Callings Night

When I was an LDS Activity Day girl (actually called Achievement Days back then), I don’t think I had any concept of my ward community beyond Primary and the Bishop. when we did this activity for our primary activity days, we chose just women from the stake. We wanted the girls to be more aware of the myriad of important callings that women can have in the church beyond just child-related callings.

Categories: Serving Others, Learning and Living the Gospel, Developing Talents

Duration: 1 session
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Supplies: None
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Preparation:

  • At least two weeks in advance, find and call at least six women in your ward who have an interesting calling in your ward (or used to). Ask them to come and talk about their calling for about 5 minutes and answer questions for about 5 minutes. Tell them that the girls love visual aids or something they can touch, but it’s not essential. You want to make this invitation as low pressure as possible!
  • Call/email the women a few days before to remind them to come!
Activity:
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1. Arrange some chairs in a circle (or standard rows for larger groups),
2. Talk about how when they are adults they will have the opportunity to do many different callings in the church. It’s an opportunity to serve others and serve the Lord. Some callings can be a challenge, some callings can be a blessing, and many are both!
3. Have each woman take a turn talking about their calling, followed by a Q&A session.
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More Ideas:
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  • Since it can be difficult for some girls to sit for this long period, we had a ten minute break in the middle for a healthy snack.
  • For some callings, you could do a short tour of their space in the church building. The library and family history center are what come to mind first.
  • If the girls aren’t asking many questions of the presenters, here are some for you to pose:
    • What surprised you about your calling?
    • How has your calling developed your talents?
    • How has your calling helped you to serve others?
    • If you have difficulty with your calling are there people you can ask for help?
    • What blessings or challenges have come from your calling?

Activity Days Preview

This has become a tradition in our ward – we do it for Activity Days once every other year. We have one session of making the invitations and planning, and one where the younger primary girls attend Activity Days, learn about baptism, and play some fun games. It is an activity loved by all and doesn’t take too much advance planning. We have Activity Day girls now who first came to a preview day when they were five, and now they look back on it as a fond memory that got them excited to start attending regularly!

Categories: Developing Talents, Learning and Living the Gospel

Duration: 2 sessions, about a month apart. (You can skip most of the first session if you don’t want to spend time making the invites with the girls.)
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Supplies: 
  • Paper
  • Stamped envelopes with the name and address of all girls you want to invite. Depending on the size of your ward, you may want to invite just the seven year olds, all the younger girls in primary, or something in between.
  • Any card decorating supplies you happen to have
  • The supplies required by the activities your girls plan.
Preparation:
Week 1: Invites and Planning
  • Gathering the names of all the 5-7 year old girls can take  few weeks or just one day, depending on how organized your ward is!
  • Before the girls arrive, write out all the information that needs to be on the invitation, either on a piece of paper or on the chalkboard. Something like “Dear Friend, I hope you’ll join us for our Activity Days Preview on ______ from __ to__ PM in the Primary Room. We will be learning about baptism and playing fun games. If you have any questions, please call Sister _____ at _______. Love, _____”

Week 2: Activity Days Preview Night

  • Call all the girls a few days in advance to remind them of their assignments of what to bring, and that they will be talking about their baptism.
  • My Activity Day girls have always been very excited about telling their baptism stories, but if you don’t think your girls will have much to say, you may want to prepare a story about your own baptism, or just a basic short lesson on the importance of baptism.
 
Activity:
Week 1: Invites and Planning

1. Show the girls how to cut a card to fit the size of the envelopes you brought. Have them first write out the invitation, then decorate, first because some girls in this age range write really slowly and you want them to have enough time, and second because if they mess up with the writing they can just start over. I usually tell them to make about five more cards than we actually need because some are going to be more legible than others (but don’t tell them that not all of them are going to be used)!

2. Let them decorate to their heart’s desire, and while they are decorating, talk to them about how you would like them all to share their baptism experience with the younger girls. Anything they want to share (from the temperature of the water to the feelings that they felt) is fair game. And they can bring their baptism clothes, too, if they have them.

