Primary Ideas
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December 28, 2005

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Primary Ideas
Here's where all of our readers ideas are shared with one another.   Click on any of the categories below to see ideas submitted thus far from our readers.

Awards

Overview:  The Gospel in Action program helps children ages 8 through 11 to set and achieve goals (such as gospel living and learning the Articles of Faith.  A member of the Primary presidency sits down with the child and his or her parents to explain the program to them.  Teachers then hold periodic interviews with individual children to help them select and plan goals (and how they'll accomplish them) and listen to experiences the children had in striving to accomplish the goals.  When a child completes the program, a member of the Primary presidency meets with the child to discuss the achieved goals.  A member of the Primary Presidency then presents the Gospel in Action Award in Primary opening or closing exercises.

Other Awards:  Faith in God -- LDS religious award for Cub Scouts; On My Honor Adult Recognition -- given to adult Scout leaders, including Cub Scout leaders.

Tool: Use our memorizing tool to help children learn their Articles of Faith.

Achievement Days

Overview:  This is a meeting for children ages 8 through 11 held twice a month (usually midweek during the daytime)  and focuses on areas listed in the My Achievement Days booklet.

Idea:  Once each year we have a Stake Achievement Day for the 11-yr-old-girls. We do this to balance the activity with the 11-yr- old-scouts. Each year we pick a theme using the Achievement Day Booklet as a guide. (This is our 3rd year)

This year we invited Mothers and Daughters. We began with a beautiful story about a mother whose living example taught her daughter about serving with love and used a white handkerchief as an object lesson.

We then had them make scripture bookmarks, (made from plastic canvas and 1/8 inch ribbon in many color choices. We followed this with a class on skin care that reached both mothers and daughters. (No makeup was involved). We concluded with a guest speaker (Our High Councilman) and served a potato bar lunch. At each place setting we set a white handkerchief and a copy of the story. We were finished in 3 hours and the cost was very minimal.

It was quite successful and very enjoyable.

Submitted by Chris

Activity Days

Overview:  These are quarterly functions for children ages 3 through 11.   These activities give children opportunities to have fun with one another as they participate in anything from cultural to service-related activities.

Idea:  Have a "Missionary Activity Day" where the children get to learn different aspects of missionary work.  You can have several stations where the children spend five to ten minutes before rotating to another station.  Here are some examples of the various stations:

  1. Memorizing scriptures -- choose one or two of the easier scriptures from this year's Primary theme (e.g. If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15). 
  2. Share testimonies (some pretend to be missionaries, some investigators).
  3. Learn how to iron a shirt. 
  4. Write a letter to missionaries currently serving from the ward.
  5. Make something fun to eat!

Idea:  Recreate Lehi's dream.  The Primary children are told to hold on to the rod (in this case a hose) at all cost.  At the end of the hose are delicious donuts -- just tell the children that there is something special at the end of the hose.   The children can see a the Tree of Life in the distance. (This is all done in the cultural hall.) Some of the youth from the ward act as tempters -- trying to get the children to play with beach balls, play games, or eat popcorn.  Use a fog machine to create the mists of darkness.  Use plastic tarp to depict the river.  This was done in a ward several years ago -- but the children still talk about it.

Idea: Make family home evening lessons for a primary quarterly activity. Have the children rotate to three rooms. In one room have the children prepare the main lesson. In another room have the children make a game or activity to go along with the lesson. In another room have the children mix dry ingredients for cookies. Give each child some of this mix, along with the recipe to finish the cookies, in a baggie to take home. The children collect the items they will need from each room to take home to present a family home evening lesson to their family. Since many children have siblings in primary, we divided the primary into three age groups and each age group prepared a different lesson to take home.

Submitted by Christine H. in Southern California

Idea: We have a small primary, so for our activity day we decided to have a activity where the children would tour the church house and get to know the officers in the Ward.  We grouped them in 5's -- we had them go to different rooms where the President or a member of the presidency of that organization would be there to talk to them about what their organization did and the responsibility they had as head of the organization.  It was a real success and we were amazed at the effort some of the heads of organizations went to to make it meaningful to the children. For example, the Relief Society gave each child the Relief Society symbol, which they pinned to the child's shirt or blouse, along with a list of what the Relief Society does in the ward.  The interesting part to us as a presidency was that  the children 4 through 11 were so impressed by what the clerks did in the ward and how they kept track of each person.  Children loved to see their name on print-outs.  The Young Men's President took them into the room where the sacrament was prepared and this was not only of interest to the children but to the teachers as well.  The children then returned to the Primary chapel where we sang songs and had a light refreshment.  (Submitted by the Ogden 49th Ward Primary President, Jenice Harris - jenice@sovereign-conservatory.com )

 

Baptisms

Idea:  When our daughter was baptized last year, we tried to think of something special that could be done while she and her father were changing clothes immediately following the baptism.  With the help of a good friend, we recorded our daughter singing a few Primary songs.  We then pulled together some slides of her that depicted happy scenes of her childhood, and scenes of her being Christ-like (for example sharing with a sibling or helping her grandfather).  So while she and her father changed clothes, we had a brief slide-show.  It was a sweet thing and a nice keepsake of the baptismal service.

