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We Cereal-sly Love the Scriptures

We Cereal-sly Love the ScripturesLast summer our Primary planned a “Summer of Service” challenge, where we encouraged the kids to find ways to serve others around them. This summer I wanted to maintain our scripture reading momentum, so I thought it would be great to have a scripture oriented challenge. The challenge we settled on is to learn the names and order of the books of scripture!

I’m hoping that the reward for this challenge will help motivate the kids: we’re planning a cereal party at the end of the summer! The plan is to have a dozen different sugar cereals (Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Trix) and the kids can mix and match and eat their fill. We’ll have strawberry and chocolate milk, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and more. Our event will be at 11 am, so it will be a kind of cereal brunch. I’m hoping we can have some crafts (Fruit Loop necklaces?) and games. Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas.

Everyone in our Primary is invited to our cereal party, but we’ll also award a special prize to the kids who have learned all the books of scripture (to be determined)! I think it should be lots of fun.

There are lots of songs and games that can help with this task. Check out some links below.

Books of the Book of Mormon (to 10 Little Indians)

Books of the New Testament (to Praise to the Man)

Books of the Old Testament (to Do What is Right)

Books of Mormon Hand Clapping game on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ao8NW46JDBo

Book of Mormon song on YouTube: https://youtu.be/gq4f8j3fLCg

I also created some worksheets and a bookshelf that I hope will help. Type in “bookshelf” in the search box on the right hand column to get the full set.

This cereal pun just keeps giving and giving :)

 

Feast Upon the Words Scripture Study Program Refresh

At the beginning of the year, our Primary kicked off a program to Feast Upon the Words designed to help encourage the kids and their families to read the scriptures every day! You can find the business card sized printables here, and a quarter page printable here. We continue to reward the kids with 1-inch buttons, but we also added the option of choosing one of these fun squeezable fruit stress toys. The kids love this new prize.

Tomorrow I’ll share our ward Summer Scripture Challenge–it’s cereal-sly cool. Stay tuned.

For our fifth Sunday lesson in May I decided that I wanted to re-emphasize this program, so we discussed how to improve scripture study.  I sent the kids home with a new bookmark. The front has the same food imagery that you find on the Feast Upon the Words cards.

Feast Upon the WordsObviously, the kids are meant to color in the images above. I made this bookmark in two parts: I printed the food images on white card stock and cut them out. Then I printed the back (below) with ways to study the scriptures better on green card stock, cut them out and glued the front and back together.

The reverse side of the bookmarks included a list of ways to make scripture study better, found on lds.org. I taught a slightly different lesson to the Junior Primary and the Senior Primary, so there are two versions. The more complex version is for the older kids.

Feast JUNIORvBookmarks Backside

Feast Bookmarks Backside

 

The Tiny Seed

The Tiny SeedThis Sunday is the “faith is like a seed” Sharing Time. I think this lesson is one of the first object lessons out there! It’s a great way to connect a concrete process (growing a plant) to a more abstract, spiritual idea (faith). I’m going to be emphasizing how some things help seeds grow and some things prevent seeds from growing: just like our faith. Things that help our faith grow might include prayer, scripture study, attending church, taking the sacrament, FHE, serving a mission, preparing to attend the temple, serving others, choosing good friends, or keeping the commandments. Things that might prevent our faith from growing: forgetting to pray, thinking you’re too busy to read scriptures, being mean to others at school, starting fights with your brothers or sisters, skipping church meetings, or using bad language.

For Junior Primary I started looking for a simple science worksheet about how seeds grow. I found a lot of dead leads and old images online, so I decided to put one together myself. It’s designed to be printed two per page and cut in half and it’s available for you below. I titled it The Tiny Seed because I may be sharing Eric Carle’s book by the same name. Depending on how much time we have.

Just for clarity, the images that are good for the seed are wind (to blow the seed to a good spot), sun, rain, and soil. The bad images are a bird, mouse, weed, and a boot or foot.

I also enlarged all ten images on the worksheet so they are about the size of a quarter page. I’ll use them to talk about the worksheet on the chalkboard while the littles are working on the worksheet in their laps. There are three pages in the following PDF to fit all ten images.

With our Senior Primary I am going to introduce the same metaphor (plants, seeds, faith) but we’ll round it out by reading Alma 32:27-43 together. If we have time we’ll get the kids to memorize Alma 32:21.