3. Next, have them think of about three simple games that they can play with the younger girls. Remind them that this younger age probably can’t read as well as they can, so some board games are out (feel free to reject suggestions that might not work out!). The common suggestions we get are sack racing, pin the tail on the donkey, sardines, hide and seek, three legged racing, etc.

 

4. Help the girls figure out who is going to bring the needed supplies, and write down their names to remind them later!

Week 2: Activity Days Preview

1. Sit in a circle for the beginning of the meeting, do introductions, and discuss baptism. Make sure the younger girls have time to ask questions.

2. Play some games! If one of the Activity Day Girls forgets their supplies, just play a rousing game of “duck duck goose” instead. In team games I will tell them how many older girls and how many younger are on a team, that way there is always a good mix of abilities.

More Ideas:
  • One of the great things about this activity is the pride of the older girls in planning the activity from start to finish. Resist temptation to plan a more elaborate activity – the 5-7 year old crowd is pretty easily entertained and just in awe of being around the older kids, so they are pretty easy to impress!
  • You could have the girls write followup letters to the younger ones who attended, thanking them for coming and saying that we look forward to them joining us when they turn eight!

Textiles

This textiles activity gives you a chance to explore fabric and sewing with the girls in a manner that provides a larger view of the process (as compared to just doing the crafts themselves). Even though this was put in the “Careers” section, it will be a fascinating exploration for anyone who is interested in weaving, knitting, crocheting, felt handicrafts, embroidery, etc. This activity makes the crafting more educational and equally as fun!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the length – you can customize this series however you want!

Category: Developing Talents

Duration: From 1 to 5 meetings or more, depending on how many textiles projects you want to do. You do NOT have to do all these weeks – just pick what you like! My personal favorite is the wet felting, so don’t miss it!

Supplies:

    • For Week 1 (Introduction):
      • Samples of textiles: You need samples of woven, knitted, and felted fabrics. Ideally you should get a variety of fabrics from animal (wool, silk), plant (cotton, burlap), and synthetic (polyester, nylon) fibers. (Ask someone from your local fabric store for help. You can usually purchase samples as small as one inch wide!)
      • Examples of different items made with these types of textiles.
      • Supplies for making the drop spindles (look at the website for sizes): one wooden wheel, dowel, and small hook per girl.
      • Wool roving, a few natural cotton balls (pull them apart so they look like natural cotton), and small amount of synthetic stuffing (pull it out of an old teddy bear or get synthetic cotton balls).
      • (Optional) A USPS Express Mail envelope or CD sleeve made of Tyvek
      • (Optional) Magnifying glasses to look for closely at how the fabric was made
    • For Week 2 (Weaving Project):
      • Three or four straws per girl
      • Yarn scraps in different colors
      • Tape
      • Scissors
      • (Optional) Pictures of different weaving looms
    • or Week 3 (Knitting Project)
      • Toilet paper tube for each girl
      • Four popsicle sticks for each girl
      • Glue
      • Tape
      • Yarn
    • For Week 4 (Felting Project):
      • Foam ball for each girl (pieces of pool noodles would probably also work, just make a different shape of bowl!)
      • Wool roving
      • Rubber bands
      • Dish soap (Dawn works well)
      • Bowl of water
    • For Week 5 (Sewing Project):  (feel free to pick something more structured if you want!)
      • Fabric scraps of non-stretchy fabric (like cotton)
      • Sewing thread
      • Sewing needles
      • Pins
      • Stuffing
      • Pinking Shears
      • Paper
      • Writing utensils
      • (Optional) sewing machine
      • (Optional) small pieces of rope or thick string, to show how they are made up of several pieces of “yarn.”

