Friday, May 8, 2015

Friends and Banana Splits

They divided our ward :(  I lost about half my girlies to a redividing of the boundaries.  I snuck in one more activity before it all became official.  Since they were splitting us up, I thought it would be fun to talk about the importance of good friends, how to be a good friend, and have banana splits (since they were SPLITTING us up).  

First off, we talked about how it was important to be friends with everyone...even those that aren't nice to us.  I told them a story of a boy I befriended when I was their age that was in a wheelchair and how special that experience was for me.  

Then, I taped paper to their backs and had them write something kind about the girl's back it was on.  They came up with some good ones :)  We then filled out a questionairre about each girl, and had them guess which friend was which.  We ended up outside taking pictures together.  We came in and decorated some foam picture frames I bought with glittery foam flowers.  I am going to mail the pictures to the girls that won't be joining us anymore.  

 Then of course, the banana splits.  I just had lots of toppings, and they went to town.  It was a fun last activity with some of our friends!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Manners and Etiquette

First off, I must say this was the second time I did this activity, and each set of girls really had fun with it.  We started off by talking manners.  We went over many places we need manners, and the basics of phone etiquette, dinner table rules, answering the door, speaking to adults, etc.  This cute printable was a good starting point to go over with them.  

Then, I gave them a place setting to cut out and show me how they thought it was supposed to be set.  After I revealed the answer, we glued them on a paper and labeled them to put in their binder for future reference.  

The cute printables can be found Here.

Then, to put things into practice, I brought out some bowls of finger foods (we have our activity on the kid's early day from school right before dinner, so I didn't want to stuff them!).  I had carrot sticks, olives, strawberries, grapes, cheese cubes, and some goldfish crackers.  The girls had to show me they learned their manners!  I had them set a place setting for themselves, make sure they were saying please and thank you, passing the food the correct way (clockwise), watching elbows, etc.  

After we were done, we had a few minutes left, and I shared some fun etiquette facts with them from some other countries. Such as this... (Here is the link)

Dining Etiquette Around the World

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Learning To Lead Music

Another successful activity!  Today I decided to talk a little about music with the girls.  We talked about music and how there was uplifting music and music that can chase the spirit away.  Then, I showed the girls a short clip (about 3 minutes) from (link HERE).  

 Then, we made our conductor batons.  I got some dowels from Walmart (any craft store should have them) and found these foam marshmallow-looking things from Michaels.  Before the girls came, I had the dowels already painted and put 2 foam shapes on the end and hot glued them on.  
 I let the girls bedazzle their handles with some gems (I bought a big thing of gems at Hobby Lobby 2.5 years ago when I got this calling and have used it countless times...the jar never seems to get any smaller!).  After that, we had a lesson on why leading music is important.  We talked about it is a skill they will use in Young Womens, future callings, as missionaries, etc.  It is a good skill to have and easy to master.  
 We went through each of the different counts and how to perform them.  I found THIS fantastic guide to leading music that I printed off for the girls to keep in their binders for future reference.  We went through some different primary songs that had the different counts to learn the movements.  Some links to the songs are found HERE.  
 We ended up by writing thank you notes for our primary chorister and pianist, and I bought some Symphony bars to take to them.  
We of course ended up with a quick treat.  I saw this cute variation to the pretzel/rolo treats somewhere and thought we'd try them out.  Yum :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Secret Service Agents

Another fun activity that is a repeat for me!  The girls really got into this one :)  This would even be fun for a FHE with your kiddos!

First off, we talked about service and why it's important.  We talked about different people in our lives and how we can serve them.  After that, I challenged them to find ways to provide service to everyone around them, and then we went into the Secret Service training.  They received the following packet with the contents...
 Find the printables here.
So the idea of this is the girls use the suggested service squares or come up with their own, perform the service, and leave their calling card (we did talk about that service doesn't always have to be recognized and doesn't need affirmation).  They were coming up with fun things.

