Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reports on Famous Artists

Two weeks before this activity, the girls were asked to pic a famous artist from a list I prepared in advance. I chose easily recognizable names from various artistic periods and genres. They were asked to present a short report on the artists life, including trivia and examples of their artwork. The girls learned a lot about the artists and about art in general during this activity.

Father's Day Dinner Plan

For this activity, my partner and I brought several cookbooks and had the girls look through them and write out recipes on index cards that they would like to try. We encouraged them to start their own recipe box or book that they could add to as they grew up.
We encouraged them to use the recipes they selected to plan, shop for and prepare a meal for their father on Father's Day. We told them to try to pick recipes that would be easy for them to prepare on their own or with just a little help from Mom. For those girls that do not have a father in their home to celebrate Father's Day with, we suggested that they prepare this meal for their family.

Put your Best Foot Forward Mother/Daughter Picnic

This activity can be held either indoors or outdoors depending on weather. I laid out blankets on the floor of the primary room for our picnic. We provided the sandwiches and lemonade and we asked all the girls and their mothers to bring a side dish. I also asked one of the mothers to bring a special cake to celebrate the birthday of her daughter who was coming to Activity Days for the first time.
After everyone ate, we had all the girls (with their mom's help) trace their foot onto a piece of paper. Inside the foot they wrote two quotes: "To stay on your toes - get on your knees" and "Don’t pray for Heavenly Father to guide your footsteps unless you’re willing to move your feet". Then the girls cut out the foot to take home with them. Some of the moms did a foot too! We encouraged the girls to have personal and family prayers every day.
Then we had each of the girls share something they enjoyed or learned in Activity Days over the last six months.

Mother's Day Cards and Picture Frames

We made two different crafts at this activity: A mother's day card and a picture frame. I took pictures of the girls at a previous activity and had those available for this night.

For both projects we used pre-cut blank cards with envelopes, fingerpaint, markers and colored pencils.

I found this cute idea for Fingerprint cards online:

Flower Card
1. Use acrylic craft paints to paint a child’s pointing finger. Use this for the center dot of each flower. We used pink, blue and purple for our centers.
2. To make the petals, paint the thumb first, apply it to the paper. Next paint the pointing finger and apply it to the paper. Repeat this process for each finger so that there is a different finger for each petal. Repeat for each flower
3. Use a small paint brush to add the stem, then use child’s thumb to create the leaves.

Heart card
1. To make the heart card, begin by very lightly drawing a simple heart onto the construction paper.
2. Next, squirt out some paint onto newspaper or paper plate. Have child dip the tips of their fingers into the paint and press onto construction paper following the heart shape. Use a contrasting color to fill in the heart.
3. Use crayon or marker to write “Happy Mother’s Day” on the card.

Love card
1. For the “love” card, have child hold their right hand in the shape of an “L”. Be sure it is their right hand and not the left. Paint the “L” shape portion of their hand and help them to press it onto the paper.
2. Have the child make an “O” shape with their hand, paint it, then press to the paper.
3. Paint the child’s pointing and middle finger for the “V” and press onto the paper.
4. Using the child’s pointing finger, paint then press to the paper for the long side of the “E”. Paint the top part of their pointing finger to add the horizontal lines of the “E”.
5. Use a crayon or marker to write “Mom is” above the word “Love”.

Picture Frames:

I pre-cut a square hole out of the front of each of the blank cards about the size of the picture I printed out of each of the girls.
The girls decorated the frame with paint, markers, etc
The pictures were printed out on paper with adhesive already on the backs but regular photo paper and glue or double-sided tape will work as well.
Stick the picture to the inside of the card, making sure that the picture shows through the hole well.
Glue the card shut

Grow in the Gospel

For this activity we talked about how a seed needs to be taken care of to make a beautiful plant. We discussed what the seed needs: sunlight, soil, water. The little seed starts out small but it can grow to be a plant hundreds of times bigger than the littel seed started out. We compared that to how our knowledge and faith needs to be cared for to grow a beautiful testimony.