Preparation:

  • For Week 1 (Introduction):
    • Ask members of your Relief Society to bring in heirloom quilts and other handicrafts, as well as their own textile-related creations. They can talk about genealogy and their ancestors, as well as their own passion for these hobbies. A great way to get the older women of the ward involved in Activity Days!
    • Make one of the drop spindles and practice using it. There are lots of Youtube videos to help you figure it out.
    • Drill a small hole on one end of the rest of the dowels.
  • For Week 2 (Weaving Project):
    • None that I can think of!
  • For Week 3 (Knitting Project):
    • You will need to make the looms ahead of time so the glue is dry. While the tutorial suggests glue dots or glue sticks, I suggest a more rugged glue so that the popsicle sticks are sure to stay in place! You could have the girls help you make the looms at the end of the previous activity.
  • For Week 4 (Felting Project):
    • No advance prep except for making sure it will be warm enough to be outside, and there is an outside area to do the felting.
  • For Week 5 (Sewing Project):
    • No advance prep except maybe to make a small pillow from fabric scraps for show.

Activity:

Week 1: Introduction

1. Ask the girls if they know what textiles are. Explain that textiles are any type of fabric made of fibers.  Show them the fibers (roving, cotton, poly stuffing). Fibers can be made from animals (hair, fur, silk), plants (cotton, grass, coconut fiber [twine], hemp, flax, etc.), rocks (asbestos, glass, all kinds of metal [think window screens]), and plastic (polyester, spandex, nylon [give the example of elastic waistbands]).

2. Show the girls some examples of fabrics made of different types of fiber, and perhaps talk about their uses. Have each girl look at the back tag on another girl’s shirt (without taking it off of course!) to see what fibers it is made of. (Most common answers will probably be cotton and polyester.)

3. Talk about all the different uses for textiles besides just clothing.

4. Show the girls the samples of fibers and ask them how they get from fibers to fabric. After listening to their guesses, explain that there are three main methods: weaving, knitting, and felting. Tell them that you will talk more about felting at a later activity, but for weaving and knitting, the fibers need to be spun into yarn. Nowadays this is done in a factory, but before that for thousands of years a spindle was used.

5. Show the girls how to make their spindle, and then how to use it. Reassure them that it can be tricky, but it’s fun to try! If you’re lucky, some of your Relief Society sisters have some experience with this too and can help out.

6. Practice with the drop spindle for a while but make sure to leave enough time for however many Relief Society sisters you have invited to share their projects and heirlooms.

7. After listening to the Relief Society sisters and seeing their textiles, explain to them that working with textiles is a great hobby, but there are lots of careers that work with textiles too, such as fashion designers, interior designers, textile factory workers, seamstresses, or even a scientist who invents new textiles (like Tyvek).

Week 2: Weaving

1. Review everything the girls learned at the last meeting about textiles.

2. Explain that they are going to learn the three methods of creating textiles: weaving this week, knitting next week, and felting the third week.

3. Show them the woven fabrics again and describe how they are made. Whenweaving, you are crossing two different sets of yarn (one set is up-and-down [the warp]and the other set goes side-to-side [the weft]). The materials you use to help with weaving are called a loom. In this project, the loom is made of straws.

4. Do a weaving project this week. Point out the weft and the warp of their weaving project.

Week 3: Knitting

1. Review everything the girls learned at the first meeting about textiles.

2. Review the process of weaving that they learned last week. Have them describe how it was done. Ask them if they know how knitting is different. Remind them that with weaving, you are crossing two different sets of yarn (the warp is up-and-down and the weft goes side-to-side). But with knitting, there is only ONE yarn. The single piece of yarn is looped together in a pattern to make the fabric. (Yes, this means that in the textile world, crochet is a type of knitting.)

3. Show them the knitted fabrics again and describe how they are made. They can be made with knitting needles, on looms, or by machine.

4. Do the knitting project for this week. I’m a visual learner so this youtube video really helped me get the hang of it. Compare/contrast to last week’s weaving project.

Week 4: Felting

1. Review everything the girls have learned in previous weeks.

2. Talk about how the last two projects used yarn, but the last textile type, called felting, skips the yarn step and goes right from fibers to fabric. Animal fibers get tangled together the most easily of any fiber, and when wool roving gets wet they get tangled even more with each other, locking together kind of like velcro gets locked together. Soap helps them to mix and lock even better, and agitation pushes them together even further. So, we are going to use water, soap, and agitation together to make our felted textiles.

