One of the things I love most about our Heavenly Father’s plan is that He created us all as unique individuals with different talents, preferences, and challenges. This is especially apparent when you work with children.
After spending even just a few minutes with a group of them, you can immediately see that they each have distinct personalities. It soon becomes clear that if you want to teach them anything, you’ll need to adapt your lesson, at least a little bit, for each one.
Some children learn best by acting things out. Others prefer to read the material. While others might learn best through a dialogue or discussion between the teacher and the students. Since it’s not practical to teach a separate lesson to each child, I think one of the best things you can do is vary your approach from week to week. That way each child in your group or home has a chance to participate in his or her preferred style.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for how to present the same material in multiple formats. We’ll use this week’s theme, “Families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan,” as our example.
- Have the children work together to create a poster, showing Heavenly Father’s plan. Ask them where on the poster a family begins. Include a temple on the poster and talk about how families that are sealed in the temple can last forever.
- Invite the children to talk about their own families and share special memories or experiences. Ask them what makes their families unique, what kinds of traditions they have, and how they feel about each other. Discuss how Heavenly Father gave us families to help us learn and become more like Him.
- Show the children your family history pedigree on paper or on familysearch.org. Talk about the importance of family history work. If you have experience indexing, and if the children are old enough to read, you might want to try completing a batch together.
- Sing songs about families from the Children’s Songbook, such as “Families Can Be Together Forever” (188), “I Have a Family Tree” (199), “I Love to See the Temple” (95), and “Love Is Spoken Here” (190).
- Bring a short paper chain and some extra strips of paper and tape. Tell the children that families are like a chain and that each person is linked to the other people in the family by covenants and ordinances. Then tell the children you are thinking of a family member or an important idea about families or Heavenly Father’s plan. Have them guess what word you are thinking of. Each time they guess correctly, let them attach another link to the chain.
- Watch one or two of the following “Happy Families” videos from the Mormon Channel on Youtube and talk about how families love one another, have fun together, and help each other.
- Have older children write a letter to a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. Have the child thank that person for his or her help and example. Include a special family memory. When the children are done, discuss how important it is to honor the members of our family and to show gratitude for what they have done to create good opportunities for us.
- Ask a few older members of your ward or family to attend and talk for a minute or two about why families are important, what it means to be sealed together, or another related topic. (Depending on who you ask, you may want to modify the specific topics to fit your guests.) Seat each guest in a different part of the room or house. Have the children reverently divide up into groups, if needed, and then visit each person to listen.
I hope that these ideas will help you present the concept of eternal families in ways that work for the children you love. These same ideas could be adapted for other lessons to add variety to your teaching methods and help all of your children learn the important truths you want them to know.