Idea:  Have the children draw a picture of something baptism-related.  Then photo copy this so it can be the outside of the program.  It personalizes the service and helps the child plan and prepare for baptism.

Birthdays

Idea: For the students we do a special spotlight on those that are turning 8 or 12, the chorister calls the mom and dad and finds out information about the child such as:  favorite color, where they were born, what subject they like in school, brothers and sisters, talents, interests, pets, etc.  She then makes up a decorated card showing all these things.  During birthday time, she tells all the students about this child and then we sing to them.  We have also done a spotlight on each child on their birthday but that can be very time consuming with large primaries.  For teachers, we do a spotlight on their birthdays also.  One of the members of the presidency finds out about them from their spouses and puts together a little gift bag with items about them.  For example, for a nurse, a box of band-aids or for someone who likes flowers, some flower seeds.  Just four or five items and then to tell a funny story or something so everyone can learn about them. The children appreciate their teachers more and the teachers get to know each other better.  We also get to let them know that we know and appreciate what they are doing. -- Brent

Idea: Our Primary Presidency has come up with a wonderful birthday surprise for each of our Primary children. We placed a CTR ring, a picture of the Savior, a little treat and some fuzzy shredded red, yellow and blue paper in a 14 oz. tin can obtained from the cannery. The cans were sealed (at the cannery) and then we place a festive label on the outside that says "Primary Birthday Surprise". The can label has details on the percentage of fun, enjoyment and satisfaction - all 100% and gives instructions on how to get a "mom approved" can open to find out what's inside when they get home from Primary. The children have loved opening them at home with their families!

Idea: Instead of giving out birthday gifts, we made a birthday chart. This chart consists of a picture that is missing something.  For example, an apple tree without apples.  Then we make, an apple out of paper with each child's name on it and their birth date.  On the child's birthday, we sing to the child and the child gets to add their apple to the tree.  Other examples would be a piece of ground without bugs, or a cake without candles, or a birdcage without birds.

Idea: We were having a temple built in our area so we obtained scraps of the granite and put them in baggies with a birthday card for all our children in primary.  We included where the granite or marble came from, when the Angel Moroni was placed on the temple, etc.  When we recognized their birthday we gave them the card.  It was a special gift.

Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation

Overview:  This annual presentation gives the children an opportunity to share the principles they've learned in primary with the other ward members.  The program is presented in the fourth quarter of the year.  The program is planned by the Primary presidency and music leader under the direction of the bishop.  All of the Primary children ages 3 through 11 should participate.

Idea: In September, I prepare a fancy wrapped box with "treasures" inside (candy treats).  I call it the treasure box.  I then tie different colored ribbons around the box, each with a song on the ribbon that the children must have prepared for the program.  As the children sing, a member of the presidency decides if the song is "program ready."  If it is, the a child gets to cut the ribbon.  As time goes on, we cut ribbons and the children get the "treasure"!  This usually takes about 6 weeks to complete, depending on the number of songs. -- S. Fackrell

Idea: I have put together our script for our fall sacrament program on this 2001 years theme of "Follow the Prophet". I would love to share it with anyone who would like it.

Idea:  We are still in the process of putting our program together, but some of the ideas we have come up with are as follows: 

  1. Add a picture of the Savior with each theme as they are recited 
  2. Use different musical instruments for some of the songs 
  3. Have a selection of boys sing, "I want to Be a Missionary Now" while wearing their dad's suit coats and a missionary tag 
  4. For the song, "He Sent His Son" have the teachers sing the questions and the children sing the answers 
  5. Have a child read the words to a song while the music plays in the background 
  6. Put lace tablecloths with a flower arrangement on the sacrament and clerks tables 
  7. Have a mother and daughter sing, "I Love to See The Temple" 
  8. We have varied the songs between all singing some, and younger and older children divided between the singing of appropriate songs...for instance, the Junior Primary will sing "I Know My Father Lives and five members of the senior primary will sing the verses of "We'll Bring The World His Truth" while the rest of the children join in on the chorus 
  9. For the song, "Come Follow Me" the children will sign the first verse accompanied by the viola, then sing the first verse. Then the congregation will join in on the last verses...we put this song last.

