Tuesday, December 24, 2013

January 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

"Trust in the Lord" (Proverbs 3:5-6) by the talented James Johnson, HERE is his website.
I love everything about this picture. It embodies everything about the monthly theme and truly captures the beauty of this journey we are on, Christ always ready to lead us along.
Monthly Theme: Heavenly Father Prepared a Way for Me to return to His Presence.
Monthly Scripture: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Week 1 I am a child of God and can be like Him someday.

* Have a basin of water. Have a laminated picture of a toe or foot. Have a laminated picture of a child in a swimsuit.
     "When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be." President Uchtdorf Of Regrets and Resolutions Oct. 2012 (Awesome talk- highly recommend reading!!)
     Is dipping our toes in the water going swimming? We are children of God and we can be like Him someday, but we need to work hard!!! Just dipping our toes in is not enough. We need to get in all the way and swim hard!! Have a list of case scenarios and invite a child to come up front. Have them decide whether that person was just dipping their feet in the gospel or swimming to be like Heavenly Father someday!
      A few ideas for the case scenarios:
      A friend earned $5 for doing chores and decided to buy a toy instead of paying tithing.
      A friend had a birthday party to go to on Sunday but chose to go to church instead.
      Susie was very tired and decided to go to bed early instead of reading her scriptures.
      Arnold decided to only read books with good language in them.
      Percy decided to invite a boy to play with him who usually played alone at recess.
      Harry always made sarcastic comments.  

* Have a nicely decorated table with flowers, crumpets, a teapot, and herbal decaffeinated tea. Wear a robe and crown. In your best British accent invite the children to explain all about royalty. What is a throne? What is an heir? How does one inherit the throne?
     We may not be princesses and princes who will rule earthly countries, but we are royal heirs!! (Insert my 9 year old daughter's personal interpretation/rendition of a popular radio song that she felt wasn't teaching it right.... quoting Christina "And yes we are royal! (Royal!) We are children of The King, Our Heavenly Father loves us so... and one day we'll be like Him, if we follow Jesus (Jesus)....We can have eternal life and baby we'll rule (we'll rule, we'll rule, we'll rule) the eternities... I know. I have the most awesome children on earth.)
Have a primary friend read Romans 8:16-17 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
     One day we can be like Heavenly Father because we are His children!! Have come slips of paper in your teapot. Invite children to draw a strip of paper and share what Heavenly Father is like:
He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering, and full of goodness (see Psalm 103:6–8)
He does not change, and his course is one eternal round (see D&C 35:1)
He is a God of truth and cannot lie (see Ether 3:11–12)
He is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34–35)
God is love (see 1 John 4:8, 16)
He has all power (see Alma 26:35)
He is completely just (see Deuteronomy 32:4)
(These statements are from Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3 HERE)
After the children either read the scripture or statement, ask them how they can be like Heavenly Father in that way? For example, Heavenly Father is slow to anger... what can you do at home to be more patient? Invite others to share their thoughts too!
     End with repeating Romans 8:16-17 and bearing testimony that you know we are children of God and can become like Him someday!

* Show the children a picture of a sculpture or an actual sculpture. What do the children think about this work of art?
     "Each of us was born with the potential to become like our Heavenly Father. Through our experiences and by properly using our agency, we can turn our lives in the direction of God and become like Him. Or we can be distracted by the world and fail to achieve our potential as it was promised to us. Figuratively, we all have the potential to become beautiful works of art in the Lord’s hands. In this sense, He is the sculptor and He uses a hammer and chisel to mold us through our experiences day by day. If we allow the Lord to shape us, the result will be wonderful."
Becoming a Work of Art Ulisses Soares BYU Devotional November 2013 click HERE for full talk
    Give the children a chunk of play dough or salt dough for them to make a beautiful work of art. After about 3-4 minutes, invite children up front to share their work and something that we can do to be like Heavenly Father.   
     Is hard clay easy to work with? We need to make sure that we are not hard hearted and allow Heavenly Father to help us become His beautiful masterpieces!!

Week 2 Heavenly Father provided a Savior and makes it possible for me to return to His presence. &
Week 4 I can return to Heavenly Father by Following Jesus Christ.

I thought the week's themes were very similar, so I combined the ideas, which I don't usually do.

* HERE is a story from The Friend called Finding the Way Back. Read the primary children the story. Have a ball and a bucket for children to gently try to kick the ball into. In the story, Timmy kept kicking the ball farther and farther away from where he needed to be! Invite a child up to try to make a goal and answer a question, read a scripture or sing a song about Heavenly Father provided a Savior and has made it possible for us to return to Him!
    Some questions could include: What is the atonement? How can we repent? How did the Savior show us the way back to Heavenly Father? Who has the Father given to us as a gift to help guide us back to Him? When was the plan for a Savior given and did we choose that plan?

* Have about 10 different paper airplanes hidden throughout the room. Have a large picture of Elder Robert D. Hales. Tell the children that he used to be a jet fighter pilot in the US Air Force. In his group of pilots in the Air Force they would paint motto's on the side of their planes to help inspire them. His squadron/group's motto was "Return with Honor". Have a child write that on the board.
     What does it mean "Return with Honor" and how is that inspiring?
      Elder Hales has said, "This same motto, “Return with Honor,” can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home. How do we return to our Heavenly Father with honor? Just as aircraft pilots must obey certain rules in order to avoid disaster, there are laws, ordinances, and covenants we must understand and obey as we go through this earthly life—this preparatory period—if we are to reach our goal of eternal life." (April 1990 Ensign talk found HERE)
     On the paper airplanes have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with the week's theme. Invite the children to come fly a plane and then do what is says on the inside. Really, if we think about it.... the only reason we can fly home is because Heavenly Father and Jesus provided us the airplanes, map, gas, training... everything!!

