Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4 Small and Simple Ways to Make a Big Difference With Your Children

Morning Messages
Are your mornings as chaotic as mine?  Everyone running around trying to get ready in time to go here or there?  Seems like that is much of today's society in general.  However, there is one time that can be an eye of the storm to your mornings...breakfast!  It's more than just the most important meal of the day.  It can be one of the most important moments as well!  Add a little Morning Message and it's become a chance to set a positive tone for everyone's day before they enter the chaos of the world!

I used to read while I ate my breakfast.  As a kid it was the comics from the newspaper or of course the riveting text on the back of the cereal boxes.  When I grew older I used the time to study the scriptures since it was one of the few solitary, peaceful times of my day where I could really concentrate and contemplate.  Then, I had children...At first it was easy to keep that routine since I only had one baby and she was usually nursing or sleeping while I ate breakfast.  Then, she grew older and I felt kind of guilty for ignoring her while I read and ate.  She wasn't old enough to converse with either, so I was no longer sure what to fill the breakfast conversation/study void with.

Then, one day I realized that just because she wasn't old enough to converse, didn't mean she wasn't old enough to listen.  So, I ordered my first copy of the inspirational children's magazine, The Friend, and began reading an article a day with her.  Little did I realize that she was ACTUALLY listening and learning from these articles at a very young age!  It was amazing to me, and continues to be as we've added more children to my home.

Thus the birth of our Morning Messages.  Each morning we read a message from The Friend Magazine, sing a song to align with it (which I usually choose on the spot--no prep here! and the songs can be listened to and downloaded for free HERE!), and have a mini-discussion about the topic of the day (which is based on whatever the next article is--again no prep!).  It's become our morning ritual and daily devotional.  Something I plan to continue as my children get older, just with messages then from The New Era youth magazine.  Even my little toddler who can't fully utter the words, begs for Morning Messages, pointing to the magazine when I forget!

Scripture Stories
Anyone with toddlers and pre-schoolers at home understands the struggle to get a few moments of peace while you take a shower and get ready for the day.  At the same time, I'm always looking for ways to instill values while my children are still young and largely influenced by home life and teachings.  At our house we kill two birds with one stone because of the awesome radio program I found called Scripture Stories!  It is basically an audio-recording of a book-club done by children where they read and discuss scripture stories from the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Old Testament (yet to come).

You can find them on the Mormon Channel links HERE!
The pictures on this page that do not say Mormon Channel are the links for the picture stories that they are studying in their "book club."

As a mother, I love this program for the spiritual development it helps to produce in my children.  As a former elementary school & college teacher I love it because of the comprehension skills it develops as well!  It's exactly the kind of discussion I used to do with my students and has innumerable lessons in communication skills and reading comprehension development!  

Most of the programs are anywhere from 20-30 minutes long, and afterwards my children watch the video of the scripture story that goes along with the discussion they just listened to.  If your children struggle with the auditory, you can have them follow along in their own copy of the scripture stories books (for visual learners), or play something like blocks while they listen (for your kinesthetic learners).

Family History Friday

Since there are only so many articles in the Friend Magazine, and we didn't have enough for every weekday of the month, I decided to supplement with stories from our ancestors on Fridays, or show my kids some things from familysearch.org.  It has already become a favorite as they love looking at pictures and hearing stories from their ancestors!  When it is the week of a grandparent or great-grandparent’s birthday then I make sure we study them that week and incorporate their favorite foods and activities throughout that Friday!  It’s a work in progress but I love it already!  This last week we studied my grandma since it was her birthday and we played dolls, board games, and sewed just like she loved to do.  I forgot to get her favorite foods, but it was a fun day for all of us and brought back some great memories for me!

Family Home Evenings
If you don't already, set aside one night a week (we do Mondays) to have a little spiritual thought or lesson followed by a family activity and of course a tasty treat (my children's favorite part...okay maybe mine too! :)) This Website has some incredible resources for teaching your children just about any topic you can imagine.  You can search by topic to find lessons, activities (both on and off the computer), videos, images, you name it!

