Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
Because Faith in God is held on weekdays, it’s easy to slip into a “having fun” mode and to forget that it has a spiritual purpose. While the new title is officially Activity Days, I like calling it Faith in God because it reminds me what I’m supposed to help the children gain.
Many teachers think you can do one or the other, but the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive. An activity that teaches a gospel principle can have an element of fun in it. In my Faith in God classes, we begin with a brief lesson, informal with lots of discussion, to make sure they understand the principle and know what the activity that follows will accomplish. Then we do an activity in which they practice the principle, learn how to do it, or make something that will serve as a reminder or help at home. I feel that on Sunday, you learn the doctrine. On Wednesday, you live it.
For example, one requirement relates to improving your academic studies. The children had asked for help in finding good books to read and in making reading easier and more fun, since some of them struggle. So we focused on reading to fill that requirement. We started with a lesson on how to improve reading skills, something simple that was mostly discussion. I made sure to include everything from the requirement. The children read word strips with ideas and also contributed their own ideas. We talked about why reading matters, and read a few scriptures on the subject. Then, we went to stations. Each station featured a different type of book. I displayed books and just asked the children if they’d read any of them. They spoke with enthusiasm of the books they liked, which helped the kids find out what their friends enjoyed. Then I told of or read one book at each station and they had a brief activity based on one book or type of book at each station. This was to help them make reading more fun. They learned they could “play” with the book after reading it.
What can you do with prayer? The requirement is very spiritual, so we started with a story and a discussion. Then we spent two weeks learning to hand sew small prayer bears to place on their pillows to remind them to pray. The bears had a satchet that held a picture of Jesus and a quote from a general authority on how to make prayer meaningful. This actually completed two requirements, since making something is under talents. The bears are a take-home reminder that helps them learn to make prayer a habit. It was important, however, to give the activity meaning by including a lesson.
It’s important to have a discussion, but make it different from Sunday by having it for ten minutes and letting the children think about the gospel for themselves, while you guide the discussion through questions. When you start the activity, tell the children exactly what this has to do with the lesson, what they will learn, and how they will use it in their everyday lives. The children not only learn a gospel principle, but they learn the gospel is fun.
Faith in God Pillowcase for Girl with Crayons