Themes can be a great way to make your bible lessons more engaging and fun. “Traveling through the New Testament” would be a great theme that would work for families of all ages. Check out some ideas from our blog and IvoryBloom!
Make sure to chronicle your adventure in your travel journal! This will be your personal guidebook of your journey throughout the New Testament.
Pack your bags! Pack special travel bags with journals/ journal supplies and bibles. Don’t forget some travel treats for your journey. 🙂
Use maps! Print out maps of different New Testament locations. Use google earth to zoom in on what these locations look like today. Click on the image below to visit lds.org where you can download this New Testament map.
Here is a planning sheet that you can print to help you plan your travels through the New Testament.
What better way to kick off your study of the New Testament than with a New Years Eve party? New Years Eve just happens to fall on Monday, so it makes a perfect family night activity. Just tweak your festivities a bit to include the New Testament and you are ready to go!
Testimony Time Capsule
Our favorite idea is to create a Testimony Time Capsule with your family. Have each member of your family write their testimony and/or their prior knowledge of the New Testament on a piece of paper. You can also have them write questions of things they want to learn about in the New Testament. Place the papers in a container- I used a shoebox we had laying around- and hide it away until the end of the year. At the end of the year have your family members rewrite their testimonies and/or what they now know about the New Testament. Pull out the time capsule and see how their learning has grown!
If you are crazy like us and *try* and stay up until midnight, add in some fun bible activities throughout the night. Make a paper chain countdown with favorite bible verses to read throughout the night. Put together a puzzle of the Savior. Watch little clips of bible videos while snacking on treats. Wear party hats while reading stories from the New Testament. After setting off confetti poppers talk about how God can make our hearts pop with love as we learn more about Him and follow His example.
Remember to make this a fun experience for your family! Anna at Ivory Bloom and I are both so excited to help your families be more converted to Christ. 🙂
You might have heard about the New Testament Come Follow Me curriculum the church has released for 2019. Maybe you are overwhelmed about the whole thing and don’t know where to start. Or maybe you are excited and just want more ideas to add to your teaching tool belt. If so this blog post is for you!
First things first, don’t be stressed out thinking you have to do a bazillion new things or that this curriculum is designed for professional educators. This program is designed for YOU. For your family. Doesn’t matter where you are religiously, your family dynamics, or your current knowledge of the New Testament.
In fact, if you look at it closely, it is actually a simpler approach to what a lot of you are already doing. This curriculum is family scripture study and family home evening lessons rolled into one (with the added bonus of church teachers going over the same topics on Sundays). For those of us who are old enough to remember the old family home evening manuals you know how easy they are to use. This program is similar and aligns beautifully with the New Testament and our goal of conversion to Christ.
In this post we interchangeably use the phrases “family scripture study” and “family home evening” but they both refer to the same thing- a special time each week where gospel learning takes place in the home. We plan on using this new curriculum on Sunday and then spend one day during the week doing an activity that corresponds with the lesson. Do what works best for your family.
One of my FAVORITE quotes by Steven Covey is to “begin with the end in mind”. We ultimately want to begin with the end goal of conversion- no matter where we are individually on our spiritual journey, the goal is simply growing and strengthening that relationship with the Savior.
To help carry out that principle of beginning with the end in mind we find that it helps to have a game plan before beginning the program. This blog post covers some basic tips that can help you plan your year- to ultimately make this the best year of family scripture study EVER!!!
You are about to embark on a journey of the New Testament with your family. You have your scripture suitcase and your excitement to read … all you need now is your passport.
The scripture passports list each week’s reading passages. Kids can get stickers or small stamps to place on their passport as they complete the weekly reading assignment. It would also be super easy to just color in the circles. Just think- by the end of the year your child could have 12 completed passports that show their adventure with the New Testament.
You can use these passports as bookmarks- easy peasy! You can also place them in cute little library card pockets and place them in little bible books or bible journals for your kids. What is a bible journal? Read on…..
Our kids might say something like this if they could articulate some of their worries about church:
Mom, I am having a difficult time connecting topics from week to week in church and would really like a strategy to help me make those connections. It would be great to document my learning in a fun way that is individualized and yet can help me remember the scriptures.
We know making personal connections and reflecting on your learning is an INCREDIBLE tool we can use during family scripture study.