3. Do the felting project outside and enjoy running around with the felting balls, but I should mention that kicking the ball around doesn’t do much agitation (stick with the finger massaging and foot rolling, maybe some stomping at the end).

4. While felting, you may want to give the little girls a quiz to see what they remember:

Textile: a type of fabric made of fibers.
Examples of Textiles: clothing, curtains, rugs, window screen, tarp, etc.
Types of Fiber: animal, plant, rock, synthetic
Three Ways to Make Textiles: weaving, knitting, felting
Warp: the up-and-down yarn in a weaving project
Weft: the back-and-forth yarn in a weaving project
Loom: the materials used to help with the weaving
Difference Between Weaving and Knitting: the first uses different yarn for warp and weft, the second only needs one yarn.

Week 5: Sewing

1. Review what has been learned about yarn. Have the girls feel some thread and explain that thread is just several pieces of yarn twisted together. This doesn’t seem to make sense because the most common “yarn” we use is much bigger than the most common “thread” we use. Fray the edge of some thread to show them how the tiny yarns are twisted together. Explain that it makes the thread much stronger than with just one piece of yarn. Show some pieces of frayed rope or string and point out the yarn, too.

2. If you like, you can relate this to a family or church community: alone we are not as strong, but when we combine our many talents and personalities, our weaknesses are strengthened by others!

3. Show them the fabric scraps you have and explain that some fabrics are easier to sew than others. The easiest fabrics are woven because knitted fabrics are stretchy, and felted fabrics are not as sturdy and can be deformed easily if the fibers unlock. Some woven fabrics are still stretchy because a stretchy synthetic fiber is used, so beginning sewers should avoid those, too.

4. Explain to the girls that they will be making a small sewing project today: making a small pillow. (If they are hand sewing I recommend 6″ or less!) They can do a heart, square, circle, or some other simple shape (reject any ideas with too many corners, like the letter W or a star shape). They can pick two different fabrics for each side if they like.

5. Show them how to make a “pattern” on a piece of paper by drawing their shape, and then drawing the same shape 1/2″ bigger around it. Have them cut out their pattern around the bigger line and show them how to pin it onto their choice of fabric. You can choose how to have them do this – I like to first have them put the two pieces with the right sides facing each other, then pin both pieces to the pattern at once.

6. Help them cut out their pattern with the pinking shears and explain how the jagged edge of the scissors helps prevent the edge of the weave from unraveling or “fraying.” You can then remove the paper if you like, but many girls find the sturdiness of the paper helps them with their sewing.

7. At this point, when all girls have their fabric cut out, either teach them the basic running stitch (explaining that smaller stitches are much sturdier and won’t let the stuffing fall out), or put them on a sewing machine to sew it. Make sure to tell them to leave an opening of a few inches to turn their pillow right side out.

8. Turn the pillows right side out, stuff, and show them how to close with a whip stitch. You can send girls home with needle, thread, and stuffing to finish if they don’t get it done during your time together.

More Ideas:

  • If you have internet access where you meet, you could save yourself some of the talking and have them learn about textiles with this kid-friendly game.
  • There are TONS of weaving, knitting, wet felting, and sewing projects out there for kids. I chose easy ones without too much advance prep, but if the ones in this plan are not to your liking, there are many more to choose from.
  • Try this interesting experiment of making “toilet paper yarn” with a drill!
  • Ask the scout leaders who their Leatherworking Merit Badge Counselor is. He will have the equipment and know-how to do a simple leatherworking project with you! Be sure to discuss how leather is different from textiles, because it is not made of woven fibers, but animal skin.
  • Cost cutting options:
    • Chances are you can get the fabric and fiber samples from ladies in your Relief Society. They may even have some roving they are willing to donate!
    • If you have some old CDs lying around you could make this drop spindle instead.
    • Look on Youtube to learn how to spin yarn with just a pencil instead of a drop spindle
    • You can teach hand knitting instead of making the popsicle stick knitters – I chose the looms because then they can put down the project to finish later. And they don’t cost much.
    • Look up “ziploc bag wet felting” to eliminate the cost of foam balls

