This Plan of Salvation Chart is by Rich Allred. He also has a detailed scripture list to accompany the parts of the plan found HERE. This chart is my go to with my own kids because it's specific yet simple!!
Monthly Theme: Heavenly Father Has a Plan for His Children.
Monthly Scripture: "O how great the plan of our God!" 2 Nephi 9:13
Week 1 Heavenly Father has a plan for His children.
* Have signs labeled: Premortal World, Earth Life, Spirit World, 2nd Coming/Resurrection, Millennium, Final Judgement, Celestial, Terrestial, Telestial. Each sign can have a picture on it to correspond. Invite students to hold the signs and see if they can get into the right order. Have clues (about 15-20... always have more than not enough!) about the different parts of the plan and invite a primary friend to come up front and stand by the person holding the sign they think is the right part for the clue. Have sign holders hold their signs for about 3 clues, then they can switch with another friend who hasn't had a turn. Each time they'll need to get in the right order!! Have primary children say the parts of the plan each time!!
Some possible clues could include:
The highest kingdom of Glory, compared to what? (Celestial... the sun)
We might be able to ride T-Rex's during this time because animals will NOT hurt each other (Millennium)
Our time of testing (Earth Life)
1/3 of Heavenly Father's children rejected His plan here (Premortal World)
This place is where we go RIGHT after we die (Spirit World)
Jesus is in charge of this event, hope we made some good choices!!! (Final Judgement)
Here we experience sickness, pain, and suffering (Earth Life)
This place is compared to the stars, and even though it's nice we don't want to end up there (Telestial Kingdom)
* “Some of us at one time or another let the pressures of life or the false teachings of men cloud our vision, but when we see with clarity, the difference between the plan of God and that of Satan is unmistakable” (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 1981, 11).
Bring in a large piece of wax paper, a piece of foil, and a piece of very CLEAR saran wrap. Which one is easier to see through? God's plan is very clear and when we follow it we will have happiness!! Have the primary divide into groups and come up with 5 things they know about the plan of salvation. Have them share with the primary.
Satan presented his plan. What did he want? Hold up the foil!! That plan would have been complete darkness. Sometimes men come up with ideas, "Eat, drink & be merry!"... yes, it's good to have happiness, but true happiness comes in following Jesus. Hold up the wax paper! Once again, hold up the saran wrap and repeat the quote by Elder Scott. Bear testimony of how the Plan of Salvation helps us see clearly.
* If you wanted to go on a special picnic, what would you have to do? Would you just go to the park and eat berries on the bushes? You'd have to carefully plan and prepare! You want enough food, drinks, napkins... you'd have to decide the best time to go. Do you need a blanket? And that's just for a picnic!!
"The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." D&C 18:10
Heavenly Father loves us. He didn't just toss us into a park and say, have a great picnic. He carefully planned a way for us to have happiness and return to Him!
Have a picnic basket with different picnic items and attach scriptures, questions, and songs to sing about the plan of salvation to these items- for children to come up, pick, and then answer.
* HERE is a sharing time by Margaret Lifferth with a booklet for children to make. Full of EXCELLENT ideas for teaching this week's theme.
* HERE is a sharing time link by Vicki Matsumori with a cool Plan of Happiness viewer. You could easily have the tube, point it at a blank wall and ask children what they see. Not much? Fortunately, the plan of happiness helps us to see our purpose and meaning in life. Pop in the pictures and have the children discuss the parts of the plan they see.
Week 2 Heavenly Father commanded Jesus Christ to create the earth as a home for His children.
* CS pg. 92 "Home" is a wonderful song! It's an easy and catchy melody and the words are simple and full of truth. Punch Boards are really fun!
This is a punch board in the shape of a heart. You can have cups behind also, if you want a flat front. Now to tie the 2 together. Make a home with windows/doors to punch into. Sing the song Home and then invite a child to come learn about the home that Jesus created for us. Have in each window/door that a primary friend punches into, a picture of the creation! Have the children put the pictures in order of the creation. Because you probably don't want to make 2 boards, bring in extra tissue paper to glue during break for the 3rd hour.
