happens if we throw this in a pond? There are tiny ripples that spread through the whole pond!! It's the same with missionary work. Missionary work spreads and spreads and spreads!! It blesses everyone!!
     Invite a primary friend to hide the stone. Invite another person to dress up as the detective and leave the room, then come back in once it's hidden. Have them find the stone. How have missionaries blessed your life? Ask the children and write down their thoughts on the chalkboard. Keep on playing and inviting new answers or experiences!!

* Invite a few adults to dress up and come in as special missionary guests- Alma the younger, Ammon, and Paul. ABISH was one too!! Have them speak about 3 minutes to tell their story and encourage others to serve missions. Open it up for any questions that they can answer in character!! Missionary work blessed a lot of ancient people and that blesses us today!!

* HERE is a story about how sharing The Friend with her grandma helped a little girl to be a missionary. The gospel is for both the young and the old!!!
    Bring in enough activities from old Friend magazines to pass out to the primary children. Invite them to do the activity, ask an older child or teacher if they need help!! Give them plenty of time and then ask them to share how they could use the gospel knowledge from that Friend activity to help them be a missionary!!

Week 3 I can prepare now to serve a mission.

* “More of you young men and women will catch this wave as you strive to be worthy of mission calls. You see this as a wave of truth and righteousness. You see your opportunity to be on the crest of that wave.” President Russell M. Nelson, Catch the Wave, April 2013
     Give each child a piece of paper with a surfboard outline. Invite them to design their own gospel surfboard! What are some principles they know are true? How can they prepare to serve a mission? They can draw pictures of that or write it down. Draw a visual on the chalkboard too. What is the crest of the wave??
       Bring in a boogie board if you have one. Invite the primary children to come stand on it and share their work! If there is time see if you can do a human wave (where kids stand up and raise their hands above their head, then sit down and the friend next to them stands up and you go down to the other end of the room- the human wave that people do in stadiums). If that is too difficult have one person give the next person a high five and then that person gives a high five to the next person, etc.

* “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him.”—President Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference”  
    When is the time?? NOW!!! Bring in a basket of garden tools and a shade hat. What is the Lord's vineyard? Why do you think Jesus taught in parables?
      Arrange the tools a certain way and invite a primary friend to step out. Take 2 tools away. Invite them to come back in and guess what's missing. We want to serve missions!! How can we prepare?? What do we need to not forget about being a missionary?? Have some questions prepared about preparing for missionary work to ask the children in between each round of the guessing game.
       End with the question, when is the time as President Monson said for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, and to labor in the vineyard?? NOW!!!

* Bring in about 6 Preach My Gospels, you can ask other teachers to bring their copy in and get some from the library. Divide into groups, and put some younger children who can't read with older children.
   Tell the children that this is a very special book that helps missionaries! Have them look through the pictures, have them read a paragraph each- just open the book wherever!!! Have them decide on something to share with the primary as a group about something from Preach My Gospel.
    Invite the children to go home and for scripture study, a couple days this week, read from Preach My Gospel. If you still have time, turn to Chapter 6:How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes? Have the children tell you what the attributes are. List the attributes on the board and invite the children to draw a picture of something they can do to strengthen that quality in themselves!!!

Week 4 I can be a missionary now.

* HERE is a link to an article talking about how family home evening was a missionary tool for some people. Have the children prepare a family home evening, they can write a simple outline (older children can write for younger ones or they can just work together) and then challenge them to be a good missionary NOW and invite someone special to their family home evening!

HERE is a great friend article about a girl who was a missionary on a bus. She told a man about the articles of faith, and he was so impressed he went home, looked up the church and was baptized.
      Have numbers 1 through 13 on the ground. Invite 8 primary friends to come up front and walk AROUND the numbers (if they walk on, the paper will get ruined) while the primary pianist, who is quite possibly the world's most talented piano player!!!!! plays missionary songs. When she stops, the children stop. Can each primary friend fill in the blank, answer a question about that number, or even recite it?? 
        For example, We believe in God the eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in who else?? The Holy Ghost!!
         Article of Faith #8 talks about believing in the Bible and Book of Mormon as far as they.... what? What does translated correctly mean?
      When we know are articles of faith it helps us to be a missionary now, because we know the doctrine!!!