* Tell the children the following (The exact words can be found HERE, an Ensign Article by Elder Marvin J. Ashton): A man was once on a train in England. The train conductor was walking around punching travelers tickets and stopped to ask each one "Where is your destination?". Elder Ashton was asked the same question, "Where is your destination?" He replied a small town by name and the conductor said that they would be there in 10 minutes. However,  Elder Ashton thought about the question. He needed to go to that place, but there were also many other places he needed to visit after! What does destination mean?? In the journey of life, what is our destination???
    "As we pursue our journeys, let us ever bear in mind that in train travel and in life, there are stations, there are departures, calls, schedules, and opportunities for being side-tracked and diverted. Wise is the individual who follows in his, the Savior’s, paths. Safety and joy belong to those who will come and follow him. I bear witness to you today that God is eternal. We are eternal, and God never intended for us to travel alone. What is your destination? I humbly pray our Heavenly Father to help each one of us realize it is eternal life, exaltation in our Father’s kingdom."
     Have a train track on the chalkboard with about 10 stops and a bunch of spaces. What could some of these stops in life be?? Perhaps baptism, serving a mission, temple marriage.... all are necessary and goals that will help us to our final destination!! Have a picture of a train with a magnet on the back so you can move it easily. Children can roll the dice to move the train. When they get to a stop, have them answer a question, read a scripture or sing together a song having to do with Jesus and how He has made it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father.
Make sure they reach their final destination!! Eternal Life with Heavenly Father and Jesus!!
     Some questions could include: Where did the Atonement of the Savior take place? (Show a picture of the Garden of Gethsemane... but also, as part of the Atonement Jesus had to die, so you can show a picture of Him on the cross... don't be afraid to teach children names of places!!) What are 3 things the Savior did in His life to give us as an example to follow? What can you do to gain a testimony of The Savior? Why did Heavenly Father sacrifice His perfect Son for us- how does that make you feel?

Week 3 Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me to follow.

* Show a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Then show about 5 more. There are lots of recipes out there to make chocolate chip cookies, just like there are lots of good examples of people for us to be like in life. But there is a big difference between chocolate chip cookies and us!! There is only ONE PERFECT example for us to follow and I need all my primary friends to point to a picture in the room of who that PERFECT example is!! That's right!! Jesus!
     Let's choose this recipe to make some cookie batter for the Bishop. When we follow a recipe we have to be very careful, or else what can happen to the cookies?? Let children add ingredients when they can correctly identify Gospel Art Book pictures of The Savior's life. What did Christ do in the picture as an example for us to follow?
     Our Savior always served others, so let's do some service and have a friend deliver this to the Bishop! Like the outline says, challenge the children to think of a way they can follow The Savior this week!

* Have a large plastic bowl and a wash towel. Tell the children that you are going to read a scripture passage to them and you want them to picture themselves at that place with a bowl of water and wash towel. You can also have a primary friend hold a picture of Jesus washing His disciples feet. It's a longer passage, so make sure when you are reading, you read with expression and move around a little. John 13:1-15 emphasizing the last verse, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
     What does this scripture mean? How did you feel as you heard these words? Remind the children that when we have feelings of peace, this is the Holy Ghost confirming truth to us.
      Have children write down ways that they can be like Jesus on strips of paper. Have them put them in the bowl. Pass around the wash towel reverently as you sing a song about Jesus. When the music stops, whoever is holding the towel can draw a paper or 2 from the bowl and share what other friends have written.
      "Jesus wanted the Twelve—and He wants each of us—to learn that humility and service are worthy characteristics we should seek to obtain. He taught that no one is too important to serve others." Barbara Thompson As I Have Loved You Ensign 2011

* 1 Peter 2: 21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"
     Have numbered 1 through 10 footprints cut out and spread out in the room. Invite children to choose a footprint. Have a corresponding numbered Gospel Art Book Picture for the children to look at from the life of The Savior. Invite them to share all they know about that story and what they can do to follow Jesus' example.
     When the primary children have found all the footprints, invite them to reverently walk beside the footprints and then back to their chairs as we sing "Come Follow Me" (Hymns 116)

* Sing "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" (CS 78-79). President Eyring had an experience one time as he watched other children sing this song. He said, " It seemed to me that they were not just singing; they were declaring their determination. Jesus Christ was their example. To be like Him was their fixed goal. And their eager looks and their shining eyes convinced me that they had no doubts. They expected to succeed. They believed that the instruction of the Savior to be perfect was not a hope but a command. And they were sure He had prepared the way.
     That determination and confidence can and must be in the heart of every Latter-day Saint. The Savior has prepared the way through His Atonement and His example. And even the children who sang that song knew how.
      Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example." Our Perfect Example General Conference October 2009
      Have about 10-12 paper hearts throughout the room with questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with The Savior's example and how we can follow Him. Invite children to choose hearts and participate.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Gift Idea for LDS Primary Children

Felt Mitten Ornaments (Image from quiltersbuzz.com)
For Christmas, I was thinking about the talk Elder Uchtdorf gave in Conference (April 2010).
HERE is the link.
You could easily share the first part of his talk with the children about how a statue of The Savior had it's hands broken off, but the people put a sign underneath saying that we are His hands!
What does this mean that we are His hands?
Make some simple felt mitten ornaments for the children. Not a sewer?? Hot glue works wonders!!
Encourage Primary Friends to remember the importance of service always!! Here is also a handout for them with ideas of things they can do for others this holiday season! When they have completed a service, they can color in the mitten!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

December 2013 LDS Primary Sharing Time Ideas & Helps

La Vierge Au Lys by Bouguerau

Monthly Theme: I know that Jesus Christ will come again.
Monthly Scripture: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." Job 19:25

Week 1 The Prophets foretold that Jesus Christ would come to earth.