Peggy Bidwell-Winston Oregon Ward, Roseburg Stake pbidwell@mcsi.net

Idea:  Before the sacrament presentation we wrote questions about each of the 12 themes. We let the children answer them during a sharing time. We used these answers for the bulk of the sacrament presentation. The children feel more "connected" to the program, and the parents love to hear their children's words rather than just a memorized scripture or quote.

R. Hall jabawam@hotmail.com

Idea:  Early in the year we assigned each Primary class a monthly theme. Over several months the teachers discussed their assigned theme in class and the children thought of experiences they could share. During the Program, the first child from each class would introduce their class theme, and each child spoke from their own reservoir of experience. Children also received help from home. We did not 'write' a program, but simply arranged the order the classes would speak in the meeting. It was the most stress-free program I've ever supervised. We had many positive comments from the congregation too!

Submitted by gviera@uswest.net from Orem, Utah

Lesson Ideas

Idea:  I've noticed that when I teach, the children love to hear stories -- and particularly love stories from my own youth.  These are never told in a boastful or bragging way.  Stories somehow build trust -- I believe there is more of a bond between us as a result.

Idea: To put a little spin on the way I ask the children in my Valiant 9A class I write each question I haven chosen to ask during class on a piece of tin foil with a permanent marker. Then I gently wrap them, in order, into a ball. It's called a question ball. The kids love it. The ball gets tossed around, involving all of the children and it gets them excited to answer a question from the lesson. Each child that is thrown the question ball unwraps the next question written on the tin foil.  -- Submitted by Aimee Shaw (aimeelsh@hotmail.com)

Idea:  The children always want to play hangman whenever we finish up a lesson early, so instead of drawing a hanging man in church I took a picture of a temple and glued it to felt and cut it into about 10 pieces. I then wrote out church related words and phrases on note cards. Now instead of hangman we play build the temple. Every letter that's not part of the selected word adds a piece of the temple on the felt board. -- Submitted by Laurie Reimer (reimerosa@yahoo.com)

Idea:  I'm getting ready to teach "Seek the Lord Early" and I'm going to do it by hiding Easter eggs cut from card stock and at each end fasteners will hold it to the visual underneath the egg shape.  On the back of each egg will be the clue to find the next egg.  Example:  I looked out the ________ and what did I see?  I will tape the 1st egg to the window then as they solve the clues and collect the eggs I will sing the song as far as the visual until I collect the next egg.  Then I will start at the first of the song and get to the next visual -- and so on.  That way I can teach them about "Seeking" and it will be fun for Easter.  It will also be a great review for songs we are learning for the program.

Miscellaneous

Idea:  I was called as the Primary President in March 2001. Every month since then, we have given teacher appreciation gifts the last Sunday of each month.  The gifts we've given are simple and inexpensive things, such as one stick of EXTRA gum taped to a note saying,  "Thank for making our Primary EXTRA special" or a pear with a note reading, "You help to make our primary beyond comPEARison." We give this to our Nursery leaders, our teachers and music leaders.  I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to see the look on their faces when they see how much we as a primary presidency appreciate them.

Alcenius@mediaone.net

Idea: A fun secular website has craft ideas for kids. 

Idea: We printed up some primary bucks to give out to the primary children prior to a "drive-in" primary activity.  The children received primary bucks for reverence, bringing their scriptures, memorizing an article of faith, attendance, etc.  At the activity, the children paid for soda, popcorn, candy, etc. with their primary bucks. -- Cassie, 1st Counselor in a Primary Presidency

Music

Idea: I have found a great way to have the children enjoy reviewing and learning a song. I call it "Musical Measels." Ahead of time find some red circle stickers (usually with the stationary) and cut them out so there are 3-4 on each sheet. At the beginning of singing time, pick a leader or teacher to be the person that is "infected."  While singing, pass out the dots to the children who are doing their best and singing the loudest. At the end of the song, those who have received dots get to come up to the front and put their "measles" on the adult.  The kids (and adults) find this game very fun.

