Wednesday, April 2, 2014

General Conference Preparation

I'm a little late for posting last month's "creation," but that's life. It's a fairly simple one this time as far as how much artistic thought I put into it, but it is useful and applicable! April General Conference is this weekend, and this time I really want to help the kids enjoy it. I tend to get a little cranky if they're disruptive (which is ridiculous because I'm supposed to be trying  to feel the Spirit, right?), so I'm following the crowd with the idea of General Conference Packets-- basically Conference-related activities to help kids stretch their attention span throughout the meetings.
I used to leave the kids to their own devices, feeling like they ought to simply figure out how to deal with boredom and just pay attention. After all, my childhood memories of General Conference are very narrow: I was content to draw and draw and draw while I listened with half a mind. But who says my memories are perfect? Maybe there were sessions of Conference that I don't remember because I wasn't sitting still at all! And kids aren't ME.

Now, don't get too excited. I don't have a PDF of my special packet. I didn't go all out like that. What I did do is gather materials that seemed appropriate for Ender. A little from one packet, a little from another, and some of my own things thrown in. 
I didn't make one for Scarlett (not being unfair, I just know what I'm up against, and a packet isn't the answer for her).
I considered what things I hoped Ender would be thinking about, what I hoped he would be feeling, and what he would enjoy coloring. He really loves coloring, and he's extremely good at it. So Ender's packet includes a few different sections, the first section covering more activities and the rest being for coloring:

  • TALKS:
    -Some charts and pictures to help him pay attention to speakers and try to identify the prophet and apostles
    -Names of apostles written in traceable font so he can practice writing them
    -A page where he is encouraged to write how he feels when he listens to the prophet
    -A color-by-number page organized by themes (when he hears specific words, he can color numbered segments of a picture)
    -Coloring picture of Latter-day prophets from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson
    -More coloring pages depicting various stories from the scriptures (Nephi, Joseph Smith, David and Goliath, Noah's Ark, etc.)
    -A family tree to fill in with drawings of family members
    -A "happy home" picture to color
    -A temple picture to color
    This section is made entirely of images I saved from Google Image searches. Using the image search tools, select a "line drawing" picture type and "black and white" for color. 
    -The Earth with the sun and moon
    -Sea creatures
    -Woodland creatures
    -Other animals
    -What do you think Heavenly Father looks like?
    -Draw what you think it is like in Heaven.
    -What is your favorite thing to do with your sister?
    -Draw something you remember from your Adventures with Daddy.
    -What do you think the baby will look like when he is born?

In addition to the packet, I will be prepared to set the kids up with various quiet activities to keep their little hands busy when they get tired of coloring pages.

  • Drawing on a large whiteboard we can prop against the wall under the TV (seems the same as coloring, but it's novel and exciting for the kids)
  • Playdough with cookie cutters
  • Paper crafts (we have an old Childcraft Make and Do book the kids love to look through)
  • Pipe Cleaner "sculpting"
  • Puzzles
  • Building a couch-fort (as long as it doesn't block the TV, haha!)

Since Conference is several hours total (6-8 hrs over two days), I am also gearing up for some major snacks and appetizers. My kids love to snack on food, and if there's something accessible for them, they are more likely to stay entertained and happy. I don't generally do food like that; I can't handle the constant preparation and mess/cleanup of frequent snacking (not to mention the resulting lack of appetite for actual meals), so I encourage the kids to stick to mealtimes with only small snacks between. When Conference comes, however, I'm pulling out all the stops! I want my kids to be easily consoled should any of us lose patience. So here are some kid-friendly appetizer ideas I'm gathering for a . . .

General Conference Smorgasbord!

  • Popcorn
  • Cookies (I could link a recipe or two hundred, but I figure everyone has their favorite)
  • Chips and Salsa/Dip 
  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Cold Cuts (cheese and crackers and slices of meat)
  • Mini Sandwiches (I'm talking about cutting up "normal" sandwiches; there are fancy tea sandwich recipes out there, but that's not where I'm headed with this)

Options requiring more significant preparation time:

  • Pretzel Bites and Cheese
    UPDATE: That was a new recipe for us...and I wasn't that impressed. :( 
  • Pigs-in-a-Blanket
    UPDATE: Nothing really to add here except that you'll want to watch the baking time. Make the crescent roll strips pretty small for the smokies.
  • Layered Bean Dip
    UPDATE: This is the kind of thing that doesn't have to have a recipe; I included it for people who appreciate a recipe/list anyway, but I threw mine together without one.
  • Chex Snack Mix
    UPDATE: This recipe is's also pretty salty and garlic-y. Not the "best" like it says, but good.

1 comment:

  1. I love all your wonderful ideas! :) Thanks for them! I also love the couch fort idea and all the yummy treats for munching on while watching!


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