* Invite primary children to act out some case studies having to do with being a missionary, not later... but now!!!
    Case studies are just scenarios. You'll probably have time for 10-12 depending on the actors/actresses! You can even have some simple jackets or hats for them to put on if they like, and a couple props (having to do with the scenario) to use. Here are a few:
- Helen just moved to town with her 3 brothers. She is your new next door neighbor. She seems very shy. How can you help her and be a missionary now?
(One child acts as Helen, the other acts out what they would do to help!)
- Your teacher at school wants to show a PG-13 movie that you have heard has some bad language in it. You don't feel comfortable watching it, but she is your teacher and you really like her.
(One child plays the part of the teacher, the other acts out what they could do to be a missionary now!)
- At the grocery store, an old lady falls down and drops a bag of her food. There really aren't a lot of people in the store and no one seems to notice.
(One child plays the part of the fallen old lady, the other acts out what they would do to be a missionary now!)
   Hopefully through these examples, we can see that missionaries share the gospel AND help! help! help!! They are examples of Christ like love to others. We may not have a badge yet, but we can have one written on our heart like Elder Anderson has said!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Monthly Theme: My Body is a Temple of God.
Monthly Scripture: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” 1 Corinthians 3:16–17

Week 1 My body is a temple.

* Give each child a popsicle stick with a puff ball glue gunned to one end. Invite them to gently tap different places on our body (like elbows, knees, nose, shoulders, eyes, ears...) and think about why they are thankful for that part of their body.
    Have different pictures of temples posted throughout the room. Have a picture of a person cut up into different pieces, with one piece attached to the back of each temple. Invite a primary friend to come up front with their special tapper and tap a temple. Depending on the piece on the back, have them share why that part of the body is important. Our bodies are temples!!
     Throughout the lesson, randomly call out body parts for the kids to tap quickly- head, ears, heart, legs, toes!!!

* LOVE this sharing time by Sister Matsumori found HERE in the Friend.

* Have 5 different stations in the room for groups of children to rotate through. Have an adult at each station: sight, hear, touch, smell, taste. Take about 2 minutes at each station to talk about each sense and have a small demonstration. (And please be sensitive- if there are children who are blind or deaf, talk to parents to get input on how you could make this activity a successful one!)
Sight- bring in different pictures, objects, and a large pair of glasses. What are some things you like to look at? What is the most interesting thing you've ever seen? Take the time to talk about the blind. What would it be like not being able to see? Aren't we grateful for Jesus who will make sure all can see in the Resurrection!
Hear- Have a few different songs to play on a portable device. Ask the children to listen and then express what they feel after they hear that song.
Touch/Feel- Bring in different fabrics. Bring in sandpaper. Bring in something slimy. How important are our hands and skin? What protection does our skin offer us? Have some play dough for each child to build something. Could we create without our hands? (Actually, some do!!) Talk a little about Heavenly Father creating us all just the way we were meant to be in this life.  He loves us and will help us with all we need! Our job is to do the same, love and help where needed!!
Smell- Bring in some scented candles (not lit!) or air fresheners or perfume. You could bring in some spices. Put them in a paper bag and have the children close their eyes while smelling. Then have them guess the scent!
Do all things smell pleasant? There is opposition in all things, poor skunks!!
Taste- Have bite size samples of things to taste. Who here loves to eat?? Why do our bodies need food? What are the best foods for our bodies? Have the children draw a SIMPLE picture of something healthy they love to eat!
     Would we be able to do these things without a body? Nope! Our bodies are temples. They are absolutely amazing!! We need to treat them that way and love them!!

* Bring in different pictures of temples. What do they have in common? Are they all the same? What are some differences?
   Just like temples, our bodies are beautiful. Our bodies are not the same though, just like temples!! And that is the way Heavenly Father created us! What a blessing!!
HERE is a story, that yes, made me cry... from The Friend. It is so important for us to love one another. To love ourselves. Share the story with the children. There is an excellent quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at the end.
    Have everyone in the room stand up and play a round of compliment tag. Choose 5 primary friends by giving them a compliment, then they tag a person and give them a compliment and sit down in their chair. The person tagged chooses a person standing to give a compliment to, and the last ones tagged who don't have a seat give compliments to the most amazing Primary Pianist ever!!