Idea: To get the kids to sing louder we came up with a pulley that had a balloon tied to a rope on it and as the kids sang louder the balloon got higher until it got to a needle that popped it.  -- Submitted by moongoddess_diane@hotmail.com

Idea: For our "Follow the Prophet" theme, we are singing "Latter-day Prophets."  Afterwards, the teachers talk about their favorite latter-day prophet.  Later we sing "Follow the Prophet" listing all of the different prophets in the past, then we will have a few of the older children talk about their favorite prophet story in the scriptures.  -- Dawnean mdkm@burgoyne.com

Idea:  Play "name that tune" during primary singing time. The children love it and it helps reinforce the songs they've practiced. (Pam from Norcross, GA)

Idea:  Teaching the Song: "When Jesus Christ was Baptized" -- For fun this week I told the kids I had just got a job as a reporter for a television station. I had a play phone there and pretended to receive my first assignment. I was to interview someone and do a story on their baptism. A child volunteered to come up and with a microphone I asked her these questions:

  • Where were you baptized?
  • Who came to your baptism?
  • What was the mood of those present (angry or loving)?
  • Who spoke at your baptism?
  • Anything special to add?
  • Then I pretended to get another call and was told to sing my report.
  • I had the pianist start playing CS 102 as I sang

"When Bethany was baptized in a font in Marietta, Her family and her friends were present there in love. Her father spoke to others when Bethany was baptized, and then they had refreshments and everyone went home"

Another pretend phone call and I received another job, a promotion, to cover a bigger event, the story of Christ's baptism. Since this was such a big event my boss wanted all the children to join in the singing. We used the same questions to insert the correct information from the song and they quickly learned that first verse and stood up and sang it to our pretend television camera. It was fun and the kids learned the song quickly.

Submitted by Dana Hardy (hardyd@marietta.edu)

Idea:  My favorite Primary chorister used two techniques that helped the words of the song that we were learning that day to stay with me! For a lengthy song she used a picture that she had drawn that depicted the contents of the entire phrase. Some were more detailed than others, but I could always visualize the picture which then helped me remember the words. The song that only had four phrases was easily remembered as she assigned one phrase to each class. When the song was sung each class only sang their assigned phrase! You might think the children would only remember their own line, but competition is great and they want to make sure everyone remembers their own line correctly! The next week she would rotate the phrases to ensure each class in fact knew the entire song! -- deanne_moore@ldsmail.org

Idea: For the song "I Like My Birthdays" the Primary President and I are going to get some helium balloons blown up with a song in each one, one being "I Like My Birthdays". Then the kids will pop them and sing the song. We are also doing a birthday cake with the #8 on it for them and talk about baptism.

Idea: In addition to learning our songs for the primary program last year, we learned a different article of faith song each month. Now our primary children know all the articles of faith. The music makes it so much easier to remember the words.  -- Becky Woolf--Globe, Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Idea: I made a simple chart that had ff, f, mf, mp, p, and pp written on it, with ff at the top and pp at the bottom. After explaining what each term means, I used a dowel to point to the dynamics that I wanted them to sing. The children picked up on this very quickly and we were able to try different dynamics on some of the songs we were learning.  -- Becky Woolf--Globe Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Idea: I spray painted some simple wooden dowels gold and glued some gold glitter on the ends. Each child got to use one as I taught the children to beat 3/4 and 4/4 time. Even the junior primary enjoyed doing this.  -- Becky Woolf--Globe, Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Idea: Once I was asked at the last minute to lead the music for singing time. I didn't have visual aids or anything else prepared, so I improvised. I went into the kitchen and got several different kinds of kitchen utinsils to use as rhythm instruments (nothing sharp or dangerous). I brought them into the primary room, and each child got to choose his or her own "instrument". The kids loved it and we had a great time beating out the rhythms as we sang some of the children's favorite songs.  -- Becky Woolf, Globe Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Idea: I often talk to the children about different levels of singing. I got this idea from an old Ensign article called, "Singing Hymns With New Power". (I don't remember the date, it was around 1975 or '76)

  • Level One: Sing the words and music correctly.
  • Level Two: Think about the meaning of the words. It's surprising how often we sing familiar songs rather mindlessly, just thinking about the words changes everything!
  • Level Three: Bear your testimony as you sing. Put your whole heart into it! The Lord delights in the "song of the heart".
  • Level Four: If our hearts are right, the Holy Ghost will testify that what we are singing about is true.

When adults and children apply these principles, it brings a beautiful spirit into our singing time!

