Friday, October 1, 2010

Make General Conference Meaningful for Children

Prior to General Conference you can make a "General Conference Watching Kit" for children to use to enjoy conference. Below are some supplies I made to put it such a kit. These things are not intended to merely "entertain" children so older family members can watch in peace, but they are intended to help make conference meaningful to children. Below are pictures of each item. You can click on the titles to see a larger version or to print them. Only use those things that will be meaningful to children in your family.

General Conference Booklet for Taking Notes There is also a girl version.

General Conference Spotlight

Print on cardstock and laminate. Cut out general authorities and tape them to their seats. As children watch conference, they can take the general authority from his seat and put him up at the pulpit. Or here is a different version of it.

Flash cards for memorizing General Authorities. Print this off on cardstock and then print this page on the back side so their names end up being on the backs of the pictures (or just write them on the backs.

Bingo Cards. Use beans or candies to place on each topic as it is mentioned by a conference speaker. If several children play, a different card is needed for each one. Here are more versions: Version 2 version 3 version 4.

You can also purchase a poster of the general authorities from the church distribution center (or photo copy the centerfold from the last May Ensign) and use their pictures for the General Conference Spotlight activity. There is a fun song to sing for memorizing the names of the first presidency and 12 apostles on youtube. But more important is to help children know how to listen with the Spirit so that the messages for them can go deep in their hearts. Last General Conference there was a booklet on to helped children learn by the Spirit. I liked the descriptions in that booklet. The booklet above, "My Conference Report," is a condensed version of this one, but repeats the same basic messages. has a page of activities for children, I just noticed, and the booklet from last conference is there.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Plan a Family Home Evening on Service

One of the Young Women Personal Progress Goals under "Good Works" is #4, "Teach a Lesson about Service in family home evening or in another setting. Use pictures, music, examples, or demonstrations in your lesson. You may want to use the manual Teaching No Greater Call as a resource." Here are some ideas for YW to accomplish that goal.

I created some helps. Just cick on the highlighted words in this post. Click here to see a booklet I created from the Family Home Evening manual. You can adapt an idea from President Packer on "How to Present Service to Others." Here are some good quotes on service. And here are more quotes.

The topic of Service has many ways to go about teaching it. You can focus the lesson on Good works, kindness, or loving everyone including your enemies. There are several ways the lesson of the Good Samaritan can fit in with the topic of service. You may want to show a video on service from the DVD, In the Service of your God. In that DVD is a 10 minute movie called Ye Have Done it Unto Me. There is also a 2 1/2 minute talk on humanitarian service on You Tube. I also like the scripture Mosiah 2:17 put to song. To use the Teaching No Greater Call manual, you may want to do the activity President Packer used on a group of missionaries. See p.222 for the story or click here. Instead of writing "The Gospel" on the cake, write the word "Service." Emphasize to family members that the way you present the service to others will determine how it is received. It should be presented with kindness and love, and not grudgingly or in a way that might embarrass the recipient.

Monday, March 29, 2010

General Conference Activities for Children

The Church's website,, has a special section on the home page under "General Conference" called, activities for children, where you can download a booklet for children to use in writing notes while listening to conference. There is also a coloring page, and a bingo game called, conference squares.

In addition, a Friend magazine from April 1996 had a fun conference activity that I updated. The picture to the left shows what it looks like when it is constructed. The 12 Apostles can be cut out and taped onto the seats of general conference. As each speaker comes up to speak, children can place the correct picture at the pulpit. When the talk is over, the child can seat the apostle in his correct chair. I have a couple of extra laminated ones someone could borrow. This page can be printed and mounted on heavy paper and laminated, or just copied and cut out and used as is. This is from the Friend April 1996. I just put current photos on top of the old photos. Only cut out the photos with pink names underneath.

I also made flash cards for children to use to memorize the general authorities while they watch conference. Print off the front page and then print the names on the back side with this page. There is also a picture of a "Conference Reverence Tent" on the inside cover of the Friend Magazine this month (April 2010).

For Family Home Evening you could have each family member report on the things they learned and what areas they resolve to do better in during the next 6 months. It is a fun idea to have everyone save their notes from conference and resolves they made so they can pull them out for next general conference to see how well they did.

