Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Can Love Others

This week was our Primary Program, culminating nine months of learning the theme and songs.  I've taught through a couple of Primary Program experiences, so I knew what to expect - the class after the Primary Program tends to be louder and wilder than usual.  After all, the kids were on their best behavior in front of the congregation for the previous hour.  Hard work for little kids!

So for our class time I paid extra attention to offering Active Faith activities that allowed the kids to out of their seats and doing something.  Our Primary lesson for the week was I Can Love Others, as taught to 3-4 year olds.

Jesus Showed Love Matching Game

A main focus of the lesson was "Jesus showed love to others by being kind".  I found coloring page examples (these pins: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) of Jesus performing acts of kindness, and created a matching game from those images.

Our classroom includes a small table, which I pulled to the middle of the room and had the children stand around.  We then took turns, each child choosing two cards, hoping to make a match.  Each time a card was turned, I paused to have the children look at the picture and tell me what they saw.  Once the game was completed we had talked about eight examples of Jesus showing love by being kind to others.

Hearts Up, Hearts Down

Next we played "Hearts Up, Hearts Down".  This is based on Enrichment Activity 1 in the lesson.  I gave each child a heart (I used pre-cut foam hearts I used back around Valentine's Day in this activity).  I then listed several situations and asked the children to hold the heart up high if it was an example of showing love ("taking turns while playing a game") or to hold the heart in their lap if it was not showing love ("being grumpy").  The children did well-it's fun to see that they KNOW what is right.

Next I explained that we were going to make Heart Hats to remind us to show love for others.  Several times before, during and after making the hats, I asked the children what happens when they take off the hats-can they still show love for others? How?  I think this helped drive home the meaning of the lesson.

Heart Hats

Materials Used:
This is a quick craft to prepare, especially if you aren't particularly hung up on cutting a perfect circle or heart.  Which I didn't have time or energy to be concerned with.  And you don't really need to for it to work out great.

At home before class I first used an X-acto knife to cut around the inside perimeter of the plate, leaving about 1 1/2 inches uncut.  Then using scissors, I cut the heart shape from the center of the plate.

In class we before handing out the heart hats, we talked about In class I handed out the heart hats and offered up markers for the children to use to decorate them.  This took about 15 minutes for each child to complete their heart hats.  The children were excited to show their heart hats to their families; hopefully they remember to show their love, too.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Am Thankful for Food and Clothing (from Plants and Animals)

Clothespin-Legged Farm Animals and File Folder Barn

Materials Used:
For our Active Faith to accompany our Primary lesson, I Am Thankful for Food and Clothing, as taught to 3-4 year olds, I searched for and thought about crafts involving seeds or plants or animals, as a large portion of the lesson makes the point that plants and animals provide the food and clothing that we enjoy.  I realized that a person can find both plants and animals in a farm setting, so that is where I turned my focus.  I came across a picture and post of clothespin-legged farm animals here, and that was the starting point.  That post links to the template to print the farm animals.  Be advised: I created the full set of four farm animals for each of the six children in our Primary class; because the animals have a front and back side, that was 48 animals that I cut out.  It took me about two hours.  If I had it to do over again, I might have done something more like this, although there was no template that came with that idea.

Now the animals need a barn.  I thought back to our chapel made from a file folder, and realized I can make a barn using the same idea.  I found a simplified barn with barn door line drawing.  I stapled that print out to the file folder, and then cut along two side of the barn door so it can open.

Granted, the barn and animals are not to scale, and the animals are a bit anthropomorphic, but the children really enjoyed coloring and assembling the animals.

Oh, and our snack included cheese (from an animal), apple (from a plant, with seeds) and Goldfish Grahams (because they're yummy - I mean, because they are in the shape of a fish).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Super Mario Bros. Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Yellow's 8th birthday.  Yellow chose a Super Mario Bros. theme.  We did an online search to find a picture to use as the background for her invitation, and then we found a free font in the Super Mario Bros. style to add the party details.