This would make a great Family Home Evening too…

Summer Screen Rules

Summer Screen RulesTrying to figure out what to do about screens (TV, iPhones, xbox and all that jazz) this summer? Me too. I don’t think this checklist will work for my sullen teenage boys, but I’m thinking it’s a great fit for my 10 year old! Grab your printable copy below.

You could laminate this and use a dry erase marker every day, or slip it into a sheet protector for the same affect.

Pioneer Trek Completion Certificate

Pioneer Trek printable certificate 2016

Two of my boys are going on a Pioneer Trek in the next two weeks! Our stake has done an amazing job of putting together families and organizing our event in California. It seems like just about every stake we’ve ever lived in has a Pioneer Trek on the schedule for youth conference every few years. Meanwhile, a friend of mine is helping organize the Trek in her stake! She asked if I could put together a Completion Certificate that they can award at a stake fireside which will follow their journey. I thought I’d share the certificate here in case any of you are in the same boat.

It’s crisp and clean in black and white so you can make hundreds of photocopies and they’ll all look sharp! The blank spaces are meant to be filled in with the name of the youth and their ward. The bottom line is supposed to be the date (1oth or 28th, etc).

Pioneer Trek program cover

And just for kicks I used the same design to make a program cover. It’s exactly what you’d need for the testimony meeting following Trek. Or the fireside you might hold before you take off. I was thinking you’d photocopy the program inside. It is a full page and it’s meant to be folded in half.

Actually, you could also use it as a booklet cover for a journal on Trek as well!

Baptism Talk

A few weeks ago we were the host ward for our stake baptisms. I gave the “baptism” talk that afternoon and I thought I would share it below: I think sometimes it helps to read what others are writing and saying, especially if you are writing your own baptism talk! I wrote mine with our Primary friends in mind, as well as their invited guests and family.

baptism-271833-print

My young friends in the gospel. I am so grateful to be here on such an important day. A special spirit is always present at these moments when sacred ordinances are taking place.

Today is the first important covenant of your life—your baptism.

I believe you are well prepared for your baptism. I think you know what to expect—your parents or Primary leaders and teachers or maybe even the missionaries have spent time teaching you all about this ordinance. Soon you’ll walk across the hall to the room where you’ll be baptized by immersion by a member of our church who has the priesthood. There will be two witnesses. I think you already know that the special promises of the baptismal prayer and the confirmation that follows will bless you, protect you, and strengthen you as you live righteously. Being baptized today is the beginning of what I hope will be a lifelong journey of faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There are blessings that come to all who join a community of faith—where the pure in heart strive to grow closer to Christ.

One of our leaders, Elder Charles Didier explained it this way: At church we develop caring relationships with others—relationships that can help sustain us during times of crisis. As we serve in callings, participate in sacred ordinances, and sacrifice, we feel needed and of worth, and we grow in charity. And as we gain knowledge about sacred things essential for our salvation, we learn what and how to worship, and we are able to have hope in the Resurrection and in the Atonement.

Your baptism today signals that you are choosing to join the church. The blessing of joining this community of faith is something we all share, no matter how young or old, as we become brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Is it weird to think of someone like me as your sister? Maybe it seems like I am way too old! But at church, we call each other Sister Davis or Brother Jones or Sister Hall. It is one of my favorite Mormon traditions! When I am in Primary, the kids don’t call me Coach Davis, or Mrs. Davis, or Professor Davis! They call me Sister Davis. It reminds me that we are a kind of family, and that we are all children of Heavenly Father. It reminds me that we are like brothers and sisters, helping each other out on the journey of life.

Many of you have been going to church all of your life. But your baptism today shows you are making a formal promise, or covenant, that you want to be part of the family too! It means you are willing to accept the blessing and the responsibilities of being part of this family. There is no better scripture to describe these joyful responsibilities than in Mosiah, chapter 18, starting on verses 8. After Alma baptizes a group of believers, he explains that:

[if] ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, [ye should be]… willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

“Yea, and… willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things….

Alma explains that besides the blessings you receive from baptism, you also accept some responsibility to help the saints around you, comfort each other, and to stand as a witness.

As a full member of the church, it also means that I have those responsibilities to you. I think that means I should always show love and support to you. I will try to help you when things seem difficult or hard. It also I have things to learn from you, because you are now my brothers and my sisters. I will be paying attention when you share your testimony in sacrament meeting. I think you have important things to share! I will listen when you tell me you are feeling the Spirit. I will do whatever I can to help you learn more about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. That’s what brothers and sisters do! I look forward with joy to carrying out my responsibilities toward you.

