Honoring the Sabbath With Kids


August 3, 2012 by FHElessons

A couple weeks ago I gave a talk in church on Preparing for the Sabbath.  You can use this talk as an outline for an FHE lesson.  Find it HERE.

Begin your lesson with the Primary song,“Saturday is a Special Day”, and note the different ways to prepare for the Sabbath, just as it says in the talk.

One of the concepts discussed in the talk is that you should teach your children to prepare for the Sabbath in 3 areas of reverence: Activities, Appearance, and Attitude.  For myself, I have no trouble whatsoever coming up with Sabbath Day activities.  I am always in need of rest, and I have plenty of personal history and family history projects to keep me busy.  I also love reading and writing and doing quiet crafts and other constructive activities, so I could easily fill every day of my existence with activities that are in keeping with the Sabbath.  However, in raising boys, I suddenly found it very difficult to come up with activities to occupy my family while still be honoring the Sabbath.  It seems that all the activities that boys really like are things that a person normally would not do on the Sabbath, and they’re not too fond of quiet, contemplative activities.  While raising young boys, I found that I dreaded the years when we were on the early church schedule.  Not only was it difficult to get everyone out the door on time, but after church there was an entire day to fill with activities that would entertain or at least occupy my children while still being in keeping with the Sabbath.  It seemed an impossible task.

Because of this, I have since been collecting Sabbath activity ideas.  I have listed my collection below, but if you have any ideas – things that have worked well with your own children or things your parents did for you – PLEASE share them with us in a comment!

For an activity to go with your lesson, you can also put your family’s brains to work and brainstorm a list of Sabbath activities to do.  One great idea I’ve heard is to make a “Sabbath Box”.  This is a box containing materials for different activities that can be done on the Sabbath.  You can rotate the items in your Sabbath box periodically so that the kids will not get bored with what’s in there.  Each Sunday they can open the Sabbath box and find fun things to do that are in keeping with the Sabbath.  So another activity to go with this lesson is to gather the materials and create your first Sabbath box.

Here are some ideas.  Again, please comment with your own great ideas for the Sabbath box or for Sabbath Day activities.  Thanks!

Things to Put in a Sabbath Day Kit

· Church videos or Nature videos

· CD’s of church music or Scripture Scouts

· Art supplies

· Craft supplies (kits such as building a model airplane)

· Special books that can only be used on Sundays such as quiet books or pop-up books

· A chapter book that Mom or Dad will read aloud to kids on Sundays

· A kids’ cookbook with fun recipes that they can make all by themselves

· Printed photos and scrapbooking supplies

· Recording device and list of questions – Kids can interview grandparents, parents, or each other and record family history stories

· Play dough, salt dough, or clay

· Set of musical instruments so kids can make a band

· Costumes and play scripts

· Book on puppet making and supplies to make some of them

· Balloons & string for playing Volley-balloon

· Print the Bible or Book of Mormon cards found in PDF form at THISlink. Print the card backs onto the back. Cut out & laminate. Adapt to any card games.

· Legos

· A nativity set (kids love to play with these)

· Boxed games from the game section at Deseret Book or other LDS games

· Marshmallows or gumdrops and toothpicks for creating sculptures

· Masking tape (for creating a track all over the carpet, furniture, etc) and hot wheels cars to play on the track after it’s created

· Plastic cups with the bottoms cut off. Then tie a knot at the end of a balloon and cut off the top of the balloon (about a half inch) that is opposite the tie. Stretch this over the open top of the cup with the tie in the center. Put these “shooters” in the kit along with some pompoms as ammo. They put a pompom in the cup, pull the balloon tie back, and release it to shoot.

· A set of little plastic animals, some paint, and some paper. Kids can dip animals’ feet into the paint and make animal tracks in designs on their paper.

· A book on origami and some paper

· A stack of old newspapers and tape or a stapler. Kids can roll sheets of newspaper into tubes and then use the stapler or tape to attach tubes together to make the frame of a fort. Make the fort as elaborate as you want. CheckTHISlink for instructions.

· A book on making paper airplanes and supplies to make them

· A bunch of old cardboard boxes and supplies to make large ones into a city or to put small ones together to make a giant castle. Decorate the city or the castle and then play in it.

· A book on drawing (real sketches or cartoon characters or whatever) along with new sketch pads and pencils

· A couple Costco sized packs of red plastic cups. Let the kids build towers like in THISpost.

· A bunch of old wrapping paper tubes with some marbles or hot wheels cars. Cut the tubes in half length-wise to make troughs. Let the kids tape the troughs to the wall at different angles and heights to build a marble run or hot wheels car run. Start the marble or car at the high end of the highest trough and it will roll down and fall to the next and the next until it gets to the floor.

· Photocopy lots of the Funstuff pages from various issues of the Friend magazine

· Yarn with crochet hooks or knitting wheels

· Sidewalk chalk (it’s fun to draw on the trampoline as well as the sidewalk)

· Cd’s of classical music and paper and crayons or markers. Put the music on and have the kids color a picture according to how the music makes them feel.

Sabbath Day Games & Ideas

· Article of Faith cards: Cut Articles of Faith or several scriptures which have been memorized by players into words. Mount the cut words on cards. Deal six cards to each player and put the rest into a draw pile. Take turns starting a scripture or Article of Faith. As each player takes his turn, add an appropriate card from your hand to your own and the other players’ sentences. If you do not have a card that can be played, discard one card to the bottom of the draw pile and take a new one. If drawn card is still inappropriate, pass. Winner is the first one to use all the cards in his or her hand.

