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How to Get Your Child
to Do
What You Ask
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2008
All rights reserved including the right to reproduce this publication or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
DISCLAIMER: This publication contains the opinions and ideas of the author, Annette Nay, Ph.D. It is
intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subjects addressed in the publication. It is sold with
the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering medical, health, psychological, or any other kind
of personal professional services in the book. If the reader requires personal psychological counseling help, a
competent professional should be consulted.
The author specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, that is
incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents in this
This publication is available at: http://www.parentcoaching.com.
Taking Control of Your Family .............................................................................. 9
First: A Positive Change in the Marital Relationship ............................................. 9
Abuse Continuum ........................................................................................ 10
Active Listening............................................................................................ 11
Second: A Strong Parental Front ........................................................................ 11
Choosing the Consequences .............................................................................. 13
Know what is a Good Reinforcer for Your Child........................................... 13
The Use of Food as a Reinforcer ................................................................. 14
Loss of Activities .......................................................................................... 14
Reinforcement.............................................................................................. 14
Gaining Back Privileges or Possessions ...................................................... 15
Intensified Behavior ..................................................................................... 15
For Best Behavior from Children......................................................................... 15
Children Need Attention............................................................................... 15
Quality Time................................................................................................. 16
Know Your Child .......................................................................................... 16
Dinnertime.................................................................................................... 16
Positive Reinforcement ................................................................................ 16
Shaping Behavior......................................................................................... 17
Double Reinforcement ................................................................................. 17
Negative Reinforcement .............................................................................. 17
Redirection................................................................................................... 17
Direct the Child’s Behavior........................................................................... 17
Yelling to Gain Control of Your Children ............................................................. 18
Why It Doesn’t Work .................................................................................... 18
What to Do ................................................................................................... 18
A Child's Self Esteem ......................................................................................... 19
Good Sibling Relationships................................................................................. 19
Stop Sibling/Family Abuse ........................................................................... 20
A Happy Family............................................................................................ 20
Eliminating Lying.......................................................................................... 21
Changing Behavior ............................................................................................. 21
Time is different to Children and Teens ....................................................... 21
Behavior Modification Techniques ............................................................... 22
Positive Techniques for Birth to 18 Months........................................... 22
Unproductive Techniques for Birth to 18 Months .................................. 22
Positive Techniques for 18 Months to 3 Years...................................... 23
Positive Techniques for 4 to 12 Years .................................................. 23
Positive Techniques for 13 to 16 Years ................................................ 24
Unproductive Techniques for 13 to 16 Years ........................................ 24
How the Lord Suggests We Change Behaviors.................................................. 24
How to Use Time-Out ......................................................................................... 25
When a Problem Arises ............................................................................... 25
The Child’s Resources........................................................................................ 26
Using the Body’s Reactions as a Resource ................................................. 26
Using Friends as a Resource....................................................................... 27
Using Adults as a Resource......................................................................... 27
Time-Out: A Learning Experience....................................................................... 27
How to Carryout Consequences ......................................................................... 28
How to Make Good Decisions............................................................................. 29
What If Your Child will Not Stay in Time-Out ...................................................... 30
Corralled in a Play Pen ................................................................................ 30
Time-out Seat .............................................................................................. 31
Other Helpful Behavior Modification.................................................................... 31
Token Economy - A Way to Modify Bad Behavior ....................................... 31
No-Notice Incentive Activities....................................................................... 32
Violent Youth in the Home .................................................................................. 32
When a Youth’s Behavior is affecting the whole Family............................... 33
Having a Routine for the Day .............................................................................. 33
Activities to Keep Children from Being Bored and In Trouble ...................... 34
Making a Job's List Book .................................................................................... 36
Other Ways to Get Control of Your Family.......................................................... 37
Teaching Life Skills ............................................................................................. 37
Moderating Feelings .................................................................................... 38
Sources of Anger ......................................................................................... 38
Factors that Lower Our Ability to Cope with Anger ............................... 39
Respect........................................................................................................ 39
Family Contract..................................................................................... 39
Dealing with Individual Differences within Children...................................... 41
Passion ........................................................................................................ 41
Peer Smarts ................................................................................................. 41
Encourage Children to discuss Relational Problems with You.............. 42
Concentrate ................................................................................................. 42
Body Acceptance ......................................................................................... 42
Cautious....................................................................................................... 43
Group Think ................................................................................................. 43
Gratitude ...................................................................................................... 43
A Parent's Guide for Raising Children ................................................................ 45
Allowing Rewards and Consequences for Children's Behaviors......................... 48
Family Council .................................................................................................... 55
Understanding Adolescents and Teenagers ....................................................... 58
The Importance of Good Friends in Your Teen's Life ......................................... 63
How to Acquire Good Friends ............................................................................. 67
Making a Family Job's List Binder....................................................................... 69
Family Night Phantom......................................................................................... 79
Family Home Evening......................................................................................... 80
Family Home Evening Planner..................................................................... 80
Lesson Ideas................................................................................................ 81
Appreciating Music................................................................................ 81
Compile Family History ......................................................................... 82
Forgiving Others ................................................................................... 82
Gratitude ............................................................................................... 82
Honesty................................................................................................. 83
Managing Family Resources................................................................. 83
Reverence and Respect........................................................................ 83
Sharing Household Work ...................................................................... 84
Solving Family Problems....................................................................... 84
Understanding Death ............................................................................ 84
Family Unity Activities .................................................................................. 85
Our Cultural Heritage ............................................................................ 85
A Great Way to Communicate .............................................................. 87
Serving Others Together....................................................................... 88
Buzz Sessions ...................................................................................... 90
Brainstorming........................................................................................ 92
Role Playing.......................................................................................... 93
Demonstrations..................................................................................... 95
Reunions by Mail .................................................................................. 97
Large Group Fun................................................................................... 98
Learning Activities...................................................................................... 101
Making Work Fun................................................................................ 101
Make Learning Fun for Infants and Toddlers ...................................... 103
Make Learning Fun for Preschoolers .................................................. 110
Travel Games ..................................................................................... 114
Memory Magic .................................................................................... 117
Strip Puzzles ....................................................................................... 119
Mind Stretchers................................................................................... 122
Magic Tricks........................................................................................126
Riddles ................................................................................................ 128
Making and Keeping Aids for Family Home Evenings ........................ 132
Creating Fancy Foods......................................................................... 134
Fun with Games.................................................................................. 139
Cultural Activities ....................................................................................... 145
Singing Praises: Learning Hymns and Children’s Songs .................... 145
Appreciating Music.............................................................................. 148
Arranging Flowers............................................................................... 151
Arts and Crafts .................................................................................... 155
Christmas Crafts ................................................................................. 159
Fun with Stories and Poems ............................................................... 167
Creating Pictures and Things.............................................................. 171
Enjoying Dance and Drama ................................................................ 173
Nature Activities .................................................................................. 175
Activities in the Rain............................................................................ 176
Gardening in Containers ..................................................................... 178
Bird Watching Close to Home ............................................................. 180
Rock Hounding ................................................................................... 183
Making Snow Sculptures..................................................................... 186
Collecting and Preserving Shells ........................................................ 187
Physical Activities ...................................................................................... 188
Carpet Square Challenge.................................................................... 188
Number and Alphabet Grid Challenge ................................................ 191
Marked Yard Games ........................................................................... 193
Physical Fitness Award Program ........................................................ 197
Rhythmical Exercise Program............................................................. 199
Family Physical Activity Center ........................................................... 205
Family Superstars ............................................................................... 208
Let’s Go Fly a Kite............................................................................... 212
Family Preparedness Activities ......................................................................... 215
Emergency Supplies .................................................................................. 215
Emergency Telephone Numbers ........................................................ 219
Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation ............................................................ 222
Treating Choking................................................................................. 225
Treating Shock.................................................................................... 229
Treating Bleeding................................................................................ 233
Protecting Your Home against Fire ..................................................... 237
Coping with a Blackout........................................................................ 241
Making Your Home a Tough Target for Thieves ................................. 243
Earthquake Preparation ...................................................................... 246
Making a Survival Kit .......................................................................... 249
Water Safety Skills .............................................................................. 252
How to Get Your Child to Do What You Ask
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2009
Taking Control of Your Family
Parents cannot force their children to do anything. Some may be able to send
their children to their rooms; but they cannot make them clean it up. The only
thing you can change is how you relate to your children, which will change how
they interact with you.
Some children believe that parents owe them everything they want. Some of
these children throw tantrums and/or become violent to get the power they need
to make their parent’s get them what they want.
Parents become afraid of their own children and feel they have no power to make
their children behave appropriately or to stop the violence. This is not so.
To take back the power to run your family, you must make family rules that you
and your spouse can consistently reinforce. Each rule must have a consequence
that will consistently occur if the rule is broken. These consequences will change
over time as your children get older. The consequences will also change
because the things that mean something to your children also changes.
The first thing you must do is to make your relationship with your spouse stronger
and closer. When you are closer and care about each other, the bond between
you is stronger. The children sense this and know that they can't play their
parents against each other.
Together you represent the parental front. The parental front has to be united
and strong. Your children will constantly test each of you and the boundaries to
see if the rules still have consequences. Children need these boundaries and so
do the two of you, especially when they reach teenage years. They will run right
over you if you are not unified.
First: A Positive Change in the Marital Relationship
1. Have a "Date Night" at least once a week.
 Have fun alone and enjoy each other's company.
 You don't have to spend money to have a date. Go window shopping,
go for a walk in the park, go hiking, cloud watching, star gazing, or
arrange for the kids to have a sleep over so you can have a candlelight
dinner alone. Dress up for the dinner and include romantic music.
No kids allowed on your dates. Make arrangements with other couples
that need a date night, to swap baby-sitting with.
 You both need to be on your best behavior. No arguing and no putdowns!
2. You cannot tear each other down. It leads to an abusive relationship and
the destruction of the marriage. The abusive continuum builds and gets
more and more abusive and violent as the relationship deteriorates. This
holds true for couples and abusive children in the home.
Abuse Continuum
Jokes about habits, characteristics, or faults of partner
Ignoring or denying partner's feelings or needs
Withholding affection or approval as punishment
Yelling, shouting, invading partner's personal space
Name-calling, insults
Insulting or ridiculing beliefs, religion, family, race, etc.
Repeated insults, labeling, and/or name-calling (e.g. "Stupid" "Jerk" "Crazy" etc.)
Repeated humiliation (private an/or public)
Controlling (insisting s/he dresses a certain way, having him/her account for
his/her actions, controlling with whom s/he associates, not letting him/her have a
job, not giving him/her a role in making decisions, etc.)
10. Blaming your partner for your abuse or behavior
11. Manipulating your partner with lies and contradictions (playing "mind games")
12. Put downs about abilities as a parent, person, worker, partner
13. Demanding all partner's attention and resenting children
14. Jealousy (accusations, following him/her, making him/her account for his/her
time. etc.)
15. Isolation (scaring or driving away friends and family, insisting that partner not
work or be involved in activities without you, depriving him/her money, etc.)
16. Manipulating others against your partner
17. Slamming doors, hitting walls, breaking objects (displays of anger and violence)
18. Destroying meaningful possessions
19. Threats of violence or retaliation (either direct or implicit)
20. Threats of violence to his/her family, children, friends
21. Throwing objects at partner
22. Threats to get custody, abuse, or kidnapping children
23. Threats to hurt or kill him/her or children
24. Suicide threats/attempts
25. Hurting or killing pets
26. Suicide/Homicide
Resource: Excerpt from Male Awareness Program (MAP), Anchorage, AK 1997
Instead of belittling each other, find things to brag about. It is amazing
the difference. You lift up your spouse and s/he in turn will lift you up.
Try to find the good points of your mate. See if you can rediscover the
things that caused you to fall in love with each other.
Treat each other like newlyweds and see what happens.
Spend time talking to each other. Use active listening.
Active Listening
Most people do not truly listen. They are too busy planning what they will say
when the other person pauses. Active listening is an art that takes practice, but it
is not hard. This skill involves listen to everything the other person says, and
trying to understanding it fully.
1. When the other person speaks, give your full attention and look her/him
straight in the eyes.
2. To understand what is said fully, the listener needs to rephrase what s/he
thinks s/he heard. We each come from different backgrounds and have
been taught differences in meanings to situations and even subtle
differences to the meaning of words. These differences, individuals may
not see things from the same point of view. Rephrasing will help you to
find out if you truly understand what the other person is saying.
3. If you rephrase what has been said and the other person says, "No that's
not it!" Listen for more information or ask questions to help you
understand. When you think you understand fully, say, "Then what you are
saying is . . ." When the speaker finally agrees with you, you have
actually communicated and active listening has been a success.
4. Example:
o Speaker: That teacher doesn't grade fairly.
o Listener: The teacher must grade fairly. An "A" is 90 and above. A
"B" is 80 and above and so on instead of grading on the curve.
The speaker really meant that she wouldn't let students make up tests
they missed, no matter the reason.
A person who is actively listening is not busy giving advice or disagreeing.
The sole job of the listener is to listen and find out if what is heard is
Active listening helps people to be closer.
Second: A Strong Parental Front
1. Make joint rules that you both can support 100%.
2. Make a set consequences to go with each of these rules. Consequences
are sanctions or punishment that will be carried out every time the rule is
broken. Natural consequences are usually the best.
Example of a rule and its consequence:
RULE: You are responsible for what your friends do in our home.
CONSEQUENCE: If your friends vandalize our home then they are not welcome
in our home and you and your friends are responsible to make restoration for the
damage. You will pay or work off the cost to replace the damage. So choose
your friends wisely and don't let them do things they shouldn't.
3. Explain the rules to them. “Don't let them be alone in our home to do
damage while you are elsewhere. You may ask for them to pay for the
damage. You are grounded until the damage is worked off or paid for.
Accidents do happen. We do not charge for honest accidents, but we do
for vandalism and accidents that are the result of doing things you
shouldn't be doing.”
4. Adapt rules that your spouse likes that you can't stand or visa-versa. Bring
them to the bargaining table along with ideas and solutions to make them
workable, livable, and enforceable.
 All rule/consequence making is a closed door session. Children are not
 This is not a time for hot tempers. These sessions are to be done with
a prayer at the beginning for insight and cool tempers, and end with
prayer for thanks giving for the help.
 You both must be able to support the rules and the consequences for
not keeping the rules. You must consistently enforce them every time,
even when one of you is away or you are too tired and don’t want to
deal with the consequences at the time.
 When a session is over, take the jointly decided rules and
consequences to the children together. The husband is the head of the
home so he can present them, but the language should be such that
the children know that the rules came from both of you. Example:
"Your mother and I have gone over these rules and have decided
consequences that will happen every time someone chooses to break
the rules." It is her job to look the children in the eyes and nod her
head that he has told the truth.
 After the rules and consequences are discussed with the children, post
them in a prominent place in the home so that the children can see
them. Keep a second set for you, in case the children's copy gets
destroyed or disappears mysteriously.
 As the children get older they will question the right of some rules to
exist. Have them suggest how the rule could be changed to make it
fairer. Tell them that you will take it up with Father/Mother to see if it
will work. Rules need to grow with the children. Example: The time that
a child must be home in the evening will vary with the age of the child
and the circumstance. Household chores will vary with ability and age
of the child.
 You and your spouse should know exactly what the rules are so when
a child comes to one of you saying that the other said that something
that is against the rules - is suddenly all right, you will instantly know
that the child is not telling the truth because a rule must be changed by
both of you. The item is not allowed to happen until a closed-door
session is held by both parents to discuss the issue at hand. In this
Some parents make the mistake that because they now have adult
children living with them that they cannot tell the adult children how to
act in their home. This is untrue. Remember this is your sanctuary –
you pay the bills. The rules of the home still stand for all whom live
there whether it is adult children or aging parents who have moved in.
Choosing the Consequences
The consequences are the key to making your children want to follow the rules.
The consequences pair something the child really wants to the thing you want
done. For example your teen loves to talk on the cell phone you bought for
him/her. If a rule is broken, then there is a loss of cell phone privileges for a time.
Know what is a Good Reinforcer for Your Child
The key is to know what positive reinforcers the child really wants and then
withholding the ones that will not harm the child in doing so. The best negative
reinforcement is one that stings for that child. Some of these may be...
 not going out with friends
 not participating in special family activities or incentives
 grounding - not going anywhere for a period of time - This one is unfair to
parents. Use this one as a last result.
 Not getting an allowance
 Using allowance to pay for negligent or purposeful damage/vandalism
 Doing extra work to pay for negligent or purposeful damage/vandalism
 Loss of television
 Loss of ipod/CDs
 Loss of the computer for e-mail and games, but not homework
 Loss of telephone or cell phone
 Loss of electricity in their room.
 Loss of the use of the car
 Loss of privacy – Removal of the bedroom door because of slamming or
because or hiding drugs or stolen items in the room.
 Loss of privacy – No notice checks for drugs and/ or stolen items.
 Loss of bedroom – Bedroom condemned because it is overly filthy.
Relegated to a sleeping bag and mat
An acceptable time for loss of this privilege maybe for a day, three days, or a
week depending on the infraction and the number of times this infraction has
occurred. You can apply the consequence without stating how long. Give your
time to cool off by saying, “I will discuss with your father how long you will lose
the usage of your cell phone when he gets home. We will let you know later
There is hardly any decision that cannot wait until you are cooled off to render an
appropriate consequence. Give yourself that time to do a good job parenting. If
the child keeps pushing, tell him/her that if you were to make a decision right now
it would be excessive, because you are angry. You are taking a timeout and
then you will deal with the problem when you can be more objective.
The Use of Food as a Reinforcer
Some parents use food as a negative and/or positive reinforcer for younger
children. The use of junk food, candy, cookies or other sweets are exactly what
most people want, from infancy to and including adulthood. This is not physically,
emotionally, or psychologically a good thing. Eating food that has little or no
nourishment is a health hazard. It causes poor eating patterns, poor coping
patterns, obesity, and food addiction. It can also cause depression, diabetes, and
assists in the growth of other diseases.
Loss of Activities
Parents must be careful what activities they withhold as negative reinforcement
for their children. Some parents will not allow their children to participate in
church activities that take place during the duration of the grounding. This can be
detrimental to the child. The loss of wholesome teachings and being with good
friends at church on Sunday, young adult church activities, Girl's Camp, and/or
loosing out on beneficial opportunities to advance in scouting are all major
detriments and the loss of good tools to reach our children.