I know that as you continue faithful as part of the great worldwide community of Saints, you will be able to see many of these responsibilities change you for the better. Others will know you’re a believer because of the way you show love. We read about this in the Bible, John 13:35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

It won’t be very long before showing love for your brothers and sisters in Christ will extend to everyone you meet. Because isn’t everyone you meet a child of God, even if we don’t call them Brother or Sister? You can share your testimony of Christ simply by behaving with love, courtesy, and respect to all those who surround you. You can serve, support, and comfort all those you meet during a lifetime of striving to become more Christlike.

The beginning of this journey to be like Him will start with your baptism in just a few minutes. I am so happy you will be joining our community of faith today. It is my testimony that the covenants, priesthood, and service you take part in here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can bring you great peace and happiness. Living a faithful life will help you become the person Heavenly Father wants you to become. He is looking forward to welcoming all of His children back home again some day.

I say these things…

Graduating Primary Gift

Gift for graduates

Graduating from Primary is a rite of passage! It might seem over-dramatic, but I really believe it’s a clear marking point between childhood and adolescence. So we throw a mini celebration every time a member of our Valiant 11 Class leaves us! We invite their parents and family to join in. In our ward we have the really cool tradition that the whole Deacon class comes in on the first Sunday that a boy is 12 and literally picks him up and carries him out the door to Young Men’s. (There’s a blurry snapshot of this in action below!) It is so cute and such a cool metaphor for the power of brotherhood that they are joining. I literally tear up every time this happens!

When the girls graduate, the Young Women also come in to collect their new Beehive! In our ward they bring Beehive stickers that they put all over her face and arms and then walk her out of Primary together. It is equally fun and adorable! This “kidnapping” is the most fun thing that happens at their Primary graduation.

Deacons

But we also sing to the graduate and give them a few treats! If they have completed the Faith in God program, the bishop comes to award them their signed booklet. Page 19 of the Faith in God booklet says “Parents and leaders should help the children understand that the joy of living the gospel is the most important reward.” But I just can’t help myself: we also give them a small gift. In part it is a reward for their sustained effort in the Faith in God program, but I also think a visible reward and celebration helps encourage the other Primary children to make progress with their goals.

In the past we’ve given out framed copies of their favorite scripture verses, but this year I’ve decided to print and frame a Mormon Ad to give if they complete their Faith in God. There are so many great ones to choose from. It does take some work to filter through them online, so I’ve pulled my top favorites below. I resized them to be 8×10 because it’s an easier size to find a frame! I also resized them to 5×7 because they would be a little less expensive to print and frame.

Stay True two per page copy

Find the original Stay True Mormon Ad here.

Be thou Strong 5x7 copyI think this is my all time favorite piece of church art ever. I just love it! We have it hanging in our Primary room right now. It was originally a Bright Idea in the Friend, rather than a Mormon Ad. I think it’s a great fit for girls graduating into Young Women.

 

Seek the Living Water 2per copy

Click here for the original Seek the Living Water Mormon Ad.

Think Big 5x7 copy

This Think Big Mormon Ad is perfect for 12-year olds who are getting out of that little Primary pond, don’t you think? I love this one too.

Regardless of whether they’ve completed Faith in God, each child gets a bag with treats from me to mark this big transition! We work hard to avoid food rewards during the rest of the year, so every once in a while I think it is fun to share candy. It also makes it easier when one of the kids has not earned their Faith in God frame. No one leaves Primary empty handed.

Printable Thank You notes

Five Printable Thank You notesI’ve spent the week putting together five different Thank You notes, in various shapes and sizes. I pulled them all together into one post so they’ll be easy access. Check them out below!

First up is the super Simple Thank You.

Simple Thank You note copy

Printable Thankasaurus Rex card copyNext up is the Thankasaurus Rex. Love this one. So great for little boys.

Printable Mandala Thank You card to print

The mandala card seems better fit for someone a little bit older.

Printable Thank You Cootie catcher full pageNext is a Cootie Catcher. I think it’s best printed in full color, but printing it in black and white would work fine too.

Printable Thank You form

Finally, the Printable Thank You Form. Obviously it would work best for kids who can write! Kind of silly and fun.