* Play a game of I spy!! Have a bunch of pictures about earth and the creation taped around the primary room. Demonstrate how to play first. You will give 3 clues and then you will call on someone who is raising their hand to answer. "I spy something Jesus created/organized. I spy something that is the color yellow. I spy something that is very far away." Take a couple guesses... need a few more hints? " I spy something in the sky. I spy something in the dark." That's right, STARS!!! How do we feel when we look into the night sky? Aren't we grateful that Heavenly Father loves us so much that he would give us earth for home! Invite primary children to come up and give hints about something they see in the room. Be prepared to help them!!! They can whisper in your ear and you can whisper back to them clues!
* Your music leader has appropriately decided to sing Heavenly Father Loves Me (CS 228). Of course, you are always going to have "the one" child who notices things... e.g. my quick, beautiful, sharp as a needle daughter, "Why does the song say Heavenly Father created for me but then our lesson is Jesus created the earth?" Aren't you glad you came prepared! Just turn to the scriptures... Ephesians 3:9 " And to make all men see... which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ". We also have "God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things." (True to The Faith Manual 74-76) Heavenly Father is our ultimate creator and He had Jesus create too! All that wouldn't fit into the rhythm of the song, so that's probably why. :)
* Chores!! Why do we need to take care of our homes?? After you've gone over the creation, talk about the home we all have in common now... our beautiful earth!! In our personal homes we have certain responsibilities! Have the children come up and act out some chores we do at home for other children to guess. What are some chores we could do for our home, mother earth? Children can out things like : pick up trash, plant trees and flowers, bicycle/walk instead of driving so much, turn off lights, save water, take care of animals. Challenge the children to remember to thank Heavenly Father for 3 things about the earth they are grateful for in their prayers this week.
“It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine” D&C 104:13–15
* HERE is an excellent general conference talk, The Creation by Elder Russel M. Nelson. (April 2000)
I LOVE his quote, "Without our grateful awareness of God’s hand in the Creation, we would be just as oblivious to our provider as are goldfish swimming in a bowl." You could easily have a bowl full of goldfish crackers and small cups. As you do an activity to learn about the creation, scoop out cups of goldfish to give to the children to eat. We are NOT like goldfish! We know who created us and our beautiful earth and we are grateful!!!! You could also have a real goldfish (if you are a super star and want the kids to remember!!) named "Swimmy" who the children could teach the different parts of the creation! They hold up a picture and tell Swimmy all about it! Watch your reverence level soar as you remind the children those who want to teach Swimmy have to be extra well mannered. If someone doesn't get a chance to say hello to Swimmy, they can come after church and look!!!
Week 3 My body is created in the Image of God.
* THIS is a beautiful story and a must read by President Monson. You can paraphrase the story to the children in your own words and end with this quote:
"The world is filled with yellow canaries with gray on their wings. The pity is that so precious few of them have learned to sing...We are sons and daughters of a living God, in whose image we have been created. Think of that truth: “Created in the image of God.” We cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength and power, even the strength to live the commandments of God..."
Like President Monson said, the world is full of canaries with gray on their wings. People are all created differently, but no matter what.... we can be who God wants us to be!! We were created in His image.
* Break out the art supplies. Let children draw self portraits and write why they are special. Our bodies are created in the image of Heavenly Father!! This can fulfill a Faith in God Activity under Developing Talents. My recommendation- for good art results- is to use heavy construction paper, pencils, sharpies to trace pencil lines and crayons. The contrast between the color and black really defines the work. They can do just face or whole body, but make sure they use the WHOLE space of the paper. Children tend to draw small/microscopic scale unless they are directed otherwise!
* Invite a child up front and stand behind them. Hold up a picture of an appropriate body part or you could even point to something on your body. Tell the primary children who see the picture to NOT SHOUT OUT. The child up front will call on Primary friends who are raising their hand reverently and who can give them a clue to help them guess the picture/part they didn't see. Our bodies are created in Heavenly Father's image. Now when you hold up pictures, children need to give clues that involve ways they can use that body part to serve and help others!! Make sure you have plenty of pictures!!!