* HERE is a Primary 6 lesson with lots of scripture references for this weekly theme. There is also a nice coloring page to go along!

* HERE is a link with lots of resources for teaching children about the prophecies of Christ. The Christmas in the America (under stories) link would be a great/easy felt board story!

* Have a child come up front and guess what is in a paper bag with a bow. We can guess all we like. We could even guess what would happen tomorrow. But it's different with prophets. When it's the will of Heavenly Father, He speaks through prophets to "foretell" what will happen. What is the difference between guessing and a prophet "foretelling"?
Have the child open the bag to show a picture of baby Jesus. Prophets foretold that Jesus Christ would come to earth.

* Do you have a toy bow and arrow set? They sell them at the Dollar store. Invite a child to come up and share the story of Samuel the Lamanite. Samuel prophesied and foretold that Jesus Christ would come to earth. Have 10-12 different questions, songs, and scriptures about the birth of Christ on strips of paper for children to choose. Once they answer the question correctly, they can shoot the arrow at a paper circle on the blackboard. We'd never shoot at Samuel, but our answers to questions are always right on the mark!

* Have a sleeping bag and pillow. Invite a child to put on a Nephi's slippers and cozy robe and fall asleep. In 1 Nephi 11 we learn all about Nephi's vision of when Jesus would come to earth. Have little paper thought/dream bubbles (about 6-8) with pictures about the life of Christ from his vision. Read scripture excerpts and then invite a child to come choose which dream bubble it's talking about. Then invite another Nephi to fall asleep... etc. You'll have a lot of children coming up this way.

* Bring in a copy of the week's weather report for where you live. Ask the children if they have ever seen the weather man predict snow and then there was no snow? Is it pretty hard to guess what the weather will be like?? Heavenly Father did not want people to be confused when it came to Jesus coming to earth. He spoke to prophets and prophets foretold the coming of The Savior. It wasn't like the weather... what the prophets spoke happened!!

Have a small umbrella with strips of paper inside. On the papers have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with the weeks theme. Let a child come up front and spin the umbrella to mix up the papers and then choose one. Weather changes, but the prophecies of Christ do not!!

Week 2 Jesus Christ will come to the earth again.

* Ask the primary children to raise their hand if they enjoy reading a good book. Go ahead and raise their hands again if they ever get to the end and wish there was more! Sometimes books continue and have sequels!! If we were thinking about the life of Christ like a book, what would be His sequel??? What would come after His chapter when He was resurrected? It's a pretty tricky question!! Was He resurrected and that was just it?? Jesus Christ will come to the earth again!!
Go over a couple scriptures of what the 2nd coming will be like. Focus on the positive!! Need help finding scriptures... click HERE for great information from Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Manual.
Have a piece of paper with a clip art open book on it for each child. Invite children to draw an image of Jesus' life on the left hand side. On the other side they can draw His sequel!!! The next chapter/book is the glorious 2nd coming.

* Is this idea possible? I really don't know. Hang about 6-7 envelopes from a string from the ceiling. When the children walk in they will all be looking up. When it's time to start tell the children you noticed a bunch of them looking up. Why would they be looking up, that's kind of weird? Is there something... oh, there is something up there!! Just as we were looking up, a long time ago so were the apostles!! Show a picture of the Ascension.
      “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” Acts 1:11   
       What does this scripture tell us? What goes up must come down!! Have children choose an envelope and answer questions, scriptures, and sing songs about Jesus Christ's 2nd coming.

* HERE is a lesson from the Primary 7 manual. It has a good matching handout for older children

* Have children draw a picture of what it will be like in the Millennium! All the animals will be peaceful, Christ will be our King, Satan will be bound! It's an exciting time to look forward too!

Week 3 I will prepare to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.

* HERE is an awesome sharing time from The Friend having to do with the parable of the 10 Virgins.

* Invite a doctor into primary. Yes, a real doctor if you have one. Or a nurse. Ask them if they were able to just start healing people when they decided they wanted to become a doctor. What did they have to do to become a doctor? It takes a lot of hard work and preparation! And they don't just stop preparing, they are constantly learning and striving to do better to help others. It's the same with Eternal Life. We can prepare to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.
     After the doctor leaves, have a medical bag with things like a band aid, Neosporin, stethoscope, tongue depressor... etc. Invite children to come choose things from the doctor's bag and name ways we can prepare to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again. Just like a person prepares to be a doctor, we must prepare for Eternal Life and help others along the way!

* Have an attention activity of guess the letter. Just like hangman, but we don't draw a man hanging we just get 4 X's. You'll need 7 blanks for the word prepare.
Have someone read D&C 1:12 "Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh"
    Break into groups and have the children guess letters again within their group. You'll need teachers to help. Give them each papers with blanks for the following phrases-
Study Scriptures Often
Pray Daily
Get Baptized
Go to the temple
Make good choices
Serve others faithfully
     After a few minutes, invite a child from each group to share a way in which we can prepare to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again! If there is still time, have a primary friend share another way to you and put blanks on the chalkboard for others to guess!

