Family Home Evening Helps

By Ruth Ann Cosby


Hero of the Month

At the beginning of the year, we choose 12 “heroes of the month” as monthly family themes. Then we assign family members to prepare family home evenings centered on these heroes. Each month we memorize a scripture and participate in lessons, games, and activities that help us learn more about each month’s hero and his “powers.”

Our heroes have included the following:

We divide each month into four separate topics—but allow each person to choose his or her own topic if preferred. Some topics during the month we focus on Nephi might be: (1) Nephi followed the prophet; (2) Nephi kept a journal; (3) Nephi learned the plan of salvation; (4) Nephi honored Heavenly Father through keeping covenants. We also choose a hymn or Primary song for the month.

Our hero-of-the-month family home evenings have been interesting, and the children look forward to studying about these heroes and their examples.

The Ancestor Game

Several years ago I wanted to plan a family home evening focused on family history. Our children, then ages 9 through 13, were only vaguely aware of some of their ancestors, so I came up with a game that helped us all become better acquainted with our ancestors.

I prepared a six-generation pedigree chart on a large piece of paper, filling in only the children’s names and leaving the other spaces blank. (I made a key to the whole chart so I would know how it should look when completed.)

For each blank space on the chart, I made a separate card containing the ancestor’s full name and listing some information about that person. For example, one card read, “Ira Walter Gardner. I was born in 1849 in Sweetwater, Wyoming, while my parents were crossing the plains.”

As I passed out the cards, I explained the rules. Using the information on the cards, each person would deduce where on the chart his or her cards would go. At each turn they could ask me yes or no questions about their ancestor. As long as they got yes answers, they could continue to ask. If they put their card in the wrong space or got a no answer, their turn was over. The children caught on quickly, and soon the chart was complete.

We all enjoyed the game, and the children began to develop a greater appreciation for their forebears.

Visual Aids that Teach Twice

Few sights are as adorable—and as inspiring—as young children teaching a family home evening lesson. But helping children prepare lessons can be a struggle. One day as I was cleaning the house, I found a simple solution right before my eyes.

There on the floor was a hand-out one of my children had brought home from Primary. Suddenly the handout seemed like gold. It occurred to me that it—and others I had attached to the refrigerator or hidden away in drawers—could serve as springboards for lessons my children could give for family home evening!

That day I started files for each of my children in which to keep the pictures and other handouts they occasionally bring home from Primary. Now when one of my young children has a lesson assignment for family home evening, I open the appropriate file and let him or her look through it. Inevitably they find a visual aid they can use to teach our family a principle once taught them by a caring and inspired teacher.

Resources for Family Home Evening

The following resources can help families prepare and conduct family home evenings. These items can be purchased from Church distribution centers:

  1. 1.

    Family Home Evening Resource Book (item number 31106). A guide to planning family home evening.

  2. 2.

    Family Home Evening Video Supplement International Version (item number 53736)—videocassette with segments on gospel topics cross-referenced to lessons in the Family Home Evening Resource Book.

  3. 3.

    Gospel Art Picture Kit (104 color pictures in a plastic box, item number 34730; without the box, item number 34735; supplement of 56 additional pictures, item number 34740).

  4. 4.

    The Liahona magazine.

  5. 5.

    Scripture readers for children:

    • Book of Mormon Stories (54 illustrated stories, item number 35666).

    • Doctrine and Covenants Stories (64 illustrated stories, item number 31122).

    • Old Testament Stories (48 illustrated stories, item number 31118).

    • New Testament Stories (51 illustrated stories, item number 31119).

  6. 6.

    Music:

    • Hymns (standard size, item number 31243).

    • Children’s Songbook (hardbound spiral, item number 35395).

[illustrations] Illustrated by Jerry Harston