For almost a year-and-a-half, I've had the privilege of serving in my LDS ward (congregation) as the Primary President. This means I get to work with the children under age 12, as well as their mid-week leaders and Sunday teachers. I admit that this is not a calling I would have chosen for myself. I really like discussing interesting topics with adults, and so I was at first a little sad to be looking at another three or four years away from the adult classes at Church. However, the longer I've served in this calling, the more I've loved the work of it. I've especially come to love the children and spending two hours each Sunday teaching them and having fun together. Plus, we have five dozen other great adults serving in Primary, and I love getting to know all of them as we serve together.
We don't hold many non-Sunday activities for the entire Primary, but at one of the first trainings I attended, someone recommended that wards could hold separate activities for their Junior and Senior Primaries. We had a lot of fun with the three-to-six-year-olds at a Saturday Easter activity for the Junior Primary last spring. The older children, ages seven to eleven, had a summertime service activity that ended with ice cream sundaes. Today, we held a Valentine's activity with the younger children, and it turned out great. In this calling, I've come to learn that the internet is a great resource for ideas, so I figure it's my turn to pass along our activity ideas in case any other Primary leaders out there might be looking.
I worked with three other ladies on this activity. One friend, Anney, made invitations and delivered them to every family in the neighborhood that has young children. At the activity itself, the rest of us each ran a rotation. As children gathered in the Primary room at the church, we played Hug Hug Kiss, which is just like Duck Duck Goose. I had an inflatable pair of lips that the kids used to tag each other. We then settled down a bit with a prayer and a song and divided the children and accompanying adults into three groups. Each rotation lasted 12 minutes and we allowed three minutes for finishing up and moving to the next room between rotations, so the entire activity lasted only an hour.
One leader, Tamara, put together a yogurt parfait bar. The children layered granola and berries in yogurt cups, and enjoyed visiting while eating their treat. Another leader, Amy, prepared a craft. Each child was given a picture of a tree to color and stick heart stickers and paper hearts to the branches. They were supposed to think of something they loved about someone, or something loving they could do for each heart on their tree.
I chose to plan the game rotation, and we held a treasure hunt throughout the church building. I modified a treasure hunt found on Sugardoodle.net to make it a little shorter and easier for young children. Each clue was printed on a white card stamped with a heart, so the children knew what to look for. To avoid sprints in the church hallways, I gave the children the options of speed walking or skipping. It was a joy to see each herd of pre-and-grade schoolers skipping toward the next clue! Here are the clues we used:
Don’t drag your feet!
Walk fast, not slow!
Go find Clue 2
by a piano
(I taped the clue to the piano in the Relief Society room.)
Wasn’t that fun?
Are you ready for more?
Go find Clue 3
by an outside door.
(The clue was taped inside an entrance breezeway.)
Move right along,
as quick as a wink,
Boys find Clue 4
Hidden under a sink!
(It was funny to watch the mental gears turn as the kids tried to figure this one : boys' bathroom.)
You’re halfway through
With your inspection!
Girls will find Clue 5
by their reflection.
You sure are impressive!
Are you starting to perspire?
Go find Clue 6
near the tool that puts out fire!
Are you having a good time?
Are you in a good mood?
Go find Clue 7
Where we make tasty food!
(Taped to the microwave in the kitchen.)
You’re doing great
Playing this game.
Now go find the treasure
Near the missionary hall of fame!
(I hid a gift bag full of supplies in the waiting area outside the bishop's office.)
You’ve found the treasure!
Now here’s what you do:
Leave a heart attack for the bishopric,
To them, from you!
Inside the gift bag, I had paper hearts, washable markers, and tape. We leaders rolled bits of tape for the bishop's office door as the children wrote their names and little pictures on the hearts. They stuck their hearts to the tape and covered the door. I also left a large heart with this little verse:
With all the sunshine things you do,
The smiles you share, and singing too,
With all the teaching you make come true,
It's good to have a bishopric like you.
With love from, the Junior Primary
This treasure hunt took the exact amount of time for each rotation, with a little help from me pointing which hall to skip down. They had just enough time to make their paper hearts before skipping back down the hall to their next activity.
After the rotations, we gathered again in the Primary room where we stood in a circle, holding hands. I told the children that when our family prays together at home, we hold hands, and sometimes we'll give the person next to us three quick hand squeezes, which means, "I love you." I told the children that we leaders love them very much, and then we all squeezed hands three times before sending them off with their parents.
The entire activity was quite simple, and I think everyone--adults and children alike--had fun and enjoyed being together. If you have great Primary activities to pass along, I would love to read about them in the comments. Happy Valentine's Day!