And what better way to document all of this than with a cute journal or bible book. 🙂 This will be the place where kids can write questions, summarize the scriptures they just read, draw pictures of their favorite bible stories, add pictures of faith centered family field trips (more info on that at the bottom of this post), insert stickers, cut and paste little charts and information about the weekly topic… whatever works for you and your family!
The goal of this journal is to have a physical reminder of each family member’s conversion to Christ through the New Testament.
Everyone will journal differently, and that’s OK. My husband has agreed to write notes and reflections on a google doc. That is what will work best for him. My daughter will probably include dragon pictures on several pages of her journal and that’s ok- this is a book of her conversion, not mine- and I want to keep this a positive experience and not one where I am dictating my personal opinions.
We will have printables for each weekly theme for your family to use in their scripture journals as they see fit. You can have them make a collage of their favorite quotes, answer some of the questions, … whatever will work best for your family.
To download the introductory journal pages, click on the image below. This will include some printables you can use in your scripture journals before 2019 to prepare for the year. There is also a list of some ideas of what to include in your journal/ supply kits.
We can’t emphasis enough the importance of making connections to solidify your learning. Whether it’s through previous experiences or things that you are going through today, take the time to reflect on how the scriptures and gospel topics connect to you. The scriptures will mean more to us if we can make them connect to us.
Connections to Family History
We can make connections to our scriptures through family history! We are both genealogy nerds and want to share what we have learned about our ancestors with our families. One way to incorporate family history connections in your gospel study is to find a story of an ancestor that goes with each weekly theme. You can place the story and a picture of that ancestor (if available) in a family history binder.
Imagine- by the end of the year you could have 52 stories of ancestors! If you can’t find stories that go along with each weekly theme, share conversion to Christ stories or stories that you feel will benefit your family the most.
You can also make great connections to the scriptures through service! Christ was the ultimate example of serving others. Let Him guide you to others in need of a helping hand.
Allow others to serve your family by sharing their conversion stories with you. Take advantage of grandparents or people in your ward. Be sure to include what you learned in your bible journals. We also had the idea to take pictures of your child with the person they interviewed to help them remember their experiences.
Click on the January 2019 Questions for grandparentslink to download a list of interview questions. It’s a good idea to share this list first with grandparents or those your child will be interviewing so they can have time to ponder on how to best answer the questions.
Keeping your ideas organized can make for a more efficient family home evening or scripture time. Believe me- I have wasted so much time sorting through ginormous stacks of papers looking for things. Organization now can be a wonderful framework so you can focus on the meaning of the lesson and not have to worry about those handouts that mysteriously disappeared.
There are several ways you can organize your printables, learning materials, and ideas. Choose a system that works best for YOU. And don’t be afraid to change it up a bit if it doesn’t work for you… For us, organization makes us happy (and partially sane) and so finding the right system was important. But not everyone is like that- you might thrive better when things aren’t so structured and that’s totally ok! Just take what works for you and OWN it!
Here are a few ideas that we came up with:
This is a great solution in keeping those handouts, lesson plans, pictures, etc. sorted.
Pros? Folders are inexpensive and store materials neatly. This system allows you to easily add materials for upcoming lessons- you could even organize materials for the whole year if you’re feeling adventurous!
Cons? A lot of extra work if you don’t plan on having handouts or extra materials.
I love the idea of grabbing our plastic drawer for the week full of activities and journaling supplies, plopping down on the couch, and starting our family scripture time. That’s the beauty of the plastic drawers. They are clear so you can see what materials are inside, they are big enough that you can add some craft materials or a church DVD, and you could plan a few weeks in advance.
Pros? It’s beautiful, organized, and allows you to add bigger items that a file folder can’t .
Cons? Expensive. And there’s not a drawer for every week of the year (that would be REALLY expensive) so you would have to change out contents of the drawers regularly. But it’s so cute that I think it might be worth it!
This is a great option for those that want the efficiency of file folders but with the added perk of portability. You can easily grab this and carry your family home evening plans without papers falling everywhere.
Pros? Prices range depending on your budget, it’s easy to carry, and you can close it.
Cons? Like the plastic drawers, there aren’t enough spaces for every week so you will have to update your files every so often.