Each of these programs for the youth emphasizes the importance of loving God,
gaining a testimony, possess good values, learning leadership skills, and make
good decisions. These programs not only emphasize the need for these things,
but help the youth acquire them. Many people do not know that Girl's Camp and
Scouting are not just teaching outdoor cooking and camping. The outdoor fun is
just a sugarcoating for teaching core concepts and values that the youth will
need to be a good adult. Be careful that you do not eliminate these helps from
your front-line defenses in your zeal to stop bad behavior.
Bad behavior must be negatively reinforced every time. As good behaviors occur
consistently, the reinforcers do not have to be awarded every time (unless this is
an agreed upon situation such as a paycheck), but can be awarded intermittently.
Do not let too many good behaviors go unrewarded or the good behavior can be
extinguished. Remember even a positive word of praise or a hug in the case of
younger children, is positive reinforcement.
Another key in making either negative or positive reinforcement work is pairing
the behavior with the reinforcement immediately following the behavior. If time
passes before the reinforcement follows, then it looses its potency to reinforce
the behavior.
Gaining Back Privileges or Possessions
Once a child has lost a privilege or possessions there should be a way to gain it
back by doing right what lost the privilege or possessions in the first place. For
example: if a child refuses to clean up his/her toys and or clothing, they are
confiscated. When the child cleans up what s/he has left, then s/he gets back
the confiscated goods. If the child refuses to clean up his or her things again, the
process begins again.
Intensified Behavior
Before a behavior is extinguished it intensifies. When a person finds a behavior
that works for him/her, s/he keeps it and uses it again and again. A behavior that
gets someone what they want is a good tool whether it is considered a bad
behavior or not. People hate to loose good tools. When a behavior doesn't get a
person what s/he wants s/he tries even harder to make it work. Finally, when
s/he has tried everything s/he can think of to make it work and it does not, s/he
will finally abandon the behavior, as a worthless tool.
Often a person will remember the lost tool and try it intermittently to see if will
work for them again. So do not be distressed to see an old bad behavior
resurface once and awhile. Just be sure it is immediately reinforced negatively.
For Best Behavior from Children
Parents should jointly decide upon rules and consequences (negative
reinforcers) for rules that are broken. (See: Allowing Rewards and
Consequences for Children's Behavior page 48 or at
Children Need Attention
Many parents make the mistake of taking a breather when a child's behavior is
good, because they are so tired fighting the bad. The parents should redouble
their efforts to emphasize and reinforce the good behavior. Then there would not
be so much bad. Children need attention. If the only attention they get is from
bad behavior then they will do bad behavior to get attention.
Quality Time
Parents need to spend one-on-one time with their children at least once a day as
they get past the age of seven. Before then parents need to spend more time
with their children. This time is needed to teach and reinforce life skills.
Know Your Child
Parents should know what their older children have done during the day, what
they think about their world and their friends. It is important to have a good
relationship with your children; to work and play with them. Do activities with
them and make good family memories. Opportunities should be made to do this
as a family and one-on-one with each child and with each parent. Ex: Girl's Night
Out, Boy's Night Out, Time with Dad, Time with Mom, etc.
There should be at least one meal that the whole family attends. At this time
parents talk with each child to see how their day went, what is happening in their
lives, and what is scheduled to happen tomorrow or during the week. Studies
have shown that children that have this time with their family are better students
and healthier individuals both mentally and emotionally.
Positive Reinforcement
Start by positively reinforcing all good behavior, immediately, that hits in the ball
park of the behavior that is ultimately wanted. For instance you want the child to
treat his/her siblings kindly.
1. Example of behavior at the edge of the ball park: The child genuinely
smiles at his/her sibling.
2. Example of behavior moving closer to wanted behavior: The child talks
nicely to his/her siblings.
3. Example of a closer behavior: The child can sit in close proximity with
his/her sibling and play nicely by himself/herself without causing problems
with his/her sibling.
4. Example of a behavior on target: The child can interact/play nicely, share,
or be helpful to his/her sibling.
Shaping Behavior
At first, use positive reinforcement for actions that exhibit target behaviors listed
above in #1. Another words, reinforce anything that even comes close to that
type of behavior that you want from the child.
As the child learns that s/he is rewarded for kinder behavior towards his/her
siblings then look for behaviors that are closer to the # 2 behaviors and then # 3
and then #4. If you are reinforcing a type #1 behavior and a type #2, 3, or 4
behavior occurs; lavish on the positive reinforcers.
Double Reinforcement
1. At night while putting them to bed be sure to tell them that you appreciated
the positive behavior they did that day.
2. When the behavior occurs when the other parent is away and s/he comes
home and is in the same room as the child, you can say how the child's
behavior really helped or how proud you are of him/her.
3. Praise can also be done at the dinner table. Do not over do praise or the
child will not believe you.
Negative Reinforcement
Do not pick up on every little negative/bad behavior the child engages in. Instead
try to reinforce the positive behaviors the child does. Negative reinforcement or
consequences should be used for breaking official family rules.
Example: The child is whinny today, but can still play in the same vicinity as
his/her sibling without causing a disruption. Instead of telling the child that his/her
whining is annoying and to stop it, focus the child's attention on what s/he is
doing well, not what s/he is not. The whining will usually stop unless the child is
ill. Focusing on the whining will usually intensify the whining.
If the child is engaging in behavior that you know that will cause him/her to break
a rule, quickly redirect the child's attention onto something else so that the child
has more positive reinforcements that day than negative ones. In this way the
child can look upon his/her experience that day and see that it was a good one.
Direct the Child’s Behavior
Often parents tell the child to, "Stop that!" What they don't tell the child is what
they should do. Redirect the child's behavior. Help the child to know what s/he
should do. Be specific!
Yelling to Gain Control of Your Children
Why It Doesn’t Work
You are modeling how to deal with frustration for your children. You don’t want
them to learn yelling as a coping skill; don’t do it yourself. Yelling does not prove
your point. It does show that you are out of control. When this happens your
children have won the battle. They learn that if they can get you to yell that is all
that gets done. They don’t have to do anything but wait you out. They close up
and tune out.
They don’t have to take responsibility for their actions, because you will never get
to this subject. This is because when you are yelling you are angry. Anger shuts
of the frontal lobe which is the center for reasoning and thinking. Instead you are
using the primal brain which only allows the individual to fight, take flight, feed,
and have sex. It does not allow either of you to think about complex ideas such
as reasoning things through or cause and effect.
What to Do
When they and you are calm and able to think with the frontal lobe of your brain,
then you can help your children understand the changes that need to be made,
how to do it, why they need to take responsibility for their actions, and what the
consequences are for infractions.
When you are angry, just tell your children that you are going lizard (thinking has
mutated into a more primitive life-form) and that you will talk to them when you
can think more clearly. This is where you need to take a short time-out.
If they yell and you yell back you have come down to their level of coping. You
will have lost respect and power by doing so. If your children still want to engage
in yelling. Tell them you will talk to them when they can talk to you respectfully
without anger. Then leave.
When you are calm and have a pleasant demeanor, have a face-to-face talk with
the child. Keep anger out of the equation. If it begins with either of you, take a
five minute break. Have an agenda of what needs to be covered. Write it down
if that helps so things get covered.
Refer to the house rules. If your youths think a rule is unfair they can challenge
it, but parents have the last say.
There will be less trouble in your home if activities are scheduled. This goes for
the general items like time to do homework, curfew, and bedtime. This also goes
for extra curricular activities like basketball practice, and free time.
Child's Self Esteem
Never belittle your child. This practice tears down his/her self-esteem and cause
more problems in the future because they will not have the self confidence to try
to achieve.
Instead of throwing hurtful words at your children when a bad behavior happens,
use negative reinforcers immediately without any fuss. Children equate their
performance to their self esteem. If a parent is always belittling a child for their
poor performance/behavior, then they begin to think they are not adequate and
they belittle themselves and consequently become incapable of anything but
poor performance.
The opposite is also true. If a child lives with positive reinforcement through a
parent’s prudent use or redirection and the abundance to true praise and
judicious use of positive reinforcement, then they believe they can accomplish
anything and try to do so.
Another words, emphasize the positive and redirect possible bad behavior to
eliminate as much as possible the negative. Use negative reinforcement or
consequences as rules are broken. In this way most bad behaviors can be
eliminated over time.
Remember you love the child but hate the behavior. Never call the child a
behavior. Ex: "You’re a liar." This is labeling the child and labels stick like glue.
The child believes the label and continues on with the behavior because the
parent said the child is the label. The label then prophesies the behavior to come.
Instead, separate the deed from the child by saying, "You are lying." or "Don't tell
If skills are the problem behind poor performance and/or children’s bad
behaviors, teach the needed skills. Act out typical scenes that your children may
be faced with so that they know how to deal with then properly. Knowing how to
deal with problems when they occur builds children’s self-esteem.
Good Sibling Relationships
We have lightly touched on the how to gain a better sibling relationship by use of
positive reinforcement, shaping, redirection, and negative reinforcement.
Another tool to help good behavior to occur is the use of Family Home Evening.
This is a special time set aside each week for you to teach your children, skills,
values, and to spend special time with your family.
The use of Family Home Evening can be used to zero in on behaviors that you
want your children to focus on for the week. For example: You may want your
children to focus on how to be kinder to each other. Often these lessons tell why
we shouldn't do something, but they never actually tell how to do what we are
supposed to do. Make sure all your lessons tell both.
During this weekly family time, you can teach your children basic concepts,
values, and life skills that you would like them to incorporate into their lives. For
ideas for Family Home Evening ideas see the Appendix. At one of these Family
Home Evenings, discuss the following:
The reason why there is a need for good sibling relationships is that you want to
be a happy family. Little things can add up over time and ruin the relationship
between individuals in the family. See the Abuse Continuum on page 10.
Stop Sibling/Family Abuse
The issue of abuse would make a good Family Council subject. (See: Family
Council page 55) Abuse starts easy and continues to get worse a small step at a
time. The scriptures tell us that the Devil cheats their souls and leads them slowly
and carefully down to hell. Seldom do people start out by physically abusing each
other in a relationship. It is a careful process of slights, insults, and then physical
The point is that when we see the beginnings of abuse it has to be stopped
immediately before it progresses to its awful ending. Check out the Abuse
Continuum below and see where your family is.
At Family Council let them tell you where they think they are on the Abuse
Continuum. Tell them that all abuse must stop. Ask them how you as a family
can stop this. Tell them that you will take their suggestions to come up with
consequence for infractions. Then do it together as a couple.
Try to find the good points of each other.
Treat each other like people you want to impress and see what happens.
Spend time talking to each other.
A Happy Family
To be a happy family everyone must do their part. Ask the children what they can
do to make better relationships between siblings and parents. Write these all
1. Take the list and post it on the refrigerator or family bulletin board or
somewhere it will be seen often.
2. Make a family goal to do those behaviors during the week.
3. Throughout the week, help the children think of ways to be kind to siblings
and suggest ways for them to accomplish it. Ex: Your sister is having a
4. When voices begin to get loud and angry, break up the conflict before a
fight breaks out by redirecting the children into better activities, perhaps
separately for a while, to cool hot tempers. Separately inquire what the
problem was and see if each child, separately, can solve the problem with
your help before they get back together.
5. Use positive reinforcements such as praise when problems are solved or
kinder actions are taking place towards each other.
6. Remember to use a positive recap of the child's behavior often, either at
bedtime, dinnertime, and/or in conversation with the other parent/adult
friend which will be heard by the child.
Also hold Family Council weekly or sooner if needed to discuss and/or eliminate
family problems. (See: Family Council page 55)
Eliminating Lying
1. Make a rule and a consequence for lying.
2. Stop the child mid-sentence if you recognize that s/he is beginning to tell a
lie and ask if s/he would like to reconsider what s/he is saying.
(Redirection) If the truth is then told then use positive reinforcement. Ex:
I'm glad you decided to tell me the truth (Hug).
3. If the child persists in telling the lie then immediately administer the
punishment by saying, "I'm sorry you chose to tell a lie, now
______________ will happen (the consequence). Explain that you still
love him/her and hope that next time, instead of lying that s/he will be
honest. Reassure the child that you are there for him/her and love him/her.
4. Continue to apply the consequence each time the bad behavior occurs.
This may result in a list of things the child is not able to do.
5. The child can earn these things back by doing the behaviors you want
from the child.
Changing Behavior
Time is different to Children and Teens
The consequence for bad behavior usually necessitates the loss of something
over a certain period of time. Some parents levy time periods that seem like life
sentences to children. Even a week is a very long time for teens.
For young adults who are 18 or older you can use 1 to 2 weeks, but not
For youths from 12 to 17 use the increments of a day at a time or a
For children from 7 to 11 use hours.
For children 3 to 6 use minutes.
Behavior Modification Techniques
It is obvious that the consequences for a teenager will not work for a young child
and visa-versa. The following are behavior modifying techniques that work and
don’t work for the various ages listed below:
Positive Techniques for Birth to 18 Months
Physically removing the child or verbally focusing the child’s attention
away from an object, activity, or behavior and redirecting to a more
acceptable object, activity, or behavior.
Positive Reinforcement
This is reinforcing good behavior as it occurs. This reinforcement can be
verbal (e.g. “Good job!”), physical (e.g., a hug), or tangible (e.g. a new toy,
going to the park).
Unproductive Techniques for Birth to 18 Months
Using Verbal Instruction or Explanations
Talking to the child and explaining things to him/her . You can say simple
sentences, like “Hot! Don’t touch.” However you will still need to
redirected the child.
Instituting Household Rules
The parental front makes household rules and consequence that
consistently occurs if the rule is broken. However you can show them the
rule that was broken to form habits and to help redirect.
This is when a child is put removed from an unwanted behavior and kept
separate, out of sight from the others, and their activities. However you
can place the child on you lap for one minute and than redirect.
Token Economy
A marble is given to reinforce good behavior. This is to abstract for this
age group.
No Notice Incentives
An activity that is fun for the child, but they never know when it will occur.
Again this is to abstract for this age group
Positive Techniques for 18 Months to 3 Years
 Redirecting
Physically removing the child or verbally focusing the child’s attention
away from an object, activity, or behavior and redirecting to a more
acceptable object, activity, or behavior.
Positive Reinforcement
This is reinforcing good behavior as it occurs. This reinforcement can be
verbal (e.g. “Good job!”), physical (e.g., a hug), or tangible (e.g. a new toy,
going to the park).Using Verbal Instruction or Explanations (see page 16)
Instituting Household Rules
The parental front makes household rules and consequence that
consistently occurs if the rule is broken.
This is when a child is put removed from an unwanted behavior and kept
separate, out of sight from the others, and their activities. The child is in
time-out for a minute per year of age. After the time is up help the child
understand why they were in time-out and tell them how you would like
them to behave in the future.
Token Economy
A marble is given to reinforce good behavior. The marble goes into a
small fish bowl. When the bowl is full the child is able to gain a reward
that is important to him/her. Token economy can also be done with chips,
stickers, points, or some other object. When the child has so many
chips/stickers/points, they can be traded in for the reward.
No Notice Incentives
These are activities that are important or considered fun by your children.
They never know when these will occur (intermittent reinforcement)
however, they happen with considerable frequency (approximately 3 of 4
per month). To qualify for the activity your children must be current in their
chores and homework. They must not be in grounded status.
Positive Techniques for 4 to 12 Years
 Redirecting (see page 22)
 Positive Reinforcement (see above)
Instituting Household Rules (see above)
 Time-Out (see above)
For the older child using Time-Out with an essay of what when wrong and
how to approach the problem to make it better next time works well. The
use of the essay helps children to think through ways to cope when they
have time to think, which build their coping skills. Rehearsal with you
helps them to practice or play out how they would do things differently
next time.
Token Economy (see page 23)
No Notice Incentives (see page 23)
Grounding is like house arrest in the after school hours or weekends for
misbehaving school-age youths. These children may not go elsewhere
until this restriction of activities is removed by a parent.
Denying Youth’s Amenities or Luxuries
Parents are legally required to give their children a place to stay, clothes,
and food. All other amenities are luxuries that can be taken away as
needed to get children to comply with the house rules. These amenities
are luxuries should be the ones that mean the most to the child that is
misbehaving. To get these items back the youth must make measurable
progress in establishing positive behaviors. These measurable behaviors
are pre-set by the parents so the youth knows how s/he may get these
amenities or luxuries back.
Positive Techniques for 13 to 16 Years
 Positive Reinforcement (see page 23)
 Instituting Household Rules (see page 23)
 Time-Out with Essay and Rehearsal (see page 23)
 Token Economy (see page 23)
 No Notice Incentives (see page 23)
 Grounding (see page 24)
 Denying Amenities or Luxuries (see page 24)
Unproductive Techniques for 13 to 16 Years
 Redirecting (see page 22)
How the Lord Suggests We Change Behaviors
The Lord suggests that we use persuasion, gentleness, meekness, and by love
unfeigned; kindness, and pure knowledge (good information on child rearing),
which shall greatly enlarge the soul (self esteem) without hypocrisy, and without
guile (false praise).
Reprove with sharpness (giving counsel with consequences), when moved upon
by the Spirit (or when you realize a rule has been broken), and then show an
increase of love toward the child or else s/he will deem you to be his/her enemy.
Your children will come to know that by your attentiveness to their behaviors
whether they be good or bad, you are showing your love them and will be there
for them. That you are faithful to them at all times.
It is with our long-suffering (patience) and exercising our partnership with the
Lord by asking Him to give us insight to help our children to eliminate their bad
behaviors, and to inspire them to strive to overcome these behaviors that will
help our children and become capable strong adults.
How to Use Time-Out
This usually works best for children of the age of 3 and up. Children any younger
than three and you have a difficult time making them understand to stay in one
place and to analyze their behavior while in time-out. Therefore, it is an exercise
in futility.
For youths 7 and up, time-out allows them time to cool down. They can be sent
to their rooms to cool off. Then, you work through the problem.
When a child is put into "time-out", then s/he is removed and kept separate and
out of sight from the group and their activities. The amount of time spent in timeout is determined by the child's age. For 3 to 7 year-olds, someone is left to
watch the child, inconspicuously, to make sure they stay in time-out.
When a Problem Arises
First Time: The child is told "If you choose to do __ again, you will spend __
minutes in time-out.” (The time spent in time should be calculated by age times
one or two.)
