This past weekend was General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For those who may not be aware, every 6 months (in April and October), the Prophet and leaders of the Church (General Authorities) speak to the worldwide church membership from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT. It is then broadcast around the world. This means that we do not need to get everyone dressed and ready for church on Sunday (a MAJOR undertaking in our house) because we can watch the conference from home! However, conference consists of two sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each two hours long. Naturally, you can imagine how well very young children do with this. :)
Up to this point, we haven't had Charlie and Liv watch anything more than one talk each conference. But they now have almost a year of Primary under their belts, and I thought that with enough preparation, they might be able to participate in most of the conference. Eli and I might actually get to watch some of the talks! And, more importantly, Charlie and Liv might be able to begin seeing what a positive and enjoyable experience conference can be. And of course, it might help us all feel the Spirit a little more.
So the week leading up to conference was spent in preparation. My kids are not easily entertained for long, and quiet activities aren't always up their alley, so I knew I had a big job on my hands. I wanted to occupy their hands with each activity, but leave their minds open to the talks, and their hearts open to the Spirit. How did I begin? How else? Pinterest! I cannot take credit for any of these ideas. I merely put them together in a format that I felt would best serve our family. I've hyperlinked things throughout if you want to check them out. Here's what I came up with...
I created a "Conference Basket" that was filled with different activities for the kids. I put each activity in a ziploc bag and taped a picture of either the Prophet, his counselors, or one of the 12 Apostles on each. As each of these men got up to speak during conference, the kids could then have access to that activity. (Charlie and Liv were a little young to recognize the General Authorities, but as they get older, this will help them learn who these important men are.) The activities I included were:
1. General Conference packet on new clipboards
2. coloring pages from The Friend and two new boxes of crayons
3. magnetic letters w/cookie sheets for individual use
4. lacing cards
5. Kinex pieces
6. sponge blocks
7. dry erase boards and markers
8. General Authorites cards (can be used to play memory, go fish, old maid, etc.) Check here for the photo paper version.
9. church popscicle puzzles
10. Puzzle Buzz magazines (from Highlights)
11. water color
12. Halloween/Fall stickers
15. Rainbow Slime (this was their absolute favorite. it was also the noisiest!)
In addition to these activities, we played "Conference Bingo" on Saturday (You kind find a million versions of this on Pinterest. I can't seem to find the one I used though!), and built a "Reverence Tent" on Sunday. I printed the "Reverence Tent" story from The Friend and put it in an envelope that said, "Do Not Open Til Sunday Morning." Then we built the tent and they had a blast with it. I also bought them each a cuddly pair of socks and attached a little rhyme (I changed it a bit to fit us) about how they can remind them of the warmth of the Spirit.
THEN. Because I didn't think I was doing enough already, I planned 4 special snacks. One for each session. I made a s'mores mix, and a peanut and candy corn mix. I was also going to have the kids make treat necklaces, and Italian popcorn, but as it turned out, I didn't need those...we sent them outside to play for the first half of the last session. ;) I also made Pepperoni Pizza Roll-ups for lunch on Sunday. They were soooooo good! I like them better without the sauce, myself.
Was all the prep worth it? AB.SO.LUTELY. Charlie and Liv did SO well. And Charlie even told me (twice!), "Mom, this is such a fun party!" They were excited about most of the activities, and they were pretty quiet (at least for them.) Even though I know they didn't sit and listen to every word, my objective was achieved. They enjoyed "Jennifer Conference," as Charlie calls it. They now recognize President Monson. They noticed when those giving the talks spoke about things they recognized. They recognized songs they hear in church, and that we sing at home. I know they felt the Spirit. Charlie told me on Sunday that he wanted Jesus to come down so he could see Him. So yes, I think it was successful.