Woah. Am I behind the times or what! I didn't even know about this AWESOME RESOURCE that the church has!
* Here is a gathering of testimonies of Joseph Smith in different languages. Have a laptop handy and invite a couple children to choose different people from around the world and listen to those testimonies in the people's native language. Have a globe or a map with the numbers 1 through 12 posted in different areas. Attach questions, songs and scriptures having to do with the story of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith. All over the world, the truth is the same - the gospel is restored!!! Hooray! (Need help with questions, click here!)
* Here is a BEAUTIFUL multimedia presentation, with great pictures and short quotes! I didn't hear any music, but I think it would be a great way to start off primary by showing this and having the pianist play O How Lovely Was the Morning softly in the background as you read the quotes. (For some odd reason, there is a video at the very end but it's short and not really finished ??)
* President Uchtdorf shares his testimony of Joseph Smith and personal story when he was a boy. Click Here to read. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The First Vision,” Friend, Jun 2008, 2–3) Share the story and take the above picture from the Nursery Manual. With a pen, draw slanted lines to make it into a mosaic like stained glass. Make a copy for each child and have them color with lots of different colors and answer the questions in the magazine article.
* 3 cheers for Diane Nichols!! She shares Grrrrrrrrrrrreat activities found here!!! (Diane Nichols, “Sharing Time: Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration,” Friend, Jul 2001, 14) Especially love this quote/idea from her, "Display a bouquet of four artificial flowers and one real flower. Ask how the flowers are different from one another. Point out that the main difference is that only one is a true flower. Explain that though there are many churches in the world today, only one of them is the true Church of Jesus Christ."
* This is an outline of songs and artwork telling the story of Joseph and His life. It would be great for older children who know the songs. Thanks for putting it together in one spot Sister Karen Robinson! (Kerri Robinson, “Sing a Song of Joseph,” Friend, May 2007, 4–6)
* Have different questions written on the chalkboard. What ocean can you find blue whales in? How do you make chocolate cake with buttercream frosting? What is the largest city in the world? Next, ask the children where or what they could do to find out the answers to these questions. Erase the questions and put up a final question, What is the true Church here on the earth today? What would they do to find the answer to this question? Help children memorize James 1:5, “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." by doing hand movements to the words. Also, the best way to help them memorize is not spending 10 minutes repeating over and over!! Throughout the lesson, say the scripture for them, whoever knows it- join in! Leave out certain words, let the children fill in the blank. Tell the children you have lots of questions that need to be answered! Have them check under their chairs for questions, then quietly walk around and talk to each other to find out the answer to their question. (Good opportunity for older children to help younger children with their questions!)
*Dress up a child simply and have them act out the words while you sing The Sacred Grove. (CS p.87) Have another child be a sun, another hold up a picture of God the Father and Jesus appearing to Joseph and lastly a child holding a big heart.
* Have the children hold up their pointer fingers. How are the fingers different, how are they the same? (On different hands, one might have a shorter nail, etc. Yet they are both fingers.) John 17:21, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." We learn a very important truth from the first vision in that Heavenly Father and Jesus are separate, different bodies and persons, yet they are the same -Gods- and one in purpose.
“Yes, God does live. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate personal beings, alike in form, in whose image man is made. In order that these basic fundamental truths, lost to the world through centuries of erroneous teachings, might again be available to people of our day, a new revelation was necessary, and this was given to the fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith in the form of the most glorious vision ever given to mortal man, so far as the records indicate—a vision in which Father and Son appeared simultaneously” (Joseph F. Merrill, in Conference Report, Oct. 1948, 59).
* Here is a matching activity in the friend that would be great for older children to do in pairs. (Scroll down a little)
* Have a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon in different languages. Ask the children to try to come up and read. Sometimes it's even hard enough in our own language that we know! Have different bookmarks in the Books with scriptures, songs and questions having to do with Joseph Smith and the translation of the Book of Mormon attached. Let the children come up and pick a book mark! If there is time, perhaps they can even make a book mark with Joseph Smith on it, and give to the missionaries to give to investigators!
* Have a blow dryer unplugged and invite a child to press the on button. What happens? Now plug it in and get the power going!(Make sure the adult does this, not the child...say no to pain and lawsuits) What happens? And so it is also by the power of God that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.
* Sing The Books in the Book of Mormon. (CS pg. 119) Invite the children to turn to the Table of Contents in the Book of Mormon. Ask the children to share favorite stories from the Book of Mormon, then decide where you would find those stories. We only know those stories because Joseph Smith translated them by the power of God!
* I really liked the idea in the sharing time outline! I would expand it by dividing into groups and having different messages and codes for each group to figure out. Then have someone come to the front and share what their message was. All messages would be based on the week's theme. For example, "Joseph Smith had help translating from Oliver Cowdry." or "Joseph Smith used the Urim and Thummin to translate."
You could divide a paper in half, have this poem on one side and have the children take home to illustrate a picture of Joseph Smith or event from his life.
Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For reading in James,
For translating plates,
For suffering pain.
Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For teaching the way,
For preaching the gospel,
For laughter and play.
Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For helping each hour,
For receiving restored
Power to hope
And help and heal.
Power to pray
And baptize and seal.
Power to preach
And translate and learn.
Power to teach
Of kingdoms to earn.
* For Senior Sharing Time, you can enlarge this crossword puzzle (click HERE) and do for sharing time.
* For Senior Sharing Time,click here for a time line activity for the children to do.
* Click here for a puzzle of the picture of Joseph Smith and highlights from his life.
“In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place. Then Joseph Smith came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place so that people could say, ‘Oh, now I understand where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.’ As for Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: ‘This generation shall have my word through you’ (D&C 5:10).”, Joseph Smith-Propher of the Restoration, Ensign, Nov. 2009, 36)
* Have 3 cups. Put a ball under one cup and mix them up. Invite a child to guess where the ball is. Do again a couple times with different children. Heavenly Father would always know where the ball is because He is omnipotent (Big Word!!) He knows all things! And just as He knows all things, he carefully chose Joseph Smith to restore the gospel.
“It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation” (Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 108).
* Invite someone to leave the room. They are gone, now send someone to bring that person back. So it is with the restoration, The Church of Jesus Christ had left the world and Joseph Smith brought it back, restored it by the power of God!
* The Restoration DVD might be appropriate to show! I haven't seen it in a while and am not sure how easy to understand for children it is. So keyword then is "might".