We chose secret service agent names.  I just came up with some adjectives, nouns, and numbers and had them draw out of a bowl.  They enjoyed finding their names.
 Then we did some decoding.  I just used a couple scriptures about service...i.e.  when ye are in the service ye are only in the service of your God, etc.  
 The Pigpen Decoder was a little bit more challenging for the 8-year olds, but most of them got it.  So the shape on the code corresponds with the shapes on the tic-tac-toe board or the X.  If there is a dot with the shape, that means it is the second letter.  So for example, A is a backwards "L" shape, and X is a greater than sign with a dot in it.  If this doesn't make sense...I'm sorry!!!
 Reverse alphabet is easy enough to understand.  Just give the girls the decoder, and they did well.
 We wrote secret messages (I recommend doing this first so it has time to dry).  I took equal parts of baking soda and water, mixed it up and we wrote messages with Q-tips.  After completely dry, you can hold the paper up to a hot lamp (or I did mine over my range to go faster...I didn't let the girls do it, just let them watch as the message appeared.  Didn't want any fires started!)
The other game we played was basically hot potato.  I had a small black ball I said was a bomb that we had to get rid of.  I used my Catch Phrase game to use the timer.  When time ran out, the person holding the bomb was out.  We kept going until we had a winner.

The girls were to go home and perform their services and return with stories on how they did :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Journaling and Journal Jars

Can I just say I love having these activities in my home?!  With the logistics of my last ward, we needed to have it at the church building...but having it at my home makes life so much easier :)  

Anyhow, this activity turned out better than I imagined!  I had done it before, but I made the jars a bit simpler this time.  So, for this activity I went to the dollar store and picked up some cheap jars.  At Michaels I grabbed some cheap journals.  Hobby Lobby had felt on sale, so I picked up some of that, some green vellum, and the burlap roll.  I found journal prompts all over pinterest, so pick the ones you like best.  This site has some great prompts. And This one is based more on things you are thankful for, but would be perfect.  
 To start this activity off, I sat down and asked the girls if they had a journal.  We then went through all the different ways people journal.  I showed them one of my journals from when I was young, showed them my family blog, scrapbooks, family history stories of my ancestors, etc.  We then talked about how the scriptures are like a journal...recording what happened so people can benefit from the information.  

I then shared about my Great Grandmother, who wrote in her journals everyday without fail.  Even at the end of her life when the highlight of her day was watching her son walk by to go take care of the sheep.  Those journals are now treasured.  I told them even if your day is boring, there is always something you can talk about, which is where the jars came in.  We cut out the journal prompts and put them inside the jars, so on days there seemed like there was nothing to talk about, they would have something to write about, and how happy they will be down the road to have these journals.
 Then we put our jars together.   I had the burlap precut as well as the felt.  The felt needs to be cut about the size of a CD or DVD.  I had the vellum cut into strips so they could cut their own leaves.  I also had my little saying already cut out and ready to go. 
I helped the girls hot glue the burlap and the flowers.  The flowers are super simple.  With the round of felt, cut it into a spiral and then just roll it up and hot glue the ends.  I'll take some pics next week for a better tutorial.  We glued on the flowers, the leaves, and my saying that went along with my story about my Great Grandmother.  
My inspiration for this activity came from Make and Takes

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

Missionary work has been a big focus in our home the last few years.  When we lived in Columbus a few years back, both my hubby and I were ward missionaries, then when we moved, my hubby became the ward mission leader.  We have been working with investigators and going to the Gospel Principles class for YEARS!  I have had to help my hubby do missionary activities for the youth, and have learned so much.
 This activity is so fun!  It is the second time I have done it, and this time it was on a much smaller scale than the first time...but I will share both!  The first one I will share was with my smaller group of girls at my house, the second was a big Mother/Daughter activity we had with all the girls in the church gym.
 First off, as far as supplies go, this is what I gathered:

-a world map 
-mission calls for girls
-missionary tags (here)
-missionary gear (Book of Mormon, pass-a-long cards, Preach My Gospel, scrapbooks from mission, mission plaques)
-flags from around the world (I ordered some plastic ones for cheap from Oriental Trading'd be surprised how often you can use them)  
-Cute missionary printables to have around for decor...I found mine here.
-have camera handy
-I arranged with the Sister missionaries in our ward to come to the activity.  
 We started off by talking about missionaries and what they do. We went through the missionaries' daily schedule.  Then I let the sister missionaries take over and have them tell the girls what made them decide to go on a mission, how and when they started to prepare for their missions, and things the girls can do now to be missionaries.  The girls asked lots of questions after that, and I think they loved having them come.
 Then, I gave each girl their mission call.  It just so happened that each 2 girls were called to the same mission, and those girls were to sit together for the rest of the activity.  We took pictures of each girl pointing at where their mission was on the map and I will give them their picture at the next activity. 