Mapping out your activities and ideas is a great way to organize your thoughts. As you read the lesson each week in preparation to teach your family, impressions will come to mind on different strategies or materials to use that will make a difference. Write these down. The Spirit will guide you on how to teach this curriculum specifically for YOUR family.
Our family home evenings will follow a basic outline- song, prayer, lesson, reflections, etc. Nothing too over the top. Using a simple structure like this each week will help our children to begin teaching gospel centered family instruction.
You are not alone if this whole curriculum thing sounds a bit confusing. A calendar is a great way to visually map out when you are teaching each topic and when you are learning about that topic in church. It’s also a great way to add special family activities or service projects during the week that correspond with your weekly lesson.
Your new family home evening/family scripture study curriculum can be EXCITING for your kids! How, you may ask? The first thing is to be enthusiastic yourself. Find something you are genuinely excited about- maybe it’s the extra time spent learning the gospel with your family, organizing the materials, making bible journals with your kids, or helping your kids be more converted to Christ. Let that excitement- however small- be the spark for your family night flame.
Here are some other ideas to spark excitement:
Mission: New Testament
If you choose to do scripture journals with your family, why not make getting their supplies a great adventure!
Prepare your kids by making this activity like a top secret mission. You can create intriguing invitations with manilla envelopes that explain their mission (escape room or scavenger hunt), special security name badges, … all very official to peak your child’s interests.
We came up with a fun little escape room that is sure to get even teenagers excited. If an escape room seems like too much work, we came up with a simpler scavenger hunt that can be used in your home. Both of these activities have the same prize at the end: their new scripture journals or notebooks and supplies.
Give your family the power of choice while learning gospel topics. A basic tic tac toe board allows kids to choose three activities to complete (as long as they are in a row). Anna had a great idea to laminate the boards and reuse them every so often.
Use the power of parties to make learning fun! Have a New Year’s theme party to kick off your study of the New Testament. Host a little heart party in February to get your kids excited to do service for others. Grab some glow sticks and have a night party in the dark talking about the power of Christ’s light in our lives. It can be as simple as inviting neighbors over and munching on popcorn while watching bible videos.
You may want to have little celebrations with your family as they complete their scripture passports or memorize scripture verses. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Teaching is a great way to learn. Give your child time each week/month to share their favorite parts of the lesson or their favorite pages in their bible journals. We plan on having small neighborhood sharing times which will work GREAT for me since my tween is all about her friends right now. I imagine our sharing times like a combination of show & tell and a mini book club. I don’t think it will take longer than 15 – 20 minutes to share and eat treats. Keep in mind what will work best for your family- maybe a community sharing time is too intimidating for your shy child or your teen would enjoy having an online sharing time using social media.
Faith Centered Family Field Trips
Mix it up by taking your family on a special outing to help them deepen their understanding of the gospel principles discussed each week. If you talked about the beautiful earth God has given us- head over to the park or outside in your garden and chat about their favorite things about our world. If you talked about temple work- drive to the temple and walk around the grounds. Stop by the laundromat and talk about how just like washing clothes, repentance can make us clean. While learning about the miracles of Jesus, go to a bakery to pick out some yummy bread (or visit a local fish market) and talk about how Christ was able to feed a large crowd with just five small loaves of bread and two fish. If you are at a loss on field trip ideas have no fear- we will have some suggestions for each weekly theme.
Again, do what works best for YOU. Don’t worry about what the neighbors’ are doing because their family needs will be different than yours. And worrying about keeping up with someone else might prevent you from getting those specific impressions from the Spirit that will help you and your family be more converted to Christ.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT US
I am SO blessed to be working with a professional graphic designer on this project. Anna‘s initial enthusiasm for the new curriculum got me super excited (I get easily excited when it comes to lesson plans haha). We are two moms with two different talents who wanted to use these to help you implement this program into your home.
LOOKING FORWARD TO UPCOMING POSTS…..