The girls filled empty egg cartons with soil and planted different kinds of seeds in the mini-pots. I told the girls that once the seeds had sprouted well, that they could transplant the little seedlings into a regular pot. The little pots can easily be scooped out with a spoon when the plants are ready to be transplanted.

Easter Games

To continue the Easter celebration, we had an Easter Game night. I brought plastic Easter eggs with a hint about the game we were going to play inside them. I let the girl who said the opening prayer start by opening the first egg. The girl who came in first place for that game got to pick the next egg and so on.

“These eggs want you to be PUSHY and NOSY!!”
Egg Roll – The girls had to push plastic eggs with their noses to the finish line. Because the plastic eggs were empty, they were rolling all over the place!

“Keeping your chin up would be a bad idea!!”
Pass the Easter Egg – The girls were split into two teams and had to pass a plastic egg under their chins from girl to girl. If it droped, that team had to start over from beginning. First team to pass all the way won.

“Quack, Quack, Waddle, Waddle”
Duck Walk Race – The girls had to squat and grab their ankles from behind and "waddle" to the finish line.

“Hop till you drop!”
Bunny Hop – The girls were split into two teams again and a relay race. They had to put a pillow between their legs and hop across the room and back and then pass the pillow to the next girl. To make this game harder, you can also have them pass the pillow without using their hands.

“Help! I’ve lost my tail!”
Pin the tail on the bunny – Each of the girls was blindfolded, given a cotton ball with a pin attached, spun around 5 times and pointed toward the board with the picture of the bunny on it.

The Most Beautiful Bunny Contest – Each girl had a picture of a bunny which they could color and decorate in whatever way they wished. The pictures were put up to a vote for prettiest, most creative, funniest, most colorful, etc

Learning about St. Patrick's Day, Easter & the Resurrection

I created a Game Show-type game for the kids to learn about 3 categories: St. Patrick's Day, Easter and the Resurrection. I had pieces of paper pinned to a board with points written on them; 100, 200, etc. The higher the points, the harder the question. I divided the class into two teams and they took turns picking a question under one of the categories. If they answered correctly, they got the points and it was the next team's turn. If they answered incorrectly, the other team got to try to answer and then got their own turn.

The girls learned a lot about the holidays as well as aspects of the gospel.

Please contact me if you would like a copy of the questions and answers in print format.

Chinese New Year / Zodiac

During this activity, I told the girls the story of the Chinese Zodiac and how the animals came to be chosen for the zodiac. Then the girls each made a chinese lantern with the picture of their zodiac animal printed on it and I helped them draw the chinese characters that represent that animal. I told the girls a little bit about chinese astrology and we had fun talking about the types of personalities each of the animal signs are supposed to have!

Instructions for Chinese Lantern:
Decorate a piece of paper; draw, color, write, etc
Fold lengthwise and cut (2 inches to edge of paper)
Unfold and glue into cylinder shape
Pinch cut strips to open holes
Glue or tape strip of paper to the top for a handle

Card Making

For this activity, we had the girls make home-made Thank You cards. To make it simple, I bought a package of pre-cut blank cards with envelopes. They used markers and colored pencils to create whatever kind of card they wanted.
I suggested that they could make a Thank You card for anyone they wanted and if we had time, they could make a second card of any kind at all.
I stressed the importance of showing appreciation to people for all that they do for us, even if it is just that they are our friend.

Popcorn Day

National Popcorn Day is January 19th, so for a December Activity Days, we talked about the history of popcorn. I had numerous facts that I found online, and I shared quite a few with the girls. We also talked about how popcorn pops - a mini science lesson! That part also had information on the different shapes that popcorn pops into and why! The girls had a really great time and for snack we had.... Popcorn!

Contact me if you would like the Popcorn Trivia I gathered from all over the web and the facts on how popcorn pops!