Geologist

Category: Developing Talents

Duration: 1 hour
Supplies: 
  • 1 empty egg carton per girl (or just a regular box will work too)
  • Permanent marker
  • Access to http://geology.com/rocks/ or a rock identification book (check your library)

Preparation:
  • If you won’t have time to go on a rock collecting field trip during the day with the girls, give them their egg carton a few weeks in advance, and ask them to try to fill it with different kinds of rocks.
  • Collect some rocks yourself for girls who fail to find their own rocks, or for your own collection!
  • Consider doing some internet research on the geologic history of your area (or just ask a local geologist about it) so you can get an idea of what rocks your girls might find.
 
Spiritual Thought: coming soon!
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Activity:

1. Discuss where the girls found their rocks and possibly their favorite ones. Discuss the beauty of the creation of the earth and our gratitude for it.

2. Discuss what a geologist does and why it’s important (They help find fossil fuels and other important resources like metals. They can help tell you whether land is safe to build on. They help find geothermal energy sources and even fresh clean groundwater to drink.)

3. Have the girls spread out their rocks and try to identify them.

4. Write the name of the rock inside the egg carton or on the lid. It’s okay to have some “mystery rocks” and mark those with a big question mark.

More Ideas:
  • If you can, get several rock identification books so the girls can try and identify their own rocks, perhaps in pairs.
  • I majored in Geology and I still have trouble identifying rocks sometimes! If you can’t identify a rock yourself, just tell the girl, “it’s okay, I’m just developing this talent, too.” You can also show admiration for their specimen and its features. And if the girls want to make up their own rock names for the mystery rocks, that’s fun as well!
  • See if you can locate a cave or free mine tour in your area.
  • A visit to a beach or stream is a great place to learn about erosion and sedimentary rocks.
  • Many universities have free rock/mineral collections on display.

Entomologist

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Category: Developing Talents

Duration: 1 session if you are not going to do the insect nets, 2 sessions if you want to do the insect nets.

Supplies:

  • 1 empty jar with lid for each girl (we had a bunch of empty tennis ball canisters left over from making the Ladder Ball game!)
  • pins (we used sewing pins just fine, but real insect pins purchased online are even better because they are thinner and longer)
  • A box with a lid for each girl (like a shoebox) and a piece of styrofoam for the bottom of the box (there must be at least 2″ clearance between the styrofoam and the lid of the box)
  • Paper (light enough to write on, but preferably a different color than the styrofoam).
  • Writing utensils
  • Glue (regular white glue works fine)
  • Access to bugguide.net, insectidentification.org, or an insect identification book (check your library). Even easier than these guides is to do a google search for a guide specifically for the bugs in your area. For instance, here in Tucson I searched for “Insects of the Sonoran Desert” and got a lot of useful guides that only include insects that actually live in this area!
  • Optional: I provided disposable gloves for those girls who were squeamish about touching bugs.

For the insect nets (per girl)

  • 1 yard tulle (I used a half yard for each but wished I had gotten one yard for each so they have a second layer in case of rips).
  • 1 wire clothes hanger
  • elmer’s glue
  • drill and drill bit
  • 1 dowel for handle
  • needle and thick thread, like button thread (preferably a different color than the tulle so the girls can see better what they are doing). We used ribbon for this part but the girls had a hard time pulling it through, so I would recommend thread or string instead!
  • Needle nose pliers (optional – depends on how tough your wire hangers are)
  • At least 8 clothespins

Preparation:

Week 1 (Insect Nets)

  • Using a sewing machine, sew three sides of the tulle together for each net.
  • Drill a hole on one end of each dowel to put the wire hanger into.