Here are some upcoming blog posts that might help your family implement the new curriculum:
Using the Curriculum with Mixed Faith Families
January Activity Plans
For more information and ideas, visit the following links:
comefollowme.lds.org – this website has pretty much EVERYTHING you could ever need to start the Come Follow Me curriculum: the manuals, links to media resources, instructions… please check it out.
pinterest – we have created pinterest boards that might aide you and your family in using the new curriculum at home. There are so many cute bible ideas that are out there on the web! We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to our lessons. 🙂
Who doesn’t love an interactive activity for kids to work on during general conference? I thought it would be fun to make a little puzzle. The plan is my daughter will fill out a few of these during conference talks. She will cut them out and place all the pieces in one baggie. During our next FHE (or in-between sessions) we will try to put the puzzles together- and my daughter can check to make sure we did it right. This will also be a great review for her since she will be checking our work. You want to make sure that there are at least two complete puzzles, otherwise it will be way too easy to put the puzzle back together.
When my daughter was approaching her 8th birthday, we wanted to properly prepare her to accept the invitation to be baptized. I had heard of families inviting the missionaries over to teach the discussions so they would know exactly what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think that is so cool! As a former missionary myself I thought I could teach my daughter the discussions. I wanted her to have a way to be involved in the lessons, so I made some handouts to go with each of the discussions.
We read the scriptures on each handout, filled in the blanks, and then added a picture that corresponded with the topic. It was super easy and by the time we finished I felt she was more prepared to accept the invitation to be baptized.
For the cover of our binder I used my daughter’s baptism picture. In the pdf I am uploading to this post I have created a baptism binder cover that you can use as well.
Most of the pictures I chose for the baptism binder were found on the church’s website. I added some pictures of our family and my daughter in her baptism dress on a few of the pages. You may decide to have your child draw their own pictures. It’s totally up to you!
I am uploading the PDF I created to share with you! Just click on the link, download, and print!
THE STORY BEHIND MY LATEST FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT FOR KIDS
I was a teenager when I had a dream about a little blond girl who was holding my hand as we went on crazy adventures. The dream was so real that I woke up, grabbed an empty notebook, and scribbled it down before I could forget anything. From that point on I always kept my eye out for the little blond girl that I knew I was meant to find. While serving my church mission or teaching a classroom of second graders I kept my eye out for her. And while I was able to help some amazing kids, I never had that connection that I experienced in my dream. A blessing poured in my life when my husband and I adopted the most beautiful little baby girl. I knew pretty early on that she was the little girl I dreamt about. When she got old enough to hold my hand, the memory of the dream would come rushing at me and the feeling of connection was so strong that it shook me to the core.
When my daughter was about 4 she started asking my husband and I to tell her stories of when we were kids. She loved to hear about our ups and downs of childhood. In a way I think that helped her to relate to us. That is when the seed for this project started. I wanted to write a collection of our stories. Stories of how I dealt with embarassing moments or times I was terrified. Stories that would make her laugh. But also stories that would connect us as a family. Stories of how we were destined to be together and the miracle of her adoption. Our stories. Over the years as I became a little more forgetful I would feel that desire to write the stories down, but life was always busy.
Our family experienced some pretty big changes about the time my daughter became a tween and my whole heart desired to give my daughter the one thing that I knew would help her through these adjustments- roots. Because that’s what you need when the ground is shaking. She needed to know not only who she was, but who our family was and what we believed in. She needed to have our stories. She was starting to wonder more about her own biological ancestors. If thoughts and feelings could scream, I was getting yelled at constantly. She needed this gift. She needed her roots.
And she needed another gift that I was beginning to recognize. She needed me to start trusting her with more responsibilities. She needed me to slowly and carefully prepare her to conquer the world from a loving and supportive sideline position. She needed to work on her wings to fly- one feather at a time.
She needed her roots. And she needed her wings. And in true teacher mom fashion, she needed me to put them in a book that she could read over and over and reference back to when life got hard. So I got to work creating a template that we could fill out as a family. A book where we could write our stories. A book where we could write our family’s beliefs and mission statement. A book that we could document our deep family roots with stories and information of our ancestors. A book that would provide my daughter with the confidence and knowledge that she can fly.
A book of roots and wings.
And I thought, if my daughter needed this maybe some other family could benefit from it as well.
This is a book about YOUR FAMILY, so I wanted to give you options when it came time to making your book. There is a hefty appendix section with a TON of additional pages and some cover options. And I am open to suggestions if you have additional page ideas!
This book would be a great family night project. I’d just work on one page at a time, doing your best and putting a lot of thought and love into it. The more love you pour into it, the more meaningful it will be to your family. Encourage your kids to get involved in creating a family mission statement or drawing a family flag. There are pages for them to write/draw their own stories.
