Weekly Thoughts and Tips

May 2012


Take Inspiration Outdoors

By Charlotte Mae Sheppard
May 25, 2012

Swimming, sports, barbeques… Summer is a great time to plan wholesome outdoor activities for your family. But why save the outdoors for strictly secular adventures? The wonders of creation are the perfect setting for your family to experience all sorts of spiritual learning—and fun too!

Get moving: Turn a water balloon toss into a scripture memorization game. Have family members toss a water balloon while standing close to one another. Then have them recite a scripture mastery verse or article of faith. If they make a mistake, they take a step back! You could also go on a family bike ride or take a walk around the temple together. Teach that keeping our bodies healthy is important and fun.

Enrich yourself: Show little ones how to choose produce from a farmers’ market, and make dinner together. Build a bird feeder, and learn the names of the birds in your backyard. Read about the prophet Noah, and find out how a rainbow is made. The entire world is waiting to be explored!

Take a minute: Hold family scripture study under the stars. Sing hymns or read the Friend around a campfire. Create a quiet place outside where family members can write in their journals, read, or simply sit and ponder. Letting children discover how they feel about the world will stick with them long after summer is over.

Sunday Bin

By Tiffany Lewis
May 18, 2012

Sunday is the best day of the week. I love how the mornings and afternoons unfold with church music, a good breakfast, and the rhythm of ironed shirts and Sunday shoes. However, sometimes my kids need a little direction in choosing appropriate Sabbath-day activities. I keep a large Sunday bin full of felt scripture stories, past issues of the Friend, beads to string, scripture card games, and journals for each child. I put it right in the middle of the family room—or, on a nice day, on a blanket outside—and allow the kids to pick their own activities. It helps to focus the day just a bit better.

Standing in Holy Places…Online

By Jocelyn Christensen
May 11, 2012

In a recent conference address, Elder David A. Bednar invited young people to experience the spirit of Elijah through online family history work. "Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet [in order] to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord,” he told them (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” October 2011 General Conference).

I decided that if my children’s hands are going to advance the work of the Lord someday, I’d better seek out websites that meet our family standards. I introduced my kids to the games, puzzles, and coloring pages on the Friend website. They have fun learning gospel principles online while their favorite hymns play softly in the background.  It is very refreshing.

I still closely monitor their time online, but I feel good about proactively teaching my children that they can “stand in holy places”—even on the Internet.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
May 4, 2012

I loved reading “Mom’s Helping Hands,” this month’s “For Little Friends” story in the Friend. I don’t know if “reading” is the right word to use, though—the story was completely wordless!

If you have little friends in your home or Primary class, invite them to “read” this story to you. They might invent the young boy’s name, where he lives, and why he decided to help his mother prepare dinner. If the children in your family or class are a bit older, they can write their version of the story.

For a fun family home evening activity, you could even come up with your own story prompted by photograph or drawings featuring members of your family. Start by deciding on characters, the issue they face, and the resolution. Then snap photos or illustrate the story. Your little ones may not come up with a thousand words, but their pictures and ideas might surprise you.