Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ideas for new Activity Days Leaders

I love the Faith in God booklet that is the curriculum for Activity Days.  The activities cover the exact things an 8-11 year old girl needs to experience in order to start growing her own testimony.  I also love how the back of the booklet has a picture of a temple, because as they finish activity days, they are the exact age to go to the temple and do baptisms!  I always tell the girls that when they come to our activities they are preparing to go to the temple when they turn 12!

The activities can be whatever you choose, but I found that there were several different kinds of activities:
crafts (making reminders of gospel principles, jewelry making, journal making, ornaments, simple sewing, crafts to entertain younger children, pumpkin carving, thank you cards, etc)
cooking  (frosting cookies, fruit kabobs, smoothie making, muffins, popcorn, etc)
active things like games, nail painting, hair styling, treasure hunts, playing with play money, skits, heart attacks, christmas caroling, museum trips, etc.
summer activities: hikes, water games, swimming, outdoor cooking (dutch oven, smores, etc), picnics.  The other types of activities didn’t usually get very good attendance in the summer, so we usually did one longer, bigger activity each month (June was always a hike and July was a water activity).  Once the girls show up for water balloons, dutch oven cooking, smores, or a hike, we can do any number of Faith in God activities or "My Gospel Standard" themes to go along with them:)

Each year the group of girls seems to have a different personality, so I do a lot more of the type of activity the group seems to like best.  

It helps me so much to plan the year out starting in August when school starts and ending with the summer activities.  You don’t have to plan the specific craft, game, or cooking project (you never know how long you will have the calling), but just write down what theme from Faith in God is or which of the “My Gospel Standards” that the activity will feature.  Then as the activities come up its easier to know what to plan.  You can collect ideas more easily if you have in mind what you are planning on teaching in the next few weeks and not be too stressed the day of the activity.  Also if there is an activity you really want to do you can see where it will fit in the best during the year.

Communicating with the girls about when the activities are is hard.  I’ve been texting the parents the day of and that is currently what works best.

Enjoy your new calling!
Regina Slaugh

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pennies by the Inch and "Painting" Pumpkins.

You can use mini pumpkins or orange plates!
My girls always somewhat dreaded the pennies by the inch drive that we do each fall, so one year we painted pumpkins.  Another year we called it reverse trick or treating and gave them a little candy for every door where someone was home.  Anyway, pumpkins and candy both turned this into a favorite activity.  For pumpkins plus a Pennies collection, we had to have a 90 min activity instead of our regular time, but it was worth it.  Today I just found a really fun way to decorate mini pumpkins.

Modge Podge pumpkins!  You clan play with lots of face pieces and then paint them on.  Computer paper was thin enough, but construction paper was not.  I found that colored paper dots or other shapes look good on the back and sides for more fun and personality.  First paint the face area of the pumpkin white with regular modge podge, then stick on a face, and then paint over that.  If the paper won't mold to the pumpkin, water down some modgepodge like paper mache glue and use that.  You can draw faces or mouths with sharpie on paper and cut it out (that is how we did the mouth above) or use computer clip art, both turned out very cute.  ( I like to put a bit of orange around the eye and mouth clip art so I don't have to cut very carefully.)  Most younger activity day girls appreciate adults helping them cut neatly which always surprises me, but is good to anticipate.  You may want to cut the mouths and noses in advance.  I don't cut the eyes until I'm sure they are going to be used because they are a pain.

If the modepodge is put on thinly, it will be mostly dry when its time to go home.  If it is thick and there are white blobs, the girls will have to use TLC to get them home.  Popcorn, apples, or candy corn make great Fall treats!

the boys pumpkins we did were scary

the girls pumpkins were happy.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Easy Prayer Reminder Craft

If you are doing an activity on prayer reminders, make these easy sock sleep pillows and paint or write in fabric marker, or even sharpie, "Don't forget to pray!" on them.
The girls won't be able to wait to say their prayers so they can go to bed and try them out.

Cute socks like this are almost always available at dollar stores and the rice is super cheap as well!

Here is a picture from Sunburst Yoga head on over to their website for a wonderful kid craft!
Sunburst Yoga

Friday, October 3, 2014

Plan, prepare, and serve a nutritious meal


  • Serving Others #4
  • Plan, prepare, and serve a nutritious meal.
This was goal took two activities. 

Part 1: Plan a nutritious meal.
The first activity we talked about healthy foods and how to plan a nutritious meal.  We talked a little bit about the importance of family meals as well in regard to strengthening the family.  We looked throughpiles of cook books (library helps) and then the girls had coloring pages which they got to fill in with their meal plans.  The we shared them with each other.  This was a simple and very fun activity.
We talked about having a large salad/vegetable and then a main course and side dish.  Very simple and basic for 8 year olds.  The girls came to the conclusion themselves that dessert isn't really needed.  Good job girls.