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Week 2 (Pinning the Insects)

  • If you won’t have time to do an insect collecting field trip with the girls during the day, hand out the jars to each girl ahead of time, instructing them to find 6-10 different kids of insects and place them in the jar (this jar is called the “relaxing jar” but you may want to warn some sensitive souls that this will in fact kill the bugs). Tell them not to collect worms (too soft) or spiders (unless parents can help them identify poisonous ones). When not collecting, the jar should stay in the freezer, which will keep the bugs soft for pinning.
  • Collect some bugs yourself, either for girls who fail to get bugs or to make a collection for yourself!

Activity:

Week 1 (Insect Nets)

1. Discuss the job of entomologists (They detect the role of insects in the spread of disease, discover ways to protect food, fiber crops, and livestock from pests. They also study the way beneficial insects contribute to the well being of humans, animals, and plants.)

2. Tell the girls that for the next few weeks they will be collecting bugs. Challenge to find at least six different bugs. If they find multiple of the same type of bug, they should still collect them so they can share with the other girls in the class (this really helped for our group since we had three girls who didn’t collect any bugs, but by the end of the night they all had a collection supplied by the other girls!) Tell them to keep their container in the freezer whenever they are not collecting, until they are on their way to the next activity. This will keep the bugs from drying out.

3. Now to make the insect nets! Give each girl a hanger and have them form it into this shape:

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4. Give the girls their net, and have them pull it over the wire about two inches, then secure with clothespins. This part is much easier with a partner! (Note that when I took these pictures making the first one at home, I glued the dowel on first, but decided later that it is easier for the girls to sew the net on without the dowel in the way!) The girls will want to put the wire into the holes of the clothespins, but they need to use them like clamps to hold the tulle in place, so make sure they are doing it right.IMG_20150729_191242_189IMG_20150729_191221_902

5. Tie one end of the thread to the handle of the insect net, and then, using a needle, teach them how to do a whip stitch to secure the net onto the wire (we used ribbon but it was really hard for the girls to pull through the tulle, so I recommend button thread). Once they get to the next clothespin, they can remove it.

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6. When they’ve gone all the way around, tie off the other end of the thread, straighten the “handle” of the hanger out straight, and glue it into the hole you drilled in the dowel. You may also want to trim off any extra tulle they might have. You’re done!

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Week 2 (Pinning the Insects)

1. Have the girls talk about their experience and stories collecting the bugs.

2. Take the bugs out of the jars. Show the girls how to pin the insect’s body at its largest point. For smaller insects, put a dab of glue on the end of the pin and just place the insect on top. (If you are using sewing pins this means anything smaller than a house fly.)
3. Use the identification site or book to find the names of insects and write them on the strips of paper. This gets pinned on the pin, too, or glued next to the pin. (If you’re really into making it like the “real thing,” you can also have the girls write the location it was found, the date, the name of the collector, and the environment -like “eating a leaf” or “in a sidewalk crack”.) Even easier than the  generic sites or guides is to do a google search for a guide specifically for the bugs in your area. For instance, here in Tucson I searched for “Insects of the Sonoran Desert” and got a lot of useful guides that only include insects that actually live in this area.
4. Put each pin straight up in the styrofoam of their display box.

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More Ideas:

  • It takes a lot longer than you might think to pin and identify the bugs. Set realistic expectations that they will only have time to pin 4-6 bugs that evening but you can send them home with extra pins and papers.
  • You can show pictures of how entomologists use a “spreading board” to spread out the wings of moths and butterflies and encourage them to try it at home (though you won’t have time for this in your activity).
  • Super glue or other fast-drying glue can make it easier for the small bugs. If even the bigger insects are hard to pin or fall apart when trying to pin, you can also skip the pins altogether and just glue the bugs right on the foam or piece of paper. Whatever works!
  • Bring some hand sanitizer for when you’re all done.
  • You could practice woodworking skills by making a simple insect display box, rather than using a cardboard box.
  • Two healthy treat ideas if you’re into bringing treats: strawberry ladybugs and grape caterpillars

Arborist

Category: Developing Talents

Duration: 2 meetings a few weeks apart (1 hour each)
Supplies:
  • Unwanted hardback book, one for each girl (ask your thrift store or library if they have ones they are going to discard)
  • Rubber bands
  • Photo album with sleeves, or several sheet protectors.
  • Paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Access to https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/ or a tree identification book (check your library)
  • Ladder (if the trees are too tall to reach the leaves from the ground).