I made updates for October general conference 2010 with more ideas and pictures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family Home Evening on Managing Family Time, Money and Responsibilities

This You Tube link is a film from 1949, yet the principles apply today more than ever. It can start a family discussion on how each person can do their part to live in harmony. Watch this 10 minute You Tube video as a family and then discuss the 4 parts: Schedule, Responsibilities, Privileges, and Finances. It is a little humorous with comments such as, "Gee Mom, you're swell!" But it is amazing to see that families had similar issues then as they have today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Family Home Evenings from the Primary 2 CTR Manual

I am a CTR teacher of 7-8 year olds. These lessons are a great source for Family Home Evenings. Manuals can be found on I've made some handouts from the Primary 2 CTR A manual that I give the children as a review of the lesson. This provides a way for parents to review the lesson with them or for the child to give part of a family home evening.

If you have a child aged 4 to 7, they are learning from the Primary 2 CTR A manual this year (2010), and they will recognize these lessons. These can provide a review of things they learned.

To print these booklets off, click on the link of the booklet you want to print. At the top of the document on the left hand side, click on "download". It downloads to a page you can print. Print it off two sided (print page two on the back of page one, etc.). Then fold it down the middle and staple it together. I also left a large top margin so that you can cut off about 3/4th inch of the top (I just think it looks better that way).

Lesson 1 from the manual on
Lesson 1 Happiness Comes from Choosing the Right booklet

Lesson 2 from the manual on
Lesson 2 I Can Choose the Right booklet

Lesson 3 from the manual on
Lesson 3 I am a child of God booklet

Lesson 4 from the manual on
Lesson 4 I Chose to Follow Jesus Christ booklet

Lesson 5 from the manual on
Lesson 5 I Can Make Right Choices booklet

Lesson 6 from the manual on
Lesson 6 We have Special Families booklet
Lesson 6 Coloring page

Lesson 7 from the manual on
Lesson 7 Jesus Christ Brought Joy to the Earth booklet

Lesson 8 from the manual on
Lesson 8 Heavenly Father Watches Over Me booklet

Lesson 9 from the manual on
Lesson 9 Jesus Christ was Once a Child Like Me booklet

Lesson 10 from the manual on
Lesson 10 I Can Speak with Heavenly Father in Prayer booklet

Lesson 11 from the manual on
Lesson 11 I Can Tell Others about Jesus Christ Booklet

Lesson 12 from the manual on
Lesson 12 I Can Prepare for Baptism Booklet

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family Home Evening Treats

Now that it is fall and you may have more zucchini than you need, here is a brownie recipe for zucchini brownies. I like how the author of the recipe has all family members leave the house as she adds the zucchini (so no one will know they are eating a vegetable).

My favorite brownie recipe looks like it would pass as Cherry Chocolate Brownies, but tomatoes are added instead of cherries. I used a fat free brownie mix and 4 tomatoes. I pealed the tomatoes and then diced them. I heated them up on the stove a bit because the fat free brownie mix asked for hot water (tomatoes were added instead of hot water). I baked them according to package directions. The bits of tomato taste like cherries.

You can also make "Pumpkin Brownies" by adding 1 package of brownie mix, and instead of adding egg, oil, or water, you just add one can of pumpkin. Be sure it is 100% pumpkin and not the mix used to make pumpkin pie.

You can also make "Black Bean Brownies" by adding 1 package of brownie mix and instead of adding the egg, oil, or water, just add one can of black beans. Open the can of black beans and drain the liquid, then fill the can back up with fresh water (with black beans still in the can). Then blend the black beans and water in a blender and add to the brownie mix. For either recipe, bake according to package directions. You may need to cook them a little longer.

I had a "Guess the ingredients" brownie bake off, and my family liked the tomato brownies best, then the zucchini brownies, then blackbean, then pumpkin.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Creating Family Home Evenings from Primary Lessons

I am a CTR teacher of 7-8 year olds. These lessons are a great source for Family Home Evenings. Manuals can be found on I've made some handouts from the Primary 3 CTR B manual that I give the children as a review of the lesson. This provides a way for them to give part of a family home evening. Children and youth can give a review of things they learned in their primary, Young Women, or Young Men classes. Even nursery children can participate. I remember Cheryl (many years ago) re-enacting Jesus calming the storm and saying, "Peace, be still" as she told what she had learned in nursery.

