Baptism: First Step to the Covenant Path
Sing a story about becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Possible songs in the Children's Songbook include “Faith,” “Repentance,” “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized,” and “The Still Small Voice.” Finish by bearing your testimony and inviting the children to express their testimonies as they sing “The Church of Jesus Christ.”
To prepare, invite a mother, father, and baby to portray Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child. (They could wear simple clothing in a biblical style.) Ask the mother to be prepared to sing “Mary’s Lullaby.” Use a sing-a-story of favorite Christmas songs to teach children that Heavenly Father planned for Jesus to be born into a family. Older children could read the scripture references at the bottom of the songs. Pictures from the Gospel Art Kit (200, 201, 202, 203, 314) or the Primary manuals (1-76 and 2-6) could be used.
Sing: First verse of “The Nativity Song.”
Tell: Many prophets testified of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. Samuel, a prophet who came to Zarahemla, also foretold of His birth (see Helaman 14:2–6). Sing: “Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus.”
Tell: God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary. He told her she would have a baby boy and should name Him Jesus. The baby would be the Son of Heavenly Father. One night an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him Mary’s baby was the Son of God and that he should marry her. Jesus would be the Savior of the world (see Matthew 1:18–21). Joseph and Mary were married, and he took care of her. Joseph and Mary had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. The baby would be born soon (see Luke 2:2–6).
Sing: “When Joseph Went to Bethlehem.”
Tell: When they arrived in Bethlehem, they found a stable for Mary to have her baby in. “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).
Sing: “Away in a Manger.”
Tell: While the shepherds were in the fields, an angel came to them and told them the Savior had been born. The shepherds went to Bethlehem and saw the baby Jesus. They were happy they had seen the Savior (see Luke 2:8–12, 15–17, 20). Sing: “Stars Were Gleaming.”
Bear testimony that Heavenly Father planned for Jesus to be born into a family. We are blessed as we sing praise to Him and remember Jesus Christ this Christmas. Sing “Picture a Christmas.”
With the help of the music leader, sing a story of the birth of the Savior. Using Luke 2:1, 3–20; Matthew 2:1–2, 8–11; Helaman 13:2–4; 14:2–4; 3 Nephi 1:9–15, read the accounts from the scriptures, interspersing the appropriate songs. Using simple costumes, let the children dramatize the scriptures. For the older children, do a Reader’s Theater (see Teaching, No Greater Call, 177), using the same scriptures. Invite guests to provide special musical numbers, or augment the children’s singing with violin or resonator bells or other appropriate instruments.
Jesus was born into a family. Work with the music leader to prepare a sing-a-story to teach about Jesus’s birth into a family. You might consider having children dress in simple costumes to represent the characters in the story, or use pictures from the Gospel Art Book.
Example: Christmas is the season when we celebrate the joyful birth of Jesus Christ. Sing a song or hymn about the nativity. Heavenly Father promised to send His Son to be the Savior of the world (see John 3:16). Sing a song or hymn about the Savior. Prophets such as Samuel the Lamanite foretold the birth and mission of Jesus Christ (see Helaman 14:1–6). Sing a song or hymn about the Book of Mormon. An angel told Mary she would be the mother of Jesus (see Luke 1:26–35). Joseph was Mary’s husband. Heavenly Father chose them to help take care of Jesus (see Matthew 1:20–24). Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem to be counted in a census (see Luke 2:1–5).
Sing a Christmas song or hymn. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a stable because there was no room for His family at the inn (see Luke 2:6–7). Sing “Away in a Manger” (Children’s Songbook, 42–43). Angels and shepherds shared in the joy of the birth of Jesus (see Luke 2:8–16). Sing “Joy to the World” (Hymns, no. 201). Bear testimony of the divinity of Christ’s birth.