These four things are so simple and basic, but they can make a world of difference in the spirit and feeling that permeates your home!  Try them out and let me know how it goes for you!

© 2015 Leaflet Radiance All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 2, 2015

Primary Activity: Following the Footsteps of Jesus

 When I served in the Primary Presidency we did about one big activity a year with the kids.  Since I did this one before I started the blog, I sadly don't have any pictures of the activity to share! :(  However, it was one of the favorite ones in my book so I wanted to share it for those of you serving in the Primary to use if you want to!  I spent a lot of time putting it together so I'm all about sharing the love and saving time for others!  Especially with the Primary theme this year centered around Jesus!

This activity is a walk back in time with characters from the New Testament dressed up and telling their story in the first person!  There are four stations and each one involves a first person account of an encounter with the Savior, a discussion, and an activity or handout to go with the topic!  
Check out the links below for all the details to teach your children about the Savior in a fun and memorable way!

Please contact me if you'd like the Word document for this to alter...Googledocs always alters them so that's why I saved them as PDF's.

© 2015 Leaflet Radiance All Rights Reserved

Boot Camp (Building Our Own Testimonies) Primary Activity

A couple of summers ago my Primary Presidency put together this outdoor activity for the kids at church to have fun and learn about how to strengthen their testimonies.  I don't have a lot of details written down, or pictures since I hadn't started this blog yet then, but I thought I'd share what I do have in case anyone would like to use our ideas!

We dressed up as drill sergeants and had the kids marching in rows, chanting from station to station as they went!  We had four stations for the activity and when the kids arrived we divided them into Platoons with two Primary teachers in each group as their captains.  

These are the stations we did:

Obstacle Course: Overcoming the obstacles of life through our Savior, Jesus Christ
(We walked them through the obstacle course with a short lesson before doing it.  Talk about how sometimes life is easier, sometimes more difficult...and sometimes we just can't do things on our own.  Have one part of the course where they HAVE to have help by a priesthood holder to get through it and talk about how the Savior can help us through those times.)  

Drills: Testimony Relays
(For this you can have them do a small relay of your choice with an Article of Faith they have to recite, scripture to read, or something like that as part of the relay.  Let them help each other if they get stuck and talk about how sometimes we need each other to help strengthen our testimonies.)

Make A Title of Liberty: Standing for Truth in the Wars of Life
(These were made out of wooden skewers and small pieces of white cloth...a short lesson given on the Title of Liberty and then they were given markers to create their own Title of Liberty representing what was most important to them).

Letters to Missionaries: Supporting Your Comrades

(A short mini-lesson on the importance of supporting and helping each other before writing a letter to the missionaries from our ward.)

At the end we all met up at the "Mess Hall" for closing remarks, prayer, and a treat!

Mess Hall: Feasting on the Word of God: CTR Shield Cookies

Here are all the files if you want to use them:

Please contact me if you'd like the Word document for this to alter...Googledocs always alters them so that's why I saved them as PDF's.

 © 2015 Leaflet Radiance All Rights Reserved

Church Teacher Training Lessons & Handouts

I was recently released from serving in the Primary Presidency in my ward at church. (For those of you who aren't Mormon, that means I helped lead and organize the teachers of the children who met in our church building.)  Over the three years that I served, I was primarily in charge of leading the teacher training sessions we had once a year.  I saved my lessons and handouts and felt maybe I should make them available for anyone who may find them useful in training teachers in other churches and wards as well!  Hope it's helpful!  I'll also be sharing more activities that we did, so look for those coming soon!

Lighting the Fire Within & Put Out Fires While Doing It! (Primary Management Lesson)
Primary Management Lesson Handout

Incentives & Positive Reinforcements for Teaching Primary

Becoming A Shepherd of God's Children

Savor the Sweetness of the Spirit Through Quality Teaching (Lesson & Handout)

© 2015 Leaflet Radiance All Rights Reserved