I got the idea (thank you Pinterest!) to make little activity bags- one for each of the apostles and members of the first presidency and prophet- and then I printed out and laminated these cards, putting one of each in each bag. Then with every new speaker, we would go through all the bags and, together, try to determine if the picture in the bag was the same as the speaker. I think The Frog had as much fun doing this as doing the activities. I also had 3 other activities planned for when there was a long streak of other general authorities.
General commentary? It worked great! Yes, I still had to help entertain the kids, but I feel like I got sooo much more out of conference this year. I can say that I at least got the overall topic from almost every speaker, which is leaps and bounds above the previous 4 years.
Here are the activities I chose:
- Stickers- one of the best activities, believe it or not. Peach (2) and The Frog (4) both liked this and spent quite a bit of time on it because I gave them a bag of those foamy stickers that you have to peel the backs off of, which means it took more time to use each sticker :) We just put them on construction paper- their choice of color.
- Color with crayons, then water color on top- my kids just really seem to like watercolor, and doing crayons first just extended the time spent on it a bit.
- Glitter glue symmetry prints- scribble with glitter glue and then fold in half to reveal. It was a bit quick, but when The Frog opened his up, he thought it was really cool.
- Draw with elmer's glue + glitter- too quick and too messy. Won't do this again with young kids.
- Finger paints- I thought it would be fun to try having them paint on tin foil, but The Frog wasn't interested in that. Peach did, but I'm realizing that for some reason, painting activities hold my kids' interest longer if they are allowed to use a paint brush.
- Painting toenails- this was an extra activity actually suggested by The Frog. This one is especially good because they have to sit still while waiting for the polish to dry. And they spend a good deal of time looking through all the colors and deciding what they want.
- Bead necklaces- this was an unassigned activity too and it was really really great for The Frog- Peach wasn't so interested and mostly threw beads everywhere. I got out a muffin tin and The Frog and I spent a good amount of time just organizing them by color first, then he made his own necklace. We did this Saturday morning session and the kids wore their necklaces (and tried on each other's) all weekend. (I ended up just making one for Peach since she wasn't that interested, but she loves wearing it.)
- Toothpick and marshmallow sculptures- I was a bit worried about this because I hate handing out treats before lunch, but The Frog was very disciplined about not eating any of his sculptures until after lunch, and it was a fun, quiet, activity to do in the afternoon too! The Frog got really into this and built some pretty cool things! Peach mostly just kept sneaking a marshmallow and running away. haha.
- Origami- I found a Halloween origami set at JoAnn's for $1. It's a good idea, especially for the future, but a bit too old for my kids. The Frog just watched me do it for him. Peach was wholly uninterested.
- Halloween lanterns- I really like having these cute lanterns around, but I didn't plan it out very well. I just kind of made this activity up. I cut Halloween shapes out with my Silhouette, which, by the way, doesn't do great on construction paper. Good to know. I wish I had colored vellum lying around... Anyway, we glued Halloween shapes to a white piece of paper and then wrapped them around a spaghetti sauce jar. I quickly discovered that the shapes were not staying curved to the paper and I pretty much had to go over everything with packing tape. Even so, I think they turned out super cute, and it was fun to light them during dinner and even breakfast this morning (it's darker out when we eat breakfast than dinner :D).
- Tissue paper and tape snakes- we just took tissue paper and crinkled it into a long "snake", then wrapped it with tape to get it to stay. Didn't take as long as I hoped and I had to help The Frog more than I thought I would. He did play with it briefly, but it didn't take as long to decorate as I had hoped. Peach was uninterested, and instead hid balls of tissue paper in everyone's shoes. So I guess she was quietly occupied...
- Cookies- since the beginning of the second Saturday session always begins with a lot of "business" items, I thought that might be a good time to bake and eat some cookies. (I made the dough the night before). It went over well, as you might imagine, and I felt good that we all had lunch already.
- Painting on wooden magnets- I got 2 of these little kits at JoAnn's for $1. I didn't realize that the paint wasn't washable until I got them out to work on, but it worked out okay and both kids spent enough time on them to make it worth it. I did have to be very controlling about having only 1 paint cup open at a time so we could wash our brushes and so I would only have to keep track of one color to not spill and stain everything.
- Play dough- this is normally great, but The Frog napped for the first half of the very last session of conference, so he kind of had a queue of crafts to work on and I think he wanted to do some of the other things that he doesn't play with regularly. In the future, I might actually make play dough and part of the fun could be measuring the ingredients and kneading in the coloring.
- Legos- short lived for the same reason as above.
- Blocks- The Frog and I built a pretty cool castle, until Peach woke up from her nap and kept knocking everything over.
|The Frog was so pleased with their projects, he wanted them hung up. This is now our "Conference Craft door"|
|The Frog building with marshmallows and toothpicks|
|Halloween lanterns glowing at breakfast|
|Tissue paper and tape "snake"|
- Leaves- The Frog had collected some pretty leaves earlier in the week, so I pressed them and thought we could do something with them, but we kind of ran out of time, and it was one of the things that we would have done while The Frog was napping.
- Scissors and punches- we never did this one because it was associated with D. Todd Christofferson and he only spoke in the Priesthood session. Typically, though, my kids love to go to town on blank piece of paper with a pair of scissors, especially when I get out my funny scissors with different cutting edges.
Some other things I want to remember:
Peach really loved listening to all the musical numbers and would sometimes request that Jay and I sing along with the Mo-tab or she would come in and sing her version of "I Am A Child of God" while the choir sang whatever they were singing. So cute.
It was funny to hear The Frog compare the pictures to the speakers- "no, he doesn't have glasses", "this guy has white hair", "he's kinda fat- yeah, that's him!"
I'm very pleased with how the weekend went. I made a special breakfast both days- waffles yesterday and pumpkin cinnamon rolls today- and we did a picnic lunch on the lawn yesterday. I'm hoping that the kids will grow to love conference and look forward to it when it comes.