We didn't have time at this Activity, but you could also string popcorn or make popcorn pictures. There are quite a lot of books that can be checked out at a library as learning tools as well!

Table Manners

In this Activity Days, I taught the girls about proper table manners in formal and informal dining experiences. We discussed everything from talking with your mouth full and showing appreciation to the host/hostess to proper use of a napkin and how to use the cutlery appropriately.
I also showed them examples of the types of place settings they might see in various dining situations. I found several examples in a cookbook I have and also online. I had place settings set up on a table for them to look at informal and formal dining. I also brought a picture with me of a place setting for a 7-course meal. Most people will never have to be faced with such a daunting challenge, but the girls really enjoyed looking at the picture and were amazed at the number of glasses and cutlery.
I suggested that the girls put their new knowledge into use and try out some of these table manners during their own family meals. I also encouraged them to volunteer to set the table for their parents and show their family what they learned about place settings!

Cooperation Games

We focused on cooperation during this Activity Days. We played several games relating to cooperation. The girls had to cooperate in order for them to accomplish their goals.

I found the following ideas online:

TITLE: Dragon's Jewels
AUTHOR: Dan Beaubien, Altamont Elementary; Klamath Falls, OR
PURPOSE: Teach cooperation, coordination, communication,ability, fun.
OBJECTIVES: For Dragon - guard the jewel and touch (or freeze) the Knights as they enter the circle. For Knights - get the jewel with out being touched(frozen) by the Dragon.

Have the class sit down in a circle with their legscrossed and enough space on either side for a person to passthrough in and out of the circle. Choose one person to be the Dragon and two others to bethe Knights. The Dragon goes into the circle with the jewels (a beanbag or a small ball). When he/she drops the jewel it can nolonger be touched by anyone except the Knights. If thedragon should touch the jewel (even accidentally) it willfreeze the Dragon. The two Knights try to enter into thecircle where the jewel is being guarded and with out beingtouched (frozen) grab the jewel and get it out of thecircle. When Knights achieve objective or two minutes havepasses (and Dragon wins) then pick new players.

Communication and Cooperation:

Divide the class into teams of four each. Blindfold each student that is going to do the exercise. Let one team go at a time so students in the class can observe the team problem solving. Coil a rope up in a large play area. Tell the students they are going to make a square with the rope and each team member must end up holding one corner of the square. They will need to discuss strategy and plan how they are going to proceed. They will need to be reminded to keep talking to one another and support one another in this exercise until they are ready to say they are done. Students may remove the blindfolds when the facilitator says they may do so. The facilitator may also set a time limit or time the team to raise the level of urgency in getting their task completed.

Cooperation – Land Skiing
Two or three children stand on long boards with ropes attached to each end. The children must work and move together to go from one end of the room to another. If someone falls off, the group must start over at the beginning.

The girls had a really good time with these games and learned to work together for a common goal.

Daddy/Daughter Pumpkin Carving

All the girls and their fathers carved pumpkins in this activity. The two of them got to work together to create the kind of pumpkin each girl wanted. (One girl even carved a "H.M." pumpkin, meaning Hannah Montana!)
After they were done, all the girls got to talk about their favorite Activity Days activity and what they learned in the past year.

Giant Board Game

In this activity, I created a giant "Life"-style board game on the floor of the Primary Room. They had to try to get from the starting square to the finish square first. In order to move, they had to answer a gospel-related question and if they got it right, they rolled a giant die and moved the amount of squares indicated. Some of the squares were blank and other squares had instructions like: move back 1 space, move forward 2 spaces, hop on one foot until your next turn, flap your arms like a bird until your next turn, pretend to be a monkey until your next turn, etc.. you can get really creative with the instructions on the squares. You can either stop the game when someone wins or you can keep going until all of the children have finished.
The girls really had a good time with this game and were able to put their knowledge of the gospel to the test!