Second Time: The child spends __ minutes in "time-out". At the end of "TimeOut", s/he is told if s/he chooses to behave this way again s/he will have an
additional __ minutes in "time-out." (age X 1 or 2). This is the total amount of
time the child should spend in time-out.
While in Time-Out, the child is instructed, in understandable terminology, to:
1. Be quiet and think of:
Why his or her actions are disruptive or dangerous to the
group/family/himself or herself.
Think of acceptable behavior s/he could have used.
Think of personal or other resources to help her or him to choose
acceptable behavior.
2. The child is de-briefed privately at the end of time-out. Discuss with the child:
Why his or her actions are disruptive or dangerous to the group/ himself or
Acceptable behavior s/he could have used.
Think of personal or other resources to help her or him to choose
acceptable behavior.
Role-play with the child the incident that just occurred and use the proper
resources and behaviors that could have been used at that time.
Suggest that the child use the proper resources and behaviors next time.
3. Accountability, Consequences and Restitution: Each person, no matter how
old they are, must be held accountable for their actions. This is true for children
who can be reasoned with. They need to make restitution for the result of their
If they have damaged others feelings, they need to apologize to them and
perhaps even do something nice for them.
If they have damaged other’s property they need to apologize to them and
work to fix that damage.
If it is a breach of house rules, for example breaking curfew, then the
consequences of breaking that rule occurs.
4. Have the child resolve to use resources keep him or her out of trouble.
The Child’s Resources
In day-care Joey hit another boy for taking his baseball cap off his head and
wouldn’t give it back. Both boys are put into time-out in different places, away
from each other. When each comes out of time-out they are debriefed, privately.
Using the Body’s Reactions as a Resource:
You ask: "Joey, if you became angry again? How would you know you were
feeling angry? How would your body feel (e.g., tightening of muscles, breathing
more rapidly, clinching teeth and fists)?
What can you do when you feel your body beginning to feels this way?"
Breathe deeply and relax the muscles to get control of his thinking before
he goes lizard. If he cannot he is to give himself a time-out to get control.
When you have control of yourself, then what can you do? Lead Joey to
searching for his resources and then to choose the appropriate one for the
I could ask him nicely to return it.
Using friends as a Resource:
You ask: " Joey, how could you use your friends to help you get your hat back so
none of you would get in to trouble?"
"I could ask them to ask him to give me back my hat."
Using Adults as a Resource:
I could tell the teacher/ parent/ an adult what is happening.
Help Joey to understand that if he uses good resources he keeps himself out of
trouble, gets his hat back, and only the other child gets in trouble for bad
5. A reminder to the child of his or her resources when trouble begins to occur
would be a great help to change the child's behavior. Help the child work through
the resources so solve the problem before it warrants time-out and other
Time-Out - A Learning Experience
1. Consistently give the child a time-out as needed. You too may need this time
to get control of your feelings and thoughts. This time can give you a chance to
do some detective work to find out exactly what happened.
2. During time-out get the facts from others who were involved in the situation.
3. After time-out, evaluate the behavior with the child.
 Let the child explain what happened. Allow only the facts. Do not allow
emotions, blaming, past history, or trying to justify the situation. Stay in
the present and on top of the task at hand.
 Ask the child the facts that led up to him/her becoming upset?
 What was the child thinking?
 What skills were lacking that the child could not handle this problem?
4. From your investigation during time out, state what you saw and heard to the
child. Stay calm and focused. After hearing the child’s point of view, point out:
 You are responsible for you behavior.
 Excuses, blaming, or anger never justifies verbal or physical abuse or
destruction or another’s property.
5. Teach the child the skills that are need to be successful in the situations that
are getting him/her into trouble.
Tell the child the skills that s/he was lacking to be able to handle the
problem appropriately.
Teach those skills – Using rehearsal with your children helps them to
practice or play out how they would do things differently next time.
Play role that same situation that got them into trouble and various similar
Ask the child to use these skills when these situations arise again.
Once the child can internalize the skills, the behavior should change.
6. Help the child to set goals to have better behavior. Ask the child what s/he
would look like if they were to have better behavior in this instance. Define the
goals. These goals must help your children be “MORE” like you want them to
 Measurable: How will you know the goal has been met?
 Observable: What will it look like?
o What will occur if the child is reaching the goal?
o What will occur if the child is not reaching the goal?
o What will happen if it’s not working?
 Realistic: Is it a reachable goal for the child.
 Explicit: State - who, what, when, where, and how the goal is to be
7. Accountability, Consequences, and Restitution: These items must take place
each time the child has been in time-out. This must take place or children do not
learn to take responsibility for their actions.
 How is the child going to repair the damage to other’s hurt feelings,
damage to property, and physical abuse?
 Saying, “I’m sorry,” is unacceptable. Most children do not believe it.
Often this phrase is followed with a “but,” which will allow them to blame
their behavior on others instead of taking responsibility for them. Instead
use the phrase, “I was wrong when I _____. Next time I will _____.”
 The reparation to the victim/s for the child’s bad behavior must be action
oriented. What will the child do to make things right?
 Then the consequences for breaking house rules also occur.
How to Carryout Consequences
1. There is no yelling. Just matter-of-factly say to the child, "I am sorry you
chose to break the rule. Now _____ will happen (the consequence). I hope
next time that you will use your resources and skills to make a better choice.
Then administer the consequence. There is not a reason for screaming. You
are not frustrated, wondering what to do; because you already know what to
do. If you forget what the consequence is for this infraction just go look at the
posted children's copy or your own copy.
2. You may choose to help facilitate the child's ability to get through the
consequence, but never do it for him/her. Example: Rule: You cannot go out
with friends until your daily work is done. The child has not taken out the
garbage and mopped the kitchen floor. Child's friend is at the door asking
your child to come out to play. You say to your child, "Billy is at the door and
wants you to go biking with him. You haven't had me check your work yet,
let's go do that now." You and he go look. Take the book with the list of what
has to be done. You can see that some things are done and other things are
not. Dwell on the positive and play down the negative. You say, "I can see
that the counters are cleaned off and so is the table. They look really good.
Thank you! The dishes are put away. I know that chore is not one of your
favorites. I'm glad you chose to do it early. Congratulations. Well, all you have
left then is moping and taking the garbage out. Look, I know Billy is in a hurry
to go so how long will it take you to get the garbage out? About two minutes?
Then all you have left is the moping. I know a way for you to it well and it
doesn't take very long. I'll go get my floor scrubber while you take the garbage
out. Then we will have you out of here in a few minutes and Billy won't have
to wait long either."
You have just positively reinforced what the child did well or right and gave
him a positive boost into finishing the rest painlessly for both of you. When he
does finish, praise him for doing it well and quickly. Give him a pat on the
back. You both leave with a smile. That is positive facilitation.
3. Before you levy a consequence take time to check out the whole story. A
child's point of view may be wildly fabricated to let you hear what they think
you want to hear. Do not let the first story you hear be the only point of view
you have to act upon. At least 50% of the time you will be sorry. There is
always time to seek out the whole truth. Then you can wisely levy the
consequence. The child will not like it, but s/he will know that you were fair
and that s/he will be treated fairly in the future; although they may not admit
this out loud.
4. There will be times that you have searched for the truth and there still seem at
least two stories. Study it out the best that you can, then make a decision.
Then tell the children that you will be back in a few minutes that you will take
it to the Lord. You should have them do the same. Then come back and
discuss the results together.
How to Make Good Decisions
1. Take a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle of the sheet
making two columns.
2. On the top of the first column, write "Pro's." These are the positive things
about the issue.
3. On the top of the second column write "Con's." These are the negative things
about the issue.
4. Ask the Lord to help you list all the items dealing with this issue. Now, list all
the items about the issue under the appropriate column.
5. Ask the Lord to help you to understand the importance of each item listed by
assigning it a fair numeric value. Giving an item a "ten" means that it is of the
utmost importance. Assigning it a "one" means that it has little or no
importance. A "five," of course means that it is middle of the road; not
extremely important, but not unimportant either. Now, assign each item a
6. Add up the numeric value of each item, in each column, to see which has the
most important items listed. The one with the higher value means more to you
and should give you your decision.
7. Now that you have studied it out in your mind, ask God if your decision is
* A "Yes" answer is manifest by a burning or warm, swelling feeling in the chest
area accompanied with a feeling of peace or a feeling that all is well or right.
* A "No" answer is manifest by confusion, doubt, a stupor of thought, or a dull
cloudy feeling in your head. Your thoughts may be hard to hold on to or even
fade or disappear.
". . . and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ,
He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by
the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. -Moroni 10: 4-5
8. Ask the Lord to help you do what you must to put your decision to work. This
may take a great deal of planning. Do it now.
9. Actuate your plan and put your decision to work. ". . . faith without works is
dead. James 2:20
Children’s bad behaviors will continue off and on to see if you are going to be
consistent giving consequences for breaking house rules and in making them be
responsible for their actions. Be consistent even when you do not want to be!
Set appropriate time evaluations to see how the child is doing with the goals.
These may be hourly, daily, or weekly, as needed.
What If Your Child will Not Stay in Time-Out
Corralled in a Play Pen
It may be necessary to acquire a play pen or the heavy duty plastic corral to
place the child in for Time-Out, because s/he will not stay on the Time-Out stool,
chair, or stair. The corral should be put in a seldom used room away from
New Baby-Kids Playpen with 8 Panel Play Center – Safety Yard Pen
Remove the Play center Panel.
Time-Out Seat
There is also a product called The Naught Seat that enables you to know when
the child is off the seat.
Children can't outsmart this "Time-Out" seat! It makes sure little ones observe
their Time-Out, even when you leave the room. The ingenious cushion has a
clever weight sensor inside — if your child gets up, it sounds an alarm! Ensures
Time-Out is taken seriously.
Other Behavior Modification Helps
Token Economy - A Way to Modify Bad Behavior
Whether you are talking about your pre-teen or the 4 year-old, Token Economy
may be just the ticket to influence the children to do what they should do.
In many parenting styles, the parents punish for bad behavior but completely
ignore when their child follows through on what he is supposed to do or does a
good job. Many parents take this time to breathe and are thankful that their child
is not getting into trouble, yet again.
Good parenting skill hold that just the opposite is true. Try to ignore the little stuff
and praise the behaviors that you want to reinforce. This can be done through
Token Economy.
This is already being done in school classrooms. When class members stay on
task a number of marbles are placed in a goldfish bowl. When they are bad
some are taken out. When the marbles reach the top, the class has a pizza
Youths drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes and in behavior modification
ranches and homes, Token Economy if often used. Points are given for good
behaviors and bad ones take away points. At the end of the week (for youths) or
the end of the day (for children), the points can be redeemed for things that they
really want. Sometimes these can be for special activities, clothing, or privileges.
At home this could even parlay into one-on-one time with a parent.
Token Economy not only acknowledges bad behavior but rewards good
behavior. It may be something you may want to implement.
No-Notice Incentive Activities
Activities awarded for being behaviorally appropriate most of the time. These are
to occur sometime about every 7 to 12 days. They take place with no notice to
the children. You plan these when most of the children can attend due their good
over-all behavior. Also arrange it to happen at a time that will fit their schedule.
Those that do not qualify for the incentive can be left with a sitter or if old enough
they can be left home alone with an additional chore to keep them busy.
These activities can be anything that the children would appreciate. See:
Activities to Keep Children from Being Bored and Out of Trouble (see page 34)
Violent Youth in the Home
The number one rule in your home must be that violence will not be tolerated.
Your home is a sanctuary to all those within. You must do what you can to make
this rule stand.
It is against the law for someone to assault another. Tell your violent child that
s/he must comply with the rule or they must leave, either on their own or with
police help. If it is by police help, you will be filing assault charges. This may
seem excessive, but your violent child has left you no other choices. Being
intimidated and/or brutalized is not an acceptable choice!
When a Youth’s Behavior is Affecting the whole Family
When the youth refuses to live by the rules it is time for him to go! You need to
state to the child that he can either follow the rules or choose the door. Tell him
that you love him and prefer him to stay, but only if he can decide to work within
the family rules. If he chooses to leave, tell him that if he needs to he could
come home. If he returns he is still expected to follow the rules and to help
around the home. When you make this statement of the rules, your children have
to know that you mean it.
Since the law expects parents to care for minor children, it becomes a task to
know what to do with them when they refuse to follow the rules. Some parents
have arranged in advance a situation in which the child will not usually enjoy, like
living with an uncle on a farm. There will be a lot of labor to keep the youth busy,
so they will be grateful to come home and abide by the rules. However there is a
good chance the youth will runaway.
Still, other parents allow the youth to find their own shelter by staying with friends
until they wear out their welcome with all their friends and come back home.
They maintain friendly lines of communication with the youth during the interim.
The Utah Boy's Ranch has an excellent program using prayer, scripture study,
academic tutoring, and self-esteem building with strict adherence to house rules
to reform unmanageable youths. There success rate has been tremendous and
recidivism very low.
Finally, some parents help their youths to be come emancipated adults through
the petitioning the court for emancipation status. That means that even though
the youth is not of the age of maturity, s/he can be treated as an adult if s/he has
proof that s/he can live on his/her own by gaining and maintaining a job which
pays for food, clothing, rent, and at least public transportation.
Having a Routine for the Day
Children need and love structure to their day. They know what is next and look
forward to their favorite times of the day, such as coloring time, story time, and
time with father or mother. Without structure the child is left to his or her own
devices. This usually means trouble, especially if they know their environment
well. A child's job as a child is to discover and learn. You may wonder why the
child given free-time, to do as they please, always seems to end up into
something s/he should not be into. This is because they have searched their
allowed environment and become bored with it, because there is no new
learning. So the child searches for new and exciting things to discover. This
usually includes the places s/he ought not go or be into, such as mother's makeup, the chemicals and sprays under the kitchen sink, scissors for haircutting, and
so on.
Place a poster board in a prominent family area with the times laid out for each
activity of the day, from getting up to going to bed. Try to follow the schedule as
much as possible. Ask the child, what is next on the schedule? Since there is
structure, the child has little time to get in to mischief. S/He has time to learn,
one-on-one time with parents. Lunch happens before s/he become too hungry.
Naps occur before s/he become to frustrated and ornery. Outings to the
playground occur like clock-work, to allow the child work his/her muscles and to
run off pent up energy. In short you and your child will much happier; your child
is not constantly in trouble and s/he is learning and developing mentally and
A routine helps schedule the time so there are not large amounts of time that are
not without an activity. In this way the children are not given an opportunity to
get bored and into trouble. Below are some activities that may help you to
structure your children time.
Activities to Keep Children from Being Bored and In Trouble
Author Unknown
Do artwork
Go to a sports event
Roller Blading
Go to a lecture
Plan Family Home Evening
Plan an incentive activity
Walk the dog
Take a nap
Take a walk
Please my parents
Take a drive
Look for & watch wild life
Read a good book
Watch a nature channel
Window shop/mall walking
Go to the fair/carnival
Go on a date
Write a letter/send a card
Plan your future
Dodge ball
Picnic/ Barbecue
Write a book
Fly a kite
Have a party
Go to a movie
Lift weights
Rent a movie
Do something healthy
Read the scriptures
Call a friend
Play Ping-Pong
Look for beauty
Do a scavenger hunt
Play the piano
Finish a project
Go to the zoo
Tell good jokes
Learn something new
Listen to good music
Play a board game
Help someone
Eat out
Computer games
Coach someone in something
Visit a friend
Write in your journal
Go to the library
Say a prayer
Read a magazine
Play Frisbee
Press flowers
Play pool
Read the newspaper
Bird watch
Collect things
People watch
Go to a concert
Repair things
Go flying
Camping/sleep over
Plan tomorrow
Go on a field trip
Plan your vacation
Scouting: Merit Badges/Eagle Project Make dinner
Go to the lake
Show someone you love them
Go to the playground
Making a Job's List Book
Youths need on the job training, like you would do with an employee. You do the
job with them once so they know how you want it done. Then leave them with a
check list so they cannot say, “I forgot.”
Get a three ring binder with plastic protector pages.
Have a master book for yourself and one for the family.
Put a section in the book for each child.
In each child's section in the protector pages should appear a list of things
the child is to accomplish to have his/her work done for the day.
5. In the last section is the Jobs Descriptions section. For example: Clean
the bathroom. Would have under it. Clean the toilet with a disinfectant.
Listed under this would be: clean the top and sides of the tank, clean the
top and bottom of the seat, clean the bowl inside and out, clean the base
of the toilet and the floor around the toilet. Each item would be on a
separate line so they would distinctly stand out and could bee seen in a
glance. Each item to be cleaned in the bathroom would be written out just
like it was done for cleaning the toilet.
6. Instead of just giving the list to the child, the child receives on the job
training. S/He cleans while you sweetly supervise the first time. That way
the child knows exactly what clean looks like to you.
7. In your family each day's work can be different or Monday through Friday
can be the same with Saturday having extra responsibilities that can be
saved for Saturday or done through out the week as time presents itself.
Have the children come up with their way to split up the jobs and when
jobs rotate to another child.
8. Deciding when the jobs will be done is a good thing for the children to
decide democratically. That way they feel they have a say. This helps
them buy into the whole process. It is their plan. This plan can change if
the children wish it to. Your children may like to keep the same jobs for a
month. Others like to have it change weekly or daily.
9. It really doesn't matter when the jobs rotate as long as the work is done
and checked off daily by a parent. This must be done consistently by both
the children and the parents.
10. Set a deadline for work to be done each day. Set consequences for its not
being done.
To see a completed job list binder see Making a Family Job's List Binder on
page 69.
Other Ways to Get Control of Your Family
1. Use family scripture reading - the scriptures actually state the rules how
they will make you happy and tells of individuals who broke the rules and
what happened to them.
2. Attend church together. – church teaches values and how-to skills that
your children will need.
3. Use family prayer, morning and night. Invite God to be part of the
solution. He can be with them when you cannot and suggest ways to
make good decisions. Also how do you think your children will feel when
they hear you pray for each of them personally?
4. Use Family Home Evening – this is a time where you can construct
lessons and activities to reinforce skill building that your children need
through fun activities.
5. Have Family Councils as needed.
6. Other helpful articles located in the appendix:
 A Parent's Guide for Raising Children
 A Contract with the Family's Youths for Optimal Family Living
 Family Council
 Family Home Evening
Teaching Life Skills
When parents have troubles with their children it is almost always stems from a
lack of good development in one or more of the areas mentioned below.
