This year our Primary had an ongoing program called the CTR Bear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before, but it’s similar to lots of school classroom projects like Flat Stanley. A stuffed teddy bear with a CTR t-shirt goes home with one family per week. This project is best suited for Junior Primary, I think, but we sell it to the older children by reminding them of the importance of setting a good example by choosing the right. I also like that it’s best for our Junior kiddos: many extra activities (like Cubs and Activity Days) are for the Senior children and so it feels like a nice balance that this activity resonates especially well with the younger ones.
The family hosts the bear for a week and takes a few quick pics of the children “choosing the right” with the CTR bear. The picture above is my son Jonah. He was choosing the right by sharing the video game controller (our standards are high at the Davis house). We have a private Primary Facebook page where we share these photos with each other. It’s not the most critical part of the program, but it is really fun! I have the cutest collection of pictures of our Primary kids reading scriptures with the CTR Bear, at the LA temple, riding bikes, eating good food, helping clear the table with the CTR Bear and so on. Adorable.
After their week is up, the kids report on their experience during Primary opening exercises. If all the children in one family are in Junior, they just report in Junior. If there are kids in both Junior and Senior, we have a report in both opening exercises. It’s really fluid. No one writes down a talk about their CTR Bear experience–often the presidency member conducting prompts the child with questions. It’s very casual.
Our secretary set up this super cute bulletin board in our Primary room. All the bears start out with no shirt, just their family name on the bear. After they’ve had a turn with the CTR bear the kids put a t-shirt on their family bear. It helps us keep track of whose turn it is and it’s just so darn cute.
We included this letter in the Relief Society binders when we first started this program so that parents would know what was going on. Download the PDF below.
One useful tip: start the year with TWO CTR bears. It’s super helpful to keep the program rolling in case someone forgets to bring it back to church and it also allows time to wash the bear and bag!! I also spray the bears down with Lysol regularly. It occurs to me that if you didn’t want to have a stuffed bear for whatever reason you could do this exact program with a paper bear, too.
We have really enjoyed this CTR Bear program this year. Especially in Junior Primary the kids really look forward to their turn. It’s very low cost and there is no sugar or candy involved! Win-win-win. We love it.