To help each child understand that the Lord blesses us when we follow the commandments given in the Word of Wisdom.
Two paper bags, one with a smiling face drawn on it, and one with a sad face. If paper bags are not available, draw a smiling face and a sad face on separate pieces of paper.
Make a small round paper smiling face for each child. You may choose to bring pins or tape to fasten one to each child’s clothing.
Draw small pictures of food or cut them out of magazines (if available). Provide enough so that each child can have at least two pictures. Include a wide variety of healthy foods, and also pictures of tobacco products, tea or coffee, and alcoholic drinks.
Prepare to sing or say the words to
“For Health and Strength” (Children’s Songbook, p. 21).
CTR shield and ring.
Picture 3-6, The Prophet Joseph Smith (62002; Gospel Art Picture Kit 401); picture 3-29, Daniel Refusing the King’s Meat and Wine (62094; Gospel Art Picture Kit 114); picture 3-27, Sharing the Tricycle (62317); picture 3-30, Jumping Rope (62523); picture 3-31, Child with a Dog.
Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using.
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Want Us to Have Healthy Bodies
Ask the children to close their eyes and imagine that they each have a pet, such as a puppy. They love their pets very much and have a lot of fun with them. One day the pets seem tired and sick and will not eat their favorite food.
What could be wrong with your imaginary pet?
Why might the pet not want to eat?
Explain that the pet had eaten something that was bad for it.
How can you help your pet? (By not letting it eat food that is bad for it.)
What can happen to your body if you eat things that are not good for it?
Explain that we can harm our bodies by eating things that are not healthy. Because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knew this could happen, they gave us some commandments to help us grow up strong and happy.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Gave Us the Word of Wisdom
Pictures and discussion
Display picture 3-6, The Prophet Joseph Smith. Explain that Jesus Christ told the Prophet Joseph Smith about some of the foods we should eat and some that we should not eat. Joseph Smith wrote these things down to guide us. These instructions are called the Word of Wisdom, found in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants. (Hold up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants.)
Explain that the foods we should eat include vegetables, beans, a little meat, fruits, and grains such as wheat (bread and noodles) and rice.
Jesus Christ also warned us about things that could harm our bodies, such as tobacco, hot drinks such as tea and coffee, and wine and other alcoholic drinks. Recent prophets have also warned us not to use harmful drugs. (Help the children understand that not all people who smoke; drink tea, coffee, or alcohol; or use drugs are bad. Some people do not even know that these things are bad for their bodies.)
Explain that Jesus Christ also told us that meat should be used sparingly. Explain that it is good for us to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Display pictures of active children (picture 3-27, Sharing the Tricycle; picture 3-30, Jumping Rope; picture 3-31, Child with a Dog). Make sure the children understand that the Word of Wisdom is given to help us keep our bodies healthy and strong and that we are happier when we obey its guidelines.
Place the two faces (or bags), one smiling and one sad, on the floor. Display the pictures of food and drink. Let the children take turns selecting a picture of a food. Allow them to decide in which bag or pile each food belongs. Discuss which foods will help their bodies grow strong and healthy.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Want Us to Be Healthy and Strong
Scripture, picture, and story
Show picture 3-29, Daniel Refusing the King’s Meat and Wine, and relate the scriptural story illustrated by the picture (see Daniel 1). Explain that Daniel knew that the rich meat and wine from the king were not good for his body and would not make him strong. He was brave and refused the king’s offer. He chose to eat foods made of vegetables and grains (pulse) and asked for pure water to drink. Explain that the king eventually found Daniel and his three friends to be the healthiest and wisest of all. (This is the same Daniel who was later cast into the lions’ den for praying to God when the king had forbidden it and was saved miraculously by God.)
Read Daniel 1:17 to the children, and explain that Heavenly Father blessed them for taking care of their bodies.
Encourage the children to follow Daniel’s example when they are offered something that would be unhealthy for their bodies. Let the children briefly discuss or role-play what they could do to choose the right.
With the children, sing or say the words to “For Health and Strength.” If the children are familiar with this, you could try singing it as a round:
Display the CTR shield or a CTR ring. Emphasize the importance of choosing the right way to keep our bodies strong. Ask a few questions from the lesson as a quick review, such as the following:
Jesus taught us how we should keep our bodies healthy and strong. Where can we read about this in the scriptures? (Doctrine and Covenants 89.)
We call this the __________of ____________________. (Word of Wisdom.)
Why do you think it is called the Word of Wisdom?
What are some good things that we should eat and drink?
What are some things that could be harmful to our bodies?
How did Daniel show his courage? (By saying “no” to unhealthy foods.)
What can you do when someone offers you something unhealthy? (Ask them about some specific items, such as cigarettes, drugs, or even too much candy. Help the children learn and practice ways to respond to such temptations.)
Give each child a smiling face (you may pin or tape it to their clothing) to remind them that they are happier when they choose healthy foods to eat.
Ask the child giving the closing prayer to thank Heavenly Father for healthy food and strong bodies.
Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”
You may decide to bring a small healthy snack to share with the children, such as fruit or crackers. (Check with the parents of the children before doing so to ensure that none of the children have allergies or other negative reactions to a food. Do not bring food on a fast Sunday.)
Sing or say the words to the second verse of
“In Our Lovely Deseret” (Hymns,no. 307) with the children.That the children may live longAnd be beautiful and strong,Tea and coffee and tobacco they despise,Drink no liquor, and they eatBut a very little meat;They are seeking to be great and good and wise.
For younger children, you might make a simple puppet out of paper or cloth with a mouth that opens wide. Show pictures of food or describe various foods. Open the puppet’s mouth wide for good foods and close it for things that should not be taken into the body. Or you could invite the children to open and close their mouths as you show or describe various foods. (See the Friend, Nov. 1993,
Invite the children to role-play the story of Daniel and his friends refusing the rich food of the king and choosing the simple food they knew was more healthy.