* HERE is a great article to send the children home to read with families.

Week 2 Dressing modestly shows respect for Heavenly Father and myself.

* From the topic section of, under modesty, is a great question they ask- “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?”
      This is just a personal feeling I got one time after I was in a room for sharing time. A few little girls were wearing dresses (it was 100+ degrees, summer time) that didn't have sleeves. The primary was told that children were breaking a commandment when they wore sleeveless clothes and that they couldn't go to the temple wearing clothes like that.
     I was a little speechless. My feeling is this, we need to teach doctrine and we need to show lots of love. We can read For the Strength of Youth!! Common sense though says parents are buying the clothes of these children and we should just be careful not to hurt the children's feelings. Our job is to help them feel beautiful and confident, not point a finger and shout SINNERS!!! There are many personal opinions, and that's OK, but opinions aren't doctrine! Our job is not to belittle or scare, that will NOT invite the spirit. So I think a great guideline with children on modesty is the question posed above, "Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?"
     One other thought, if you have multicultural children in your primary be aware that their hair texture & styles are different from that of a white child. We are ALL beautiful how God created us!! Native American boys wear their hair very long, that doesn't mean it's an "extreme". In fact, it's a very inspiring tradition! Black children wear braids, or dreds, or fros.... again, these are not "extremes". Be sensitive!!! Many cultural traditions have been stomped out in history by white men. A huge one being CUT YOUR HAIR, wear it like ours! Why though? God has created us all, just the way we were meant to be. So all I'm saying is just be careful on what you judge "extreme"!!

* " Imagine that you are watching a play. An actor comes on stage dressed as a clown but starts playing the serious part of the lead. You might react by thinking that this is inappropriate—there must be some mistake in the costuming or casting.
      Now think of how inappropriate it is to go out into the world or come to church dressed in clothes that do not represent who you really are in spirit. Our outward appearance and behavior give a message. What message are we sending? Does it reflect that we are children of God?" From Modesty: Reverence for The Lord by Elder Robert D. Hales August 2008
      Have the children talk in pairs about a couple of their favorite pieces of clothing. Why do they like those clothes? Have a fashion show!! Let a few adults know the week before that they will be strutting down the primary room runway... try to focus on neat appearance, clean clothes, clothes you feel comfortable in, and have each person share a scripture or personal experience in regards to modesty. Have a couple teachers in play dress up- giant sunglasses, silly hat, or feather boa. These are perfect for play or holidays, however, do these things reflect fun or respect? There is nothing wrong with fun!! There is just a time and place for everything, right?? Kind of like the quote from Elder Hales!! You can have 2 primary children hold flashlights as they walk and 2 more primary children hold old cameras to pretend like they are taking pictures. Of course, you are the announcer so be upbeat! "Here comes Sister Jones in a lovely ankle length skirt. Her beautiful shirt is a vibrant red, one of her very favorite colors. As she walks down the street in this modest outfit, people turn to notice. She's different. She's covered. She respects her body. But what is most noticeable? That radiant smile!! She is confident that she is a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father."

Week 3 Living the Word of Wisdom shows respect for my body.

* Have 20 plastic cups, with 20 different pictures relating to the word of wisdom. Put 10 pictures on the inside of 10 cups and 10 pictures on the outside of 10 cups. Set up the room with 10 cups facing up and 10 cups facing down. Have some questions to go along with the pictures- for example, picture of lots of candy... is that a good thing to eat on a regular basis? What does sugar do to our body? What does moderation mean?
    Today we're going to learn all about the word of wisdom and how living it shows respect for our bodies. Invite 2 primary friends up front. 1 primary friend is going to try to turn as many cups down as they can while the other friends turns the cups up!! Make a tally on the board (give that job to a child who is a great mathematician and have them sit by the chalkboard, make them feel special!!) for ups and downs, after each round you'll have to count. Give them just 20-30 seconds each round! Then invite them to choose a picture from one of the cups and answer your question. Take pictures off the cups, so for the next round you don't repeat pictures.
    Does that make any sense?? Here's a picture!! (Sometimes teachers play it for PE... so just remind the children that we can have fun, but we need to be reverent at the same time!! Hopefully by only having 2 kids up front it won't get too rowdy!) Also, wow.... there ended up more up cups than down! Fascinating! (It's not about winning! It was just about moving our bodies while we learned today! Thanks for all your help!!)