Becky Woolf, Globe Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Idea: For singing time, I used a large helium-filled Mylar balloon. I attached two extra long pieces of string to it (the height of our children's meeting room) with a weight on the end of one string. The other string was wound onto an empty cardboard roll. I used this to motivate the children to sing their best. As the children sang in their best voices, I unwound the string to make the balloon rise. They were all excited and tried very hard to make the balloon go all the way up to the ceiling.  -- Becky Woolf, Globe, Arizona; bwoolf55@hotmail.com

Opening/Closing Exercises

Idea: Because the theme this year is "Follow the Prophet", we have decided to profile a different prophet each month. Every Sunday during Closing Exercises we read a different clue to who the Prophet is. For example, Birthday (without the year), what their emphasis was as prophet etc. Then the children try to guess which Prophet it is. Some children have even gone home and researched the Prophets to find out who it is. -- Submitted by Kim Hammond

Reverence

Idea: When I became Primary President we had a reverence problem with 100+ kids. We have a combined closing exercise in the chapel the last 15 minutes of Primary. I decided that instead of calling out the classes to dismiss them after Sharing time and after closing exercises - I made up signs from the computer with pictures of our prophets, the name of the teacher and the name of the class. Then when the music plays
reverently the classes sit quietly and wait and watch for their sign to be held. The difference is amazing.  I have had numerous parents and teachers comment on the difference. It has really increased the presence of the Spirit.

Idea:  I had a problem settling down my primary class which consisted of the older primary children.  They were also always reluctant to open and close with prayer.  I decided to choose a class president, changing the person each month who made the prayer assignments.  The children were much more responsive and willing to say prayers.  They are also much more reverent during my lessons.

Idea: I have a CTR-aged child who is a distraction to everyone else in class. He would go in and out of the class at will. I figured the best way to keep him quiet was to assign him a task that made him feel very important. I asked to put his chair right by the door and make sure that nobody went out. He does it perfectly every Sunday and everybody sits quietly in class. -- Millicent Haizel, Accra - Ghana Lartebiokoshie Stake, West Africa (millyhaizel@excite.com)

Idea:  I believe there is a direct correlation between the reverence of the leaders at the beginning of Primary and the reverence of the children.  The leaders set the tone.

Idea: I grew up in the Western U.S.  There, the primary presidency always sat up front with the children giving the talks and scriptures and with the music leader.  When I moved out East, I realized not everyone does this.  We started doing it in our Primary this year.  It has improved the reverence, but I think the most marked difference is that the children sing better during opening exercises because they have their leaders in front of them setting an example.

Idea: I was a teacher for a rowdy group of Valiant boys. I also had a child with ADHD. I tried to get them to settle down but nothing worked. They informed me they were just biding their time until they got into priesthood. I cleared with my presidency and Bishop that they each have a calling of something they were assigned to do each week. This did WONDERS for these boys. They felt responsible and enjoyed coming, plus they helped each other quiet down. -- P. Munton - Laguna Niguel 4th Ward

Scouting/Priesthood Preview

Idea:  Priesthood Previews can be held at the ward or the stake level.  I've generally found them more enjoyable when they involve just our ward.  There is more time to spotlight each of the boys.  There is an intimacy to the evening that is somewhat lacking at the stake level.  There is more of a mentoring that can take place between priesthood leaders and the young boys who will soon be priesthood holders.

Sharing Time

Idea:  I teach the 10-year-olds in Primary. I was looking for something a little different to get the children involved in our sharing time class presentation. I decided to play a game very much like "Hollywood Squares". We renamed it "Primary Squares". I cut poster board paper into smaller squares with an "X" on one side and an "O" on the other. Each of my 6 students came up to the front where they had been instructed to set up the chairs. We had 3 of the small children's chairs in front and a set of three folding chairs behind that.  Then we invited the Primary presidency to join us. Three children sat on the small chairs, the presidency sat in the middle three chairs and the last three children stood in back. We divided the group into two teams. As in Hollywood Squares, the child picks a "square" and attempts to play tic-tac-toe by answering the question correctly. The "square" person answers the questions about the prophets and then the child must agree or disagree with his/her answer. If correct they get the square and the "square" holds up either "X" or "O".  Our primary really seemed to enjoy the game. One child picked a primary counselor who was the center square and said "I'll take Whoopie for the Block!" What was really great was that they were involved and could answer questions regarding the prophets. I think we will do the game again sometime. --Submitted by Carole Rivers, Healdsburg Ward, Healdsburg, CA (c_rivers@hotmail.com)

Idea: We played a game in junior Primary sharing time  to emphasize the obedience Nephi showed when his father sent him to get the plates from Laban.  All of the children sang "I will go, I will do the things the Lord commands" then they formed a large circle. All of them sat on the floor and were all potential Nephis. One child was selected as "Laban". That child sat in the center of the circle blindfolded with a set of keys between the legs. Another child was selected very quietly from the circle of children to be Nephi.  Once chosen he or she was to tip-toe and try to get the keys without being heard by Laban. The children all took turns being Nephi and Laban.  It was lots of fun!  -- Frankston, Australia Primary President (nstinchcombe@tps.vic.edu.au)