When youths are not successful in any aspect of their lives this leads to poor
self-esteem and reluctance to tackle other challenges in their life for fear of
failure and further devaluation of their self-esteem.
This fear devalues youths and causes them mental and emotional pain. To
cover up this pain they use anger to keep others away so they cannot discover
their fear and inability to succeed in life’s challenges. This leads to further
unhappiness as they are now alone with their pain and do not belong to peer
groups or to the family unit. They get further behind in the challenges of life such
as school and work. They are made fun of by peers. They find themselves in a
never-ending cycle of failure, pressure, and non-acceptance. They run out of
coping skills and don’t know how to get out of the situations they find themselves
in. Unless they get help, this often leads to suicide. Sometimes it leads to
incidences of mass murder.
This all could have been sidestepped by helping youths have the personal life
skills they needed to succeed. Each success builds upon the other allowing
youths to try and succeed at other challenges. Amassing a string of success
helps youths cope when they do not succeed, because they can look back and
see that they are capable. This enables them to try again.
As parents it is our job to teach personal life skills to your youths. The following
is a list of skills that you need to teach and mentor your children in succeeding in:
Moderating Feelings
You are to model how to appropriately deal with disappointment, fear, anxiety,
and anger for your children. If you do not know how to do this, seek counseling
or self-help books to learn. Hold Family Home Evenings on these subjects. Roll
play how to deal with these situations.
Sources of Anger
The main reasons for anger are as follows: devaluation of our personal opinions,
verbal attacks against us personally, fear of loosing face, frustration, anxiety,
stress, threats to our basic needs, and helplessness.
Teach your youths that they cannot can change the way others act, but they
change the way they interact with others. This changes the way others interact
with them. Be sure to roll play how to deal with each of these incidences both
outwardly and inwardly.
Youths may use power as a tool to get them what they want. Anger can give
individuals power. Your youths must be taught to get what they need by
appropriate methods.
Factors that Lower Our Ability to Cope with Anger
There are situations that lower our ability to cope and leads to anger. Help
children to understand why they may not be coping so they can eradicate the
problem before it causes behavioral problems. Some of the most common of
these are as follows:
 Hunger
 Anxiety and Stress
 Loneliness
 Tiredness
 Physical and Emotional Pain
 Drugs & Alcohol
 Emotional overload – A bunch of little things that keep mounting
 Irrational perceptions of things – Thoughts that have no basis in reality
The expectations you have for your youths should be clearly stated. These
expectations or family rules and the consequences should be posted where your
youths can see them. This posting may be on the family bulletin board or the
refrigerator. Below are some general expectations for your youths to have
optimum living conditions in your home.
Family Contract
The following is a contract that can be made with your youths so they know
exactly what they rules are and what is expected of them. It is to promote
respect, responsibility for their actions, and peace in the family. They and you
should have a signed copy.
Family Contract
I want to live in a nice, comfortable home with a peaceful, loving atmosphere. I
want to live in a place where I'll be proud to bring my friends, including dates. I
want to be a part of a family of which I can be proud. To do my part to achieve
these goals, I promise to my family that I will make an honest effort to live the
ideals taught to me by my parents and church.
Respect for God
I will attend church willingly, cheerfully, and on-time.
Each time I attend church I will find something that will make me a better
person, and then make that change.
Respect for Myself
I will not use tobacco, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or use unprescribed or
illegal drugs.
I want to be respected, so I will be the kind of person that others enjoy being
I will choose only friends who will help me live the standards taught to me by
my parents and church.
Respect for Parents
I will always plan my activities before I leave home. If I have no plan, I
shouldn't be going out anyway.
I will check out with my parents before going anywhere.
I want to be trusted, so I will go where I say I'm going and will do what I say
I'm doing.
I will return when I say I will. If there is a good reason to return later, I will tell
my parents.
I know my parents worry, so I will check in with them so they know I'm back.
Unless I have permission, I will not allow friends in the home unless at least
one of my parents is home.
When I have friends in our home, I will have worthwhile activities planned for
I am responsible to ensure my friends also follow these family rules when
they are on family property or family activities.
Respect for Family
I don't want to be a burden on others. Therefore, I will clean up after myself.
I will cheerfully complete my daily and weekly chores without being reminded
and before I participate in activities other than church or school.
I will have respectful, clean language at all times. I will not participate in
sniping, name-calling or put-downs.
I will not use physical violence, rough horseplay, or even threats.
Respect for Property
I will not waste food, electricity, or other family resources.
I will use the family car only with permission. I will drive safely, courteously,
and will not waste fuel.
My honor is important to me. I will not steal, lie, or even borrow anything
without permission.
I will not throw things.
I will not vandalize or intentionally destroy things.
If I follow the terms of this agreement, I understand my parents will provide me a
safe and comfortable home, food, clothing, and a peaceful, loving, atmosphere in
which to live.
(signature of youth)
Dealing with Individual Differences within Children
Youths are different individuals. The best way to communicate with them is to
know their personality. Are they loud or soft-spoken, out-going or aloof. The
idea is to match their style of communication. Take into account your children’s
likes and dislikes, the time of day they are likely to be in good mood, and the
degree of directness the youth can tolerate.
Youths put a lot of stock in the written word. They communicate with each other
with letters, notes, social networking sites, and most of all, texting. They feel
important when they receive written correspondence. If you want the attention of
your child or want the time to measure each word without pressure or shouting;
write to the child! (The pen is mightier than the sword.) Then discuss the
Direct your youths in finding something that interests them. Help them develop a
passion for reading, learning, and other positive interests. These interests could
be in sports, reading, hobbies, outdoor activities, science, animal husbandry, and
etc. Help your child develop a positive passion. This is one area that creates
success in their lives. Help your child see those success and use them to build
upon to accept challenges in other areas of their lives.
Many of our youth have no spark or passion for anything in their lives. This
attitude splashes over into their emotional world in how they relate to others.
Some do not care when others are hurt through damage of property, nor do they
feel any emotion when they purposefully mutilate or kill animals or people. Some
cut on themselves to feel anything.
Peer Smarts
Teach your youths to know what a friend is, to trust his/her own feelings, and
how to make good decisions (see page 29). If it doesn't seem right it probably
isn't. Many adults and youth do not realize the promptings of the spirit. Often the
Holy Ghost will repeat His message over and over again until a decision is made.
Many feelings or thoughts of things being dangerous or feelings to run or get
away are messages from the Holy Ghost! Listen and act appropriately! Teach
your youth to do the same.
The Lord tells us you will know others by their actions. You can guide your youth
to good friends by asking them how their friends make them feel. Do they lift
them up or put them down? Do they help they make good choices or bad? Help
them to know that they deserve to have good friends that will help them make
good choices and treat them appropriately and not degrade them under the
pretext of just joking. (See: The Importance of Good Friends in Your Teen's Life
page 62 and How to Acquire Good Friends page 67)
Encourage them to discuss Relational Problems with You
For Family Home Evening have a role playing night where you take turns acting
out different scenarios that may cause troubles. Some of these might be what to
do when: you are asked to steal, use drugs/alcohol or smoke, help others cheat,
destroy property, or hurt someone else physically, emotionally, or verbally.
When youths have made a decision as to what to do and how to act when they
are not under pressure, the decisions have already been made. They already
have a plan of action when the situation arises, now all they have to do is do it!
This is the easy part! Having to make decisions under pressure usually leads to
bad decisions.
Teach your youths to focus on and stick to the task at hand. To do this, choose
activities for your youths to participate in that are of different duration and
complexity. Start out short and simple and build on your youth's successes.
Remember to give honest praise, often. Praise should define the success and
should not be general. Bad Example: You did well! Good Example: I like the
way you kept at that math problem. It wasn't easy, but you stuck with it until it
was done! I'm proud of you!
Body Acceptance
Help your youths like themselves and not obsess on outward appearances. Do
help them improve self appearance by making sure they have good hygiene and
clean, unwrinkled, moderately normal clothing that fit them.
If your youths are overweight then help him/her to accomplish weight loss. This
can be done through eating proper foods, portion control, not eating before bed,
and exercising. If there is still a problem get your youths tested. (See Dr. Mark
Hyman’s articles on hypothyroidism and allergies called, The Ultra Thyroid
Solution at http://www.thyroid-info.com/ultra-thyroid-solution.htm/.)
If your youths want to develop muscle help them achieve this. If your youths
need a makeover to feel good about themselves then help them earn a way to do
so. The make-over could include changing glasses to contacts, straightening
crooked teeth, removal of a detracting birthmark or birth defect, etc.
It is important for your youths to like themselves before they can feel confident
enough to reach out to others securely. Studies show that people seek out others
that match their own body types. Unconsciously, they eliminate others that do
not look like them; in fact they do not even see them. Therefore, those who do
not fit the body type of individuals they wish to befriend, they most likely will not
succeed. It is also true that misfits tend to be forced to be loners or join with
other misfits to have any friends.
It is not unmanly or wimpy to seek out information before attempting something
new. Help your youths to know how find information about things they want to
know about and be there for them when they want to talk.
Remember to listen to all they have to say before putting in your two cents. Stop
what you are doing and look them straight in the eyes so they know you are
listening. They will cue you when they want you to talk.
If you have points you need to talk to them about either make a mental note or jot
down a word to help you remember what you needed to talk to them about. Do
not put down their ideas. Instead ask intelligent questions that would lead them
to questions the validity of their ideas or expand upon them. Example: This is
interesting. Have you considered this or that? How does ___ affect this?
Group Think
People act differently in groups than when they act individually. People do things
in mobs that they would never do alone. Teach your youths to remember who
they are and that they can stand alone if needed when the group is making bad
choices. They need to know that there is no reason for going along with the
group when they make joint, bad decisions. Teach them to know and remember
their values. Let them know that they can blame you for not being able to do
something. Also they can call you at anytime or from anywhere and you will
come get them.
Also teach your youths how to act when working in a group. There has to be
some give and take when working as a group like on a school project. Teach
them to know their resources and use them. Their basic resources are other
people, you, repositories of knowledge, and/or God.
Help your youth to know when to show appreciation to others and how.
Example: Honest verbal or written appreciation. Also teach the youth to
remember to give gratitude to God who is the source of all blessings great or
small. Nurture spirituality through family and individual prayer – morning and
night, scripture reading, and Family Home Evening.
Reference: Adapted from - Taffel, Ron. Discovering Our Children. Networker,
Sept./Oct. '99.
A Parent's Guide for Raising Children
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 1999
Use the Gospel in Your Home
To strengthen your family you must have the spirit of the Lord in your
Through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, dedicate your home.
Pray daily with your children.
Read the scriptures together.
Hold Family Home Evening each week.
Make sure your children to know how to get answers to prayers. Make
opportunities for children to make decisions and to ask the Lord if they are
Use added love and support to reinforce your teachings on how to make
choice. Read the church magazines with your children.
Share your spiritual feelings and testimony with your family.
Fill your homes with the sounds of worth music.
Teach children the significance of baptism, confirmation, partaking of the
sacrament, honoring the priesthood, making and keeping temple
Teach your children the importance of living worthy of a temple
recommend and preparing for a temple marriage.
Prepare your children and your extended family with an understanding of
the temple.
The goal for your family is to be on the straight and narrow path.
Parents need to be an example to your children.
Council with Your Family
Hold family councils to discuss plans and concerns.
Council one-on-one with family members.
Spend individual time with your children.
See the article: Family Council page 55
Intervention and Instituting Family Values
It is the parent’s duty to intervene when they see their children making
mistakes. Teach appropriate behavior and consequences.
There is no such thing as unlawful censorship in the home. Only
appropriate music, movies, TV shows, magazines and other media are
Talk to your children's teachers, coaches, counselors, advisors, and
church leaders about concerns and needs of your children
Structure Children's Spare Time
Know what your children are doing in their spare time. If they are on the
Internet, know what they are doing.
Influence your children's choice of movies, television programs, and video
Help your children see the importance of wholesome entertainment.
Your Child's Friends are Important
Help your children build good friendships.
Make your children's friends welcome in your home.
Develop Family Togetherness
Make your home a place where each family member feels loved and a
sense of belonging.
Communicate with each other.
Eat together as a family, whenever possible.
Work together as a family. Talk together as you work.
Build family traditions.
Plan and carry out meaningful vacations together, considering your
children's needs, talents, and abilities.
Create happy memories with your children.
Teach your children about their family history and ancestors.
Prepare Your Child for the Future
Help your children learn self-reliance and the importance of preparing for
the future.
Help your children develop their talents and build their self-worth.
Help your children realize the importance of education and preparing for
employment and self-sufficiency.
Help your children with their homework.
Show your children how to budget time and resources by your example.
Use outside resources wisely to strengthen your family.
Encourage worthwhile school activities for your children.
Handling Wayward Children
When your teenagers begin testing family values, you need to go to the
Lord for guidance on the specific needs of each child.
Pray for careless and disobedient children. Hold on to them with your faith,
until you see the salvation of God in their behalf.
Your children need to know, like the prodigal's son, they can turn to us for
love and counsel.
Avoid spoiling your children by giving them too much.
When a Child's Intolerable Behavior
Necessitates His/Her Leaving the Home
Never, out of anger are parents to lock the door, your home, or your heart to your
children. However, there are situations that warrant a child's expulsion from the
family and your home. This is due to violence or continuous behavior directly
opposing family values. Once the behavior has changed the child should be
allowed back into the home. Never should the child be locked out of your hearts.
Your love should be unconditional. Remember the child is always wanted, the
intolerable behavior is not. Prayers should always be raised up in his/her behalf
for a change of heart and behavior.
May 1999 Ensign at: www.lds.org under Publications, Church Magazines
Allowing Rewards and Consequences for
Children's Behaviors
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 1999
Dear Annette,
I have three children still at home, ages 17, 15, and 13. I try to make our teens do
what they are supposed to do while their Dad is out to sea with the Navy. When
He comes back in he lets them get away with murder. He says he doesn't want to
punish them since he doesn't get to see then that often. He wants their memories
of him to be good positive ones. I end up the heavy while he plays Santa Clause.
Meanwhile our teens try to run right over the top of me when he leaves. I'm about
ready to pack my bags and leave. I can't take much more.
Please help or I'm packing!
Sick of It!
Dear Sick of It,
When you and your husband do not follow the same rules it undermines both of
your authority and the children end up doing what they want to. This is not how
Heavenly Father shows us how to run families. Let's examine how He does it!
Rewards for Keeping the Rules
These are based on the way God treats us.
He says, "If you keep this commandment there is this blessing in store."
"No if, and, or buts, it is always there."
Translated to Our Children's Rules
When you get you room clean you can be rewarded.
Rewards can be anything that is important to the child:
Getting out of the room
Use of an ipod
Being paid
Going out with friends
Having electricity in their room
Using the computer for games
Use of a cell phone
Watching TV
Getting incentives
Incentives Plan
God says, "If you are trying to do your best to do what I've given you, I will give
you more blessing and more opportunities to grow and develop, and you will be
happy (e.g., The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:15-30, Bible, King James
Translated to Our Children's Rules
When opportunities come along, those that have been trying to keep the rules,
will be the ones I select to take on this outing. Try to make incentives happen
once a week at various times in the week so the children do not know when they
are coming. When they don't know when they are coming, they have to be
working well continuously.
Intermittent reinforcements/rewards bring the longest lasting behaviors, because
people work in hopes of being rewarded at any time.
Incentives could be a special activity, buying clothes, eating out, even a candy
Then comes the big reward
God says, "If you chose to try to do all the things I ask, then when I come for you
can all that is Mine."
Translated to Our Children's Rules
If you do the things I tell you, you will become happy capable people.
The Lord always uses consequences. We need to also. I have explained the
benefits to His plan, but if we choose not to follow His plan, there are
consequences. He uses natural consequences.
Example: Loss of choices, loss of happiness, loss of health, loss of blessings.
We can use natural consequences to!
Example: If you choose not to do you room, you may not leave it until it is done.
If you haven't finished your daily chores, you cannot go out with friends.
If you can't keep your curfew then you loose the ability to go out for a time.
If you take the car and don't go where you say where you are going or don't fill
the tank when bringing it back, you loose the privilege of using it for a time.
If your personal hygiene is not taken care of, then you are not ready to be in
public or be with us. When you get cleaned up you can come down for
There has to be immediate rewards for children. It's like training a dog to do
tricks. You don't say doggie roll over and somewhere down the line I promise to
reward you.
The dog thinks your nuts. He thinks, "You want me to do something reward me
immediately after it is done. This is the way I learn. I work, I get rewarded
God says, "Do what I say. Okay, here is the blessing!"
Children are concrete thinker's. Everything is absolute. I work, therefore I get
rewarded. (See: Understanding Adolescents and Teenagers page 58)
Service needs to be modeled by the parents so hopefully the children will follow
your example. Doing service out of the goodness of the heart without reward is
not concrete thinking, but that of formal thinking. Until youths are formal thinkers
you continue to model service and bring them along for the experience in hopes
that when they do become formal thinkers they will already be service oriented
people by habit of doing it. Then through formal thinking they can understand
why they should do it and embrace the concept intellectually and choose to do it
because it is right to do.
Avoiding a Power Struggle
In families there tends to be power struggle over getting the household work
done. Parents often reprimand their children for not having their work done and
just as often children refuse or make up excuses why the work isn't done. Having
a unified parental front with and rules and consequences jointly agreed upon and
enforced by both parents, makes all the difference in the world. The rules and
their consequences are presented to the children by both parents. The rules and
consequences are then posted where they can see. They must always enforced
immediately by both parents either separately or jointly. (See: Taking Control of
Your Family page 9.)
Scheduled Deadlines for Chores
Housework should have a reasonable time when it should be finished before the
consequence is administered. If you like a clean home to start your day then set
the limit for house work to be done sometime after school and about an hour
before bedtime. For most parents this means that school work and household
chores must be done before a child goes out to play.
Many parents provide an hour of free time after school for the child to unwind, get
a snack, and discuss their day with them. Many set a mandatory study time of
two hours for junior high and high school students. If the youth finishes before the
two hours are up, then s/he is free to read items of their choice. This leaves an
average of one or two hours for the child to get chores done.