* Bring in some items from your food storage supply. Ask the children if they have food storage at home. Invite a primary friend to share what food storage is and why the prophets have asked us to have some extra food at home.
    Is it good to be prepared? Have some questions, scriptures, and songs attached to different food storage items for the children to choose and do.
     End with a brief recap of the story of the brother of Jared. Show a picture. The Lord told him that they would cross many deep waters. The Brother of Jared was worried because they wouldn't have light. The Lord said, "And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" (Ether 2:25) We know that the Brother of Jared then got some stones and The Lord touched them and they were able to cross the sea with light.
     The Lord will help prepare His children! And we need to prepare ourselves, with His help, to return to Him!! He'll never leave us in the dark if we turn to Him.

* Alma 34:32-33 "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed."
    According to that scripture, when are we supposed to prepare to meet God? When we're 50? Only on the years that end in a 3? Every other day? Why is preparing to meet Heavenly Father and Jesus something we must do always?
     I will choose one primary friend to sit on the end of a row. They will think of something we must do so we can prepare to meet Heavenly Father and Jesus. They will then whisper it to the friend next to them, who will whisper it to the next friend until we reach the end of the row. Let's see how much time it will take! Continue for the next row, and the next. Record each time. Wow! Time flies when we are thinking and doing the things that will bring us closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus!
     "Brothers and sisters, we have to stay with it. We don’t acquire eternal life in a sprint—this is a race of endurance. We have to apply and reapply the divine gospel principles. Day after day we need to make them part of our normal life." Elder Uchtdorf The Way of the Disciple Apr. 2009

Week 4 I have a testimony that I am a child of God.

* Have children write down their testimonies or draw a picture of something they know is true about the gospel.

* Have a primary friend come up front and volunteer to do as many push ups as they can. Wow! That's amazing. Would our arms be weaker or stronger in the long run if we practiced doing push ups?
    How about a testimony? Would our testimony be strong if we shared it once or many times?
Have strips of paper with different questions, scriptures, and songs about testimony on them. Invite a child to come up front and do a push up with a piece of tape on their nose to pick up the paper.
     If you have girls volunteering, make sure their skirts are not facing anyone!!

* Have large paper hearts. Invite children to fill in the heart with ways they know that Heavenly Father loves them. What has He given you that you can know how much He loves you? Have children share their different answers.

* Invite a few different ward members in to share a time when they gained a testimony that they were a child of God. Ask the children to remember that they can pray sincerely and know the truth of all things. Joseph Smith's first prayer was answered!! Our prayers will be answered too!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Be Meek and Lowly of Heart FHE

This Family Home Evening Idea is based off the talk given by Elder Ulisses Soares in the October 2013 General Conference.... found HERE.
Story of Brother Mahlangu- show picture
Scriptures: Matthew 11:29 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26
Activity: Cut up the squares with words that may or may not describe what it means to have meekness. Have family draw squares out of a paper bag and then glue to the lamb/meekness sheet if the words do describe meekness! If not, toss them in the trash!
How was the Savior Meek? Hold up a picture of Him on the cross.
Quote from talk: "Even after the most intense physical suffering, the Lord turned to His Father and spoke from the bottom of His meek and humble heart: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Christ faced extreme physical and spiritual suffering, giving us the opportunity to change our spiritual character and become meek like Him."
Have each member of the family make a GOAL of something they can do throughout the week to be more meek.
Bear Testimony

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New General Women's Meeting- 8 Year Old Girls and Older!!

There was a new announcement that I'm sure many have heard, but if not you can click
to find out more!!

LDS Gratitude Primary Activity Day

This image was found in a google search for free turkey clip art.
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year! I love doing turkey art, having soup, and enjoying the last of the fall leaves.
Gratitude should be a virtue that we strive for each moment of our lives.
We planned a short activity in the Church gym for our Primary children and the outline is as follows.
I know in the handbook we don't have "official" activities anymore, but when I talked about it with our Priesthood leaders, we saw this as a good missionary opportunity for our children.

As children come in, they will be divided into groups. They will be given a different colored feather. We will need 4  groups.
Introduction Activity (10 min.):
What does a good attitude mean? Part of being a Christ like person is always having an attitude of
How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”   (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 263.)
Match the word “Thanks” in different languages to the flags of the country that speak that language.
Sing the song, “Children all over the world” (CS 16-17)

Different Centers (10-12 min. at each center) Each group will rotate. You'll need 1 adult at each table, or more, depending on number of children.
1.      Thank you notes to service men and missionaries serving from our ward.
Needed: Paper, Coloring Crayons, Pencils
2.      Feast Upon the Words of Christ art project - Children will cut out and make a paper collage Thanksgiving Feast. They will label food with things they are grateful for from the scriptures. For example: Nephi, stories about faith, When Christ was born and resurrected, Joseph’s coat of many colors…. Etc. Scrapbook paper is used to make a table cloth. Read and go over the scripture 2 Nephi 32:2.
    Needed: scrapbook paper, cardstock, magazines with food pictures, glue sticks, scissors, black
markers, scriptures, Gospel Art Books from Library
3.      Thankful for Family Leaf Wreaths- Children make a wreath and label the leaves with things
they are thankful for about family members. About 10 leaves per child.
Needed: Paper leaves, gluesticks, ribbon, black markers
4.      Gratitude Walk- Like a cake walk, on the # drawn the children name things they are thankful for at that place or ways they can show gratitude there
Needed: Gratitude Music, Numbered leaves on the floor 1-10, papers numbered 1-10 with the following categories
1 School
2 Grocery Store
3 Park
4 Vacation
5 Church
6 Garden
7 Temple
8 In the Car
9 Family Home Evening
10 Friend's House
Closing Prayer
Handouts to take home
-          Gratitude Journals with the quote, “There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others,” says President Gordon B. Hinckley. “They are ‘thank you’” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4).
-          Possible food kit for a homeless person (water, granola bar, tuna pouches, crackers, fruit cups, raisins, large Ziploc bags to put everything in)