Part 2: prepare and serve a nutritious meal.
We had a lesson on service.  We talked about how planning and preparing food for others is ALWAYS service.  We talked about having grattitude for parents and others who prepare our food.  We talked about the efforts people put into planning meals and making them nice.  Then we had a simple nutritious meal the girls could help prepare.  We did not allow any of the girls to cut or chop since they are all 8 and our stake leaders recommend against that, but the girls were able to do the rest.  They 
"designed" salads and put together a chicken salad with ingredients of their choosing.  Then we served them and had dinner together.  This was a lot of fun as well.  We sent the girls home with recipes and told them next time their mom was looking for dinner ideas, they could offer to help make this meal.











Sunday, March 2, 2014

Prayer activity with washer necklaces


  • Learning and Living the Gospel #5

  • Part 1:Give an opening and a closing prayer in family home evening or at Primary. 
  • Part 2:Share your feelings about how prayer protects us and helps us to stay close to Heavenly Father and the Savior.


Gathering Activity:
Long, long ago (In about 610 A.D.) a church teacher (an alpine monk) called a monk in a far away land very creatively decided to use pieces of dough left over from baking bread as rewards for the children he taught when they learned their prayers. The children called these treats Pretiolas which means little reward.  What made them special is that the monk rolled the dough into long thin ropes and shaped them into just the shape of a reverent child folding their arms for prayer…Who can guess what kind of a treat this was?  Yes a pretzel!  Whenever you see a pretzel look for the folded arm shape and remember we can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere! 
Supplies: Rolos or Treasures cut in half, pretzels.  
I used dollar store pretzels and DeMet's Treasures to make this treat more affordable.  
have girls set out pretzels on a baking sheet, put half a Treasure (carmel facing up) or a whole Rolo on each pretzel.  Melt at 350 for 2 minutes.  Then put a pretzel on top of each chocolate candy and press down slightly to make a chocolate-carmel pretzel sandwich.  Let cool and serve as refreshments at the end of the activity.

My Activity Day girls were delighted with these treats, they raved about how yummy they were.  You can see from the picture that they were imperfectly shaped, but that is because the girls did it themselves and it was yummier that way, of course!

For the lesson we talked about prayer.  I collected lots of stories that I thought would be meaningful to my girls about how prayer protects us, and prayer experiences that help us know Heavenly Father is listening to us and loves us.  I talked about people we could pray for (family, teachers, prophet, president, military, sick, missionaries, and ourselves) and showed them this cool graphic called my 5 finger prayer.  I tried to get the conversation going so that the girls would volunteer their own stories and thoughts (per the requirement above) without being put on the spot.  This was a great discussion.  Then for our actvity we made washer necklaces with text that somehow reminded the girls that: 

You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father. He loves you and cares about you. He wants you to have faith in Him and pray to Him often—anytime, anywhere.
~Faith in God Book, Message From the First Presidency, page 1

Washer necklace instructions abound on the internet.  My version cuts cost and still makes a super cute necklace.

supplies: 

3/4 and 1/2 washers. 10 cents and 20 cents each.  I couldn't decide which size so I got some of each and let the girls choose.

scrapbook or colored paper.  trace the washer on the paper then cut on the inside of the lines so that it will fit on the washer perfectly.  Fold paper in half to cut out the center circle.  I would definitley precut these for the girls, some of our girls really struggled to cut them out neatly enough to fit on the washers and you don't want to embarass anyone.  You can also skip paper and use high quality opaque nail polish for the background color.

a bit of elmers glue watered down.  50/50 ratio glue to water to make modge podge

inspirational text printed in 8pt font (can go on front or back of washer for a secret or public reminder)

(I am a child of God, Heavenly Father Loves Me!, Did you think to pray, Pray!, Don't forget to pray! Anytime, Anywhere!, etc)

clear nail polish with glitter

(I just noticed from my picture that we used "sinful colors" nail polish on our prayer themed necklaces! lol.  We used blue sparkle polish on the blue and green necklaces and pink on the pink, yellow, and peach colored necklaces.)

ribbon, string, braided embroidery floss

optional: beads (I had them, so I used them, they are nice to keep the washers hanging straight, but its fine without beads as well.)

directions:
apply modge podge to washer and then paper of your choice.
choose some text and modge podge that on next.  Remember the ribbon/string/floss will be hanging top and center so arrange the text with a space for that.   If the text has several words cut them out individually so they fit around the circle.  Do a top layer with clear nail polish.  I love glitter nail polish.  You can use pink glitter polish, blue glitter polish, clear or whatever.  If you don't have nail polish you could ask around, the girls might have some rather than buying it.  Then let it dry on paper plates while you have treats.  Make sure when you cut string/ribbon that it is long enough to fit around the girls heads easily.  If you are going to use beads have a threader on hand so it goes quickly.