· Why I Love You:Each Sunday, feature a different family member in a “Why I Love You” spotlight. Display a picture of that person in a prominent place for a week. Let everyone in the family add to a list of why they love that person and what their good qualities and talents are. Each time someone adds something to the list, they may choose a small candy from a jar nearby.

· Don’t Eat the Prophet: To encourage family to know who the current prophets and apostles are, photocopy their pictures from the center of the conference issue of the Ensign. Play a simple game by putting a small treat (M&M, small marshmallow or nut, etc.) on each individual’s picture. Divide into partners. One partner decides which one of the individuals pictured is going to be “it”, and either writes it down, or tells mom or dad. The other partner tries to not name who was picked. He will call each apostle or member of the First Presidency by name. (“Was it President Thomas S. Monson?”) For every person he names who was not the named, the other partner gets to eat all the remaining treats.

· Interviews: Keep a notebook with a section for each child to use for interviews. An interview consists of us meeting one-on-one with the children, and asking them, “Okay. What would you like to talk about? What would you like help with? What would you like to see done differently around here? What would you like to have happen in the next week or so? It there anything you want or need that isn’t being taken care of?” Take careful notes of what is discussed and follow through during the week. At the end of the interview, mom and dad might then have a request for the child such as, “it would mean a lot to me if you would work on (whatever) during the week.” Because they have had their concerns listened to, they are usually very willing to work on our concerns. Review the children’s list with them during the next interview, so they can see that you did what they asked where you could.

· Study Your Scriptures: Use the Bible or Book of Mormon cards from the Sabbath Day Box to play Study Your Scriptures (Go Fish) as follows: Attempt to gather all 4 cards relating to a single prophet by asking specifically for that prophet’s activity. The 3 activities you don’t have are listed at the bottom of the card you do have. Ask a specific person for one of those specific activities. If they don’t have it, they will tell you to “Study your Scriptures”, and you will draw a card from the deck.

· Bingo Cards: To encourage kids to listen during church, print out the Bingo cards found HERE. Let them mark off a square if they hear it mentioned during the talks.

· Lego Scriptionary: Write the names of different people or stories from the scriptures onto slips of paper. Draw a paper, and each person or team must build something with their legos that represents that person or scripture (for Nephi, they could build a boat or a sword or brass plates).

More Things to Do on the Sabbath

· Visit relatives

· Work on scout stuff (or Personal Progress or Faith in God)

· Go on a walk

· Do a craft

· Listen to music

· Make music

· Read

· Picnic on the temple grounds

· Picnic out in nature

· Make blanket forts and play games inside

· Cook a treat to eat (Cooking seems like work to parents but can be play for kids. Also, cooking together can be a fun family activity)

· Let the kids make treats and doorbell ditch them to people in the neighborhood.

· Make a treat and take it to a new family who has just moved into the ward or to an elderly couple or to a family who is investigating the church or to a family who you think might like to hear about the church. Visit the family & give them the treats.

· Teach kids to do genealogy on computer

· Work on putting old photos into scrapbooks (do this every week & you won’t get behind).

· Let kids put on a play. They can spend the day rehearsing and then perform for you after dinner.

· Plan and rehearse a family recital that you will later perform at a rest home. Kids can spend the day working on their act.

· Once a month, take a video of your child performing whatever they want to perform or tape their voice while reading aloud or talking to you.

· Have kids make puppets and work on a puppet show dramatizing any scripture stories they know. Video the puppet show at the end of the day.

· Get enough copies of the script of a play for each member of your family. Divide up the parts and read it out together.

· Skype with family members who live far away.

· Create a family newsletter to send to extended family. Have each person in the family submit and article or picture.

· Offer a treat as a bribereward for anyone who writes in their journal or writes to a missionary.

· Visit a rest home and talk to, play games with, or perform for the residents.

· Watch old home movies.

8 thoughts on “Honoring the Sabbath With Kids

  1. Emily @ ReMarkable Home says:

    Love this! I have all boys (as you know) and I also dread early church for the same reason. I’m going to read over these ideas with my kids this Sunday!

  2. I can’t wait to get home and print out the sacrament bingo cards. That’s going to be a perfect solution for the boys energy in sacrament meeting. I’m definitely building that newspaper dome too with all the free newspapers we get and I usually just throw out. Lot’s of cool ideas!

  3. LauraMelissa says:

    Just found another fun Sabbath activity. Cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and use it as a racetrack for marbles. See the pictures here: http://myhomespunthreads.blogspot.com/2011/05/day-5-marble-racetrack-with-serving.html#

  4. molly Parsons says:

    I just printed out your lessons and will be excited to use them soon! Thanks so much!

  5. JMDietz says:

    I found you on Pinterest and I loved reading this article. You have put together a wonderful list of activities. Thank you!

  6. Sea.shell says:

    Amazing, thank you so much for sharing! God bless you and your family

  7. These are all wonderful ideas. I have boys too, and it used to be hard keeping them entertained when they were little. These tips sure would have come in handy way back then. Thank you for joining us on Spiritual Sunday.

  8. Great post and wonderful ideas! Glad I found this on Pinterest 😉

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at FHElessons@aol.com.

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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