After that, we talked about how the gospel is a treasure and how lucky we are to have it.  I then told them there are those we know that haven't found the treasure yet, and we need to share ours with them. I sent them on a treasure hunt around my house and at the end they found their treat for the day.  
 We ran out of time, but I had planned on having the girls write down their testimonies to send with the missionaries or send to those serving from our ward.  Time goes so fast sometimes!
For the bigger mother/daughter activity we did some things the same.  As the girls and moms came in, I had a word scramble ready for them of different countries missionaries may be called to.  When everyone was settled, we went over answers and gave out mission calls.  I arranged it so the mission calls of the girls and their moms matched up so they could be companions.  We then had some finger foods from different countries (many conveniently found at Costco...egg rolls, taquitos, cream puffs, cheeses, meats, crackers, etc)  

The sister missionaries then spoke about the same things I listed in the shorter activity.

Then came the games.  1. We had a relay race where we gathered some skirts, shirts, and large shoes that may pass as missionary (for the girls and the moms).  The girls in one line, moms in the other.  They had to dress in the missionary gear, run to the other end of the gym, knock on the door, run back, remove the clothes and the team to have everyone go through the line first wins.

2. Lost sock relay:  Missionaries have to do their own moms to do it!  So we had two lines for this as well.  Moms and daughters each had to match and fold socks and throw it into a laundry basket, first team done wins.  

3. Sew on a button:  again, no mom to mend your laundry.  This one wasn't really a game, just teaching the girls how to do it.

4. We had a station where the girls made necklaces.  We drilled a hole into the bottlecap, put a chain through, and attached the ends.  We cute out circles on maps of cities (the size of a bottlecap)  we glued the map piece inside the bottlecap and put a clear marble stone over top (using a product like E-600 to glue in place.) Girls loved these!  Wish I had a pic.  

5. I brought 2 wiggle (or plasma) cars.  Moms and daughters had to race to the end of the gym and back on the wiggle car (because missionaries have to ride bikes everywhere ;).

As far as decor goes, I had a big chalkboard as they came in that welcomed them to the ward's MTC.  The tables had blue tableclothes as well as maps spread out all over.  Then I had some vases filled with different countries flags.  I had the printables mentioned above in frames all around the gym.  Kept it fairly simple.  

Dangers of Gossip and Lipgloss

I recently moved to a new ward.  When I received my new calling, I just smiled and accepted.  I was the Activity Day leader for the 8-9 year olds in my old ward, and received the calling of Activity Day Leader for the 8-year old in my new ward.  I was shocked to receive the same calling, but SO excited!  I had lots of fun activities I had done before that I am excited to repeat, and know which ones flopped.  After getting this calling for the second time, I decided to start documenting what we have been doing.  Hopefully this helps some new leaders that need ideas!  
This was actually a new activity for me, but the girls had fun doing it.  We started off by sitting down and having a conversation about how if feels when someone talks about us behind our backs, whether it be true or not.  We talked about defending our friends when someone talks about them.

Then, I told the girls we were going to experiment with the dangers of gossip.  The girls sat in a circle and we played the "telephone game."  I started by saying a sentence into one of the girl's ear and let her repeat what she thought she heard to the next girl, and so on down the line.  If one girl didn't hear what the previous girl had said, I made a rule that they couldn't repeat it.  By the end it was completely different than what I had said.  We had enough time, so each girl got to choose a short message to pass down the line.  Experiment #2:  We went outside and I put glitter in one girl's hand and told her she had to pass the glitter in her hands down through each girl and make it to the end without losing one piece of the glitter.  Obviously, this was not possible.

We talked about when we hear something, parts of the truth may not be passed on or they can be twisted, and by the time a few people talk about something or someone it may not be true at all.

Then we made the lipgloss.  I just went to the store and bought some different flavors of KoolAid packets, got some small jars at the craft store in the section where they have beads, and grabbed some Un-Petroleum Jelly, and coconut oil.  Instructions can be found here

So at the end of the activity each girl got to go home with 2 different lip glosses, the cute poem to remind the girls to speak kindly (found here), and since it was Valentines week, I send them off with a little Valentine (found here).