Tuesday, January 19, 2016

February 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Monthly Theme: The scriptures teach of Heavenly Father's plan.
Monthly Scripture: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” Moses 1:39

Week 1 Heavenly Father has a plan for me.

* HERE is a great video ever to teach about Heavenly Father's plan!!

* Wrap 5 tissue boxes and put words or pictures to represent the following parts of Heavenly Father's plan:
Premortal World, Earth Life, Spirit Paradise/Prison, 2nd Coming & Resurrection, Final Judgement- Sun/Moon/Stars
Bring in a ball and set up the boxes on the other side of the room. Invite a primary friend to come up front and roll the ball to knock down the boxes. (If you do it in a tower formation, one on top of each other, you could really work on sequencing and  memorizing the different parts to the plan... have a different child fix it in the right order!) Before they get a chance to bowl, ask a question or have them read a scripture having to do with the plan of salvation.

* Pin the plan! Yes. Have an outline of the plan of salvation and cut outs/pictures of the different parts. Blind fold a child, spin them, and have them try to pin it on the right part! Have questions about each part:
What do you think it was like in the premortal world?
What happened in the premortal world?
Why is earth life important?
What happens at the end of earth life?
What is the difference between spirit paradise and the celestial kingdom?
How do it make you feel knowing Jesus will come to earth again?
What do you look forward to, if you should make it to the celestial kingdom?
Who made the plan of salvation possible?
What is another name for the plan of salvation?

* HERE is an excellent article from The Ensign. I really like the idea of teaching a "journey" through the plan. In different parts of the room you could have set up what it might be like at each part of the plan and invite a primary friend to come journey to each part.

* Bring in paper bags with 4-5 random items. Divide the primary into groups and give them a certain part of the plan of salvation. They have to use those items in the bag to teach the rest of the primary about that part of the plan. They can act out scenes or use the objects as demonstrations.... let's see what we can come up with!!

Week 2 Jesus Christ created the earth for me.

* Bring in some of your favorite pictures from when you've been camping or vacationing or of your backyard. Share them with the children. What are some things about the earth that you are grateful for? Bear testimony to the children you know that God and Jesus created and organized the earth for us!
   Bring in your camera (only if it's digital and you can show what picture was taken) and invite a primary friend (weather permitting) to go outside WITH a female teacher and take a picture of something outside they are grateful for. 1 picture and they have about 1 minute! They can come in and share with the primary after. In the meantime, primary children can color pictures of things they are grateful for about the earth- plants, flowers, animals, family, food, etc. Primary Photographers (the ones who go outside) will only be chosen if they are working reverently and doing their best work!!

* Create a "Nature Scavenger Hunt" together! Write down on a piece of paper things you might see outside in your area. Have the children raise their hands to share as you write neatly! Number each item and draw a little line after where the children can put an X if they find it. After you make it, send someone to the library to get copies. Have children take it home to do with their family!
    Do we give thanks every day for the beautiful earth Jesus Christ created/organized for us? What can we do to make the earth a better place?

* Make a simple bird feeder. You can bring in small apples wrapped in a string to hang from a tree, put peanut butter (watch our for allergies!), and bird seed. If you use a bin for the bird seed and plastic bags to put the feeder in, it shouldn't get too messy!

   While 1 or 2 primary friends are making a feeder with an adult leader, have the rest of the primary do a bird matching game. To be able to make a match they have to answer a question or read a scripture that you have prepared beforehand on the week's theme.
   Isaiah 31:5, "As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it."
     Jesus created/organized the earth and all the beautiful things in it. As you go home today, look for the birds in the sky and say a prayer of thanks!