Idea:  Follow the Prophet...We explained to the children what "sustaining" someone meant, explaining that in helping mummy or daddy around the house was "sustaining" their parents, by being good in class they were "sustaining" their teachers...and so on up to the bishop and then the Prophet.  We then got a big roll of wallpaper and had each of the children place their right hands (and a part of their arm) on the wallpaper whilst we drew around each of them...they then coloured this in.  We headed the paper "Kirkcaldy Ward Primary sustains the Prophet." -- Sister Sheena-Ann Brown  Primary President, Kirkcaldy Ward, Dundee Scotland Stake

Idea:  Here's an idea we did for Mother's Day. This was an activity day as well as sharing time activity.  In preparation for Sunday we took black and white pictures of each child or family of children, took them to a one-hour development shop, and then mounted the pictures on black construction paper.  I decorated the borders with Fiskers decorative scissor edges.  A few grocery stores donated cardboard boxes, which we cut down into 8x10 squares.  The dads of the ward donated noodles of all different shapes. I had
traced beforehand a 4x6 rectangle on to the cardboard and instructed the children to create a design they thought their moms would like.  It was interesting to see the amount of work and time they put into making them.  My idea was if they had brothers and sisters, they all decorated a  square and used one per family afterwards.  That way, those who were not able to attend the activity would still have something to give to their moms.   After they finished, the younger ones helped the older children clean up the room and then move outdoors to finish their project.  I had purchased glossy spray paint (87cents) prior to the activity and handed over old shirts to the little ones and reminded the older to be careful with the paint.  They then spray painted the frames that they had made and I added white and silver glitter to the finished project.  With the left over cardboard, we cut out pieces of cardboard and hot glued a piece to the back of the frame so as to create a stand for the whole picture.  The final step was to glue the picture to the frame.  I wrapped their picture frames in pink and white wedding veil  (it was really cheap!......77 cents the yard...I bought about 9 yards)  I used the left over wedding veil to tie a bow on the top.  The end result was a classic looking gift for less than $5.00 total, but made with tons of love.  Not only that but it matches any room or office in the house or work place.  I thought this activity turned out really well.

On Sunday I handed out some scriptures that were placed within a bouquet of flowers. Each scripture related to Mothers and parents. Those children who had brought their scriptures in, were able to split up the bouquet and also hand that to their moms on that day.  I also read the book I'll Love You Forever. It is a great book about how much moms love their children!  They were all so reverent and so attentive....even the little ones!  It was great! We had closing exercises and then moved to the RS room and sang a Mothers Day song to them and handed over carnations to those moms that did not have children in the primary and picture frames to those who did!  There were no dry eyes or empty hands! It was wonderful. -- Z. Presley -- Orlando, Florida

Idea:  As Stake Primary President in the Portsmouth England Stake, I get to visit the Primaries within the Stake area and I was impressed by one Sharing Time held in the Portsmouth Ward.  The theme was on testimonies and the Primary President related it to a pizza representing each item in paper.

She started with the base telling the children that the foundation of our testimony is, or should be, of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  The tomato puree is the testimony of Joseph Smith, the cheese topping is the Book of Mormon and all the other toppings, e.g. mushrooms, pepperoni, anchovies, ham, etc. are the other things which make up our testimonies such as tithing, celestial marriage, scriptures, answers to prayers, etc.  The children loved to build up their pizzas and I felt they gained from the activity.
--From Sister Angela Herridge.

Idea:  To illustrate the principle of tithing, we handed out ten M&Ms to each child.  One group got to eat nine first and then give their last one as tithing.   The other group was asked to give one first and then eat their remaining nine.   Through this simple exercise the children learned that it is easier to give tithing upfront than to give it after nine-tenths had been spent.

Idea:  The most attention-getting sharing time I did involved detective work.  I came dressed in a trench coat, carrying a magnifying glass. I told the children that my name is "Detective Hall," and that I had heard that the scriptures teach us about Jesus Christ. I told them we need to search  for clues to find out what exactly the scriptures teach. (Prior to Sharing Time I had hidden scripture references: "clues" that teach about Jesus Christ.) I let each child take a turn holding the magnifying glass and searching for a clue.  When they found one, we read the scripture and discussed what it taught us about Jesus Christ. That was over a year ago and they still call me "Detective Hall."