Preparation:

  • Look and see if there are at least 6-8 different types of trees within walking distance of your church building. If not, you may need to take a field trip (or have the girls collect the leaves on their own).
  • Ask permission in advance if you can take leaf samples from yards.
 
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Activity:

1. Ask the girls what they know about trees, and what types of things trees do for us/give us. Discuss the job of an arborist.2. Walk around the outside of your church building and collect fresh leaves from each type of tree – go for two for each girl if you can. You can try to do tree identification as you go, or (much easier) wait until the next meeting when all the leaves are flattened.

3. Once inside, place each leaf inside the pages of the book with several pages in between each one.

4. Once all the leaves are inside, secure with many rubber bands until tight and no leaves will fall out. Stack the books on top of each other, or if possible, put heavy items on top of the books,

5. Wait until the next meeting, or even a month or more to ensure that all the leaves are dry.

6. Have the girls carefully remove their leaves from the book and place them in their photo album or sheet protectors.

7. Identify the leaves using a website or book, and write labels for each leaf.

8. Encourage the girls to increase their leaf collection (let them keep the old book and rubber bands if they want, and tell them they can show off their larger collection at recognition night).
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More Ideas:
  • Make things easier on yourself by finding out who does the landscaping for your church building and asking them what trees there are. Perhaps the landscaper would even be willing to come and explore the trees with you or identify other plants with leaves to sample, such as bushes.
  • You may be able to find a local arborist to come and speak to the girls for 10-15 minutes about their job, especially if you tell them you will pass on an advertisement flyer to the girls’ parents.
  • If you have a group of girls who really like art, skip the pressing and drying and instead do this Leaf Relief project after identifying.
  • Learn how to plant a tree and plant one somewhere.
  • Take a tour of a local plant nursery or even the garden section of a hardware store (since they would be open in the evening for an activity).
  • Try tasting one of the leaves of these edible leaf trees (making sure to emphasize that they shouldn’t go out an eat strange leaves after this).
  • Learn how to make recycled paper to appreciate the wonders of wood a little more.

Fire Safety

Category: Developing Talents

Duration: 1 hour
Supplies:
  • Paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Smoke detector (optional)
  • Fire extinguisher (optional)
  • hand towels or handkerchiefs (optional)
Preparation:

  • Locate the smoke detectors in your building.
 
Spiritual Thought: coming soon!
Activity:

1. Read “The Cow that Destroyed Chicago.” Discuss the importance of fire safety and gauge what the kids already know and what they may still need to learn.

2. Discuss the most common causes of house fires and how they might be prevented – smoking in the home, cooking, candles, fireplaces, and electrical appliances.

3. Discuss smoke alarms, how they work, and show them how to test one to see if it is working.

4. Show them a fire extinguisher and explain how it works (and not to use it unless there is an emergency!)

5. Have the girls draw a map of their house with a fire escape plan. A good escape plan should have at least two ways to escape from every bedroom, and a meeting place away from the home.

6. Show the girls how to have a practice drill in their home, buy doing a practice drill in your building. Include the following points:

      • Get out as fast as possible – don’t take anything with you except people/pets.
      • Get down on the floor and crawl if possible. If you can, cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or handkerchief.
      • Feel the doors before you open them. If a door isn’t warm, open it slowly. If it feels warm, don’t open it! Use a window instead.
      • Break out a window if you need to use a window for escape and the window is stuck. Break it out with something like a chair or long hard object, like a baseball bat. Make sure all the jagged edges of the glass are broken out too, so you won’t get cut as you climb out.
      • Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch on fire. That means stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll back and forth on the ground until the fire is out.
      • Call the fire department from your neighbor’s house even if you think someone else has already done so.