* FYI- In the last session of General Conference, Elder Russel M. Nelson gave a talk Decisions for Eternity. He talked about the blessings of having a body and asked 2 important questions. Have we taken the time to really ponder these questions? Now might be the time to do so and write down our thoughts!! It could even be a challenge for children to go home and talk with their families.
1. How will you choose to care for and use your body?
2.What spiritual attributes will you choose to develop?
Week 4 Agency is the gift to choose for myself.
* "My dear brothers and sisters, each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ. We will account for decisions that we made..." Elder Russel M. Nelson Decisions for Eternity, General Conference Oct. 2013 (linked in the idea above)
Sometimes we need to take time to really reflect. Often days go by and we don't consider/account what we've done to really honor the gift of agency. Can you imagine what it would be like to meet with Jesus and talk about all we've done? Have paper for the children with the title "Decisions Determine our Destiny!" What is a decision? Have the paper divided into 4 sections.Think about yesterday.... have children draw choices they made, or write down, that were good in one section. Were there any choices made that could have been better? What is a good choice they can make tomorrow? 10 years from now?? What is a good choice they can make today!??!! Have children share their work.
* President Harold B. Lee said, “Next to life itself, free agency is God’s greatest gift to mankind.”
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee (2000), 4
Since Heavenly Father has given us this great gift... among many.... how can we use our agency as a gift to Him?? Have a large wrapped box and invite children come up to draw out case scenarios from it. Have them think of the best way to use the gift of their agency in that situation.
Some case scenarios could include:
You are in the car and a song with questionable lyrics comes on.
You are at school and there are people using bad language.
Your brother keeps taking your toys.
Someone asks you why you go to church.
You broke something valuable at home, no one saw.
A bully at school keeps picking on someone.
You have a sporting event on Sunday.
If time permits you could have envelopes for children to write a choice they will make this week as a gift to Heavenly Father. Let them color and add a fancy bow!
* "Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws." Elder Perry April 2013 General Conference Obedience to the Law is Liberty
Sing Choose the Right Way (CS pg. 160) Our freedom to choose is a gift from Heavenly Father. What we do with our choices will either make us eternally happy or unhappy!
Have some gum for the children!! Woah... back up... did I just say gum? Let me rephrase that. VERY CLEARLY STATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS that you have some gum for our lesson today, but if the gum comes out of our mouth, it GOES IN THE TRASH. We're not going to mess around with our gum because we are in The Lord's House and we want to show respect. After sharing time, ALL GUM WILL GO IN THE GARBAGE. All who are willing to do so can raise their hand and we can begin. And gage your primary! Are they good listeners? Will this enhance the spirit or take away from it? Pray about it!!
Today we are going to talk about "Chews"ing the Right and Agency!!! Invite a child up front to blow a bubble. Have a posterboard of a large drawing of a child's head. Have a pink balloon blown up and taped to the mouth. Have questions, scriptures, and songs in envelops on the posterboard. Let the child who just blew a bubble "chews" an envelope.
End with repeating Elder Perry's quote. We can choose to be happy by choosing the right! Bear Testimony!! Before children leave the room, they will throw out their gum in the garbage that a teacher is holding.
* THIS talk is a MUST READ for the week!!! by Wolfgang H. Paul (April 2006 General Conference)
"Some time ago, as I was driving, I had to stop at a red light. The vehicle in front of me caught my attention. A sticker read, “I do what I want.”
I wondered why someone would choose to place such a statement on his vehicle. What was the message he wanted to send? Perhaps the driver of this vehicle wanted to express publicly that he has achieved total freedom by just doing what he likes to do. As I thought about this, I realized that our world would be quite chaotic if everyone would just do what he or she wants to do."
Have some scriptures on agency for the children to look up in groups and discuss. Have a child come up front from that group and talk about the scripture. It could even be scripture stories of people who have wisely or unwisely used their gift of agency!
Give the children a picture of a car and have them make up a bumper sticker that is better than "I do what I want". Bear testimony that agency is a gift and we should treat it as such!!
If anyone would like a copy of the above picture, just email me and I'll get it to you as quick as I can.