Prophecies of Christ’s Birth
Help the children discover some of the prophecies concerning Jesus’s birth and His Second Coming by preparing a Christmas sing-a-story.” Use pictures of the Savior’s birth and Second Coming from the Gospel Art Book. On the back of each picture attach a simple narrative that includes the name of the prophet who prophesied the event and a scripture containing the prophecy. Choose children to hold the pictures and narrate the story. Sing an appropriate song from the Children's Songbook to go with each picture. For example:
- Gospel Art Kit 201: Nephi—The Savior’s mother will be from Nazareth (1 Nephi 11:13, 20–21 [first sentence]), “Mary’s Lullaby”
- Gospel Art Kit 200: Helaman—His name will be Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 25:19), “Once within a Lowly Stable”
- Gospel Art Kit 203: Samuel—Great lights and a new star will appear (Helaman 14:2–5), “Stars Were Gleaming”
- Gospel Art Kit 240: Isaiah—He will be Heavenly Father’s Son (Isaiah 9:6; John 3:16), “He Sent His Son”
- Gospel Art Kit 238: Matthew—Jesus Christ will come again (Matthew 16:27), “When He Comes Again”
The Creation—Seven Days of Creation
Use a sing-a-story to teach about the Creation. Divide the Primary into seven groups, and give each group a scripture passage recounting one of the seven days of the Creation (see Genesis 1:3–2:3 or Moses 2:3–3:3). Have the children in each group draw pictures of that part of the Creation. Each group will then hold up their drawings and recite together their scripture passage. Move from group (day) one to group (day) seven. After day two sing “Because God Loves Me”; after day five, sing “All Things Bright and Beautiful”; after day six, sing “I Think the World Is Glorious”; and after day seven, sing “Remember the Sabbath Day.” Have the children attach their pictures to a large circle representing the earth. Sing the first verse of “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.” Point out that Heavenly Father created the world for us because He loves us.
We show our love for Heavenly Father by treating His creations with reverence. Teach the children to protect the resources of the earth by not wasting or littering and by respecting property. Children can care for and be kind to animals. In a timed activity, ask the children to name as many ideas as possible of ways we use or ways we take care of water, the earth, or animals. Sing the second verse of “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.” Bear testimony of the wonderful gift of this beautiful earth.
Christ’s Last Week
Use sing-a-story to tell the events of the last week of the Savior’s mortal ministry. Use the words of the songs to develop the story or themes and the narrative to provide continuity. Involve the children actively participate in the story and songs. Suggestions: Triumphal entry on Palm Sunday—have children wave their arms or “palm branches” made of green paper as they sing “Hosanna.” Last Supper—at the celebration of the Passover, the Savior instituted the sacrament. Display empty sacrament trays as you remind the children what the sacrament represents and what we promise. Sing “The Sacrament.” Garden of Gethsemane—Jesus Christ asked His friends to watch with Him; He prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). Sing “To Think about Jesus.” Trial and Crucifixion—The Savior was taken from the house of Caiphas to Pilate’s Roman fortress, to Herod’s Palace, and back to Pilate, who washed his hands of the event and allowed the Crucifixion to go forward. Make a sign saying “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” Sing “Help Us, O God, to Understand.” Resurrection—share the story from John 20 and display folded “linen clothes.” Sing “Jesus Has Risen.” Bear your testimony of the importance of the Atonement. Have children hold up appropriate pictures from the library or the Primary 7 manual picture kit while everyone sings “I Feel My Savior’s Love.”
There are many witnesses who saw Jesus after He was resurrected. Sing a story about some of those witnesses. Use pictures from the Gospel Art Book, and ask the children to tell what is happening in each picture. Choose a song or hymn to sing after each picture. Some suggested pictures are Mary and the Resurrected Lord, Christ Appears to the Nephites, and The First Vision. Have the children read Doctrine and Covenants 76:22–23. Testify, as these many witnesses have, that Jesus Christ lives.
Seven Days Till Easter
You and your family can learn about what Jesus did while He was living on earth. Begin the Sunday before Easter. Each day, read the scripture, do the activity, or sing the song. Then cut out and paste the matching picture of Jesus. When all the boxes are filled, Easter will be here!
Day 1: Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born on earth.
Day 2: Jesus was once a child. We can be like Him by being good and kind.
Day 3: Jesus kept all of Heavenly Father’s commandments, including the commandment to be baptized.
Day 4: Jesus performed many miracles, like healing people who were sick, helping blind people see again, and making a storm stop.
Day 5: At the Last Supper, Jesus asked His disciples to partake of the sacrament as a way to remember Him. When we take the sacrament each week, we can remember the Savior too.
- Luke 22:19–20
- Talk to your parents about something you can do to help you think about Jesus during the sacrament this Sunday.
Day 6: Because Heavenly Father and Jesus love us, Jesus came to earth to suffer for our sins so we can be forgiven and return to Heavenly Father.
- Luke 22:41–44
- What can you do today to show Jesus you are thankful for His sacrifice?
Day 7: After being in a tomb for three days, Jesus was resurrected so we can be resurrected too.
Jesus Christ’s Life
Following Christ’s Example
Use the following sing-a-story to teach about Christ’s example. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, His mother laid Him in a manger. (Sing “Away in a Manger.”) Just like all babies, Jesus grew to be a child. (Sing “Jesus Once Was a Little Child.”) When He became a man, Jesus began to teach the people. He told them many stories. (Sing “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.”) Jesus taught us what we should do so that we can return and live with Him and Heavenly Father someday. (Sing “Jesus Said Love Everyone.”)