If you have multiple kids, I would have them each create their own book. This may be more work to begin with, but each child will benefit from having their own. There are pages for the parents (or check the appendix for other significant loved ones) to write love letters of encouragment to each kid. Kids can also write their own personal bucket list or quotes that inspire them. It’s meant to a personal, individual project. I also think it would be a great idea to have siblings contribute stories and love notes to each other in their books!
I live in a home of math nerds. As such we like to spend time doing puzzles and math games. I came across some soma cubes that I used with my students and thought it would be fun to do it with my family! Soma cubes are a puzzle consisting of 7 different shaped pieces that when placed together in the correct way make a cube. And there is not just one right way of completing the puzzle- there are over 200 different ways these pieces fit together to make a cube! Isn’t that crazy?!?
I had some old direction cards that allowed you to use the 7 pieces to create different shapes. (not shown because I already threw them away) These cards were worn out- and well, I’ll just say it- they weren’t cute. Some of you might understand the effect cuteness has on learning even if it’s only to bring the teacher joy haha. I got to work making new, updated cards using Open Office (shout out to free software!) and am so pleased with how they turned out!
You can easily make your own Soma pieces by gluing little cubes found at the craft store together and then painting them (or you could leave them the natural wood color). OR you can take the easy route and buy them.
I made two sets of cards- a black and white set that is more challenging, and a colored set that went with the blocks we purchased. The colored set makes solving the puzzles way easier, since you can see where each block is placed. Side note: the colored cards match the blocks I painted.
Soma cubes are a great activity for kids to do when they are finished with their work! They are fun and with both the black/white and colored sets of cards you can easily differentiate this for a center. To ensure accountability, you could have students take a pic of their finished puzzle with a class iPad or tablet. And then post on your class blog for parents to admire! 🙂
Click here to download these cards. I hope they bring your kiddo joy in their learning. 🙂
The past 5 months I have had the extreme pleasure to tutor a couple kids in reading and math. I had so much fun planning our hands on learning activities that I thought I would share them with you! Learning CAN be fun, after all!
I based our themes on the Read Naturally Story we were working on that day. The first post I am sharing is a carnival themed tutoring session. This was SO much fun!
Before I get into our activities, I do have to note that we had all of our tutoring sessions on the floor. Why? Simply because my student was tired of sitting at a desk all day. Listen to your students- sometimes they need a break from the typical classroom learning environment and will actually respond better in a different situation.
CARNIVAL TUTORING DAY
-Use Clown gloves to demonstrate the trick when multiplying by 9s.
The nice thing about this is that we could use the trick with the gloves on or off. I also wrote the numbers 1-10 on the fingertips to help with the counting.
For those unfamiliar with this “hand”y trick (haha): First, look at the equation- particularly to the number that you are multiplying with 9. Then hold up both hands. Starting on the left pinky, count that number of fingers over. When you land on that number, put the finger down. The number of fingers to the left of the finger that’s down represents the number of tens in the answer. The number of fingers to the right represents the number of ones in the answer. Put those together and you have the answer!
For example, if my equation was 9 X 5, I would start by holding up both hands and count five fingers over starting at my left pinky. The number five would land on my left thumb, which I would put down. To the left of my thumb I have four fingers, so I know that I have 4 tens in my answer. To the right of my thumb I have 5 fingers, so I know that I have 5 ones in my answer. 4 tens plus 5 ones equals 45! Easy peasy!
-Clown face ar/er/or words.
I would read a word that had the ar/er/or r-controlled vowel sound. My student had to choose the clown face with the correct vowel, hold it up to her face, and then spell the word.
And of course look absolutely adorable while doing it. 🙂
-Prefix and suffix balloons. This was by far my student’s favorite activity. Prior to our tutoring session, I placed a variety of prefixes and suffixes in balloons before blowing them up.
During tutoring, I placed a word on the floor which we read together. My student used a bent paper clip as our popping tool and I instructed her to pop the balloon of her choice. She loved this!
We both screamed when the balloon popped and then laughed so hard. Who knew learning prefixes and suffixes could be so fun? Once we calmed down a bit, we opened up the little piece of paper that was inside the balloon and read the affix.