Parents that have set deadlines when housework is to be done do not have to
nag their children to get their work done. If it is not done at or before the deadline
then the consequence is administered unless the child has been ill or excused for
an exceptional reason. Do not make a practice of excused a child from chores or
s/he will become professional excuse givers and irresponsible. If exceptions
need to be made, see that the exception is made on the deadline, not on the
responsibility of doing the chore. Do not make a practice of making deadline
extensions either. Your goal is to make responsible people of your children. (See
How to Carryout Consequences page 29.)
Making Reasonable Demands of Children
Basically all house rules can be boiled down to respect! Respect for God self,
parents, other and property. These are reasonable demands we should expect of
our children. Children want to know that there are righteous reasons behind the
rules. This makes things fair. Being fair is important to concrete thinkers. (See: A
Family Contract page 39.
When presenting a rule, explain why it is fair to ask this of them. Then explain
exact examples of what the demands/rules would look like by painting a picture
for concrete thinker! Remember what you say will be taken absolutely to the
letter of the law. (See: The Family Job List Binder page 69)
Leaving the Eldest in Charge
Often the eldest is left in charge of the rest of the children when parents go out.
They often expect the eldest to make younger siblings finish their work and not
get into trouble. Just as often when the parents go out the door, the rules go out
the door with them. They younger siblings refuse to work and run off to play or
get into other mischief. When the parents get home, the eldest usually gets in the
most trouble because of what was or wasn't done.
Expecting the eldest to make younger siblings work or behave properly is
unrealistic; if you do not give him/her the power to carry out the consequences
when the work is not done or a rule is breached. The eldest gets to experience
what is like having adult responsibilities which is also important for his growth
and development.
If he finds that being leader is a painful no-win experience where his siblings
back talk and refuse to work because he has no power over them and parents
yell at him for not getting the job done, then everybody looses. To keep the
parents happy he finds he has two choices.
1. Beat the siblings into submission.
2. Get the work done himself.
If s/he beats the children then s/he gets into trouble. If s/he does the work then
s/he knows that s/he will have to do the work every time the parents leave.
Neither one of these are good choices for him/her, so you will often see that the
child will just let things slide and take the heat when the parents get home. Since
this becomes the norm, the younger siblings are reinforce in their bad behavior
because they were able to give the older sibling a bad time and they didn't have
to get their work done. The eldest takes the heat as passively as possible, but
resents the parents for their unfairness. This can cause a passive-aggressive
personality to evolve. He passively follows the demands of the parents, but when
an opportunity presents itself to get back at them; he may choose to exercise it.
This could take the form of cutting remarks, slights, wasting or destroying
resources, or slowly eroding the credibility of parent's character. In this way s/he
can pick a moment and the means that s/he can get back at parents for their
injustices towards him/her.
These passive-aggressive tendencies follow him/her into adult relationships
causing all kinds of problems for everyone who knows him/her. S/He will
become so good at these tactics that they will become second nature to him/her.
Amending the Rules
Often rule need change to grow with the needs of the family and to fit the age of
the youth. When the parents discover this they go behind closed doors and
discuss the changes and come up with a new rule and consequence which is
jointly agreed upon. Often amendments to the rules can be brought up by the
children, as needed, at family council. Family councils give a place where family
problem and activities can be addressed. They work wonderfully and should be
used on a regular basis. (See: Family Council page 55.)
Shopping Parents
Children are no dummies. At a very early age they learn what they want, how to
get it, and from whom they can get it. They also realize when the best times are
to ask for these favors and exactly how and what to say to get them. Often they
wait for times parents are not paying attention so they can slip things past them,
that ordinarily would not be allowed. Another favorite tactic is to ask for
something from Father and say Mother said it was all right if it was all right with
you, when in fact the mother wasn't consulted at all. All of these examples are
called shopping parents or deceit. If you do not have rules and consequences for
these actions, then get them.
The Role of the Sick Child
Many children will fake illness for a time so they can get out of school,
housework, or other responsibilities.
It is often difficult to prove that a child is faking. Create a rule when children
become ill they are expected to take on the role of a “sick person" for the whole
They must stay in their room, in bed, and rest. No TV, friends, or phone calls in
or out, just bed rest. If they are feeling better they can read a book, but they can't
join the rest of the family because they are ill and could contaminate the rest of
the family.
There is no room for miracle cures, just in time for another event the child may
want to engage in later in the day.
Earning Extra Wages
Youths of all ages like money. They need money to help them know how to
manage it.
1/10 goes to tithing.
1/10 goes to savings.
The rest is theirs to spend as they wish or to add to their savings.
In any case children will often come asking for chores that can be done for extra
money. A good rule to set is that all regular work both school and chores must be
done before additional chores for extra money can be asked for.
This also holds true for the youth that has a job outside the home. His/Her work
must be done before s/he can leave the home for his/her employment. This is
because their first allegiance must be to the welfare of the family. If the youth is
smart enough to land a job. S/He is smart enough to figure out a way to get
family obligations take care of too. If this is not the case, then the job must go.
This teaches the youth responsibility and commitment.
Children are unified in trying to get their own way, being lazy, and being
irresponsible. It is up to parents to become unified together in helping their
children to grow up as capable, responsible, people with work ethics that will
serve them and their community well.
I hope you can get your husband to join the program. You can't be a Santa and
raise responsible adults. If not, I have heard of mother's going on strike to get
their demands met.
Family Council
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 1997
Parents usually initiate the idea of the family council.
Each council should start and end with prayer.
Council should be scheduled:
regularly at a convenient time for every member
as the need arises
to plan family activities
to bear one another's burdens and joys
to council with one another to keep family members on the straight and
The family council should include all who live in that household.
Each member should possess these characteristics before attending family
a feeling of cooperation to reach a mutual decision
courage to share one's honest point of view
willingness to listen openly to another member's honest comments
love for each other
listen for and act upon what the Holy Spirit has to say
Although each member of the family council has an equal voice in the business
of the council, the decisions are not necessarily majority vote. Parents, after
prayerful consideration, may exercise their duty as the head of the council and
the family to make the decision and carry it out.
Each Family Council Needs a Chairperson and a Secretary
The Chairperson:
publishes an agenda before the meeting
oversees the council meeting
keeps the discussion on tract
outlines the problem(s)
does not offer solutions but asks for suggestions to solve the problem(s)
sees each member is heard
The Secretary:
takes notes during the meeting of the council discussion and its decisions
reads back the notes at the next meeting
Family councils should:
allow children to be heard but not be disrespectful to their parents or each
be held in a calm setting where discussion can take place
General Family Council Agenda
Any member may thank another or make positive note of:
good deeds
personal strengths
These are the notes from the last meeting.
Old Business
This is unfinished business from previous meetings due to fact finding or
unresolved differences of the council. When decisions are not unanimous the
issue is tabled for further study and prayer by each member of the council.
Family budget is discussed. Allowances may be dispersed at this time.
New Business
New topics, complaints, and/or problems are placed on a previously posted
agenda and discussed at this time.
The meeting adjourns and the family plays a game, outing, or dessert. This
provides family togetherness and makes positive memories.
The New Business Agenda
The agenda is posted in a well trafficked area such as the refrigerator for all to
see and to add topics for discussion for the next family council. These items may
complaints, and/or problems
family trips or vacations
large family expenditures
family goals
Benefits of Holding a Family Council
family cooperation and unity
personal responsibility
closer ties with the Holy Ghost
a knowledge that God exists and loves each of us
courage and self-esteem
develops a greater love for each member of the council
better communication and social skills
solutions to problems
an better understanding of attitudes, values, and God's commandments
sharing and democratic principles
family rules and procedures are more likely to be followed by the family if
each member has had the opportunity to be heard, understand why
decisions were made, and sustain them
Ballard, M. Russell (1997). Counseling with Our Councils. Salt Lake City, Utah:
Deseret Book Company – Condensed and enhansed..
Popkin, Michael H. (1990). Active Parenting of Teens - Parent Guide. Atlanta,
Georgia: Active Parenting Inc.
Understanding Adolescents and Teenagers
The term Adolescents is a term that is generally defined as a twelve to fifteen
year old. An excellent example of an adolescent is Tom Hanks in the movie
"Big." Hanks exudes the essences of a thirteen year old boy by displaying these
Always checking himself because he is unsure about everything
Doesn't know social rules so he stick out like a sore thumb
Very literal
Experiences the world through all the senses
Innocent and free
Proud of himself and his accomplishments
painfully truthful
needs security, acceptance, respect, trust, openness, and confidentiality
Is in the moment, continuously
Playful, happy, effervescent, confident, and absorbed in whatever he is
Treats everyone the same
Is trusting and open
Constantly grazing
Adolescent girls have the same qualities but they get the message early to mute
the above mentioned qualities.
Teen's Qualities
Teens are generally characterized by adults as 15 to 20 year olds with these
"Can-do" Attitude
Denial of effects
A "Know-It-All"
No Fear
Full of intense feelings
Feels safer in groups
The teen is defined as the new bad guy or scapegoat for our society.
The government give little funding for teen projects in hopes that teens
and teen problems will just go away or grow-up.
When times are bad teens are pushed out of the economic market with no
The teen spends five years of variability in developing the physical,
mental, spiritual, social, and sexual aspects of life. In fact there are times
the teen doesn't know which way is up.
They never feel quite right.
Even little things become a crisis because of the continual pressure to
They feel they are center stage at all times and that everyone is watching
them, so they try to stay away from situations that would draw attention to
Since schools are energy packed places waiting for a problem to explode,
school administrators try to cut down interaction time between classes to a
minimum, leaving no time for relieving bladders. Consequently girls are
getting lots of urinary tract diseases.
"Concrete Thinkers"...
Adolescents and Teens are concrete thinkers. Everything is either black or white.
Everything is absolute. Either it is or it isn't. For example: A mother says to her
concrete thinking teen... "We can read our books together since we have the
same books." "They're not the same book," the teen exclaims. The mother points
out that both books have sixteen chapters with the same titles. The teen points
out that the stitching on the binding of her book is a different color!
The concrete thinker only sees that they are either absolutely the same or they
are different.
The concrete thinker thinks rules should always be the same no matter what!
Rules cannot be bent for extenuating circumstances, or things beyond one's
Concrete thinkers grow self-esteem by doing well in school, being part of a team
that does well, by parents continually pointing out the positive aspects of their
personalities, behavior, and their physical appearance. They will more readily
believe a peer before they will believe a parent. Parents are supposed to love
them and tell them positive stuff. That is what a parent does. Parents have to
reinforce one positive aspect about their teens, ten separate times, believably,
before it is somewhat believed. If a teen's peer say something once, whether it is
true or not, even if the peer is a stranger, the comment is instantly believed and
sinks straight to the heart.
Teens especially are mean and vicious with each others feelings. A complete
stranger will make fun of another teen, boisterously, in public, just for fun. For this
reason instilling self-esteem is a never-ending battle.
Youths are concrete thinkers up to about age twenty-one. Changing into formal
thinking beings is a gradual thing. Some may never develop that ability
Formal Thinking
Formal thinking happens in bits and pieces. It may start somewhere around age
seventeen, but it is so slight and gradual that its collective effects are not really
noticed until much later. Formal thinking is the ability to plan and to see if I do
this, then _______ will/can happen (seeing future cause and effect). This type of
thinking takes the development of the frontal lobe of the brain. This is not fully
developed, on the average, until age 21.
When a child is born his/her brain is not fully developed. The nerves have to
grow throughout the brain to take advantage of that area. Each area gives the
child the ability to think, do, or sense different things, or do it better.
The nerves have to grow into an area to be able to use that part of the brain.
Until that time, the child is limited in his/her thinking and or sensory ability.
Altruistic motives are generally considered as part of concrete thinking. Ex: Doing
a job well for the sake of having done a good job for no recompense doesn't
make a lot of sense to a concrete thinker. Under their absolute thinking, the rule:
If you work you get paid, stands firmly. Working with no pay, for the satisfaction
of a job well done and for being a service to others is not understandable even
when explained. In other words they hear you say it, but it makes no sense to
them. Under formal thinking, service builds self-esteem, self-worth, and a great
sense of accomplishment.
Knowledge of the brain's development can helps us to understand why teens
seem to be so weird in their thinking until they reach the age of about 21. At that
point most of them actually start acting like adults. They are actually fun to be
around. This is because, for the first time, they are thinking like adults and
becoming more like us.
Have you ever heard adult say, "What were you thinking? Didn't you know that if
you did that, this would happen?" Some of them will actually tell you, "No, I didn't
think!" That is because it didn't even occur to them to think, because it was past
their capability.
Enervation or growth of the nerves into the frontal lobe happens only at night
while teens sleep. Those youths that choose to listen to music while they sleep
do not allow the nerves time to grow because the nerves are busy processing the
incoming stimuli of the music. Therefore, these youths are robbing themselves by
slowing development and their potential to become capable people.
There is a "threshold of learning" or a time period during which an area of the
brain may be used. This is when the nerves first enervate that area. If the nerves
are not stimulated, they wither and die. When this happens the person losses the
ability to use that area or the ability to use it at its fullest capacity. An example of
this is the ability of youths to take up a foreign language with the capability of
being able to produce the sounds properly and pick up the language easily.
When someone tries to do the same thing later in life, they are never able to
produce the sound exactly and have a greater difficulty learning the language.
Seeing others model formal thinking during "the threshold of learning" or at the
time of enervation of the frontal lobe, helps the teen to take their example and
begin thinking and using those same thoughts. The use of the nerves in the new
areas stimulates those nerves and encourages new growth.
Troubled teens get 3 to 4 hours of sleep which allows little or no development for
the frontal lobe. These teens have delays in cognitive, social, and all areas of
their lives. It is usually these same teens that fall asleep while listening to the
radio, which allows little or no development.
Troubled teens get into further trouble with adults because adults expect them to
"act their age," even though they are not capable of it. Adults see their behavior
as disrespecting authority, by acting dumb. We have 16 to 18 year olds acting
like 12 to 13 year olds. Look at the teen's behavior and then treat him/her
respectively. If a teen's developmental behavior is off by more than three years,
there is a definite problem. Great care should be taken to see that these teens
are getting enough quality rest and proper formal-thinking adults modeling formal
Abused teens turn off and check out of their bodies/minds. Therefore, "the
threshold of learning" has not been taken advantage of, leaving them with
speech and hearing impairments and other developmental delays. Often these
teens have trouble check back into their minds. They have exercised the "off"
button so often that it works extremely well, whereas the "on" button becomes
Sometimes the "on" button is triggered by stimuli similar to the original abuse. It
comes on when it is not safe or unwanted. There is a flood of sensory activity
that can be uncontrollable causing a psychological or mental crisis. To stop this
from happening, often teens choose to self-medicate using drugs and alcohol.
Others use work, achievement, TV, overeating, exercise, or sexual relationships
to numb or cope with the mental pain.
Professionals have found that having the teen use kinesthetic toys or work with
things that make noises, forces them to use and develop their senses.
Stimulation of the senses paired with psychological help allows teens to check
back into reality and feel all right about using their senses again.
When an adolescent exhibits early sexual activity such as consensual sex before
age 15 there is a high correlation with:
the first sexual encounter being a negative experience.
adolescents around the age of 13, having been sexually abused.
having been sexually victimized as a child. This is usually is done by a
much older person.
drugs and/or alcohol used with all sexual encounters.
family and drug problems.
brain damage from early sexual victimization.
It is important that we pay particular attention to the adolescents and teens of
today because no matter what shape they are in, they will be the leaders of
tomorrow and the core of our society.
If we can stall a teen from making bad decisions long enough by offering
education, healthy sleep, good role models, and give time for enervation to
happen, we can make a difference in tomorrow's world.
Constabean, M. (Nov. 2, 1995) Notes from Working with the Young Adolescent
Workshop. Anchorage, AK .
The Importance of Good Friends
in Your Teen's Life
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright ©1999
Who is Influencing My Child?
As parents, we try to instill the essence of goodness in our children, then we let
them go into the world and hope that they have listened and learned the
teachings we have given them. We lend them to the schools for approximately
eight hours a day and then they come home and want to be with friends. That
leaves little time to influence them further. The greatest influence in their lives is
their friends. In many cases you have given your precious child to a stranger to
mold into the adult s/he will become.
Do You Know Your Teen's Friends?
How can you get to know them? Make your home a place where they will hang
out. That may mean having exciting good videos around, fun activities, and lots
of food. This probably means that you have added the food for four or five
teenagers to your to your monthly food bill, but you are getting away easy. You at
least know what your teen is doing and with whom he is with. Piece of mind is
worth a lot.
Uphold Your Values in Your Home
Now that you have the teens in your home, gently correct any deviations in
behavior from your standards as they occur in your home. Teens will respect
your expectations of behavior or they will choose not to be in your home. I have
had youths in my home that act one way at their home and quite differently in
mine. I liken this behavior to many people who go to church. They have their
Sunday behavior and their rest of the week behaviors.
Build Strong Family Ties
Make your home a place where each family member feels loved and a sense of
belonging. Communicate with each other. Eat together as a family, whenever
possible. Work together as a family. Talk together as you work.
Build family traditions. Plan and carry out meaningful vacations together,
considering your children's needs, talents, and abilities. Create happy memories
with your children. Teach your children about their family history, ancestors, and
their heritage.
Bus Them to Milwaukee if You Have To!
Proximity plays a very important part in who your youth's friends are. Many youth
would have better friends if they had some reliable way to get over to their home.
You need to be the facilitator in getting good youths into your home and getting
your youth over to their home. It may seem inconvenient, but it is worth it in the
long run!
Teens Are Organized Why Aren't Parents?
If a parent puts his/her foot down on an activity, it isn't long before your youth's
group of friends knows about. Soon they are plotting ways to get around the
problem. Parents need to have a roster of their teen's friends and not be afraid to
check out the story or plans your teen has made with the other parents whose
teens are also involved. In most cases the parent on the other end of the line will
welcome the alliance. They want to know what kind of home their teen is going
to. If they don't, that is a signal that your teen should not in their home. You have
to have alliances with the other parents. You need to check with the other
parents about supervision for activities in their homes. You need to check to see
if they know what activities are being planned. Teens are not above telling their
parents that they are spending the night at each other's places and then slipping
out for a night on the town.
What Happens when Your Youth gets into the Wrong Group of Friends?
It will be your worst nightmares come true. Many of the gangs of today do not
espouse an of society's values or laws. Everything within their grasp is theirs to
take. Many feel no qualms about taking someone's life. Many smoke, drink and
/or use drugs. These may be the very people that you have turned your youth
over to, to be trained.
