Sunday, March 18, 2012

General Conference Reverence Stations

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Note: If you like this, you can find 
ALL of our General Conference traditions & activities on my


Last General Conference, I thought, "My kids know the routine by now.  They know how to be reverent during eight hours of broadcasts..."  Eh, wrong!  I was being lazy.  I printed off a General Conference Packet (in triplicate) and tossed it in their direction thinking they'd leave me in peace to bask in the rays of revelation from modern prophets.

Not so.  They scribbled through that 20-page packet in about five minutes, and I spent the rest of Saturday "reminding" them to "be quiet" and "listen!" and tossing snacks in their direction.  By Sunday I knew that I needed a different game-plan.

That's when "General Conference Stations" was born.

I set up three activities in three separate corners of our living room with a different activity at each.  The children were thrilled to have a game or activity to work on quietly all by themselves (a.k.a. no fighting over materials and less distractions for all of us!)  

We rotated stations about every ten minutes or every time there was a new speaker.  The kids rotated through the activities really nicely, and the Sunday sessions were much more enjoyable for all of us.  

Here are some more examples of activities that we'll work into our rotation.  Just run your mouse over the photos for links to the activities.  (I'll also include some lacing cards, cutting, gluing-type stuff that my kids love, a felt-board, dry-erase board, and other GC ideas:)


Some other tips to help foster reverence during General Conference:

We've done the candy for keyword activity in the past, but it got really loud and I quickly had three diligent little toddlers with sugar highs on my hands!  So we keep the candy to a minimum. It works better as a between session treat.

Prepare your meals beforehand if possible.  Or crock-pot it.

We let the kids run around the outside of the house while we have rest hymns...wakes everybody up and gets the wiggles out!

Also, this is a no-brainer, but I normally do not give the kids an entire conference packet at one time.  To avoid interruptions, I have printed off multiple copies of many coloring pages/color-by-number from the Friend Magazine, and I store them in a paper tower, so my kids can go get new coloring pages one at a time at their leisure.  This has worked exceptionally well when we've had LOTS of kids over for a session.

Obviously, it takes a lot of preparation to be one-step-ahead of the children, but it really pays off if it allows all of us to hear more of General Conference...and enjoy it!

Do you have tips for encouraging reverence during General Conference viewing?

Please share them here!



PS - Forgot to mention:  I think we'll have a fourth station this time around...a note-taking station where the child gets to sit with Mom and Dad and practice writing down what they thought the talk was about.  This will help them engage with the speakers and practice their new writing skills.  

It will also help them to understand that GC "stations" is a fun thing, but not a crutch!  The main point of the stations is to keep little hands busy while they soak up the good words of our prophets!  

In the past, Guy has enjoyed pulling out pictures from the LDS Art kit that are mentioned in talks, but by the end of one talk, we'll have 40 different photos strewn across the floor...and then people are slipping on them...so I'm looking for an alternative to this!

34 comments:

  1. great ideas, needed these when I was raising my four boys...lol!

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  2. I'm so excited to plan this!! My daughter has a little wooden table and chairs in her room. I think I'll bring it out to the living room for all of her activities. It will be new and exciting for her (she's 2) and she loves to color and do table activities. 

    Thanks so much. This is one of my favorite websites!!

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  3. That's wonderful!  Thank you, Katie!  Let me know what activities you come up with for her and how she likes it!  Maybe you need a place for her to put her work when she's completed each worksheet or whatever.  She'll feel like such a big girl! :)

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  4. Hey you dear, thank you so much for including me with your conference idea's!!! I'm going to add your link to my conference post as well. 

    I am totally doing these stations!!! Inspired by you.

    I feel like I always use too many  exclamation mark's when I am leaving you comments!!!!! How do you feel about how much I love your stuff???

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. In answer to your question, Erin:  "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  :)

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  6. Amy@ServingpinklemonadeSunday, March 18, 2012

    What great ideas!  Thanks so much for sharing them.  It's always nice to have some new ideas at conference time.  We'll definitely be using some of these.