7. Do the drill several times until they are comfortable repeating the steps on their own. You could also give them a handout of the above points to take home with them.

8. Ask if the girls have any questions. Tell them their “homework” assignment is to teach fire safety to their family in Family Home Evening and do practice drills with their family. Have them report back at the next meeting.

Tips & Tricks:
  • Many local fire stations will teach fire safety for free! Contact them and save yourself some planning.
Extension Ideas:
  • A crossword puzzle in case you have extra time (or to keep them busy before starting).
  • Get a tour of your local fire station for a future activity.

Bike Safety

This LDS Activity Days idea was adapted from the Cub Scout handbook. After all, primary girls can benefit from bike safety skills as much as primary boys can!

Category: Developing Talents, Living and Learning the Gospel

Duration: 1 session
Supplies:
  • Bikes and helmets (have each girl bring their own)
  • Printed/drawn stop sign (optional)
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Bike pump and pressure gauge (optional)

Preparation:

  • Ask parents to make sure that each girl has a bike and knows how to ride it. This could be an embarrassing activity if some girls don’t know how to ride, or don’t own a bike.
  • If it’s too dark or you are unable to ride around a neighborhood near the church building, use chalk to draw a “bike route” with arrows in an unused part of the church parking lot (that is hopefully well lit). Include right turns, left turns, and a stop sign.
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Activity:

1. Check bikes for tire pressure, and show the girls how to find the tire pressure number on the side of the tire. Practice pumping up a few tires.2. Identify other parts of the bike that need to be checked/maintained often (brakes, spokes, pedals, seat, chain, reflectors, lights)

3. Discuss bike safety rules and their importance.

4. Practice the hand signals for right turn, left turn, and stop.

5. Go on a short ride to practice your hand signals.

More Ideas:
  • If the missionaries in your ward use bikes, invite them to come and talk about the importance of using bikes as a missionary, how they care for their bikes, and any stories they might want to share.
  • Check with your local fire department – many of them will come and talk about bike safety for free!
  • For a related activity, make some reflective trim for helmets, bikes, clothing, etc. Give some as a gift to the bike-riding missionaries in the area.
  • Go on a longer bike ride together during the day.

Making Sacrament Bread

 

This simple activity combines reflection on the Atonement and learning some baking skills. If you have an avid baker in your ward (or even better, an investigator), this is a great activity days idea for your kids to get to know someone new outside their LDS Primary leaders.

Categories: Learning and Living the Gospel, Developing Talents, Serving Others (if the bread is used for Sacrament)

Duration: 1.5 hours

Supplies:

  • Bread ingredients and baking supplies
  • small baby food jar for each girl
  • heavy whipping cream.

Preparation:

  • Invite someone who enjoys making bread to teach the girls how to make their own bread. We had one woman and one man for the ward who were excited to share their baking talents with the girls.
  • You may want to pre-make a few loaves of bread to eat at the end.

Activity:

1. Invite a member of the bishopric to talked to the girls about the symbolism of the bread in the sacrament and throughout the scriptures. You can also have someone talk about why we need to renew things like drivers licenses, library cards, etc and relate it to renewing baptismal covenants when we take the sacrament.

2. After the spiritual thought about bread, demonstrate the steps of baking bread, all the way up to the bread rising.

3.  During the rise and bake time, make butter using heavy cream and baby food jars.

4. Remind the girls to teach their families what they learned about the sacrament to pass off a Faith in God requirement.

5. Finish with this story of how one woman uses her love of baking to find personal meaning in the ordinance of the sacrament.

More Ideas:

  • If you don’t have time to go through the bread rising and baking, have baked loaves already made that you can pull out just after the butter is made.
  • Use the bread made that night for the Sacrament on the following Sunday.
  • Sample several different types of bread.
  • Let the girls experiment with herbs in the freshly made butter.