Idea:  We had a great Pioneer-themed sharing time in July. The first 10 minutes or so we met in the Primary room and started off with Pioneer songs. Then we divided the children into 5 "companies", led by a Primary teacher. They then rotated through 5 different "stations". The stations included: 1) a dress-up area with pioneer attire... complete with "Photo Studio". 2) an older couple taught very simple square-dance technique, and talked about how pioneers might entertain one another around the campfire. 3) In the kitchen, the children had little pieces of bread dough to knead, and made butter in baby food jars with heavy cream (shake, shake, shake!). 4) Outside they went for a lap around the baseball field with a handcart (these were from a youth pioneer trek). 5) 3 empty 2-liter bottles with a picture of a squirrel, jackrabbit and chipmunk on them. Add a slingshot and a super-ball. We talked about boys helping the family to find food, and sometimes using the slingshot to bring home dinner. We also had a stick pull after the sling shot game. Each station lasted about 15 minutes.

At the end of the stations, we all met in the Primary room for a fun participation story (where they say a certain phrase everytime a person or thing is mentioned), we closed with prayer, and the children each got a small loaf of hot bread and their butter jars as they headed out the door for home. It was great fun! -- Submitted by:  Susie Clayton (Highland 2nd Ward, Highland, CA)

Idea:  Last month, I had to come up with a last minute idea for sharing time, since our primary President called on Saturday night to say she wouldn't be able to make it the next day. The theme for the month was "My faith in Jesus Christ grows when I choose the right." So I printed out a CTR shield and laminated it with clear contact paper. Then I had junior and senior primary make a paper chain. To add a link, they had to give an example of choosing the right, which I wrote on the link. It was surprising to see how close the chains were in size. Senior primary's was only about 5 or 6 links longer.  We attached to chains to the shield and hung it up on the wall as a reminder. -- Submitted by:  KeriAnne Z. Glen Burnie, MD (KeriAnne99@ivillage.com)

Idea:  Role play Moses and the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea. Obtain two large sheer pieces of blue fabric and place side by side. Have a child be Moses, and some children be the Israelites and Pharoah's people. Have the Israelites  cross the Red Sea then cover the Pharoah's people with the blue cloth so they drown.  Children will always remember a story they acted out.

Idea:  Pass out a pencil and paper to each child in the primary. Ahead of time write topics on separate strips of paper such as: Book of Mormon, Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, People, Places, and Things. Make a dice using common letters such as R, S, T, N, M. Turn the topic strips face down. Have one child turn over a topic strip while another child rolls the dice. If the topic strip turned over was "People" and the letter rolled on the dice was the letter "T", then each child in the primary must list as many people (having to do with the scriptures) they can think of that start with the letter "T", in one minute. Choose a new topic strip and roll the dice for a new letter to continue play.

Idea:  For Father's Day or Mother's Day, play the Dating Game using mothers (or fathers) and their children.

Idea:  Pass out cookie ingredients to various children before class starts. Call children with ingredients up one at a time to put in the mix. Talk about each ingredient as it is added to the mix such as: only the finest eggs, two days fresh; cream straight from the farm; vanilla from Mexico, etc. After all the ingredients have been added, dump in two cups of dirt. Ask if anyone would want to eat these cookies. Explain that we want only the finest "ingredients" in our lives. We don't want any dirt added in our lives. Discuss what dirt in our lives could be such as bad movies, bad words, lying, cheating, etc.

Idea:  Pass out five puzzles to each class. (Each class will be working on the same puzzles independently). The puzzles should be gospel related and could include a word search, a small cross word puzzle, a word scramble, instructions to list as many people from the Book of Mormon you can think of, etc. Allow one or two minutes for each puzzle. Classes needs to work together on their puzzles. They will not have enough time to come up with all the answers to their puzzles. After all the puzzles have been played, each class should add up their total score for all the puzzles. (One point for each answer). Leader puts all the scores on a diagonal line on the board, in order of lowest to highest. Explain that we are all at different places in our lives. It doesn't matter where we are on the line, just as long as we are trying our hardest. Heavenly Father cares that we are traveling on the right road and trying our hardest. Over a lifetime of trying hard we hope to end up with a "high score."

Idea:  Indiana [Insert Primary leader's last name here]. Come dressed with an archaeology hat on. Have a large box filled with sand. Hide objects in the sand that will give clues to three people in the scriptures (three clues per person). Children take turns digging up a clue. Write the clue on the board under the appropriate column as it is dug up. After all the clues have been dug up, have the children guess who the three people are. Ideas: Nephi (boat, compass, bow & arrow), Ammon (plastic doll arm, sword, sheep), Noah (boat, cow, dog).