Celebrating Birthdays

We had an activity night where we learned about birthdays and how other countries and families celebrate them. We talked about other special birthdays, like Coming of Age birthdays for different cultures, Sweet 16 and Golden Birthdays. We also took that oportunity to celebrate everyone's birthday all at the same time. Then the girls had a chance to talk about what their families do for their birthdays. Everyone enjoyed hearing about all the different birthday traditions all over the world and in different families.
To make this activity fun, I put up pictures of different countries on the blackboard and let the girls pick a country that looked interesting to them. They then read on the back of the page what some of the birthday traditions are for that country.

We also had a list of all the birthstones and birth month flowers and helped the girls find out which one was theirs and what it meant.

For snack we had (of course) a birthday cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to eachother!

If you would like a copy of the word document that has all the countries and birthday traditions I used that night, please feel free to contact me and I will send. The word document does not include the pictures of the countries, only the traditions celebrated there.


During this activity, we taught the girls the basics of volleyball. Most of them had never played before, so we just went over how to serve and pass. The girls had such a good time that we didn't even have time to go over positions and rules.
Teaching the girls volleyball would be great for several activity nights so that they can learn the game completely. It keeps them busy and engaged and they just have a wonderful time!

Washing the Nursery Toys

Supplies: Buckets, dish soap, water, wash cloths, towels

Washing the Nursery Toys is a wonderful service project and fun for the girls. By the time we were done, the toys were clean and the girls were soaked! Make sure to tell them in advance to wear clothes that are okay to get wet.
We took all the wash-safe toys and small nursery chairs out onto the lawn and scrubbed them all down. After all the toys and chairs were washed, dried and returned to the Nursery, the girls had a little water fight.

This is a great service project that can be one at least once a year!

Hand-Made Journals

During this activity, I taught the girls how to make home-made journals. It was a very simple hand-made book, easy enough for the youngest girls there.
We also discussed the importance of keeping a journal and what types of things you can put in your journal. Recording your life, thoughts, feelings, poetry, drawings and many other things are all important and can be put down in your journal. The First Presidency and all church leadership have encouraged us to keep a record of our lives.

To make this simple 5"x8 1/2" book:

Journal Cover - Cut one 8 1/2 by 11 inch colored paper in half widthwise

Journal Pages - Cut five to ten 8 1/2 by 11 inch plain or printer paper in half widthwise

Insert plain paper in between the two halves of the colored paper

Punch 2 or 3 holes on the left side

Use ribbon, yarn or twine to tie the book together. You can tie them in a variety of ways. See the picture below for some examples.

Decorate as desired: You can use stamps, hole punches, markers, crayons, pencils, etc.

These little books are super cute and easy. They can be used for anything. Journals, Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.

Game NIght

I brought several games: Jenga, Don't break the Ice, Jumping Monkeys, ect and we all had a fun game night. It was a good oportunity for the girls to get to know some of the newer girls who had just turned 8 and to just have fun!
It was also a good chance for the girls to practice good sportsmanship and cooperation.

Mother/Daughter Dinner

We had a nice Mother/Daughter dinner. We served the rolls that the girls made and provided the main course and beverages. We had each girl and their mother bring a side/salad.

The girls performed their silly skit and took turns sharing thier talents if they had one prepared.

Afterwords, we had each of the girls come up and recieve a certificate for participating in Activity Days.

Mother/Daughter Dinner Preparation - Dinner Rolls & Skits

I was out on Maternity Leave when the girls had this activity, but my partner was brave and taught the girls how to make dinner rolls. The rolls were prepared for the upcoming Mother/Daughter dinner.

They made plans to share various talents that they have: Playing an instrument, sharing something they made, etc.