I'll post a few of the lesson summaries I have made, that, if you have a child aged 4 or 5 through age 7 or 8, they are learning from the Primary 3 CTR B manual this year, and they will recognize these lessons. These can provide a review of things they learned.

To print these booklets off, click on the link of the booklet you want to print. At the top of the document on the left hand side, click on "download" and then "Adobe Acrobat pdf." Then once it downloads to Adobe Acrobat, print off one page at a time so that you can print page two on the back of page one, etc. so the page numbers come out right as you print it two sided. Then fold it down the middle and staple it together. I also left a large top margin so that you can cut off about 1 inch of the top (I just think it looks better that way).

Lesson 12 from the manual on
Lesson 12 The Gift of the Holy Ghost booklet
Lesson 12 Pages 4 and 5 of booklet. Print on back side of pages 3 and 6.
In addition, write 4 wordstrips: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost. These are glued onto p. 4 of the booklet, with Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ being placed at the bottom (or first step).

Lesson 17 from the manual on
Lesson 17 The Scriptures Help us Learn and Understand the Commandments booklet.
Lesson 17 Book of Mormon and Bible to cut out and glue in booklet p. 3.

Lesson 18 from the manual on
Lesson 18 Heavenly Father helps us Obey His Commandments booklet

Lesson 21 from the manual on
Lesson 21 We Receive Blessings as Members of the Church booklet
Lesson 21 Scripture to glue into booklet.
Lesson 21 wordstrips for children to glue in booklets.

Lesson 23 from the manual on
Lesson 23 Forgiving One Another booklet.
Lesson 23 pages 4 and 5 of booklet
Lesson 23 Steps to forgiveness to be glued into the booklet.

Lesson 24 from the manual on
Lesson 24 The Lord Helps Missionaries booklet.

Lesson 27 from the manual on
Lesson 27 The Age of Accountability booklet

Lesson 29 from the manual on
Lesson 29 Having Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ booklet

Lesson 30 from the manual on
Lesson 30 Jesus Christ Loves Me booklet

Lesson 31 from the manual on
Lesson 31 Jesus Christ Wants Me to Love Everyone booklet

Lesson 32 from the manual on
Lesson 32 Remembering Jesus During the Sacrament booklet

Lesson 33 from the manual on
Lesson 33 The Sacrament Reminds us of our Covenants booklet

Lesson 35
from the manual on
Lesson 35 Temples and Eternal Families booklet

Lesson 36 from the manual on
Lesson 36 Showing Love for Jesus Christ booklet

Lesson 37 from the manual on
Lesson 37 I'll Serve Jesus Christ by Serving Others booklet

Lesson 38 from the manual on
Lesson 38 I Can Be Pure and Righteous booklet

Lesson 39 from the manual on
Lesson 39 Showing Love for our Parents booklet

Lesson 40 from the manual on
Lesson 40 Worshiping at Church booklet

Lesson 41 from the manual on
Lesson 41 Fasting Brings us Closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ booklet

Lesson 47 from the manual on
Lesson 47 Jesus Christ was Born on the Earth booklet

Sunday, July 5, 2009 resources for Family Home Evening has GREAT resources!
Go to and click on home and family and then family home evening. From there you can go to Helps for Family home evening, Lesson topics, activities, or resources. Exploring under these topics, you can learn how to make a family home evening planning wheel so that all family members are involved. You can learn how to involve your teenagers or how to plan lessons around very young children. You can even learn about how to do family home evening with just adults.

There are even strategies for helping get the right attitude so that Family Home Evening is a happy time, rather than becoming a drudgery or dreaded.

There are 25 different lesson topics provided to get you started, and from there you can create your own ideas to meet your own family's needs. Great resources are conference talks, Ensign articles, New Era articles, or articles from the Friend magazine. The Friend magazine has other fun things, such as a slide show on making friends or young children can have the stories from the Friend read to them. This can be useful for a young reader as well. There are also interactive coloring pages, games, or scriptures stories. At the back of these magazines (or at the end of some of the articles) there are Family Home Evening ideas.