Idea:  Hand out a bag of objects to each class. Each class must analyze the objects in their bag and figure out who their bag of objects represents from the scriptures. Have each class come up to the front to show the objects and describe how each relates to their person.

Idea:  Pioneer matching game. Have the children play a matching game matching things pioneer people used, versus what we use today, such as a pan over a fire vs. a stove, covered wagon or horse vs. a car, modern day home vs. log cabin, etc.

Idea:  Hold a beauty pagent but talk about inner beauty we should strive for rather than physical traits.

Idea:  Matching game. Match a scripture verse (that the children would have to look up) to a picture that depicts the main point of the verse.

Idea:  Missionaries. Bring an empty suitcase and a box of various items such as scriptures, tie, football, radio, music tapes, video, toothbrush, white shirt, etc. Have the children come up one at a time and pull an item out of the box and decide if it should be packed in the suitcase or stay home. Explain what it is like to go on a mission and why you would take or not take certain items.

Idea:  Charades. Act out people from the scriptures, primary songs, or scripture verses.

Idea:  Retype several scripture stories but don't include the verse numbers at the beginning of each paragraph. Cut up the stories in between each paragraph. Put one story in each envelope. Give one envelope to each class. Each class must assemble their story into the correct order (without referring to the scriptures). When all are done, each class may paraphrase their scripture story for the rest of the primary. For younger children, draw out scripture stories using stick figures. Put in envelopes and pass out to each class. Each class must figure out the order their pictures go in to tell the story.

Idea:  "Two Masters". Pass out various experiments, one to each class. Include instructions with each experiment. Experiments should be things that are impossible to do because you are trying to do two opposite things at one time. Experiment ideas: drinking two glasses of water at the same time without spilling; writing your name forward and backward at the same time; making two paper airplanes then throwing in opposite directions with the hopes that they will land in the same spot; chew gum and sing a song at the same time; sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while writing the words to "I am a Child of God" etc. After each class has had some time to experiment with their experiments, have a member from each class explain to the rest of the primary what their experiment was and what the results were. Then read the scripture about serving two masters. Explain that we can't serve Satan and Heavenly Father at the same time.

Idea:  Play "hot potato". Have the children sit in a large circle. Play music on the piano and pass the hot potato around the circle. When the music stops, the child holding the potato must answer a gospel related question.

Idea:  I like playing Pictionary with the children during sharing time. I use people from the scriptures. One child draws the clue on the blackboard while the other children try to guess the person.

Editor's note:  Many thanks to Christine from Southern California who submitted many of the above ideas!

Idea:  My senior primary loves to scripture chase. You read the scripture or scripture summary first and then post the book and verse on the chalk board. It is a great way to familiarize the children with finding references and it can be adapted to any theme.

Idea: For Senior Sharing time, we had our second Counselor in the Bishopric come in and "represent" the Holy Ghost like the dove represented the Holy ghost when Christ was baptized. The kids asked him questions about the Holy ghost and why we have to be baptized by water before we are baptized by the Holy ghost. He an excellent object lesson showing the importance of being clean. He had a small jar representing a person. On the ourside, was stuck some sand and the inside had wet sand in it. There was a lid on the jar. He washed the jar in a glass bowl showing baptism, washing away our sins, but there was still sand in the inside. He asked the kids if it was clean inside. Then he took the lid off and washed the inside, showing the Holy Ghost washing us completely clean. The kids really understood after that about the Holy Ghost and how it works.

Note from another reader:  In Teaching No Greater Call it states that no one should ever portray God the father or the Holy Ghost. Just thought I would let you know. (TNGC pg 166: Cautions about the Portrayal of Diety)

Idea: (Pioneer-themed sharing time) For Sharing Time we made a pretend campfire. ( I gathered rocks and and a couple sticks of wood and put some red and yellow crate paper to look like flames.)  I had an older couple from our ward come in and share some of their pioneer stories.  While they were telling stories.  We had a container of cream and the kids shook the cream to make butter.  We served it to them on crackers. They were told how the pioneer wagons were so rough the pioneers would attach the cream to the wagon and had fresh butter when they stopped for the night.  We would sing a pioneer song in between their stories.  -- Submitted by Dana from Bridgeland, UT (orgworld@ubtanet.com)

Idea: We divided the children into groups.  Each group was given a piece of paper that named an attribute of Christ (for example, love, power, obedience, humility).  Then each group had to list examples from Christ's life of how he exhibited those characteristics.  Afterwards, each group got to share their ideas with the entire Primary.  We pointed out that these were some of the things the children could think about while partaking of the sacrament.

     

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