* Break into groups and give each group a bag of legos. Have them create something that has to do with our earth and come up with clues to have the rest of the primary guess what it is! Does it take a while to create something? What is easier, creating or destroying? What are some things you've created with your hands? What about your minds?
John 1:3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

* Go over the creation by having the children hold up pictures of each day. Read some scriptures and ask the children why they are grateful for the earth. Then play an adaptation of 4 corners. You will need a blindfold. Invite 1 primary friend to the front to be blindfolded. Here is a sample question to ask:
What is your favorite animal of the 4- dolphin, lion, dog, or giraffe? You have to choose one and then go to the corner I point. Dolphins (point to a corner) Lion (point to a corner) Dog (point to a corner) Giraffe (point to a corner) Without a sound the rest of the primary chooses their corner. Using name sticks, draw a child's name out. The blindfolded child has 2 guesses to guess where that primary friend is and what animal they chose.
Some other questions could be (I'd have about 12 ready):
What insect do you think is the most interesting- butterfly, worm, spider, or centipede?
Where would you want to travel to most- the ocean, the forest, the desert, or the polar icecaps?
What is your favorite plant- apple tree, cactus, rose bush, or dandelion?

Week 3 Families are central to Heavenly Father's plan.

* If there is someone in the ward who has been blessed to be able to adopt, have them come in and share their testimony! If they have a family picture album, invite them to bring it in and share a little with the primary. Families can be made in different ways!! Not every family is the same and THAT IS OK!!!!! The most important thing about a family is that there is love.
   Invite the primary children to create a family picture album. They can draw a family member on each page and write something special about that person. Sunbeams might not be able to concentrate, so you can have cut outs of magazine people that they glue stick for dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, sister, brother... etc.

* How well do you know your family??? This will take some preparation. Call up 10-12 family members of children in primary. Have them tell you something interesting about them that others may not know.
     Read scriptures and have a couple questions prepared about families and their part in Heavenly Father's plan. After each question or scripture, have that interesting fact about a family member and see if they can figure out who it is!

* Have 6 chairs up front with pictures or signs for a dad, mom, pet cat, grandpa, sister, and brother. It's our happy family!!! Invite 6 children up front to walk around the chairs while the primary pianist plays a song about families. When the music stops, they have to quickly- and reverently- find a chair. Once they are seated, have some case scenarios that they have to answer what they would do as that member of that happy family.
For example:
It's family home evening and time for treat. What can you do to help?
Vacation time to Disneyland, 10 hour road trip- what do you do in the car?
Mornings can get busy- what do we do at breakfast time?
Watching the news, there was flooding in the town where Aunt Lupe lives- what will we do?
Time to get ready for the temple- what will everyone do to get ready?
Mom is busy running errands and we are going to the store with her- what will everyone do to help?
     If any of the kids get stumped, have them ask primary friends for ideas or suggestions!

* Not necessarily for primary, but as a family home evening idea, you could play a game of family history charades!! Like traditional charades but with only memories you have as a family or stories you could act out from your ancestors? Challenge the children to go home and play this with their families!

Week 4 I will follow God's plan.

* Do a demonstration. Invite 10 children up front. Each child chooses a simple dance move. But before they do their move, they must do the dance moves of the previous primary friends in line. The entire primary can do it as well by their chairs. By the end can anyone remember everything without any help?
     What does it take to follow someone? Good listening, careful watching, doing the action, thinking clearly, paying attention!!! Do we need to do all these things to follow God's plan? Yes!!
      Invite 6 more children up to play again. Ask each child to say 1 word that has to do with God's plan. We'll have to remember that word and action now!! Repeat as many times with more children as you have time. Make sure the entire primary is following along and repeating the words and actions too!

* Sing Come Follow Me, Hymns 116. Have pictures from the life of Christ and blank footprints on pieces of paper, already cut out. Heavenly Father's plan is a plan of happiness. We can follow that plan by following The Savior. Hold up a picture and ask the children what it is about. What is something that Christ did in this picture that we can follow?
(Even if it's a picture of the nativity, there is an answer!! We can be born and receive a body, right?? We can love our families!!)
Write down what we can do to follow on a foot print. Make a path leading to a picture of Jesus. At the end, invite a primary child to follow the plan and path, then share your testimony! (Not the child, you!!)
    "Down through the generations of time, the message from Jesus has been the same. To Peter and Andrew by the shores of the beautiful Sea of Galilee, He said, “Follow me.”To Philip of old came the call, “Follow me.”To the Levite who sat at receipt of customs came the instruction, “Follow me.”And to you and to me, if we but listen, will come that same beckoning invitation, “Follow me.”" President Monson Models to Follow Oct. 2002