You can even center Family Home Evenings around the Faith in God for children, Duty to God for young men, or Personal Progress for young women.

A fun place to go is to the music section under "resources." The thing that is so great about this site is that you can not only look up and print off the music for songs, but you can have the songs played on the computer using the interactive church music player. You can type in a song and it will go to it and show you the music and you can play it. If it is too high for you, you can put it in a lower key and sing it. If it is too slow or too fast, you can change the tempo. Some songs even include actions for singing it in sign language. You can also download church songs to mp3 players or iPods (for free), even the new songs the children will be singing for the Sacrament Meeting program, including "My Eternal Family" and "I Know my Savior Loves Me" (a very beautiful song). This includes Young Women songs and Seminary songs. In fact, you can download conference talks for MP3 players or iPods also for free. You can listen to a conference talk on your MP3 player while doing other work as you prepare a Family Home Evening lesson.

The gospel art picture kit contains pictures you can use for Family Home Evening. You can print these pictures or copy and paste them into a handout. These pictures also include a summary of the topic, which can be very useful for children's talks or for part of a lesson. You can also print off an agenda and fill in the information. Then a family member can conduct and announce what is going to happen next.

For family home evening treats you can check out the kitchen krafts section of the Friend. There are endless possibilities for family home evenings from and from church magazines.

Other great resources are Seminary and Institute Manuals. You can get these at the LDS distribution center, at the Institute,or on-line.

President Hinkley said in his closing remarks one conference:
We hope that you will use the May edition of the Church magazines as a text for your family home evenings, to review that which has been spoken in this conference. What has been said by each of the speakers represents his or her prayerful attempt to impart knowledge that will inspire and cause all who have heard it to stand a little taller and be a little better” (President Hinkley, Ensign, May 2007, p. 105).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Home Evening in 5 Minute Prep Time

Grab the June 2009 Ensign and wrap two gifts; one with a cookie in it (or other fun item), and one with a rock in it (or a "not so fun" item). Then call the family together.

1. Discuss the three elements of agency from the article on p. 47 June Ensign (even if you have not read the article, you can easily find the three elements on pp. 47-48).

2. Show the picture of the blindfolded man about to fall off the cliff. Have a family member read the caption under it.

3. Have two family members each choose a wrapped gift and open it. Ask if they would have made a different choice if they had been aware of what was inside both gifts. Read the paragraphs associated with the second element of moral agency and discuss how knowledge helps us to make better choices.

4. Conclude by reading the final paragraph of the article about the "gift" of moral agency.

Friday, May 1, 2009

More on "Planting a Garden for Family Home Evening"

Earlier I posted pictures on how to grow tomatoes for Family Home Evening. Besides tomatoes, you can grow other plants that Verlin Simmons suggested at the stake preparedness fair on gardening. He suggested planting melons using clear plastic. Here is how I did it, using his suggestions:

1. Dig some mounds of dirt and then make a hole in the center of each mound. It will look somewhat like a volcano. Kids may enjoy making the volcanoes. In each hole add potting soil.

2. Plant melon seeds in the potting soil. Pat the potting soil down. Water with 2 quarts of water. If the seeds surface after you water them, simply poke them back down in the dirt.

3. Put clear plastic over each volcano and shovel dirt around the edges so the plastic stays in place. This creates a greenhouse for the melons to grow under. There is about 3 inches of space between the planted melons and the top of the plastic (because the center of the volcano is 3 inches lower than the sides of the volcano.

4. Keep plastic on all summer. When plants grow tall enough to touch the plastic, cut an X (or a t)in the plastic for the plants to grow out of.

5. Other plants that are already grown and purchased from a nursery can be planted with clear plastic also, but cut the holes as you put each one in the ground.

The tomato plants planted on April 11th are already double the size they used to be. Two and a half weeks later there are three tomatoes each on 2 of the 3 plants (still green, though). They really grow well in their plastic cages.

As you work on your family garden, you can talk about faith being like a seed and then watch it grow all summer. Remind children of how small the seeds were in the beginning of the summer. Our faith also grows much like these seeds. See Alma 32: 28-41.