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  7. I love the popsicle stick puzzles!  I wish I had thought of those when my children were younger.
    Great ideas...thanks for sharing.
    Happy Conference!

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    1. I think my younger teens would even enjoy the stick puzzles! Even though they would never admit it... When my kids were younger, we home schooled and I was concerned about the limited exposure they had to the "lecture/note taking" experience, so I produced a spiral testimony builder book which they took to church each week to fill in with their note taking skills. It had small activities on each page, as well, for focusing attention and the occasional wandering minds. Then at the Sunday meal, we would discuss the notes they took and it was fun for me to see their skills improve over time according to their ages. They grew in their abilities to comprehend, take notes, and even apply the teachings over time. Sometimes, we would find that they misunderstood something that was said and we would all get a good laugh, but then, as parents, we could help correct the misunderstanding at the root, which was very helpful! The pre-reader/writer had her own version as well. There was a page for a weeks' worth of personal scripture study on the facing page that they filled in daily as part of their school curriculum with a space for a gratitude journal entry. It was fun to do with them sometimes, too. I'd almost forgotten about these books till I read your blog. Fond memories!

      The ideas you have here are so wonderful! Now that I'm a grandma, I can begin preparing for the grandchildren to spend Conference Weekends at our house. Thanks, Jocelyn! You are a true inspiration! :)

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  8. I appreciate this post! Even though I've been doing this a long time, every year I have different kids on different levels and the new ideas really help make the experience one my tiny kids look forward to. :-)

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  9. Sounds like a good way to train your kids up to love conference. Good job!

    =)

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  10. Oh, thanks for the reminder that I need to get started planning!  I think I'm going to have to order some pictures to make some popsicle stick puzzles.

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  11. Stephanie at D-DMonday, March 19, 2012

    These are all great ideas.  I don't have to tell you how excited I am.  Yay.

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  12. I LOVE all the "stations."  You never fail to amaze me!

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  13. Thanks, Jocelyn! I love General Conference but feel guilth when I'm trying to feel the Spirit and I'm getting impatient with the munchkins at the same time. A pleasant conference doesn't just magically happen-you really do have to plan for it. My health teacher always said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Thanks for your WONDERFUL blog!!!

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  14. Oops, that was supposed to say 'guilty' :)

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  15. Thanks, Jocelyn! I love General Conference but feel guilth when I'm trying to feel the Spirit and I'm getting impatient with the munchkins at the same time. A pleasant conference doesn't just magically happen-you really do have to plan for it. My health teacher always said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Thanks for your WONDERFUL blog!!!

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  16. I'm excited to do "stations" this year! Our almost 3 year old still naps during afternoon session (yay!) so I think I will let our 5 year old watch the afternoon sessions in a tent (after reading about King Benjamin and pitching your tent toward the temple/prophet). It would be too distracting for our daughter, but I think he's just the right age. 


    He is REALLY excited to "write down" the words of the prophets - so I am going to use a "make your own tracing words" website to make pages for him with phrases from General Conference that he can trace as he hears them (so I don't have to write them every time he hears it).

    We usually let him do "distraction" type activities during conference, but we have him sit with us when one of the apostles or members of the First Presidency speak and we try to help him listen to what they are saying and relate it to things he knows. I like the idea of having the pictures on the wall - my kids LOVE the Gospel Art Book, so I think I will make something like that with the pictures from the art book.

    oooh! I'm so excited for conference!

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  17. OOh, sounds awesome!  I'd love for you to share that website with me!  My girls would love to trace more words, I'm sure!  Thanks for sharing!!!

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  18. Wow!  I hope you know to count your blessings on this topic.  Having internet access, being able to print things at home, watching conference at home, not having to drag kids back and forth to church, and then keep them quiet in the dark in a pew, not having people "shhhing" your children, having to take out the fussy kid and not being able to hear what is going on...  Life was definitely different when I was raising my six children.  Saturday conference was almost impossible, with driving back and forth - only time for pbj's.  Sunday, the building would do a potluck between sessions, which had to be all cleaned up and put away before the second session started (Eastern Time Zone).  Some people in our building drove 45 minutes or more to get to church.  I am so happy for all of you that have these wonderful blessings to help support your families.  Great post with wonderful ideas!!