Who is Jesus? An LDS Christmas play for children

Here is a short little play/musical that we will be performing at our Christmas Dinner. It was made for a group of 60-70 kids. I didn't add it in the script, but you could also have non-speaking parts for animals of the nativity, arrow/rock throwers with the Nephites, and a special friend to help conduct the music of the last song. I have parents do simple costumes, whatever they can find. For our star chorus, we might make paper stars for them to hold. We usually hold 1 practice on a Saturday morning for 1 hour, also 1 practice right before the dinner. Merry Christmas a little early!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

November 2013 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Artwork Brian Kershisnik - Ten Lepers Healed

Monthly Theme: We Are To Thank God In All Things
Monthly Scripture: "He commanded them that... every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God" Mosiah 18:23

Week 1 I am thankful for my body, and I know that it is a temple.

* Invite an adult to come up front. Have a large stack of post it notes and invite children to talk about why they are thankful for their bodies. Using good judgement, select body parts like eyes, ears, mouth, elbows, knees, hair on head, heart, stomach, feet, fingers... and have the children say a reason how that part of the body helps us. Write it down on the post it and  YOU stick it to the adult. Our bodies are covered head to toes in blessings. Now take the post it's and make a temple on the chalkboard. (4 on bottom, 3 on next level centered, 1 on next in middle, 1 on next in middle, 1 on next in middle) I am thankful for the blessings of my body and I know that it is a temple!!

* Have some pictures of temples, children, church houses, malls... invite children to come up front and hold the pictures. Those with pictures of temples need to stand by the piano. Did the pictures of the children move over there too? “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)
Have a basket of good things for your body: fruit, clothes, medicine, scriptures, good book, little weight... Have children come up front and choose things that are good for our temples out of the basket. Have them tell why they are good for our bodies and a reason that they are thankful for their body.

* Bring in a mirror and invite a child to come up front and fill in the blank of this sentence from the last General Conference, "Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as _________________".
The answer is A TEMPLE!!! (From Decisions for Eternity by Elder Nelson Oct. 2013)

Have about 8 different paper mirrors with tinfoil, numbered. Let children find them throughout the room and then read corresponding quotes from Elder Nelson's mentioned talk and questions.
    1. "My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing! Think of your eyes that see, ears that hear, and fingers that feel all the wondrous things around you." What is one of your favorite things to see?
    2. "Your brain lets you learn, think, and reason." What is something you enjoy learning about?
    3. "Your heart pumps tirelessly day and night, almost without your awareness." Can you put your hand over your heart and feel it beat?
    4. "Your body protects itself. Pain comes as a warning that something is wrong and needs attention. Infectious illnesses strike from time to time, and when they do, antibodies are formed that increase your resistance to subsequent infection." Why should we be grateful for pain and sickness?
    5. "Your body repairs itself. Cuts and bruises heal. Broken bones can become strong once again. I have cited but a tiny sample of the many amazing God-given qualities of your body." When is a time you were hurt and healed?
    6. "Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies.11 The gift of such a body can actually strengthen a family as parents and siblings willingly build their lives around that child born with special needs." How can we show others love who don't have bodies that are like ours?
    7. "Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit." How does the word of wisdom help or hurt our spirits?
    8. "The aging process is also a gift from God, as is death. The eventual death of your mortal body is essential to God’s great plan of happiness.12 Why? Because death will allow your spirit to return home to Him." If we treat our bodies like temples, make good choices and repent... will we be prepared to meet Heavenly Father?
Challenge the children each time they look in the mirror to remember their body is a temple!!

* HERE is a fun little muscle man for children to put together from The Friend.

* HERE is a great article from The Friend. It has a story of how President Kimball kept his inner temple bright! If you had a stuffed cow, you could pass it around while you sing My Body is a Temple (CS 153). When the music stops children can say a way to keep their temple bright or a reason why they are thankful for their body/temple.

Week 2 I am thankful for temporal blessings.

* The dictionary defines temporal as "relating to earthly life". Separate into groups and give each group a picture of the earth. Let them brainstorm blessings they are thankful for that are temporal, having to do with earthly life! After about 5 minutes, have each group share one blessing at a time. Count the blessings!! Tally them one by one!! If other groups got the same answer, then give additional tallies for that answer. See how many tallies you can get as a primary. End your sharing time by singing Count Your Many Blessings (Hymns 241).

* Have some stapled paper and make booklets for the children. These can be "Gratitude Journals" for the upcoming month. They can start today by listing (or drawing) things that they are thankful for in the pages.
"There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others, they are thank you." President Hinckley Ensign Jan. 2001
This will be our Thank You book to Heavenly Father as we think about and are grateful for all that He has given us!

* A lot of children do this at home, but a lot don't. You can have a turkey and a bunch of blank feathers. The children add things they are thankful for to the feathers, then add to the turkey. You could give to the Bishop to hang in his office for the month.
   November is a month we think about Thanksgiving feasts and turkeys.... but gratitude is something we should keep in our hearts always!
Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"

* If you take an egg carton, cut, paint blue and green... you have little earth halves. Make about 5.
Like so. Have the children name a temporal blessing they are thankful for. Write it down on a tiny piece of paper. Then have them put it under one of the earths. Switch them around and invite another friend to come find the blessing. If they can find it, have them share another temporal blessing they are thankful for and then hide it. Repeat and try to get as many children up as possible! Invite the children to do the activity at home with families!