Unfortunately, your youth would not be hanging with these teens unless s/he felt
comfortable with them or they fulfill some need your youth has. If s/he is already
one of them, your trouble is just beginning. You can transplant your youth to a
new city and still s/he will seek to be with people who are like him/her. You can't
run from the problem. You have to change the behaviors and thinking of the
youth. Again this is almost impossible. They can see more of their friends than
they ever see of you, since they are at school all day.
If there is a need find out what it is and fulfill it.
Bad News Friends
So you can see from the word go that your teen's friends are bad news. What
can you do? What you don't do is tell your teen that s/he cannot see them any
more. This statement raises hackles and begs for defiance. How can you enforce
this rule? You don't see your teen for most of his/her waking hours. They can see
who they want to see and they can be anywhere in a matter of minutes.
Instead, have a friendly talk with your teen. The big task here is not to make it an
inquisition and you have to not show how you really feel about these friends.
Ask your teen how hew feels about his/her friends.
How his/her friends him/her feel when s/he is with them.
Do these friends make good decisions?
Do they help you to choose to do what is right?
So they make you feel good about yourself?
Tell your youth that if friends are not helping him/her to be the best s/he can be
then they are not really friends. You can tell good friends by their actions. Look at
the actions, they speak louder than words. Some friends say one thing and do
another. These are not friends.
If they are not the right kind of friends, your teen will make excuses for them.
"They just smoke a little."
"They just cuss a little bit, it just slips out."
"They just wear those kinds of clothes because it is the in thing, but they're
"They stay out late, but they aren't doing anything bad!"
So your teen has a lot of anchors pulling him/her down, and no one buoying
him/her up? Even the best of teens will succumb to the law of the pack. Ask your
teen why all the excuses. Either they are or they are not good people. There is
no in between. Again check out their actions. They speak for themselves. You
can't say this enough to your teen.
What Movie Rating You Would Give Your Friend?
I talked myself blue in the face to my teenage daughter. She still wanted to hang
with a neighborhood friend even though she agreed that this neighbor did not
have our standards. My daughter stated that she was just a little this and just a
little that, but basically she was a good person.
Then one day I was inspired with a way to help her to see there was a problem.
We allow our children to see movies with the rating of "G" or "PG.” I asked my
daughter, "What rating would you give your friend if she were a movie. She
thought for only a moment and said, "PG-13." I asked her if she saw anything
wrong with that. She looked shocked and realized what I had been trying to tell
her all along. She agreed to not to be with her unless she had another friend of
her standards with her. With two girls with high standards together, it would
double the chances of the group doing what was right, instead of a 50-50 chance
it had been.
Anything Done after Midnight is probably Trouble
Too many parents let their teens stay out later than midnight on the weekends.
Police have stated that crime escalates more after midnight then at any other
time. If and activity cannot be done before midnight, then it shouldn't be done.
See that your teens are home. If they cannot keep curfew then they loose the
right to go out for a time. If they were using the family car then they loose that
right too. Keep these rules consistently.
Treating the Gang
Psychologists find that the gang or friends are so important that they have found
that they make better progress with troubled teens if they treat the whole group
rather than just the one teen. That is a highly significant message for us as
parents. If you want something to happen enlist the help of the group. When the
group knows your rules because you are kindly consistent with them just like you
are with your youth there is a better chance that they will help your youth to keep
those rules. They may even choose to adopt them for themselves.
A Note on the Happier Side
We have this promise in Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it." If we have taught our youth the
gospel, then we have the Lord's assurance that He will make sure that they will
espouse those ideas in there maturity of older years. They will see first hand that
not following the gospel will bring them sorrow. It will be at the bottom of their
sorrows that they will be enlightened to call upon the Lord and repent. It is at that
time that they will be ready to try living the gospel for themselves, and in it they
will find joy. This is our promise!
Reference: May 1999 Ensign and The King James version of the Bible
How to Acquire Good Friends
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 2000
I need to make better friends that will have a good influence in my life. Friends
that will help me make good choices.
I will get rid of the friends that I have now that do not fit this criteria.
Stop talking or being with them
I will act and talk like the people I want to be with.
Watch how these people act and talk.
Start talking and acting like them. Like a G-rated movie.
Ask the Lord to help you do this well and to stop thinking, talking and
acting like an R-rated movie.
I will do the types of things they like to do.
Find out what these are.
Try these activities and see if maybe you find these things fun too.
Talk to these people and see why they like it.
What got them started in it?
Have them explain parts you don’t understand.
Be enthusiastic about everything you try. You may find you really like it
I will invite these types of people over to do activities at my home.
Plan an activity and have your good new friends over.
Ex: Movie night, pizza party, sleepover, biking, skateboarding.
I will do things over at their homes.
I will accept invitations to do activities at their homes.
I will become the type of person that will help them to make good decisions.
I will ask the Lord to help me to do these things.
Each morning I will ask God for His help to do better that day.
I will talk about how well I did or didn’t do today, with God, in my nightly
In those prayers, with God, I will make a plan to overcome what when wrong.
I will ask my family and friends to help me choose the right.
I will picture myself feeling and acting as if I have already reached my goals.
The more vivid the picture, the better chance I will have of reaching my goals.
I will not quit because things aren't working out. Some goals may need some
changes to make them work better. I will review the effectiveness of each
step with parents and God and make changes where needed.
When: I will start? Immediately!
Making a Family Job's List Binder
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 1999
1. Get 2 three ring binders. Place plastic protector pages in the binder.
2. Make a master book for yourself and one for the family.
3. Put a section in the book for each child.
4. In each child's section in the protector pages should appear a list of things the
child is to accomplish to have his/her work done for the day.
5. In the last section is the Jobs Descriptions section. For example: Clean the
bathroom would have under it: Clean the toilet with a disinfectant. Listed under
this would be: clean the top and sides of the tank, clean the top and bottom of the
seat, clean the bowl inside and out, clean the base of the toilet and the floor
around the toilet. Each item would be on a separate line so they would distinctly
stand out and could bee seen in a glance. Each item to be cleaned in the
bathroom would be written out just like it was done for cleaning the toilet.
6. Instead of just giving the list to the child, the child receives on the job training.
S/He cleans while you sweetly supervise the first time. That way the child knows
exactly what clean looks like to you.
7. In your family each day's work can be different or Monday through Friday can
be the same with Saturday having extra responsibilities that can be saved for
Saturday or done through out the week as time presents itself. Have the children
come up with they're way to split up the jobs and when jobs rotate to another
8. Deciding when the jobs will be done is a good thing for the children to decide
democratically. That way they feel they have a say. This helps them buy into the
whole process. It is their plan. This plan can change if the children wish it to.
Your children may like to keep the same jobs for a month. Others like to have it
change weekly or daily.
9. It really doesn't matter when the jobs rotate as long as the work is done and
checked off daily by a parent. This must be done consistently by both the
children and the parents.
10. Set a deadline for work to be done each day. Set consequences for its not
being done.
11. A job description for each job may also put in protector page and taped
behind the door at the site that it defines so that it is handy for the youth and you
to check.
Below is an example of what might be in a Job List Binder. Print each major job
on a different sheet of paper.
All members of the family have accepted the daily tasks of housekeeping.
These duties are not intended as punishment. They are important to the
happiness and well-being of the family. Each family member has agreed to
cheerfully contribute to the welfare of the family by working together as a
team to get these chores done quickly every day.
We have a separate checklist for each day of the week. Each list is slightly
different. Each person will have a number assigned to him for the day. He
will complete all corresponding items from the checklist, starting at the top,
and complete them in sequence. We will cheerfully work together on each
room until the checklist for that room is done, and then move on to the next
room. Any disputes over the completion of a chore will be settled by Mom
or Dad.
Failure to satisfy one's responsibility may result in grounding and the
assignment of additional chores as punishment.
No chore will be considered complete until inspected and approved by
either parent. Anyone having an incomplete chore is grounded until the job
is done.
Grounding means that a family member will not be allowed to watch TV,
listen to the radio, CDs or tapes, play computer games, make telephone
calls, leave the house to play, or to eat desert or other treats. Grounding
does not mean nagging. A person who is grounded will not be released
from grounding if he or she must be reminded to perform his or her duties.
1 Scrape any food scraps into dog dish or garbage.
1 Wash all dishes after each meal in hot water.
1 Wash all large pots and pans in hot water.
1 Clean sink.
1 Wipe off stove top.
1 Wipe off refrigerator.
1 Wipe off all countertops.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
2 Search the house for dishes.
2 Dry and store all clean dishes in appropriate cupboard.
2 Wipe off food containers, lazy susan, and salt/pepper shakers.
2 Properly store food, etc.
2 Wipe off table and chairs.
2 Wipe off all appliances.
2 Clean microwave oven.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items.
1 Wash dishes, cook.
2 Rinse dishes, cook.
3 Pick up trash.
3 Take out the trash.
3 Water the plants when dry.
4 Mon: Clean window sills, windows, walls, door sills, doors.
4 Tue: Dust pictures.
4 Wed: Clean refrigerator top.
4 Thu: Clean baseboards.
4 Fri: Clean under refrigerator and refrigerator drip pan.
3 Sat: Clean trash can.
3 Sat: Clean range hood.
3 Sat: Clean cabinet fronts, sides and backs.
4 Sat: Clean inside refrigerator.
4 Sat: Clean walls.
4 Sat: Clean inside drawers and shelves.
1 Sweep the floor.
2 Mop the floor when needed.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
Living room
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items.
1 Water the plants when dry.
2 Sweep entry way.
3 Pickup trash.
3 Vacuum the carpet in living room, hall, and Mom's bedroom.
3 Thu: Clean under furniture.
4 Mon: Clean windows, window sills, walls, doors, door sills.
4 Tue: Dust pictures, piano, TV, cabinets.
4 Wed: Clean railings.
4 Thu: Clean baseboards.
4 Fri: Vacuum furniture.
Have it inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items.
1 Pickup trash.
1 Take out the trash.
1 Wed: Take trash to curbside at night.
1 Sweep the floor.
1 Sat: Mop the floor.
2 Wipe off the sink, vanity top, toilet.
2 Keep a dry, clean floor mat on the floor.
2 Make sure the bathroom has soap, shampoo, and cream-rinse.
2 Make sure the bathroom has toilet paper including an extra roll.
2 Make sure the room has four clean towels, 2 hand towels and 2
3 Wash a load of towels.
3 Mon: Clean windows, window sills, walls, doors, and door sills.
3 Tue: Dust pictures.
4 Thu: Clean baseboards, scale.
4 Fri: Wipe off vanity sides, front, under sink.
4 Sat: Clean tub, shower door, shower walls.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items. All: Make the
bed (clean sheets: Adam-Mon, Brandom-Tue, Chelsey-Wed, Desire-Thu,
Mom & Dad-Fri).
1 Pickup trash.
2 Place all dirty clothes in laundry basket.
2 Return empty clean clothes-basket and empty hangars to the laundry
3 Mon: Clean window sills, windows, walls, door sills, doors.
3 Tue: Dust furniture, pictures, shelves.
3 Thu: Clean baseboards.
4 Vacuum the carpet or sweep the floor.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items. All: Each
person put away personal clean clothes.
1 Pick up trash.
1 Sat: Clean behind and under freezer.
2 Sat: Clean behind and under washer and dryer.
3 Sweep the floor.
3 Dry a load of towels.
3 Take out the trash.
4 Mon: Clean window sills, windows, walls, door sills, doors.
4 Tue: Dust desks, shelves, and computers.
4 Wed: Wipe off freezer, washer, and dryer.
4 Fri: Sweep off all decks.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
All: Each person pickup and properly store personal items.
1 Sat: Pick up trash.
1 Sat: Take out the trash.
2 Sat: Hang packs, fishing rods, bows on ceiling hooks.
3 Sat: Place tarps, tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads on left rack.
4 Sat: Place stoves, lanterns, pots, tackle boxes, tool boxes, duffels on
right rack.
1 Sat: Neatly arrange foot lockers under racks.
2 Sat: Hang skis, clothing on wall hooks.
3 Sat: Sweep the floor.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
Car and Garage
All: Sat: Each person pickup and properly store personal items.
1 Wed: Wash the car
2 Wed: Wax the car.
3 Wed: Pick up the trash.
4 Wed: Vacuum the car.
1 Sat: Pick up trash.
1 Sat: Take out the trash.
2 Sat: Put away tools.
3 Sat: Put away garden equipment.
4 Sat: Put away bikes and sports equipment.
1 Sat: Sweep the floor.
Have the job inspected and signed-off by Mom or Dad.
Family Night Phantom
Annette Nay, PhD
Copyright © 2000
The phantom struck our house with goodies one night.
Every since, we choose a Family Home Evening and make six goodie plates and
then choose families that could use the uplift.
The children sneak up to the door, ring the bell, leave the goodies, and run for
They love doing this and so do we.
We make six because our three youngest children (teens) want to do it twice
So, Go have some fun!
Copy the Phantom note below and go lift some spirits!
The Family Night Phantom
has struck at your door!
So next Monday night
it's your turn to do more.
Just copy this note
and deliver a treat.
For giving is contagious.
You'll feel so neat,
So share a treat!
The Family Night Phantom
Family Home Evening
Family Home Evening is a special time set aside each week that brings family
members together and strengthens their life skills, teaches ways to improve
family life, helps them to realize God as a resource, and teaches them to how to
have happiness in their lives.
The lessons and activities help both children and adults to master skills of the
mind, body, and to school their emotions. When children or adults can do this
they gain self esteem.
When they become competent in skills that help them to prepare for unfortunate
circumstances, they do not fear those incidences and are not victims of trauma
do to them, but instead are ready to act.
To see how to do a Family Home Evening see:
Family Home Evening Planner
This planner lists a variety of items and activities that might be included in a
family home evening. Use it to plan your family home evening and to print an
agenda. Fill in the information in the space provided. If you do not want to include
an item on your agenda, just leave it blank. Use the Print button at the bottom of
the page to print the agenda.
Opening Song
Opening Prayer
Poem or scripture reading
Lesson Ideas
The magazine resources for the following lessons can be found at the official
website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at:
nVCM1000004e94610aRCRD or click on the hyperlinked titles of the articles.
Appreciating Music
FHE Resource Book, 212–213 Music
The Power of Hymns
Merrill J. Bateman, Ensign, July 2001, 15
Out of This World
Holly K. Simmons, New Era, Mar. 2002, 26
Service with A Song
Taressa Weaver Earl, Friend, May 2002, 16
Our Little Gift
Joshua DeMoux, Liahona, Dec. 2002, 32
Compile Family History
Family History
FHE Resource Book, 189–90
Getting Started
Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Aug. 2003, 12
Family History ABCs
Corliss Clayton, Friend, Feb. 2002, 24
“I Found Them!”
Madeleine Kurtz, Liahona, Mar. 2002, 41
Forgiving Others
FHE Resource Book, 186
Words of Jesus: Forgiveness
Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., Ensign, Feb. 2003, 48
Friends at Last
Amber Wade, New Era, Aug. 2002, 27
Pebble of Forgiveness
Jane McBride Choate, Friend, Feb. 2003, 42
FHE Resource Book, 192
Give Thanks in All Things
Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2003, 95
We Thank Thee
Steven E. Snow, New Era, Jan. 2003, 13
Pumpkin Pie Surprise
Heather Klassen, Friend, Nov. 2002, 10
FHE Resource Book, 194
The Sin of Achan
Christopher J. Morgan, Ensign, Apr. 2002, 43
The Audition
Emily Cruff, Friend, Jan. 2002, 46
The Rowing Team
Humberto Eiti Kawai, Liahona, Mar. 2002, 38
Managing Family Resources
Money Management
FHE Resource Book, 210–211
The Cost of Riches
Lynn G. Robbins, Ensign, June 2003, 24
Growing Up in the Church
Janet Peterson and Stephen B. Oveson, Friend, Apr. 2003, 8
Guide to Family Finance
Liahona, Apr. 2000
Reverence and Respect
FHE Resource Book, 216
Reverence Begins at Home
Ronald L. Petersen, Ensign, Mar. 2002, 73
Idea List: More Than Silence
New Era, July 2002, 9
A Great Day
Judy Murphy, Friend, Apr. 2003, 30
Sharing Household Work
FHE Resource Book, 231–32
The Day the Dishwasher Broke
Melanie Silvester, Ensign, Feb. 2003, 18
What a Brother
Mamie Hunsaker Hammer, New Era, June 2003, 24
Lorena Moody, Friend, Nov. 2001, 43
Life''s Obligations
Gordon B. Hinckley, Liahona, May 1999, 3
Solving Family Problems
A House of Order
FHE Resource Book, 89–90
Family Councils
M. Russell Ballard and Barbara Ballard, Ensign, June 2003, 14
Road to A Happy Family
Friend, May 2002, 24
When Life Gets Tough
John B. Dickson, Liahona, May 2002, 28
Understanding Death
They That Mourn Shall Be Comforted
FHE Resource Book, 143–45
Words of Jesus: Death and Resurrection
Walter F. González, Ensign, Apr. 2003, 22
Power to Heal
Merrill J. Bateman, New Era, Apr. 2003, 42
Just for Now
Rachelle P. Castor, Friend, Apr. 2003, 5
Finding Hope in Christ
Johann A. Wondra, Liahona, Dec. 2002, 17
Family Unity Activities
Our Cultural Heritage
This activity is designed to help your family feel a sense of unity as you find out
about the culture of your forefathers.
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Our Cultural
Heritage, 265
What do you know about your family's cultural heritage? This activity is designed
to help your family feel a sense of unity as you find out about the culture of your
First see if you can answer these questions about your ancestors. You may find
answers in family records, histories, and journals.
1. What country did they come from?
2. When did they live?
3. What was their life-style like?
4. What were their occupations?
Now find books, magazines, tapes, films or pictures that relate to the countries
your ancestors lived in and the things people did in those countries. The public
library might be a good place to start. See if you can find information about some
of the following in your ancestors' countries: music, arts, dance, literature, food,
customs, the flag, and recreation.
You should not have to do too much research to find out how your ancestors may
have lived and what they may have enjoyed doing. Discuss what you have
learned, showing pictures and focusing on things that would especially interest
your family.
Additional Activities
You may want to plan one of these activities for another night:
1. Have an evening featuring the music, art, literature, or dance of your
ancestors. For example, find out who the composers of that time were and what
musical instruments people played. Play tapes or records of their native music,
and discuss how it makes you feel.