I pinned several ideas here, but for the most part, Yellow and I came up with our own activities for the party.

Our guests were greeted by a "Welcome" sign on the door, which Yellow made after being inspired by the sticker that she received her with party shirt featuring her beloved Yoshi character.

I often will buy a special birthday party shirt for the birthday child, and this one fits Yellow's bright personality.

The first thing our guest did on arriving was to place their presents on the present table.

We were pretty low-key with the decorations.  There are some great handmade backdrop ideas out there (and here where I pinned a few), but due to a time/energy crunch, I opted for store-bought in the form of these wall decals   Note: The light, or lack thereof, washes out the colors in this photo, but I assure you the colors are bold and bright.

The best part was handing these over to Yellow and watching her arrange and rearrange, and rearrange, and rearrange the characters on the wall.

We next asked our guests to sign Yellow's birthday book, a tradition we started a couple years ago.

Yellow used some of the wall decals to decorate this space, too.  For the book-signing sign, we again used the free font in the Super Mario Bros. style.  And again for the party plan (I print and post this more for my benefit than for our guests).

First on the agenda is pizza.  The table was set with a blue dollar store tablecloth (best party accessory!), red plastic plates I bought on clearance from Target long ago, white napkins and clear cutlery.  For decoration I spread out gold coins .

We started our party at noon, and fed our guests as they arrived.  Once the guests had their fill, they could take a turn playing a Mario Bros. game on the Wii.  Yellow chose to play Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which was nice because we could have four players at a time, and it was a game that most of the kids hadn't played much, so the playing field was fairly level.

The pizza/Wii tournament set up worked well, as some guests eat quicker and/or more than others, and we also had some latecomers who "caught up" to the party quickly.

While the kids were busy with Wii, I snuck out to our front yard and hid the Yoshi eggs.  I had boiled the eggs the night before, and then used permanent marker to color the green spots.

I used my best Easter egg-hiding skills to stash each egg.  And in true Easter egg tradition, there is still one egg out there, waiting to be found.  Our winner, who found four eggs out of thirteen, took home a box of Mario fruit snacks (we also included fruit snacks in everyone's goody bag).

After the egg hunt we returned inside for the Reverse Coin Box.  Usually Mario will punch a coin box to pop out and claim a coin.  However, for our game, we tossed gold coins into a box (diaper box) wrapped in red wrapping paper, with a brick pattern drawn on it.  BTW, you can see the birthday banner that I happened to spot in Target the night before the party - I had looked online previously but never found anything I liked.  This one looks made for Mario.

The prize (a box of Mario Fruit Snacks again) was awarded to the kid who tossed the most coins out of ten into the box.  The birthday girl didn't win, so consoled herself by opening her presents.

Next was cake.

We had almost forgotten to order the cake.  We traditionally use the same local grocery store bakery.  We went in the afternoon before the party, handed over a bunch of Mario figures , and asked them for a white buttercream frosted cake, with yellow trim.  They did so much better than we imagined!

When the party drew to a close and it was "GAME OVER" we sent our players home with a bag filled with colored markers and treats.

We Can Pray As a Family

Prayer Arm Puppets

Materials Used:
For our Active Faith to accompany this LDS Primary lesson, We Can Pray As a Family, as taught to 3 year olds, were inspired by, of all things, a monkey praying.  Okay, it was a craft that I found in an online search here.  I exchanged the monkey for a couple different styles of male and female heads, to represent a mother, father, sister, brother.  Before class I assembled the arms onto the sticks, and cut out the faces.  During class I asked the children to color their "family" of faces, and then taped the finished faces to the sticks.

As a bonus, our treat that day was pretzels, and I pointed out that pretzels look like folded arms. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lalaloopsy Birthday Party

We just finished celebrating Pink's 6th birthday, ala Lalaloopsy style.

Door sign - sister Yellow drew the top sign
For our door sign, party plan, games list, and other signs, I downloaded a new font, KB A Stitch in Time, that seemed fitting for our theme.  Then I located a button picture online, and replaced all the letters "o" with the button.