Week 3 I am thankful for spiritual blessings.

* Gifts of the spirit can be a little confusing. Make sure you know what you are talking about by reading THIS!!! Gospel Principles Chapter 22!!

* Have your primary pianist come up and wear a sign that says, "Great Apostasy". What does apostasy mean? Have her also hold an envelope and take it away from her. What was taken away from the earth during the apostasy? Thank her for her help and for the wonderful job she does playing the piano every week. We know that truth was taken away from the earth... and so was something else! Gifts of the spirit! See HERE for more information.
     We have some tricky questions that our wonderful primary pianist has at the piano. Have a child come up to the piano and choose a question about spiritual blessings.
Some questions could include:
  If you are a faithful member of the church, at least how many spiritual gifts does Heavenly Father give you? (at least 1, but often times more)
  What are some gifts of the spirit? Have friends with scriptures look up 1 Corinthians 12:1–12, or Moroni 10:8–18.
  How does our Patriarchal blessing help us understand spiritual blessings?
  What can you do to seek spiritual blessings? D&C 46:7, 9, 30–33
  How many spiritual blessings does Article of Faith #7 talk about?

* Do the classic demonstration of the glove and hand. The glove is our body. The spirit is our hand. Does the glove move without the hand? Our bodies live because of our spirits! Last week we talked about temporal blessings, these often have to do with our bodies and earthly life. Hold up the glove and have the children come up with 5 blessings, one for each finger.
   This week, we'll talk about spiritual blessings. After a short lesson, have the children trace their hands on paper and write or draw some spiritual blessings on their paper.

* THIS TALK is a must read for the week. It is explicitly clear on what Spiritual Gifts are. It is entitled "Spiritual Gifts" by Elder Oaks (Ensign Sept. 1986)
    I like the fact that he mentioned, not everyone gets the same gifts. You could have children with brown hair stand up. Now children with blue eyes stand up. All girls please stand up. We're all different and have been given different bodies! It's the same with our spirits. Our spirits are different from each other and we all have different spiritual gifts! (D&C 46:11)
   For Senior Primary, you could even give each child copies of the talk and highlighters, then have them highlight all the spiritual blessings they can find!

* HERE is a spiritual gift chain that children can make from The Friend.

* Invite a child to come up to the front. Ask them if they have ever seen their own heart? How do they know their heart is there if they've never seen it? We don't see our spirits, but we know our spirits are real. It's the same with spiritual blessings. We often don't see them, but we feel them and have a sure knowledge of them.
    Have about 3-4 different stories, all about different spiritual gifts for the children to rotate and hear. Divide into 3-4 groups. Have the person tell/share the story, not necessarily read it. They could even dress up to act out a part in the story. Each story should be about 2-3 minutes.
     Some great stories:
     The gift of tongues- The Lord Took Over (A Missionary is able to teach the gospel, even though he didn't know the language)
     The gift of Translation- Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon
     The gift of Wisdom- Solomon and the story of the 2 woman who claimed to be mother of a baby
     The gift of believing the testimony of others- Nephi believed his father Lehi and prayed to know the truth, he ended up having his own vision of the Tree of Life
     The gift of faith - The Miracle of the Brick Kiln
  We feel gifts of the spirit and get them by the gift of The Holy Ghost. We are thankful for spiritual blessings!

Week 4 We should thank Heavenly Father for all our blessings.

* Have 10 children come up to act out the story of the 10 lepers, give them each a Band-Aid to put on their face. Have a picture of Jesus. When they are healed they can take off their band aid and reverently shout yeah!! Designate 1 of the 10 children to be the one who comes back and says Thank You.
Read Luke 17:11-19
President Monson has said, "Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.
    My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."  (Ensign Nov. 2010 Best talk ever a must read HERE!!)
   Have little paper band aids (they could be just strips of paper) for children to write/draw things they are thankful for on. Have 9 cups to represent the 9 lepers who didn't say thank you! We can be more grateful than they were and show Heavenly Father how thankful we are for all of His blessings He has given us. See if we can fill up those 9 cups!!
* When it's time for sharing time, leave the room and tell the children to watch how you come back in. Strut yo' stuff!!!!! Walk really exaggerated like you are the most special thing on earth, perhaps even doing a beauty wave or two.
    How would you describe that walk? A little prideful maybe??
    President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.”
    How do we "walk with a spirit of thanksgiving"? We give thanks to Heavenly Father for all our blessings and do so often!! Have 12 different footprints on the ground labeled with places we can walk with thanksgiving. (Home, School, Grocery Store, Church, Park, Vacation, Garden, Temple, Family Home Evening, Friend's house, Library, etc.) Bring in 2 dice and let the children roll, to walk that many footprints. Once they land on one, they can name a blessing they are thankful for there from Heavenly Father... for example if they land on School, "I am grateful for safety and good teachers." or Family Home Evening, "I am grateful to be able to share testimonies as a family together."
* President Joseph F. Smith has said, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” 
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 263.
   Bring in a super big pair of glasses, they sell them at the Dollar store. Have children come up front and wear the glasses to look for things that they can be grateful for. Hide items throughout the room that represent blessings Heavenly Father has given us.
   We don't need really big glasses to see our blessings do we? We just need to have grateful hearts and let Heavenly Father know how much we appreciate all He does for us!

