General Conference Weekend

We love General Conference at our house. The whole week working up to it is filled with a special Family Home Evening and activities to help us prepare. It has become a time when we create special family traditions and get to hear the words of the prophet. Here are a few fun things we did last October and this year as well.

In October, for the FHE before conference we used big washer /dryer boxes we had gotten for free from Lowes, and built a big tower like King Benjamin's. We put one of our large bar stool chairs inside of it for "King Benjamin" to stand on while giving his speech to the people. Austin was able to pass of one of his Cub Scout requirements by making the scenery for our little play. We used other boxes and blankets to make little tents for each of the kids to sit in during FHE that all faced the tower. We acted out the story, took turns in the tower, and sent out proclamations throughout the land for all to read.
We handed out General Conference packets that I had made that had activities for the kids to do while watching Conference. Some of the pages were from sugardoodle.net and theideadoor.com and others were copies from the Friend magazine. I also made pages that had spaces for the older kids to keep notes on at least two talks during each session. The favorite page everyone liked was the page where it had a picture of all of the members of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles and they would look to see what color their tie was and color it in that color.
For our FHE activity we did a matching game with pictures of the First Presidency and 12 Apostles as adults and when they were younger that we had to try and match.
We also made flash cards for each Apostle, punched a hole in the top, and put them on a metal ring. Each day for scripture time the whole week we would read three of the bios from the Apostles. It was great to have a refresher about their lives as we worked up to listening to their talks.

For Conference we usually watch it on the Internet in our keeping room off of the kitchen. We move part of our sectional in there (the kids love this!), the lazyboy, and lots of cozy blankets. I was amazed that for the Saturday sessions even my three little ones would sit and listen. Four hours worth! It was such a testimony to me that helping children to listen during conference can be done. After the Saturday afternnon session the little girls had almost all of their packets done. We are master colorers at our house.=) I gladly printed out more pages for their packets to get them through Sunday.
For breakfast Sunday I set the table fancy (fancy compared to the plastic cereal bowls they are used to) with flowers and nice dishes. I had made things that all correlated with something about conference. I made a dozen muffins (12 apostles), 70 grapes in a bowl and 70 pieces of cut up cantaloupe for the two quorums of the seventy (okay, I didn't actually count each piece, but it was pretty close). I had made three dozen muffins (3 members of the First Presidency) one blueberry, one chocolate chip, and one chocolate chocolate chip. I had hid the chocolate chocolate chip ones in the oven until later. Each person had a name place card at their plate with a question that was about something from one of the talks from the Sat. session. The younger kids received easier questions and Abby's was a picture of Jesus and the question said, "Who is this?" I was so amazed how much my kids remembered from the talks. After they each answered their questions we asked them if they noticed the significance of the number of items. Austin said, "If only their were one more plate of muffins it would be like the three members of the First Presidency. We then had him look in the oven and he found the special chocolate chocolate chip muffins. The kids loved it! It was a special treat they don't normally get.
After all the sessions of Conference we talked about the talks we liked the most and took turns giving reports on the talks we took notes about and letting the little girls show off their packets.

For this conference our FHE was so fun and totally last minute-not for lack of planning per say, but I was at a complete loss for what to do. It was my turn to give the lesson that week anyways, and I didn't want to do the King Benjamin thing again. I had prayed for days about what to do and it became like the scripture that talks about just talk and your mouth will be filled.

We let the kids take turns using wooden building blocks to build a short wall and tower on the coffee table. Then on the side of the wall that they could see we put a little home, and up on the wall we put 12 little army men and three on the tower. They each got a turn to be like to person on the watchtower and see an object that I had hidden behind the wall. Everyone else would take turns playing 20 questions to guess what the object was. I used five objects- a rock, a screwdriver, a band aid, a vitamin, and a CTR ring. We talked about how the twelve little army men and the three on the tower were like the 12 Apostles and members of the First Presidency and how they can see things that we can't. They tell us those things at General Conference to help us Choose the Right (CTR ring), to help us be safe from harm (the rock), to help us fix or work on our weaknesses (the screwdriver), to help us be healed as we partake of the Atonement (the band aid), and to help us be spiritually stronger (the vitamin). As we finished up all of the kids keep saying how much fun this FHE was. Erika was beaming and kept saying, "I love this time of year!"
We did similar things as well with the packets and the special breakfast except I did donuts for the special treat. When I came out that morning Austin said, "We looked in the oven already for the hidden muffins" Well, good for me I hid them in the microwave instead. I may run out of hiding places next year! We also tried putting up string and a sign that said, "Quite Zone" across the doorway to the room. If they passed the string they had to use their quiet voices. It worked okay, but not great so we took it down for the Sunday session. We also put bowls of different treats on the table -marshmallows, jelly beans, chocolate eggs, nuts, and chex mix. Each one had a picture of something-the temple, Jesus, family, a shield of faith, and the scriptures. When they would hear a speaker say one of the words they got to eat a treat from that bowl. They really liked that. Brianna and Austin came up with a good tally system to keep track and would fill up their bowls with treats after each talk.
I am so grateful for Conference and am glad that my children have a love for it as well. I think I didn't fully appreciate Conference until I was older, but I hope my children will be able to benefit from it all the years of their life.


The Harper Family said...

Monae, you are amazing.

What a great mom you are!

I might steal some of your ideas for the next conference!!

The Simon Family said...

So inspiring. I see great leaders coming from your home. I'll be borrowing some of your ideas come next General Conference!

Dre + Drew - Southern Living - Georgia said...

Wonderful Ideas. Thanks for sharing. Great for journaling. Your kids will remember this forever.

Kristin said...

Hey Monae!

It's been fun to catch up with you guys on your blog!

I love your ideas for General Conference and FHE. I will also be stealing those ideas for next time! (:

You have such a beautiful family!!

Lisa said...

Great ideas, Monae. Our family loves conference time as well. So fun to make family traditions around it... the little kids really aren't too young to learn and enjoy!! Love the FHE ideas... I'll steal them for sure!