I found a list of Lalaloopsy games and activities here, and we picked four.

Party Plan and Games
As our guests arrived, we had them sign our birthday book, a tradition we started a couple years ago.  The book was Lalaloopsy: Party Time! , to go with Pink's party theme.

Next stop was to enter a guess as to how many buttons are in the button jar.

Then each guest was let loose on the letter craft.

Letter craft set up

The letter craft consisted of scrapbook paper, cut into strips, glued to a wooden letter (each child's first initial), and decorated with buttons.  It was inspired by this idea I found via Pinterest.

It was relatively easy to prep for, the kids got the concept and were creative, and then clean up was quick.  Especially since we worked atop a dollar store tablecloth.

Next we awarded a prize (Target had conveniently stocked their Dollar Spot with several Lalaloopsy items the week previous) for the closest guess for the Button Jar, and then we used those Button Jar buttons for the Button Hunt.

We asked the girls to wait in the hallway, while Dad and I hid buttons around the living room.

Casey dog guarding the Button Hunt during set up

We armed each girl with a small container in which to collect as many buttons as they could find.  And then they were off!

After all the buttons were claimed, the girl with the most was proclaimed the winner and awarded a prize.

The girls held onto their containers of buttons to play our next game, Button Bingo.  I bought this set the night before, though if I would have had more lead time, I could have made my own.  The Bingo-getter received a prize.

The last game was Button Toss.  Yellow decorated a box with a Lalaloopsy-like head, and we tossed three large buttons at it.  The final prize was awarded to the top tosser.

Next was presents, followed by cake and ice cream.  The cake was done by a local supermarket bakery, in what I believe is a pattern available in many bakeries.

Add caption
It was a pretty easy party to host, and the birthday girl had a good day!

Here are a few other items we used:

And here's the cake topper if you want to make the cake yourself:

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Holy Ghost Helps Me: The Holy Ghost Comforter

The Holy Ghost Comforter

Materials Used:

  • "The Holy Ghost Helps Me" images printed on cardstock (click here to download)
  • construction paper cut into 2 1/4 inch squares
  • glue sticks
  • hole punch
  • yarn
  • chenille stem
  • wire cutter
  • laminator

For our Active Faith to accompany this LDS Primary lesson, The Holy Ghost Helps Me as taught to 3 year olds, I searched online for inspiration.  I found several references to using a blanket as a visual aid for how the Holy Ghost is our Comforter, giving us a warm and safe feeling.  Since "The Holy Ghost Gives Us Comfort and Help" is one of the main points of this lesson, I wanted to focus on that idea for our Active Faith.

As I covered the three main points of this lesson, I used this "The Holy Ghost Helps Me"  visual aid.  For the "Be comforted" piece I specifically chose a picture of a quilt square comforter.  

For our activity I handed each child a cardstock sheet that had "The Holy Ghost Helps Me" visual aid on one side, and a grid on the other.

I had previously cut 2.25" square pieces of construction paper in multiple colors, as well as several squares each containing the First Vision and CTR shield images.  These squares were our quilt squares, which the children chose and attached to their comforter using glue sticks.  

Once the quilt squares were filled, I ran each sheet through my laminator .  This is a bit of an extra step, as the finished product would be very similar if this step were skipped.  I chose to laminate these so that our comforters would endure multiple uses, perhaps as part of a quiet time kit.  I already had the laminating supplies so it was at no extra cost, either.

Once laminated I punched holes around the outside, using the quilt squares as markers.  I had previously cut yarn to the length needed to lace it around the outside of the quilt.  I tied one end in a knot to the comforter, and attached a lacing needle to the free end.  The "needle" is a short length of chenille stem, to which the yarn is knotted, and then the stem is bent in half and twisted.  The needle makes it easier for 3YO hands to lace the yarn without the end of the yarn coming undone.

Behold 3YO Purple's finished product.

Side 1
Side 2