* Have the children look up some scriptures on how Jesus showed gratitude to Heavenly Father.
(All examples taken from an awesome talk by Elder Hales... love you Bob... found HERE)
Giving thanks before Sacrament 1 Cor. 11:23–24 and Mark 14:23
The story of Lazarus, giving thanks for Heavenly Father hearing prayers John 11:33-41
The Loaves and the fishes, thanks for miracles John 6:5–14
Thanks for The Holy Ghost 3 Ne. 19:20–21
Have pictures to go along with each story. Was Jesus a grateful person? Should we be?
Read Alma 34:38. We are commanded to live in thanksgiving daily!!
If possible, give the children a plastic cup and Ziploc bag of small pom poms. Invite them to fill up their cups every night with pom poms. To do so, they must name something Heavenly Father blessed them with that day!

*President Benson said, “The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much.” (God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 199.)
     Have about 25 frowny faces drawn on a chalk board. We need to erase the sin of ingratitude from our lives!! We can do so, starting today, by coming up with things we are thankful for from Heavenly Father. Once we share how thankful we are, we can come up and erase and draw a smiley face instead!


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Prophet Joshua - A FHE

Image from LDS.org

Have children dress up and act out of the stories of Joshua while you read. Another option is to "sketch what you hear"- children draw pictures of the story you read, they have about 2-3 minutes to sketch. Often, the story of Moses outshines that of Joshua when it comes to teaching children. Moses was great. Joshua was great. There is no reason for our children to not know about Joshua. Granted, the book of Joshua has more battles and violence-maybe... there might be another family home evening!! Comparison between the 2 stories of Moses and Joshua.... but the miracles seen in these battles can strengthen testimony. We must remember we are in a great battle ourselves and the Lord will help us to fight also.

Tips for when children are reading scriptures:
Encourage fluency- remember to read smooth. Not. Like. A. Ro. Bot.

Encourage energy! We get more out of the scriptures when we read with enthusiasm
It's Ok to interrupt if there are questions!!

If you have younger children, good ways to learn this story are also scripture stories from lds.org found HERE.

Where is the Book of Joshua? Have children find it in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the first part of the Bible. Does this mean Joshua was before or after Christ was born?

Joshua 3:5-17
Things to identify from the story:
The River Jordan
Ark of the Covenant (held the stone tablets given to Moses with the 10 commandments)
What other miracle was this like?

Joshua 6:6-16, 20
Things to identify from the story:
Ark of The Lord (the same as the Ark of the Covenant)
The Number 7 (In Hebrew the number 7 represents being "whole")
Why does the Lord help His children and perform so great of miracles for them?

Miracles in Battle:
First off, what were these battles for? (Land to live on)
What were the miracles?
Joshua 10:11
Joshua 10:12-14
Scripture Heading Joshua 12

Are promises of The Lord always fulfilled?
Joshua 21:43-45

Final advice in the story of Joshua:
Joshua 23:11
Joshua 24:15

Joshua we learn dies at age 110.

Themes repeated through the old testament story of Joshua:
Sanctify yourselves (What does Sanctify mean?)
"I the Lord am with you, be not afraid" (When have we felt The Lord in our lives give us courage?)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Missionary Work Family Home Evening Idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EXCLAMATION POINT!!!

This family home evening idea is based off the October 2013 Conference Talk "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan" by Elder S. Gifford Neilsen found HERE


Missionary Song

Story from talk: "Several years ago I needed to speak to the wife of one of the bishops in our stake, so I called their home. A young son answered the phone. I said, “Hello. Is your mother there?”
His reply: “Yes, she is. I’ll get her. Who is this?”
My response: “Tell her it’s President Nielsen.”
There was a short pause, and then, in a very animated voice, I heard, “Hey, Mom, President Hinckley’s on the phone!”
I can’t imagine what she must have been thinking. It had to be the longest walk to the phone she ever had. The thought did cross my mind: “Should I?” I didn’t, but we had quite a laugh. Now that I think about it, she must have been so disappointed just talking to me."

Question: What would you do if the prophet of the Lord really called you?
Quote from talk for family member to read: "Well, he has! President Thomas S. Monson, as he did once again this morning, has called each one of us to a very important work. He said, “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”
Activity: Have about 10 exclamations points on pieces of paper fanned out like cards for family members to choose. On 3 of the points (on the back) write down what Elder Neilsen suggests about having a family missionary game plan:
1. Specifically pray to bring someone closer to the Savior and His gospel every day.
2. Pray for the missionaries serving in your area and their investigators by name every day.
3. Invite a friend to an activity in or out of your home.
Blank exclamation points need to be saved. Whoever chooses the points with words reads out loud. Once you've gone over all his suggestions, take the remaining exclamation points to write down missionary goals for your family!
Question: What does an exclamation point mean? Why do we need an exclamation point after missionary work?
Ending Story (have a couple family members act it out as your read):
" As I walked into the stake president’s office for the initial meeting that weekend, I noticed a pair of tattered-looking, bronzed shoes on the credenza behind his desk, accompanied by a scripture ending in an exclamation point. As I read it, I felt the Lord was aware of my study, had answered my prayers, and that He knew exactly what I needed to soothe my anxious heart.
I asked the stake president to tell me the story of the shoes.
He said:
“These are shoes of a young convert to the Church whose family situation was strained, yet he was determined to serve a successful mission and did so in Guatemala. Upon his return I met with him to extend an honorable release and saw his shoes were worn out. This young man had given his all to the Lord without much, if any, family support.
“He noticed I was staring at his shoes and asked me, ‘President, is anything wrong?’
“I responded, ‘No, Elder, everything is right! Can I have those shoes?’”
The stake president continued: “My respect and love for this returning missionary was overwhelming! I wanted to memorialize the experience, so I had his shoes bronzed. It is a reminder to me when I walk into this office of the effort we all must give regardless of our circumstances. The verse was from Isaiah: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!’ (Isaiah 52:7).”
Bear Testimony
Missionary Song

Throughout the week, surprise family members with exclamation points in their pockets, lunches, shoes.... wherever- to remind them of Family Home Evening and the importance of following through on their goals!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How on earth do I write a Primary Sacrament Meeting Program/Presentation?