* Bring in a  LARGE hula hoop. What? Am I crazy? No!! Yes!! Maybe!! Part of the Word of Wisdom is exercising our body to keep it healthy, right??
    Have 5-7 primary friends come up front and join hands to make a circle. Have them think of something that is part of the Word of Wisdom. (Have small pictures to help inspire them if needed!) Using the Hula Hoop, have them pass it around (still holding hands) in the circle... they will have to step through it carefully!! See if the hula hoop can go ALL THE WAY AROUND while the primary sings The Word of Wisdom, Children's Songbook page 154. Great job!! If they didn't make it, no sweat!! We're just here to learn and enjoy the spirit!! Have them share what part they were thinking about in The Word of Wisdom.

Week 4 Reading, watching, and listening to wholesome things keeps my mind clean.

* Before the children come in, have the room semi-disorganized.
     "Everything looks better when there is cleanliness." (May 1996 Ensign President Gordon B. Hinkley "Be Ye Clean")
     Oh what a mess!!! How does it feel to not have our primary room ready? Do you think if someone was visiting they would feel happy seeing these chairs turned over or these pictures crooked?
      Did you know that if we don't read, watch, and listen to good things... our minds become messy! Our minds would be cluttered with junk!! But when we do what's right- when we read, watch, and listen to wholesome things... it keeps our minds clean!!
      Take a minute and have the children clean up the room. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” D&C 133:5 Break into partners or small groups and come up with a list of things that are good to read, watch and listen to! Share with the entire primary after a few minutes.

* Bring in an UNO game (if you have one!). Invite one primary friend up front to draw from the deck:
Yellow- Name something wholesome to read
Red- Name something wholesome to watch
Green- Name something wholesome to listen to
Blue- Give someone in primary a compliment
Action card- Whole primary make a statue pose and hold it for 10 seconds
You can write it on the board too so you don't forget what color is what.
      “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; …" Isaiah 1:16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter Book Review

I love free things. And when I saw this in the mail I was pretty giddy because I knew I could relax poolside and soak in the sunshine while reading sunshine. Kristi's books are always clean, witty, funny, happy, light yet insightful and meaningful.
She brings religion into her books and it's nothing forceful or melodramatic. I feel like it's always just right to lighten the soul and make me reflect on my relationship with Heavenly Father.
This book is about a Lady Georgina Hawthorne who seems to be quite the snob. She is uppity and on the prowl for a husband, but not just any husband. Only the finest breeding and dollar of course. However, as we continue on, things aren't exactly as they seem. She has a secret and you can see the reasoning of why she is the way she is.
Colin McCrae, as the book says, "is the man who is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere." He is a very successful business man with no London family ties. Very crisp, smart, and down to earth.
Stop. I know you know where this is going. And that's the thing, there is enough of a surprise to make the book enjoyable, but it is pretty predictable. I enjoy that. I enjoy a nicely wrapped package, because we don't get that in real life.
So, pick it up at the library or buy it!! It is that good!!

Do you enjoy free things too but feel like couponing doesn't make sense? This is simple. I mean it. I had to drop out of Calculus at BYU, but this really is easy. See HERE for more information!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Reno Nevada Temple (from

Monthly Theme: The Temple is a House of God
Monthly Scripture: “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally” “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 3

Week 1 God has commanded His people to build temples.

* The temple is a place where Heavenly Father can teach, guide, and bless us. What else do we know about temples? See if you can brainstorm a list of 25 temple facts- write them on the chalkboard. Need help? Prepare scriptures, quotes to hand out to groups and give them a couple minutes to read. Come back to your brainstorm!
     Have the children use a piece of paper to brainstorm a design for the temple. Imagine they were in charge of the building plans, what would it look like? Have them share and end with your testimony of temples.