My student had to determine if it was a prefix or suffix and then place it at the beginning or ending of the word. We then read the “new” word and discussed the definition.
-Multisyllabic words with popcorn bags.
I LOVED doing this activity! I bought popcorn bags at the dollar tree (can I say that’s my favorite store ever?!). I put really long multisyllabic words that I knew would be tricky to read on the outside of the bags. I told my cute student that she was going to read those very long words today! We looked at the word on the outside of the bag first, opened up the popcorn bag, and dumped out the kernels. The kernels contained the word parts, broken into syllables, of the long word. My student placed the kernels in order- checking the word on the outside of the bag to make sure she got them in the correct order.
We placed the kernels under these really cute touch lights I found at the dollar tree (of course!).
As my student read the word parts, she would touch the lights. This was a great way to integrate some kinesthetic activity into reading. After reading all the word parts, we blended the word and got excited that we could read it! 🙂
After awhile my cute student was able to look at some of the words and mentally break them into syllables without dumping out the kernels. It made my teacher heart so happy! 🙂
I hope these ideas help you to make learning more fun for your students.
Summer is here! YAY! I thought this would be a great time to introduce a goal card to my daughter. The basic idea behind the card is that whenever a child accomplishes a task related to the goal, they get a punch. Kindness was something that I thought would be a good focus, and I was ELATED when I found a darling goal card from My Sweet Sanity. She also has a reading and chore card… so cute!!!!
The plan is simple. For every act of kindness, we punch her kindness card. When the kindness card is full, she can trade it in for a special summer treat or activity on the rewards card (which will also get punched.) This prevents my daughter from choosing swimming EVERY SINGLE TIME and gives her the power of choice. And when she randomly wants to get an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, I can simply point out to her that she needs to fill out her kindness card first. The whole object is to get my daughter thinking about showing acts of KINDNESS more frequently.
I thought it would be fun to attach both the kindness card and the summer rewards card to a lanyard to make it more “official”. 🙂 Plus I think it might be harder to lose (hopefully!). I simply placed the cards in plastic lanyard sleeves. But you could laminate the cards and attach those to the lanyard instead.
The lanyard also allows for the cards to be worn when we are out on the town- so I can immediately reward her with punches for good, kind choices (as long as I carry a hole puncher with me!). And I just love this How to Train Your Dragon lanyard!!
Rewards on our pass include: ice cream cone, snow cone, trip to the dollar store, pizza night with friends, family movie night, day at the park, swimming, and family campout. Feel free to download our pass or use it as a guide to help you make your own! (Just click on the image file below to download the pass).
And we just happened to get lucky- our summer reading program is using brag tags to motivate kids to read. This is something I can easily attach to our lanyard. I love it!!!
Now some might say that giving your child a tangible reward for service or kindness is not a good idea. And I agree with that, to an extent. When a bad habit needs to be broken , or a good habit needs to be formed, I am all for doing everything and anything to ensure that habit is set securely in place. Sometimes we need to modify our way of thinking and our actions with those extrinsic things that motivate us.
Make Ice Cream (by hand!) This looks like fun for the kids. Surprisingly I am not a fan of ice cream, so this doesn’t appeal to me. But I know my daughter would love it!
Glow in the Dark Party. While this site has a gazillion things you could for a glow in the dark party, I am perfectly content grabbing a container of glow sticks at the dollar store and having my daughter put on a show with them in our dark basement. Fun and super simple! Just make sure to squeeze some science into the activity. If you are feeling especially ambitious teach your kiddo about chemiluminescence.
Make S’mores using a homemade Solar Oven. Delicious and a good tie-in to emergency preparedness. Not only because of the importance of having a way to cook food during a power outage….but because, let’s face it, in an emergency we will want to eat chocolate.
Make a compass. Then learn about WHY we have North and South poles and the Earth’s magnetic field. And then make a clay model of the Earth’s layers using a metal bead inside the center to show the magnetic core.
Demonstrate the chemical reaction of citric acid and baking soda by making a lemon volcano.
Some of you may be wondering if I am going to be doing all of these activities. The answer of course is NO! I hope to get to many of them (except the owl pellet dissecting). But we just got approved to be foster parents so I know our life is going to drastically change. I can’t wait. 🙂