They also practiced a funny skit that would be performed on that night:
Doctor is sitting at his desk, a patient walks in scratching all over. "Dr. I'm itching all over, can you help me?" Doctor gives some medicine and the patient leaves. After the patient leaves, the doctor starts scratching too.
Another patient walks in holding their head. "Dr. I have a really bad headache, can you help me?" Doctor gives some medicine and the patient leaves. After the patient leaves, the doctor alternately holds head and keeps on scratching.
Another patient walks in hunched over and holding their stomach. "Dr. I have a really bad stomach ache, can you help me?" Doctor gives some medicine and the patient leaves. After the patient leaves, the doctor holds head, scratches and hunches over, holding stomach.
Another patient walks in (pillow under shirt) looking pregnant. "Dr?"
The doctor jumps up, screams and runs off stage.
The patient says "What's his/her problem?"

The various ailments leading up to the pregnant patient can be changed and/or swithched around.

Easter Egg Decorating

Supplies: Hard Boiled Eggs (enough for each child to have 1 or 2), dye-filled q-tips, trash-bags to lay out on the tables for messes.

I decided on the q-tips because the traditional egg dying dip sets was a bit overwhelming with the prospect of 12 girls and only 2 adults to supervise. The girls used the dye-filled q-tips to "paint" the eggs and this allowed a certain amount of freedom that egg dipping doesn't give. The girls were able to paint flowers, squiggles and other designs on their eggs.

A word of warning: Once the eggs ran out, the girls used the rest of the time painting their teeth with the (thankfully) non-toxic food dye. This activity would go better with either another craft project or a nice story about Easter.


Supplies needed: Play-Doh, Drinking Straws, Small disposible cups, hand-full of pennies

We instructed the girls to use the play-doh and straws to construct a support for a cup. The cup was not to touch the table and the girls could come up with any way they thought they might be able to keep the cup from falling or touching the table. After they finished their construction, we then counted the amount of pennies it would take to make their construction fall down.
Some of the creations barely held 2 or 3 pennies, but there were one or two that we were hard pressed to make it fall down. There was even one that was so stable that we filled the cup to the very top and it still stayed up!
We then asked the girls about how they would change their construction to make it more sturdy and able to withstand the weight of the pennies. It was a great learning experience for everyone!

Modesty - Paper Dolls

I found a paper doll print-out online and brought it to Activity Days. We had the girls cut them out, color them and then design modest clothing for them. The girls had a really great time making clothes for their dolls and had some really cute designs.
We talked about that different types and styles of clothing that are immodest. We also talked about what it meant to be modest and why it is important to respect our bodies by being modest.

Since there have been so many requests, I have decided to include the link here:

Origami/Chinese New Year

The Japanese art of paper folding.
We taught the girls how to fold Origami on small, square colored paper. The paper needs to be fairly thin so that the folds don't get too bulky. You can also buy paper that is specifically made for Origami. We started with a paper crane and told them about the tradition that if you can fold 100 paper cranes in your lifetime, you will have your wish. Most of the girls had their paper cranes done fairly quickly, so they learned to make several different types of folded paper creations.
We also talked about some of the Chinese New Year traditions and beliefs.
For snack we had Fortune Cookies.

There are many books on origami as well as resources on the web. If you run a search for "Origami", quite a lot of sites come up with diagrams and instructions.

Appreciating our Friends

We sat the girls in a circle on the floor and they each had a sheet of paper with the names of all the girls in the class on it. They were instructed to write something nice about the other girls in the class. We cut the pages up and gave the girls the comments written about her to keep in an envelope. We talked about how everyone is different and we should appreciate the differences. It would be boring if everyone was exactly the same.
For our snack, we had a mixed bag of candy. We talked about how all the different candy makes the mix much better and that it would be boring if we ate the same candy all the time.

13th Article of Faith

We helped the girls learn the 13th Article of Faith with a word scramble. They had to figure out the order the word strips went in and then explain what each part meant. We had a dictionary available so they could look up what chaste, benevolent, virtuous, etc. meant so that they could better understand what this Article of Faith meant.

Tying Quilts for Project Linus

Taught the girls how to tie quilts and donated the completed blankets to Project Linus.


Taught the girls how to balance a checkbook and manage accounts. Talked about forcasting and planning for future expenses.