* Have 2 children come up front and shake hands. Have them introduce and MEET each other, "Hi, I'm Mary." or "Hello, I'm Jake." Have a few sets of children shake hands and do this. On the last set have them hold up their joined hands.
      "Temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet." (Gospel Topics Temple, Temples are like the joined hands that connect heaven and earth. Just like you can feel the other persons hand right now, so when you go to the temple you can feel heaven- peace and happiness that is very deep.
      Have a  very small laminated picture of a temple that could fit in the palm of a child's hand. Invite 5 children up front to hold out their hands in a fist. Send one child out of the room. Put the picture in one of the 5 children's hand. Invite the primary friend back in the room to shake hands with the person they think has the picture. Have questions, scriptures, and songs prepared to ask/read/or sing in between each round of your heaven meets earth game! Yes, that means that the 5 friends up there are heavenly!!

* HERE is an excellent sharing time from The Friend, ready to go.

*  Have a large picture of a temple cut into squares. On the back of the squares have questions, scriptures, and songs about how God has commanded us to build temples. Invite a child to choose a square, answer the question, then build the temple on the chalkboard up front. (Like a puzzle activity)
     Bring in some play dough for each child to build a temple if there is time leftover.

Week 2 Families are blessed through sacred temple ordinances.

* "As I think of temples, my thoughts turn to the many blessings we receive therein. As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives." President Monson (April 2015 General Conference Blessings of the Temple)
     Have a picture of a temple with a cut by the door, so that it opens when bended. What are the words President Monson used to describe the blessings of the temple? (Beauty, Order, rest, respite, chance to not be distracted or confused) Write down the words on a popsicle stick and invite a child to come up front and read the words and place them through the temple door.
     Depending on the number of your primary, prepare about 5-10 popsicle sticks per primary friend. On the popsicle stick you will write 2 words to describe the blessings of temples, one on each end. (I would stick to about 8 words total- peace, happiness, beauty, order, rest, eternal life, knowledge, comfort) After you pass out the popsicle sticks, have them get in small groups and play dominoes with their popsicle sticks. They match words then build off the word that wasn't used on the popsicle stick and go in a circle taking turns. First person to run out of sticks get's the luck award! (What's the luck award? You saying they got the luck award. Everyone who plays and learns and has fun with good manners is a winner!)
       Families are blessed through sacred temple covenants!

* TEMPLE Showdown!!! Bring in a good 20-30 pictures of temples that children might recognize. Invite 2 children up front, standing facing each other, and have them tap (NOT BANG) the table when you show a picture of the temple IF THEY CAN NAME THAT TEMPLE!
    Assure the children that this is difficult seeing as there are over 140 temples on earth! You could even do a round with teachers, try to stump them! In between each round, have questions, songs, and scriptures to read about the temple for the children. (And when I say songs, the whole primary sings a song about temples)

* Invite a family who was sealed in the temple to share a little bit about how it has blessed their family. Have them show some pictures of their special day and bear testimony.

* In the October 2000 Friend (HERE is the link) Rachelle F.A. Dow writes a beautiful poem entitled What Lasts?:
"Ice cream melts,
Flowers wilt,
The leaves of autumn fall.
Sunsets fade,
Seasons change,
And children don’t stay small.
Balloons pop,
Snowfalls stop—
Do summers last? Never!
Weekends fly,
Today will die,
But …
I would gather pictures to illustrate this WONDERFUL poem (ice cream, flower, leaves, sunset... etc.) and then have a picture of a temple on the back. Let a child pick one picture from the poem, then turn over the picture and answer a question or read a scripture or have the primary sing a song- having to do with temples and forever families.
Some examples of questions might include:
Has The Lord commanded that temples be built always, or just in latter days? Can you name some people that built temples in ancient times? (Nephi, Solomon, Children of Israel)
What do we need to do in our families to be worthy to go to the temple?
How can we prepare now to go to the temple?
What are some feelings you have when you are at the temple grounds?
Why do you think people wear white inside the temple?
What is something you would like to do with your forever family in the resurrection?

Week 3 The pioneers worked hard and sacrificed to build temples.

* HERE is an excellent read from The Friend on modern day pioneers and how they sacrifice too to build temples! There is a temple matching to a map activity too.