When we love others, we help them to be happy. We can spread sunshine wherever we go. (Sing “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.”) We have so many wonderful songs about Jesus that it shouldn’t be hard to think about Him as we partake of the sacrament. (Sing “To Think about Jesus.”) See the Gospel Art Book for pictures to illustrate each song. Bear your testimony of how the sacrament helps you remember the Savior and keep His commandments.
Joseph Smith Story
To learn about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, tell and sing this story of Joseph Smith with your family, Primary class, or friends. You can have one narrator, or you can take turns reading and holding the pictures.
(Gospel Art Kit 240: Jesus the Christ) Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ had a special mission for a certain man.
(Gospel Art Kit 402: Joseph Smith Seeks Wisdom in the Bible) As a young boy, Joseph Smith had many questions about religion. He studied the Bible often and found an important scripture in James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Song: “Seek the Lord Early”
When he was 14 years old, Joseph wanted to know which church was right. He knew he needed to ask Heavenly Father to help him know the truth. On a beautiful spring day, Joseph walked to a quiet place and knelt in a grove of trees to pray. Something happened that day that changed the world.
Song: “This Is My Beloved Son”
(Gospel Art Kit 403: The First Vision) Joseph saw Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. They instructed Joseph not to join any of the churches. What joy Joseph must have felt to know that Heavenly Father loves us and hears and answers our prayers!
Song: “I Know My Father Lives”
(Gospel Art Kit 404: Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room) When Joseph was 17 years old, he was praying before bedtime when something marvelous happened. Moroni, an angel of the Lord, appeared to him and told him of gold plates. The plates had special inspired writings engraved on them that were recorded hundreds of years ago.
(Gospel Art Kit 406: Joseph Smith Receives the Gold Plates) In time, Joseph received the gold plates.
Song: “The Golden Plates”
With the help of Heavenly Father, Joseph translated the words so the ancient record could be read. That translation is the Book of Mormon and is another witness of Jesus Christ.
Prophet of the Restoration
Working with the music leader, prepare a sing-a-story of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Tell (or select children to be prepared to tell) stories or show pictures that illustrate the following qualities or achievements in Joseph Smith’s life. Then sing related songs from the Children's Songbook. Joseph Smith was obedient to his parents (“Quickly I’ll Obey”); he studied the scriptures (“Seek the Lord Early”); he worked hard with his family (“When We’re Helping”); he liked to play and have fun (“Do As I’m Doing”); he prayed to Heavenly Father (“The Sacred Grove”); he received the gold plates from the angel Moroni (“The Golden Plates”); he loved his family (“The Family”); and he organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“The Church of Jesus Christ”). Bear your testimony to the children of how our lives have been blessed because of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Preparing Future Missionaries
Work with the music leader to prepare this sing-a-story. Briefly discuss missionary work with the children (for example, you could ask: Do any have siblings serving missions? Were any taught by missionaries? Are any preparing now to go on a full-time mission someday?) and make the point that we all can be missionaries now. Sing “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.” Retell “We Believe” (Friend, Nov. 1995, 44–46). Ask, “What will we teach the world?” Have the children choose and sing one or two of the Articles of Faith songs. Ask, “How will we testify to people and help them understand?” Invite some children to stand in pairs like missionary companions and sing “I Know My Father Lives.” Share a story of the importance of not only being a good example but also “opening our mouths” and telling our friends what we know about the gospel.
The next song tells something very important—an investigator must hear the whisperings of the Spirit to know that the gospel is true. Sing “The Holy Ghost.” When the investigator feels the witness of the Holy Ghost, he or she will want to be baptized. Sing “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized.” Ask if any of the children have been to a baptism. Sing “The Church of Jesus Christ.” We can all proclaim His truth. Share the story “Sandy’s Missionary Chart” (Friend, Oct. 1998, 36–37). Explain that sometimes people move away from those they teach, and missionaries return home. How will new converts remain faithful? How will we remain faithful? One very good way is expressed in “The Iron Rod.” Have the children sing it, then bear your witness that the Lord will bless us as we share the gospel and hold on to the iron rod.