** UPDATE 10/14- It's been brought to my attention that possibly using the term "program" instead of "presentation" can cause contention and that there are some who want me to quote "be aware that some of us want to us terminology that reflects that." I'm assuming the 2nd us is a typo for use.
I'd like to apologize if I offended anyone. If you read through this article and find the word "program" offensive, please... just substitute. I'm in no way suggesting that the primary sacrament meeting presentation is an entertainment event.**

Hello beautiful friends.
I can't believe it's been 6 years of doing this blog. Time flies when you're having fun!! I wanted to thank you for reading. I'm just a random weirdo, but the fact that this blog has received over 3 million hits is impressive. It goes to show you that the Lord works in mysterious ways!!

And it's that time of year again....

I don't know why, but sisters need to chill out. Every year, around the time to write the Primary Sacrament Meeting program aspirin sales go through the roof and nervous ticks develop at an alarming rate. The primary program is not a production. It's not something that needs to be cutesy fartsy perfect.

But in all honesty, I don't think that's the main reason people stress out. I think/hope it's because we love Heavenly Father. We want the spirit to be felt. We want the children to have a good experience.

With that said... now what?

1. Well, you need to decide. Is one person going to write it or are you going to divide it up?

2. PRAY. Not a flimsy prayer either.

3. Base everything off what the children have learned.... Sharing Time Outline to the rescue!!! Use the scriptures, the themes!!

4. PRAY some more.

5. Depending on your numbers, have classes do monthly themes. For example, the Sunbeams can do January's theme, CTR 4 can do February's theme. Include parts of children's talks they gave throughout the year if you happened to write things down. Monthly songs can go before or after the monthly theme is presented by the children.

Older children can be given (ahead of time) their parts with fill in the blanks or topics.
For example:

I am a child of God who will be an author one day! I love to write. The scriptures are full of stories about families, written by Heavenly Father’s prophets. One of my favorite scripture stories about families is __________________________. I love that story because __________________
________________________________________________________________________________.  I know that families can be together forever through Jesus Christ.

Please prepare/write a 1-2 minute talk based on family prayer, family scripture study and family home evening can strengthen my family.

6. Did you stop praying? Tsk Tsk. Take a moment to say a PRAYER.

7. The length of what the children say is dependent on how many children you have in primary and also what they are capable of. Some sunbeams could preach sermons that would make you cry... however most would do best with 1-2 simple sentences. CTR 4, 1-2 simple sentences. CTR 5, CTR 6, CTR 7, depending on the child 2-6 sentences. With Senior Primary, just think about time.... and don't stress out. If there are 70+ in your primary, children can also have group recitations or group singing parts. Ask the Bishop or former primary president what's been done in the past and get some ideas!

The thing about the program is no matter what you do, the spirit will be felt. If you think you are not adequate or can't write, you're wrong. Humble prayer goes a long way.

I've written 3 programs and know that it wasn't the words necessarily. It's the spirit the children bring with their innocence and joy... it is tangibly felt. Their goodness radiates and all are uplifted. When we look at our children, we see heaven. We feel what the kingdom of heaven is like.

8. Make sure children have their parts 2 weeks before you do your practice. Have a copy up front and sit low by the pulpit to help out as needed.

9. But the children don't know the songs that well... they aren't singing very loud!!!!!!!!!

Woah. Slow ya' roll sista. 5 minutes every other Sunday on a song isn't necessarily going to make a child remember the words. They need to practice at home and sometimes they don't. It's Ok. Just have them SMILE or hum if they don't know the words!!! This is supposed to be a positive experience so be careful in your choices to judge the quality or volume of their singing. Of course we want to encourage children to do the best we can, but at the same time this isn't MoTab auditions.

10. PRAY. Look at what you've written. PRAY again. And PRAY one more time for good measure. If you feel happy, that's the spirit saying rock on with yo' bad self. If you feel unsure- re-read, PRAY, edit if needed/just go with it. The spirit might be waiting until after to give you that awesome feeling that all is well.

Check things with the bishopric like the outline says to and then FINALLY turn on that William Levy telanovela for a few minutes to enjoy. Only a few minutes, because as handsome as he is, your husband is way hotter. It's not actually William...maybe... it's more the language of love and how they can talk about love for episodes on end, while if you try talking to your husband about your endless love, staring in each other's eyes of course, you burst out laughing because you only made it 2 sentences. For the record, I do not speak Spanish but I really enjoy over acting and insane plot lines dictated by intense music.

With that not being the best way to end this post, I suppose I should mention that God is good. He loves us so much. This is an opportunity to really feel of His love for you and the primary children. Don't worry about what other people "might think"... this isn't about them. It's about having a spiritual experience and doing service. It's about guiding and helping children. it's about being close to our Savior. I know that Jesus is our best friend. He won't fail us ever. So trust in Him. You can do it with His help!!!