* President Hinckley said, “Whether you are among the posterity of the pioneers or whether you were baptized only yesterday, each is the beneficiary of their great undertaking.” True to the Faith Ensign, May 1997
I took a little car and added some popsicle sticks, paper, and string to make a portable wagon. Have different stations for the children to drive the wagon to and learn about the pioneers and all they did to help us have temples!
* Railroad Spelling Bee- HERE is an article from The Friend with some games pioneer children played. Play a round of the game and then have the children gather around you on the floor while you tell a short pioneer story of sacrifice and faith (with a picture) in a pioneer bonnet.
* I once saw another ward do a really neat idea where they turned off the lights and had a paper campfire with paper wooden logs. They invited the children to sit round the fire and shared stories of the pioneers and sang pioneer songs. It was very reverent and looked like a wonderful learning opportunity! 
* HERE is a fun step by step instruction from The Friend on how to draw pioneer pictures. Pass out some paper to the children. Find 3 stories on pioneer sacrifice, (HERE, HERE this one is a little graphic for little children, HERE are a few GREAT VIDEOS from media library). Teach them how to draw 1 pioneer pictures (practice at home first if you think you need to!) and then share with them the story of sacrifice. If there is time leftover you can make these fun treats found HERE. (Marshmallow wagons!)
* For senior primary, handout THIS worksheet and see who can get the most right!! Just like the wagon got the pioneers to the west, the pioneers got us to the temple through their sacrifice to build them!!
Week 4 I can prepare to be worthy to go to the temple.

* Start off your lesson with the following quote, "Preparation also includes qualification for a temple recommend. Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house.Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well. Each person applying for a recommend will be interviewed by a judge in Israel—the bishop—and by a stake president. They hold keys of priesthood authority and the responsibility to help us know when our preparation and timing are appropriate to enter the temple. Their interviews will assess several vital issues. They will ask if we obey the law of tithing, if we keep the Word of Wisdom, and if we sustain the authorities of the Church. They will ask if we are honest, if we are morally clean, and if we honor the power of procreation as a sacred trust from our Creator.
      Why are these issues so crucial? Because they are spiritual separators. They help to determine if we truly live as children of the covenant." Elder Russel M. Nelson Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings April 2001 General Conference
      Play a game of 2 choices. It's a walking game, so everyone will need to use quiet feet and silent mouths. It's pretty simple, you name 2 things and the primary friends move to the side of the room that they choose. For example blue on left, red on right. After about 10 choices, have the children sit down in their seats. Have the children talk about what are good choices to prepare for the temple with their primary friend seated next to them. After a minute, have a few children share what they talked about.
       Close with just having the children raise their hand on the choice they think is best as you go back to the quote you read. These are choices an apostle and prophet of God has told us to help us if we want to go to the temple.
Pay Tithing, Buy a Boat
Follow Word of Wisdom, Smoke Cigarettes
Tell stories that aren't true, Be Honest
Make fun of our leaders and teachers, Help and Support our Bishop
Choose Light, Choose Darkness

* "I pray that each of us will honor the Savior and make any necessary changes to see ourselves in His sacred temples." Elder Quentin L. Cook See Yourself in the Temple April 2016 General Conference
      Bring in 2 large mirrors if you can and a picture of the temple. Face the mirrors so that when a child looks in it they will see a going on forever image. Invite the wonderful primary pianist to play I love to see the temple as you quietly invite a primary friend to hold the temple picture and look in the mirror. Have a few children do this! After the music stops, ask the children how they felt. We will be resurrected and live forever, we are all guaranteed that when we came to earth to be tested and get a body. But eternal life with Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Jesus & our loved ones is something we must work and prepare for!! As we prepare for the temple, we prepare for eternal life.
      Have slips of paper with things children can act out to prepare for the temple. Temple Prep Charades! Just remember, no shouting out answers, please raise hands if you know!!

* HERE is a beautiful visual of temple rooms (from The Friend) and what we do inside. Is the temple secret?? NO!! It's sacred. What do the children think this means?
     Play 4 corners, and in each corner have a different temple picture. As reverent music is played, children use their quiet feet to choose a temple/corner. When the music stops, they must be in a corner or they have to sit down. You can draw a name of the temple out of the bag, those primary friends in that corner must sit down. When you are down to about 10 children, ask them to name something they can do to prepare to go to the temple. Continue with the game and keep playing until only one person is left!