Here are a few the girls made, I wish I could include the pictures of their smiling faces too, but I don't have permission.  












Sunday, February 2, 2014

Recognition Activity, Serving Others #7 "plan a parent-child activity"

  • Serving Others #7
  • Part 1: 
    Plan a parent-child activity, such as a dinner, picnic, hike, day trip, or service project.
  • Part 2: Hold a parent-child activity
Week 1
Lesson: talk about the importance of spending time with family, talk about the importance of planning and setting aside time to do the things that matter most in life.  Talk about how to plan an activity.

Preparation: Call the girls parents and see if they would be able to come to activity days with their child in two weeks.  Bring some art supplies and a treat.

Activity: After our lesson, I told the girls that at our next activity they could invite a mother or father to come.  Then I put an outline for the activity on the white board for them to plan.

Theme:
gathering activity:
Lesson Topic:
Activity:
Decorations:
Treats:

I really wanted them to plan, so I tried to guide them without prompting ideas.  I was scared to do this activity fearing they would look at me blankly for an hour and leave confused, but I was really impressed with how great of planners they were.  I didn't prompt them at all.

Theme: hearts (because it was going to be in February)
Gathering Activity: write what you love about your parent on a heart and put it on the wall for decoration as you arrive.
Lesson Topic (taught by activity day leaders): Love one another
Activity: they wanted to do a candy craftapalooza, but I told them to narrow it down to one food craft and they decided to frost and decorate heart sugar cookies.  We made a list of who wanted to bring which items.  I called and talked to parents about it later to make sure it was okay or to give them a chance to bring different items if it was easier for the family.
Decorations:  I had brought paper and markers and so they colored valentine heart pictures for me to bring and use for decorations at the activity.
treats: NA

Two Weeks Later…

Our parent child activity was wonderful.  I liked that it was so simple.  No special time or place, just the parents coming and participating in our regular activity.  The girls got a lot of praise for their excellent planning.

Recognition Activity:  My partner gave the love one another lesson.  It was cute she had the girls help and participate which was great!  Then, in addition to what the girls had planned, I put a picture of all of our recent activities on heart doilies for a recognition activity.  

For the recognition activity, I had three columns on the whiteboard, one each for Learning & Living the Gospel, Serving Others, and Developing Talents.  I passed out the hearts and had the girls come up and share about the activity on their heart doilie  and then place it on the wall in whatever category they thought it went with.  We made sure each girl had hearts for a activities they had been to.  When they were done we had hearts in all the categories and some on the lines because they overlapped.  I thought it was good for the parents to see the overall plan of activity days and I hope this helped the girls to visualize how much they are learning in activity days and how worthwhile it is to come. 

We finished by decorating the cookies and socializing! 




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas: The White Stocking

The lesson was on how our actions are our gift to the Savior!  See the poem below.
For the activity, I made white stocking christmas cards for the girls so they could write their gift on the inside and hang it up in their rooms.  Then we made baby Jesus christmas ornaments.


Most of you have heard about a white stocking christmas tradition in one form or the other.  I recieved a story about it one year and liked the idea, but the poem was badly written and confusing (my friend didn't write it, so no offense intended there, it was a great thought.) I sat down and thought it should go another way, in a few minutes I had written this poem.  I think it was inspired to help my family with a goal-setting tradition.  It has been ten years since I wrote this and we have nine years of wonderful gifts all still stuffed in the original white stocking (we took one crazy year off, because no one is perfect!)

The White Stocking
by Regina Slaugh

There were packages wrapped for the young and the old
Each stocking was filled and the Christmas story told.
Every child would be happy, no grown-ups were slighted,
Each soul was remembered and we were delighted.

But when the first rays of Christmas were dawning
The littlest child discovered the stocking.
Oh we were surprised, now where had in come from?
And where had it been when the others were hung?

While we were remembered with presents aplenty,
The little white stocking was hanging there empty.
In all of our efforts to love and remember,
Who had we missed for a gift this December?

Remember on Christmas we honor the birth
Of our Savior divine and his life on this earth?
Well this stocking so white with simple gold trim,
Started each of us thinking of giving to Him.

So then all at once we began to explain,
That surely this stocking had a meaning quite plain
We should include in our holiday giving
A gift to the Savior, the King of all Living.

Now each Christmas Eve we all gather together
And write down our gifts to Him on some paper
Next into the stocking our papers will go
Goals to help faith and obedience grow.

We try to remember the gift that we’ve given
And make it a part of our everyday living.
Then our gift to the Savior will last all year through,
Until next Christmas Eve, when we write something new.

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“In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!”


Neal A. Maxwell, “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1995
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P.S. we have learned about making age appropriate "gifts" the adults usually choose a year long goal and the kids choose a goal that lasts as many weeks as they are old