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  19. HI Jennifer!  You're right, we are so blessed to have the words of the prophets in our home, and I don't forget it for a moment.  We actually listen to a talk in our home just about every day.  But I do remember how it used to be.  As a kid, sometimes the local public access channel could be persuaded to carry conference so we could watch it from home.  But I also remember that from time to time someone at the station would switch it in the middle and we'd miss the rest of it.  I can remember sitting in the pews doing conference bingo using cheerios.  And the pot lucks in college between sessions was fun, but made for quite a LOOOONG DAY of church! :)  It's NOT easy keeping kids quiet in dark chapels...that is for sure!!! :) Kudos to you!!!  I tip my hat! ;)

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  20. It is fun to try new things...it's just fun to celebrate the fact that we have living prophets.  It's a time to rejoice.

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  21. Janelle FuhrimanTuesday, March 20, 2012

    I love the idea of pulling out the pictures that go along with the talks. How about putting the pictures up on the wall with blue tacky (the stuff you can hang posters with?) and then use mini post it's or the "sign here" arrows to make tally marks when the picture goes along with the talk. You can discuss before which picture you think will have the most use and see who's right at the end. Instead of a whole conference thing maybe check who's right and clear the marks after each session.

    I love your GC stations. My son just turned 12 and I think I'm going to set up a couple for him because he still has a problem making it completely through it all. These boys just have so much energy.

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  22. That's sort of a spin on the GC Wall that we do...we just place the apostle's picture on the photo of the topic mentioned. When Guy pulls pictures from the gospel art kit...he goes nuts.  Oh, he mentioned prayer!~  OOh, he mentioned temples...ooh...and 40 pages later, Mommy has a big fun mess to clean up.  I don't mind too  much because he really is listening...but seriously, it's a hazard because they are all in those protective sheets! :)  Your idea is a good one!  I'll try it!!!

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  23. These are some great ideas. I think that I need to expect more out of my kids for General Conference.  I have just loved the Primary Sharing Time theme this month: Prophets help us choose the Right.  It has been fun for the whole family learning more about the living Prophet and Apostles, and I think it will ready us for their special messages to the world.    

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  24. Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas!  I need all the help I can get.  SOOO not a creative mom!  I appreciate all the time and work you take to keep this blog going.  I tried one once and it was TOO much work!  So, Thank You!  It doesn't go unnoticed!

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  25. Oh my goodness.  LOVE this!  Thank you so much for taking the time to share these.  

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  26. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me! :)  Enjoy Conference!

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  27. Just found your blog and SO appreciate that you share have shared some of your struggles as well as your successes!  Makes me feel like I can do it too!  

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  28. This is such an amazing idea! I love that they get to move from station to station because sometimes the kids just need to move around! I have a bunch of toddler and preschool General Conference ideas on my blog that would work perfectly as stations.

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  29. This is such a fabulous idea. I love that the kids get to move around from station to station because sometimes the kiddos just need to get their legs moving! I have a bunch of toddler and preschooler General Conference ideas on my blog that will work perfectly with stations.

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  30. Fantastic ideas - thank you so very much for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks, Janeta! And have fun watching General Conference this weekend...You're gonna love it! :)

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  31. I am SO going to make popcicle stick puzzles!!! Fabulous idea. I'm thinking some stations would work great at our house. I can print a 50 page packet and I kid you not, my kids have those things finished by the end of the first session!

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    1. Oh I believe you! Last time I printed the sugardoodle packet put them in binders with four separators. ..divided the pages evenly by session. They knew once again hey got to the tab they had to stop....it was actually the abc gen conf booklet....each letter has an activity. Thats is the bomb!

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