Or, you could show photographs of paintings, carvings, and sculpture from the
countries of your ancestors. Who are the artists and what do you like about their
Or, talk about the literature people read at the time your ancestors lived. Find a
book, story, or poem to read from together. You might make a family project out
of reading a whole book together.
If someone in your family is a dancer, have that person learn a native dance from
the country of an ancestor and teach it to the family. Or, you can teach each
other. Find pictures to show native dance costumes.
Watch for cultural activities in your area that feature arts from the countries of
your ancestors. Attend as a family.
2. Celebrate Christmas by making presents that were popular during your
grandparents' time (see Janet Brigham, "Christmas Presents from the Past," New
Era, Dec. 1980, pp. 4041).
3. Serve a heritage dinner, with several kinds of foods if you have ancestors
from several different cultures. Let the children make and decorate place mats.
Also, make a pretty centerpiece for the table, perhaps out of flowers native to
your ancestors' countries.
4. Make flannel-board figures and use them to tell stories from family journals
and histories.
5. Past Relief Society Cultural Refinement lessons, which have covered many
countries, may help you learn about the countries of your ancestors. Check with
your ward library for copies of past Relief Society manuals, tapes, and filmstrips.
6. Decorate your home with the colors of your ancestors' flag. If you have Italian
ancestors, use green, red, and white. If your people are Scottish, try to find out
what their clan's plaid looked like. Use these colors in a throw pillow, a patchwork
quilt, Christmas decorations, or a family banner.
7. Do you have artists or craftsmen among your own ancestors? Family
histories—written or oral—may tell of the talents and interests of your ancestors.
Talk about carrying on the arts and crafts in your family and about starting your
own traditions.
A Great Way to Communicate
This activity will show your family how to use notes to express their love for each
other in a creative way.
Notes: A Great Way to Communicate
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Notes: A Great
Way to Communicate, 265
This activity will show your family how to use notes to express their love for each
other in a creative way.
A note can communicate love and appreciation over and over as the person who
receives it reads it and rereads it. As a family, discuss these suggestions for
writing your own personal notes:
1. Make them simple and sincere.
2. Express how you feel inside.
3. Use creativity to make your message personal.
Here are some examples of creative notes:
Daisies won't tell, but I will. You're the greatest, and I love you.
Thank you for planting the seeds of what really matters in my life. You have
helped me grow so much. (To Young Women leader or school teacher)
I acted like a nut. Please forgive me! (Peanut butter is good, too.)
Pack two lunches in two brown paper bags. On the outside of one bag write,
"What do you say we 'bag' our differences and just enjoy each other today?
Where shall we go? The park? The beach? You name it."
Mother, write a note to your deacon son. Let him know how special he is and
how much you appreciate his service to you.
Teenagers and young adults, tuck notes in the pockets of your friends to let them
know that you care about them and have faith in them. Think of clever ways to
deliver your notes without getting caught.
Mother, tuck a love note in your husband's briefcase, scriptures, sandwich, or
Dad, set a note for your wife inside the refrigerator, washer, checkbook, under
the pillow, or in a dozen different places.
Small children appreciate a note that says, "I love you because ____________."
Serving Others Together
Some of the most rewarding activities your family can take part in together are
those designed to help these people.
Serving Others Together
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Serving Others
Together, 266
People in need are all around you—in your own extended family, in your
neighborhood and in your community. And some of the most rewarding activities
your family can take part in together are those designed to help these people.
The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination, your sensitivity to
others' needs, and your willingness to give. Even very young children can feel the
joy of serving. Your whole family can feel closer to each other as you work
together for a good cause and share the satisfaction that comes in helping
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you consider the kind of service
you will plan:
1. Carefully, even prayerfully, think about the needs of those close to you. Do
not overlook those you know best. If you want to visit an elderly person, for
example, remember those in your own family.
2. Remember that an unneeded or unwanted service may not be a service at all.
Also, keep in mind that what you would appreciate may not be what another
would appreciate, or even be able to use. For example, a gift of a sack of wheat
might be merely confusing to a refugee family unfamiliar with Western foods and
cooking methods.
3. Consider serving anonymously. This can help you and your children feel the
pure joy of giving without concern for recognition or reward. Also, anonymous
service is sometimes easier for others to accept. Often, though, your personal
delivery of a gift will make it even more meaningful to the person who receives it.
4. Help the whole family feel that the service activity is their project, not one you
are imposing on them. Let each person contribute ideas and help make final
plans for the activity. Children, who often have great spontaneity and natural
generosity, can make a real contribution to your planning.
Choose one of these:
1. Choose an elderly person or couple who needs some kind of help. As a
family, decide what you could do to help the person you have chosen—for
example, raking leaves, shoveling snow, caring for a lawn or garden, cleaning or
repairing a house, or reading aloud to one who cannot see well. You might also
prepare and present a talent show, invite an elderly person to family home
evening, or buy something the person needs. And remember that the elderly will
appreciate your friendship, as well as your help.
2. Share dinner with a new neighbor or one who is alone. You could also take
dinner to a shut-in. A neighborhood potluck supper could help those who live
around you feel a spirit of friendship and acceptance.
3. Share a gift or even money with someone who needs help. Each member of
the family could contribute a certain amount toward a gift of money or an item
that the person could not afford. Also, consider sharing fruits and vegetables
from your garden or other goods your family may have. Homemade gifts of
food—a loaf of bread or canned fruit—may also be appreciated. And remember
that every family has two precious resources—time and energy—that they can
use to help others. A day's yardwork might be the most welcome gift you could
4. Be a "Substitute for Santa" at Christmas for someone who may not have the
means to enjoy a special meal or buy needed gifts. Look first to your extended
family, then to the neighborhood and community. The bishop or a local
newspaper or welfare agency can help you make a selection.
Have a member of your family, preferably mother or father, sensitively interview
the family or person you chose to find out what would be appropriate Christmas
gifts. Be careful not to make the family feel ashamed. If they would feel
uncomfortable receiving the gifts, choose another family.
Assign family members to make or buy some of the items you have decided to
give. Children can help make Christmas stockings or wreaths and everyone can
help put together food baskets. Your family may even want to sacrifice a few of
their own gifts. It may be fun to get a Christmas tree and decorate it with the
recipient family. Present the gifts, either anonymously or as a family.
5. Have a family Deseret Industries drive. Gather unneeded clothing, toys, and
other items. Then take these things to the Deseret Industries store nearest you.
6. Prepare a musical program to take to a foster home, hospital, or old folks'
home. You could invite another family to join you. Your program could include
vocal or instrumental solos, duets, trios, or quartets; and be sure to include some
familiar sing-along tunes that your audience could join you in singing.
7. Clean up an outdoor area near you—a park, roadside, or campground. Pick
up litter in any public area.
8. Make simple puppets to take to a children's ward of a local hospital. Put on a
puppet show of a favorite children's story. Then let the children keep the puppets.
9. Volunteer to spend some time working on a Church welfare project together.
Buzz Sessions
This activity is designed to increase family communication, cooperation, and
involvement through buzz sessions.
Buzz Sessions
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Buzz Sessions,
Do you need help getting all of the members of your family to take more active
part in group discussions in family home evening lessons or family councils? Try
this idea: Divide the family up into small groups for short "buzz sessions." Have
each group discuss the topic among themselves and then present its ideas to the
family. This is a good way to get quick reactions to new ideas or questions. This
activity is designed to increase family communication, cooperation, and
involvement through buzz sessions.
Study these suggestions to make sure you know how to hold a successful buzz
1. Bring the entire family together and then divide them into groups of from two
to four people, depending on the size of your family.
2. Assign a topic for the groups to discuss. You could have all the groups
consider the same idea, or have each group consider a different aspect of the
same problem.
3. Have each group appoint someone to write down the group's ideas and make
sure that all have a chance to express their views.
4. Tell the groups they will have three or so minutes to discuss their ideas and
come to some conclusions.
5. At the end of the time, call for reports and questions.
6. Have the family listen to each group's ideas and discuss them briefly.
7. After all buzz groups have responded, have the family discuss all the ideas
presented. Let the person in charge of the discussion sum up the ideas.
Explain how a buzz session works. Then choose a topic you would like to
discuss as a family. You might, for example, use a buzz session to find ideas for
a family vacation or to make a plan for getting family chores done or for saving
money. You could show a film, read a story, or watch an uplifting television
program together; then ask each group to discuss their reactions to it. Buzz
sessions can be a helpful way to make sure that every family member is part of
family decision making.
Brainstorming is a problem-solving technique that can tap the capacity for
creative thinking.
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Brainstorming,
Creative thinking—seeing facts in a different light and finding solutions beyond
the obvious—is one of our most valuable tools for solving difficult problems. And
all of us have this tool, but not everyone uses it to its full potential. Too often,
fearing failure or rejection by others, we consider only obvious or familiar
solutions. Brainstorming is a problem-solving technique that can tap the capacity
for creative thinking. To brainstorm an idea—
1. Choose an idea or problem that has no obvious right answer or solution.
2. Ask the family to freely suggest as many ideas or solutions as they can think
3. Accept all ideas and write them down. Do not make or allow any comments or
4. After two or three minutes, evaluate all the ideas and decide on the most
promising solution.
Present the purposes of brainstorming, as explained above, to your family. Then
initiate them into the brainstorming process by writing just one word, such as
white or faith on a chalkboard or paper. Have everyone call out anything that
comes to mind when he thinks of this word. Accept all ideas, even the least
practical, and write them down. Do not allow anyone to comment or criticize
another's idea at this stage. Do this for two or three minutes. You can allow much
longer if participation is good. See if you can fill the whole chalkboard or paper
with ideas. Build an atmosphere of acceptance and creativity.
Then present a real problem or situation that your family needs to resolve. Have
family members suggest ideas for solving the problem or reaching an objective.
Use the same process as you used with the single word. Once all ideas are in,
have the family evaluate each one and decide on the most promising solution or
course of action. Do this with love and concern for all. Amazingly enough, this
little technique has been credited with producing spectacular results. It can help
you in family council meetings, in family home evenings—any time you have a
problem to solve.
Role Playing
In role playing, the participant acts out the part of someone in a real-life situation.
Role Playing
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Role Playing,
In role playing, the participant acts out the part of someone in a real-life situation.
This kind of activity can give those involved a better understanding of the feelings
and behavior of others in situations they have not actually experienced
themselves. It can also help them better understand how they should act in
various real-life situations.
Roles are not memorized. They may be planned or practiced, but are more often
impromptu. Role playing is a good teaching device, especially when you want to
make a point about people, their actions, and their beliefs. And it can be effective
in helping those involved see how gospel principles would apply to everyday life.
Have a member of your family study these guidelines for role playing and present
them to the rest of the family.
1. Choose a simple problem to center your role play around. The role play
should require only a few roles—two to four roles for most problems. Have the
whole family discuss the problem and the roles needed to portray the problem or
situation adequately.
2. Encourage family members to portray the right ways to handle situations.
They will learn that it is easier to show several things not to do than to show one
that should be done. But role playing is most useful when it shows correct ways
to do things.
3. Select family members for roles. You can do this in advance or after the family
has defined the problem. Brief family members on the general nature of their
roles. Stress that they will only be pretending.
4. Role-play the situation and have the rest of the family be the audience.
Encourage the role players to act naturally, but do not interfere with them as the
role play progresses. When the situation or problem has been fully explored, or
when participation seems to lag, stop the role play.
5. Discuss the role play. Either have the whole family discuss the presentation,
or discuss it first in buzz sessions. Have the family identify strengths and
weaknesses in the choices and behavior of the role players. Ask them to reach a
conclusion about how to solve the problem. It is not necessary that everyone
agree on one point of view.
Have an assigned member of the family outline the mechanics of role playing.
Choose a situation or a problem that concerns your family or start with one of the
situations outlined below. Role-play the situation you choose, following the
suggested guidelines.
Situation 1: Judy Blacker missed taking driver's education in high school when
her father received a job transfer to another state. She has just turned sixteen
and wants to get her driver's license. Her father has promised to help her learn to
Mr. Blacker wants to keep his promise to help Judy learn to drive and get her
license, but the family car is new. He is a little nervous about her using it to learn
and has put off teaching her.
Today is Judy's first lesson with father. They go out to the garage and get in the
Now role-play what happens next.
Situation 2: Bill Reynolds is sixteen. He has been taking a course in
salesmanship in high school and is going for his first job interview for part-time
Mr. Godfrey owns a small hardware store in Bill's town. He needs a part-time
worker, but is not sure he wants a high school student. Bill comes into the store
for his scheduled appointment. Mr. Godfrey is waiting for him.
Role-play this interview.
Situation 3: Jerry, a ten-year-old, and Joshua, a nine-year-old, are playing
softball in Jerry's backyard. Jerry hits the ball extra hard and it flies over the
fence and hits Mrs. Darger's small bathroom window. The boys hear a sharp
noise as the window cracks. Jerry's heart sinks. He has been in trouble with Mrs.
Darger before. Then he remembers that Mrs. Darger is at her daughter's house
for two days helping with a new granddaughter. And she lives alone, so no one
else is there.
The boys look at each other. They have to decide what to do.
Role-play what they say and do.
You might also role-play one of these situations:
An instructor with students in a practice teaching session
A nonmember and a Church member who have just listened to the President of
the Church talk about tithing in general conference
Proper etiquette on a first date when the boy picks up the girl
The proper way to pass food at a dinner table
Noah and his sons building the ark with two unbelieving and critical people
looking on
You may get other ideas for good problems or situations to role-play from
television programs, books, stories or personal experiences, Church speakers,
and scripture stories.
One of the best ways to teach a skill or show a process is by a demonstration.
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Demonstrations,
One of the best ways to teach a skill or show a process is by a demonstration.
Demonstration is a "show-and-tell" technique. You may use charts, pictures,
drawings, or films to show the skill or process. Most members of the family have
some skill they could share, and sharing these skills with each other is a good
way to build confidence.
These suggestions will help you give an interesting and motivating
1. Choose a skill or process that is simple enough to show in a few minutes'
2. Decide how you will teach the skill or process. For example, if you want to
demonstrate how to make a cake, you could bring the ingredients and actually
make the cake. Or, if you wanted to show how to calculate tithing, you could use
a chalkboard, a poster, or real coins.
3. Divide the process or skill into its most important steps or parts. Build the
demonstration around these basic steps or parts.
4. Let the members of the family use the materials you brought to practice the
skill or process you are demonstrating.
5. Use chalkboard outlines or other visuals to clarify concepts when needed.
6. Explain any terms you use that might be new and unfamiliar to the family.
7. Give handouts if needed to help the family remember what you have
Set a time to share skills, information, and talents through family demonstrations.
You will be surprised how much family members have to share and how much
they will enjoy learning new ideas. Let even the young children take part. Here
are some skills your family might want to demonstrate:
How to make bread
How to cook in a wok
How to make crepes
How to set a table
How to plan a well-balanced meal
How to arrange flowers
How to decorate cakes
How to make a baby quilt
How to change a tire
How to survive in the water
How to bat a ball
How to sharpen a saw
How to change a washer in a faucet
How to respond to various emergencies
How to find locations on a map
How to preserve insects for a collection
How to treat shock
How to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
Reunions by Mail
Holding a family reunion can be difficult when family members live many miles
from each other.
Reunions by Mail
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Reunions by
Mail, 269
Holding a family reunion can be difficult when family members live many miles
from each other. With this activity, you will not need to worry about this problem
of gathering the family physically. This reunion will be held by mail.
As with all reunions, planning is essential. Choose several family members to
determine what kind of activities will work best for your family reunion by mail.
(Note that the activities suggested here could also be used at a conventional
Set up a system that lets everyone know to whom they will send their material.
For activities that require passing items on to someone else, the best system
may be to send them to the next youngest family member. But some activities
require that you send your material to the person in charge of that activity.
The following are ideas that you could use or adapt. Don't be afraid to try them
and even to develop some of your own activities. You can try them with the
grown members of your own family, or with the members of your extended
family—grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
1. Make up a family history quiz and have each family complete it and then send
it back to the one who made it up. That person will score and return it.
2. Have each family send questions about family history to a knowledgeable
family member. He can answer the questions and send a copy of all the answers
to each family.
3. Have each family send in favorite recipes to the activity leader, who will
compile them for everyone.
4. Have each family report their past year's most unforgettable experience.
5. Have each family commit to give another family a gift of service each year.
(Choose by drawing straws the first year and rotate after that.)
6. Collect a baby picture and a current picture of some members of each family.
Send the pictures to one family at a time. Have them try to correctly match the
baby pictures and the current pictures. They could send their answer sheets back
to the activity leader and pass the pictures on to the next family.
7. Send a cassette tape in rotation to the families. Have them record their
feelings on subjects such as "What I Remember Best about Grandfather."
8. Have a family scavenger hunt. Make a list of questions about family members.
For example, find someone in the family who is a farmer, someone in the family
who is a bishop, someone who was born on a specific date, someone who was
married in the Manti Temple. Send the list to each family and have them
complete and return it.
Large Group Fun
Activities which are easy to prepare are great for large family and neighborhood
Large Group Fun
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Large Group
Fun, 270
These activities, which are easy to prepare, are great for large family and
neighborhood gatherings. A simple activity like one of these can make the
difference between a dull get-together and a very successful activity. Each
activity can be adapted for all age-groups and areas.
Use any of these activities in a family or neighborhood get-together. Or use your
creativity to find ideas from other people or to make up your own.
1. Treasure hunt. This activity is designed for preschool- and early elementaryage children. It is especially good for a park or other outdoor area, but children
will also enjoy an indoor version on a rainy day.
Make a list of items that the children could find fairly easily. If your hunt will be on
the beach, include such items as sea shells, driftwood, and so forth. If your hunt
will be in the mountains, use evergreen branches, rocks, and so forth. Make a
copy of the list for each child. If some of the children cannot read, draw or glue
on a picture of each item so even the young ones can find the items by
Have the children find all of the items on their list, as they can, and put the
treasures in their bags. Have them bring the items back to be checked off when
they are finished.
Award prizes—to the first person finished, to the person who found the most
treasures, to each person, or for each treasure found. Simple prizes will turn this
activity into a real favorite of the little ones.
2. "Can You Find Out?" This is a good activity to get everyone talking and
learning new things about each other.