Plan of Salvation
Plan of Happiness
Plan with the music leader to teach the children about the plan of salvation with a sing-a-story. Assemble the following visual aids: signs—Premortal Existence, Spirit World, Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, Telestial Kingdom; a globe or picture of the earth; a baby doll; four pictures of Jesus—alone, teaching, the Crucifixion, resurrected; two labeled partitions (these could be poster boards, drapes, scarves, or screens)—Birth and Death; and “name” tags—Spirit Body and Physical Body. Have one child represent all the children and move through the “plan.” In the premortal existence, the child wears the Spirit Body sign. Sing verse 1 of “I Lived in Heaven.” Ask, “How many of us were there?” (we all were), and tell briefly about the Council in Heaven and our choosing to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. Sing verse 2 and hold up the picture of Jesus alone.
Tell the children that when Jesus volunteered to be our Savior and give His life so that we could return to live with Heavenly Father, we were so glad that we shouted for joy. Explain that the next step for us was to be born into this life. Have the child pass through the partition marked Birth. Explain that all of us come into this earth life as babies (show the globe or picture of earth and the doll) and get a physical body (add the Physical Body sign to the child). Sing “I Will Follow God’s Plan.” Ask, “What does this song tell us that we must do while we are on earth?” (Seek God’s light, obey His commandments, etc.) For younger children: sing one or two action songs about bodies (see “Action Songs” in the Children's Songbook Topics index). Stress that on earth, we learn how to use our body and teach it to obey. Sing verse 3 of “I Lived in Heaven” and hold up the pictures of Christ teaching and the Crucifixion.
Explain that because Jesus taught us the gospel and overcame death through the Resurrection and gave us the gift of the Atonement, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and Him again by living the gospel. Sing “I Want to Live the Gospel.” Have the child pass through the Death partition. Explain that although we don’t know if we will be old or young when we die, we do know that our spirit leaves our body for a while (take the Physical Body sign off the child) and lives in the spirit world (hold up the Spirit World sign). After Christ’s Second Coming (show the resurrected Christ picture), we will all be resurrected and receive our physical body again (return the Physical Body sign to the child) and we will find a new home in one of the three degrees of glory (show the three kingdom signs). Emphasize that we are aiming for the celestial kingdom. Sing “I Am a Child of God,” verse 4. Bear your testimony of the Savior and your gratitude for the plan that allows us to return to Him.
The opportunity to live on this earth is a wonderful blessing for each of us. Jesus Christ created the earth under the direction of Heavenly Father. He wants us to learn about, enjoy, and respect His creations. Choose five categories (see suggestions below), make a wordstrip for each, and plan something the classes can do to show their interest or appreciation for each. For example: (1) Seasons: Each class chooses a song about a season and sings it. (2) Animals: Each class makes the noise of a favorite animal and the other classes guess what it is. (3) Earth: Each class names a body of water (ocean, river, lake, an so on). (4) Plants: Each class writes down the names of all the flowers (or trees or fruits) they can think of. Ask one class to read its list, and then have the other classes read the items they have that have not been mentioned. (5) Talents: Each class pantomimes a talent (such as dancing, painting, or sports), and the other classes guess what it is. Conclude by singing “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
Heavenly Father’s Plan
Teach about our journey on the earth and living with Heavenly Father again. Tell the story by using songs such as “I Lived in Heaven,” “I Think the World Is Glorious,” “I Am a Child of God,” “Families Can Be Together Forever,” “Keep the Commandments,” “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” and “I Know My Father Lives.” Join the songs with a simple narrative that includes scriptures such as Abraham 3:22–26, 1 Nephi 17:3, and John 3:16.
After singing “I Know My Father Lives,” repeat the sentence “The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me that I can.” Challenge the children to extend the final sentence. For example, “The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me that I can … return and live with Heavenly Father again.” Ask the children to think of other things they can do and repeat the sentence with each new idea. Bear testimony that we can return to live with Heavenly Father if we keep the commandments.
Six Bs from President Hinckley
On each of six papers, write one of the following sets of information based on the six Bs given by President Gordon B. Hinckley (see Ensign, Jan. 2001, 2–11, or Friend, Feb. 2001, 24–25). Include a quote from the talk for each B.
- Be Grateful—“I Thank Thee, Dear Father,” D&C 59:7
- Be Smart—“Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” D&C 93:36
- Be Clean—“The Lord Gave Me a Temple,” Psalm 24:3–4
- Be True—“Stand for the Right,” Alma 53:20–21
- Be Humble—“I Am a Child of God,” Alma 32:15–16
- Be Prayerful—“Search, Ponder, and Pray,” Matthew 6:6
Divide the Primary into six groups, and give each group one of the papers. Have them choose to give the scripture as a choral reading or to sing the song. Allow time for practice. Have the groups tell what their B is, present their song or scripture, and have one group member read the quote from President Hinckley and suggest a way we can follow his counsel.