* Have a map to find something special in the primary room... was the map important?
      "Not all will follow the map [Heavenly Father has given us]. They may look at it. They may think it is reasonable, perhaps even true. But they do not follow the divine directions. Many believe that any road will take them to a 'happily ever after.' Some may even become angry when others who know the way try to help and tell them. They suppose that such advice is outdated, irrelevant, out of touch with modern life. Sisters, they suppose wrong." Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Your Happily Ever After," Ensign, May 2010, 127 
     Have the children make a map that leads to happiness! What can they draw or write on their map? How about going to church, reading scriptures, praying and preparing for the temple? What else can we think of??

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Review & Give Away: Beyond the Silence

I was very ready for this to be a great book! But.... well... ugh.... 
The premise was a privileged girl going out west to be a nanny to a little boy who hasn't spoken in over a year. The setting is Angels Camp, California in a beautiful olive farm that is no longer safe. Can she help the little boy? Will she find love?
When I started doing these book reviews I was nervous, because I dreaded moments like these. Where I just can't recommend the book. I'd rather eat at Arby's (and I'm a vegetarian.... although I did have meat 2 times in the past year. Another post. Another time.) than have to read this book again.
I might be rambling, but I have to give a little background. One time when I was a teenager I went to a friend's new age Christian church with my best friend who was a Catholic and my other best friend who was Hindu. It was an interesting experience. I don't remember much of the preaching or message, but I do remember the electric guitar band and light show and Ashwini (the Hindu) just being really scared because people started throwing their hands in the air and swaying with their eyes closed, humming. It was just too much. Can there be such a thing? Too much noise, not enough God.
I felt like this book was too much noise, even though I believe the authors were very sincere. Am I making any sense? The main character has a grandfather who is angry and holds a grudge, there is a murderer who is evil, gossip is bad, you can forgive... the characters didn't seem very human or down to earth. They were able to bear everything with mildness and in the end, everything was happy happy happy. Key in the guitar solo and light a lighter. Yes, the religious messages were very good ones, but the depth wasn't there. It was a light touch on some very heavy things.
You guys, something is wrong with me. I also just couldn't take the main character's name very serious... Woody.
I don't, and just can't, swoon after a main literary male character who shares a name with a toy from Toy Story.
I. Just. Can't.
And honestly, I know that is shallow and wrong. So I admit my fault.
(Sidenote: It's kind of why I can't vote for Bernie Sanders. Bernie seems more friendly dinosaur than commander in chief. Sooooooo not trying to start a political rant!! Please, that's the purpose of facebook, right?)
The cover threw me off. "Lillian", who saves the day, is inquisitive, thoughtful, passionate, ready to defend, kind hearted, and oh so very loving- looks like she is ready to kill someone on the front cover. Or maybe that's the type of look she would give me for this book review. Or maybe she really just wants to go to Arby's with Woody. If anybody has any other thoughts on what she is thinking, please feel free to comment. I will make a meme of the most creative answer and send you this book for winning. I will pick a winner by February 1.
In conclusion. This book was just too much, not believable. And I could barely finish. On a more positive note, I did think the page margins were a good size.
Nope. I take that back. I feel like the page margins should have been bigger with less words.
Ok. Here we go.
In the book, I did like the shop keeper's name Mr. Stickle. It reminds me of my mother's cane we got from Tijuana. We never named my mom's cane, but if we did, that would have been a good one. I had wanted to get her a cane with a silver kraken on top, but alas, she is free and has no need of the cane anymore.

If this book review didn't depress you, perhaps my last paragraph will. True story, we used to have a book group in our ward... I joined and within 3 months we no longer had a book group. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but looking at my review... I'm starting to wonder.