Each person will need a copy of the worksheet "Can You Find Out?" and a
Instruct everyone to get the signature of someone in the room or area who
answers the question asked in each box on the worksheet. You can set a time
limit or see who finishes first. You may change the questions or make up your
own if you wish.
Can You Find Out?
Directions: Find people in the room who fit the questions below. Get one person's
signature in each box.
Who has the same first initial as you?
Who is a grandparent?
Who has a toothbrush the same color as yours?
Who went to the University of ________? (a college in your area)
Who is wearing a gold wedding ring?
Who is wearing glasses?
Who is not married?
Who wears the same size shoe as you do?
Who went to Brigham Young University?
Who has served a mission in another country?
Who has a birthday in the same month as yours?
Who was born out of the state of ________?
Who has been to Hawaii?
Who has been out of ________ in the last month? (your city)
Who is wearing the same color dress or suit as you are?
Who plays the piano?
Who has on blue shoes?
Whose family has the same number of children as yours?
Whose eyes are the same color as yours?
Who has a beige carpet?
Learning Activities
Making Work Fun
If the word dishes triggers your family’s disappearing act, or if you hear “just a
minute, mom” from a distance, this activity is for you.
Making Work Fun
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Making Work
Fun, 272
If the word dishes triggers your family's disappearing act, or if you hear "just a
minute, mom" from a distance, this activity is for you. Helping your family enjoy
working will take creativity. Try some of the ideas given below.
1. Make a vest with two pockets for each child. Appliqué a turtle on one pocket
and a rabbit on the other. Write jobs to be done on three-by-five-inch cards and
put them in the turtle pocket. (If the child is too young to read, use a picture for
the job description.) You may wish to start out with tasks as simple as brushing
teeth or washing hands. The child can put the cards for the jobs he completes in
the rabbit pocket.
2. Make an apron for each major household job with a job description written on
each one. The person responsible for the job wears the apron until the job is
finished. You may even include a hat for the cook. Use your favorite apron
pattern and embroider, iron, stencil, or write the jobs on the aprons.
Sew a ring onto this apron to hang a dust cloth from. Make this apron of vinyl or
3. Make a chart to show whose turn it is to set the table or wash the dishes. Slip
the spoon of the assigned family member out of the container and into the paper
strip on the day that it is his turn to set the table.
On the day that someone is to wash the dishes, put his plate into the dishpan.
4. Make a "Looking Good" chart and hang it in your bathroom. List on it the
things each person is to do as he gets ready. This is especially good for little
children, who may need to be reminded of what they should do each morning.
5. Make a work list for family duties. Have family members brainstorm for a
minute, thinking of all the jobs that need to be done around your house (prepare
meals, go shopping, iron the clothes, set the table, cook food, do dishes, tend the
baby, take out the garbage, pick up the clutter, mow the lawn, wash windows, or
sweep the sidewalks).
Next, arrange these jobs according to how often they need to be done—daily,
twice weekly, weekly, monthly, semiannually, or annually.
Now decide together who is capable of performing these duties and who enjoys
doing them. Write those names beside the duties.
To assign unwanted jobs, write them all on slips of paper. Place these slips
inside balloons; blow up the balloons and tie them. Attach the balloons to a board
or heavy cardboard with tape. Pass out darts and let the family throw them at the
balloons. Each family member gets the job inside the balloon he pops. Decide
together how long each person will keep doing the job. Record this on the work
Brainstorm for a few minutes on the subject of the unwanted jobs. Think together
of ways to make the burden light. For example, what are five fun ways to carry
out the garbage? (Whistle while you're doing it, carry it out on a skateboard, walk
backwards, grumble and mumble, carry it in a wagon, pay somebody to do it for
you.) Come up with all the creative solutions you can, and use them.
Instead of a list, you may want to use a job jar to draw your jobs from. A job
wheel works well with older children.
6. Reward yourself when you have completed all your work. Hold a victory party.
Have a wiener roast, an ice cream party, or a water fight. You may want to divide
the family into two teams and see which one can get their work done fastest. The
losing team could then cook dinner for the winners, take them to a movie, or do
anything else they can think of.
7. Make dinner time more fun. Try some of these ideas:
Have a formal dinner party in the middle of the week. Brush up on table
Have all the boys, including dad, become waiters for an evening. Dress
them like waiters and make sure they use good manners all evening.
Let your family go shopping with you through the advertisement section of
your newspaper. Let them help decide on good buys. Write the items you choose
on a sheet of paper and plan your next week's menu around them.
Use shopping time as a one-to-one time with your children. Tasks such as
peeling potatoes, folding napkins, or cleaning out drawers also provide moments
for listening and sharing.
As a family, set some basic guidelines for table manners, eating schedules,
snack times, and cleanup.
8. Play games to make work pleasant:
Have your children pretend to be puppets, robots, or soldiers. Wind them
up and let them do their work.
When the house is wall-to-wall clutter, hold a family "panic-pickup-time."
Set your timer and see how many things can be picked up and put away in ten
Scrub to music, especially fast, rousing music.
Wash the dishes for ten minutes; then dry them for ten minutes.
Play "Beat the Clock." Time a job to see how much time it normally takes to
complete it. Then set your timer and race against the clock. Try to cut down the
time without giving up quality. You can even have a family contest to see who
can set the family time record.
Make Learning Fun for Infants and Toddlers
These activities are especially designed to give infants and toddlers many
opportunities to use their senses.
Learning Fun for Infants and Toddlers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Learning Fun for
Infants and Toddlers, 273
Infants and toddlers learn mostly through their senses, so they need to have a
stimulating environment. These activities are especially designed to give infants
and toddlers many opportunities to use their senses.
Have the family share ideas about how to help very young members of their
family have fun learning. Talk about how little ones learn best and choose a fun
activity to do with them. They usually learn best in an informal, everyday setting.
You may want to use some ideas from those listed below.
For Infants
1. Stimulate feeling.
Hug your baby, rock him, kiss him, hold him firmly.
After a bath, rub him firmly with the towel.
Have your baby hold objects with different textures in both hands.
You might try objects like the following:
Different textures of cloth
Beans, macaroni, rice
Yarn pom-pom
Metal objects
Paper (wax paper, newspaper, tinfoil,
Plastic objects
Ice cubes, snow
Pot scrubber
Flour, sugar, cornmeal
Let your baby crawl or walk on a variety of surfaces—carpet, linoleum,
wood, grass, and sand, for example.
2. Stimulate seeing.
Use colored sheets and blankets.
Hang a bright mobile on the baby's bed. A newborn keeps his head to the
side and will not see toys hung over the middle of the bed, so attach a bright
object to the side of the crib nine to twelve inches from his nose. Try to change
the mobile in some way every week.
Take the baby from room to room with you.
When your baby is lying on his back, dangle a brightly colored toy or rattle
about ten to twelve inches above his eyes. When the baby focuses on it, move
the object in an arc or half-circle.
Hold him or sit him in an upright position occasionally so he can see how
things look from that angle.
During the day, shift the crib to another part of the room. Put it by a
window, if possible.
3. Stimulate hearing.
Talk to your baby. Tell him what you are doing for him, what you are
cooking for dinner; what your feelings are about life, people, and politics.
Sing to him or say a nursery rhyme.
When your baby makes a sound, imitate it. Show him your delight in his
"speech" by smiling, hugging, or praising.
Let the baby hear noises around your house. You don't have to keep the
house quiet.
Let him hear the radio, television, or stereo for a short time.
Let him play with noise-making toys like rattles and musical animals.
4. Stimulate smelling and tasting.
Let your baby smell many things, such as soaps, lotions, perfumes, spices,
and food.
When your doctor says your baby is old enough, gradually introduce a
variety of foods to him.
For Toddlers
1. Stimulate large- and small-muscle development.
Ramps and chutes can be made from large cartons or several shoe boxes.
Cut off the ends of shoe boxes and tape the boxes together into a long chute.
Place it on a slant, and the children will enjoy sliding various objects down it. The
boxes may also be used to make the cars of a train. Connect them with string or
rope, decorate them, and paint or glue on some wheels and watch how much fun
this train can be for the children.
Children love to punch holes with a hole puncher. Colored paper and hole
punchers will keep children busy for quite a while. Save the dots in an envelope
or bag for art projects or confetti for a party. Have the children punch holes from
wax paper and put the dots in a jar filled with water. Screw on the lid, shake it,
and watch the children's very own snowstorm.
Make or buy some beanbags and have the children toss them to each
other or throw or drop them into a box or bucket.
2. Develop language and cognitive skills.
Write out a list of about five items (rock, leaf, grass, dirt, etc.). You carry
the list and let the child carry a small paper bag. Go for a walk and see if you can
find the items. Encourage the child to find each item by asking, "Can you find a
rock?" Look for one thing at a time. When all the items are found, sit down
together and talk about the items. Smell, touch, and look at them. Talk about
color, shape, texture, and weight.
Fold a piece of paper or cardboard in half. Draw a picture of a bowl of
water with an object on top of the water on one side, and a bowl of water with an
object on the bottom of the bowl on the other side of the paper.
Provide a small bowl of water and various objects from around the house
which will float or sink. Sitting down with the child, place an object in the water
and talk about whether it is on top of the water or at the bottom. Does it float or
sink? If the child does not grasp the concept, do not pressure him. Let him place
things in the water and talk about "on top" or "on the bottom."
On a piece of poster board or cardboard, trace around four or five small
objects you have in the house such as a cookie cutter, clothespin, battery, or
scotch tape dispenser. Use a wide, dark colored magic marker. Put the items in a
Cover a piece of heavy cardboard with felt or flannel. Cut out various
shapes and colors from felt, flannel, nonwoven interfacing, wool, or other fabrics.
Make up stories together, holding the flannel board on your lap and using the
shapes you have cut out to illustrate the stories. Magazine pictures backed with
flannel will also work well. Children can also name shapes, colors, or objects
while you work together. They love putting things on the board and taking them
off. A felt person cut into parts to be put together will help teach body parts.
A child can glue squares of cloth on paper and make colorful scenes. To
teach children to notice similarities and differences, cut two squares of each
scrap of material and mix them up in a box. The children can match them or sort
them by color, texture, or design.
Use a tape recorder to record familiar sounds (washer, vacuum, or car) so
the child can identify these as a game. Record short stories and then play them
back when the child wants you and you are busy. He can hold a book and listen.
Talk and sing together on the tape and then play back the recording and let the
child listen to his own voice.
Miscellaneous items: Let children make a collage out of beans and
macaroni and scraps of material. Make it on newspaper, paper grocery bags, or
paper plates. Use flour paste as glue.
Take a walk in the house and feel a variety of items (wallpaper, bedspreads,
rugs, curtains, wood).
When setting the table, talk about the shapes on the table—round plates,
squares, or rectangles. What shape is the table?
Sort the knives, forks, and spoons and let the child put them away. Let him help
dry and put things away. Make it a game.
Go on a shape hunt in your house. Look for circles, squares, rectangles, and
Count! Count the chairs in the kitchen, the books, buttons, steps, windows,
beans, or plates.
Make up guessing games. "I live on a farm. I'm little and black, I like milk and say
meow, meow. What am I?"
3. Develop memory and listening abilities.
Take a button and tap it on the table two times, then say, "Now you do it."
Have the child repeat a rhythm you clap. Or say several words and have him say
them back to you.
Children love to put puzzles of themselves together. Have a photo of a
child's face enlarged to eight-by-ten inches. Mount the photo on heavy cardboard
with rubber cement. Cut it into three or four pieces. Store it in a box.
4. Develop creative expression.
Different kinds of dough or clay are favorites of many children. Here are
some easy recipes:
Play Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
3/4 cup water colored with food coloring
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the water and oil gradually. Add more water if the
dough is too dry, or add more flour if it is too sticky. The oil preserves the dough
and keeps it soft so it can be used many times. Store it in a plastic bag in the
Provide rolling pins and cookie cutters to use with the play dough.
Craft Clay
1 cup corn starch
1 1/4 cup salt
2 cups baking soda (1 pound box)
1 tablespoon oil
Cook until thickened to dough-like consistency. Turn mixture out on pastry board
and knead. Cover with a damp cloth or keep in a plastic bag. Good for plaques
and other models. It can be painted when dry.
Modeling Clay
2 cups salt
2/3 cups water
1 cup corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
Stir salt and 2/3 cups water over heat four to five minutes. Remove from heat.
Add corn starch and cold water. Stir until smooth. Cook again until thick. Store in
plastic bag. This clay will not crumble when dry.
Baked Clay
4 cups flour
3/4 cup water
1 cup salt
Press out dough and have child make his handprint on it. Bake at 325° for 1
hour. Will be light brown in color.
Almost every child loves to finger paint. Here are some basic recipes. This
is one activity that can be repeated several times throughout the year, and the
children never grow tired of it. It may be wise to provide old shirts for paint
Flour and Salt Finger Paint—Cooked
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
food coloring
3 cups cold water
2 cups hot water
Add salt to flour, then pour in cold water gradually and beat mixture with egg
beater until it is smooth. Add hot water and boil until it becomes glossy. Beat until
smooth; then mix in coloring.
Soap Finger Paint
soap flakes
food coloring or powder paint
Beat soap flakes in small amount of water until it reaches the consistency of
whipped cream. Add color and mix well. Use on smooth table top (it washes off
easily), construction paper, or balloons, as well as on paper.
Plastic Starch Finger Paint
liquid plastic starch (available in grocery stores)
water soluble powder paint in salt shakers
Pour a small amount of liquid starch on dry paper. Shake powder paint on paper
and spread with hands. You might even want to try finger painting with instant
pudding. Everyone loves this one! Shaving cream is also fun to finger paint with.
Let the children try using water colors.
If you use tempera paints (powder paints mixed with water), add some dishwater
soap to the paint so it will wash out of clothes.
Let the children try painting on rocks.
If paints aren't available or practical, give the child a can of water and a brush
and let him paint the house!
Draw on paper with chalk. Put butcher paper on the wall and have the child
draw a mural on it. Try wetting paper with a sponge and then drawing on it with
chalk. Chalkboards are a good addition to a toy supply.
Cut out pictures from magazines and show the child how to paste them on
paper, boxes, paper cups, or plates. Talk about the pictures. Tissue scraps,
material scraps, colored paper shapes can also be cut and pasted.
Make pinwheels, hanging mobiles, paper-bag or paper-plate puppets (attach
popsicle stick to paper plate and make a face on it). Make a chain out of
construction paper. Hook one link inside another, and talk about colors.
Put some powdered paint in an old salt shaker. Take the child for a walk in
the snow and let him shake paint on the snow to color it. Make a picture on the
5. Miscellaneous activities:
Have the child lie down on a piece of butcher paper. Trace around the
outline of his body. Talk about what you are doing. "Now I'm drawing around your
fingers." Color the picture together. Talk about body parts and where they
belong. Hang it up.
Take a head-to-toe picture of the child. Have it enlarged so that it
measures ten to twelve inches high. Mount the picture on 1/8-inch hardboard (or
heavy cardboard). Use white glue or rubber cement to mount the photo. Hang
the picture on the wall or set it on a stand. (A short piece of one-inch diameter
half round molding with a slot makes a good stand.)
Cans are easily made into a variety of toys. Poke holes in cans, and run a
string through the holes. Toddlers will enjoy pulling this toy behind them. Cans,
as well as cartons, also make interesting blocks to stack and build with. Let
children play with them in the kitchen area, putting them on the shelves with food
for the family, or using them to play store. (If cans have sharp metal edges, cover
with tape or avoid using them.)
Buy a little bottle of soap bubbles or pour some dish soap, diluted with a
little water, into a paper cup. A piece of bent wire or a plastic ring will do as a
Even a two-year-old can help load silverware into a dishwasher or sit on a
stool and help mother wash some dishes. Before mealtime, when a little one is
underfoot and impatient for meals, try this: Give him an apron, a stool, some
Going shopping? Take along labels from empty fruit and vegetable cans or
cereal and cracker box fronts, and let your child help shop for the groceries by
matching labels.
Let the child choose which vegetable, fruit, or dessert the family will have
for supper. Let him select the pan to cook it in.
Make Learning Fun for Preschoolers
These activities are especially designed to help preschoolers have fun as they
develop skills in observing and classifying and in solving problems.
Learning Fun for Preschoolers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Learning Fun for
Preschoolers, 276
These activities are especially designed to help preschoolers have fun as they
develop skills in observing and classifying and in solving problems.
Have the family share ideas for having fun with preschoolers and helping them
learn. Talk about how preschoolers learn and interact. Remember, learning
should generally take place informally, as part of everyday activities. Parents
should take advantage of the many teaching moments that occur daily in every
home and family.
The following suggestions will help you know better how to play with
1. Allow time for the child to discover for himself.
2. Let him change the rules if he wants to.
3. Stop the game or activity when loses interest.
4. Use this play guide to avoid problems: (1) infants to three years—parallel play
(children playing side by side but not necessarily together), (2) 4 and 5 years—
cooperative play, (3) 6 and up—competitive play.
5. Help the child feel good about himself and feel that he can do things himself.
Choose a fun activity to do with your preschoolers or get some ideas from those
listed below.
1. "What's Missing?" You will need a tray and various objects like jar tops, a
spoon, a spool of thread, and crayon.
Place the tray with the objects on it on the table or floor. Start the game by asking
the child to look closely and try to remember everything that is on the tray. Allow
the child time to look at each object; he may want to touch and ask questions
about each object.
Then ask him to close his eyes. While his eyes are closed, take one thing off the
tray and hide it. Then ask the child to open his eyes and try to tell which object is
missing. You can make the game harder by adding more objects.
2. "What Do You See?" You will need one large envelope and cut-out pictures of
familiar objects such as trucks, cars, or animals. Place the cut-out pictures in the
large envelope. Pull one picture out slowly to show only part of the picture. Start
the game by asking, "What do you see in the picture?" (Four wheels, two legs,
etc.) "What do you think it might be?" If the child, after several guesses, seems to
lose interest, show the picture and name the object. A variation of this game
would be to write the letters of the alphabet or numbers on pieces of paper and
play the same game.
3. Magnets. One fun game is "fishing." You will need a magnet (some potholders
have a small magnet stitched inside that can be easily ripped out, or you can get
a small one at the dime store for less than a quarter), an empty egg carton, and a
piece of string. Also collect about a dozen assorted objects—paper clips, bobby
pins, safety pins (closed), buttons, bottle caps, and beads. Be sure to include
some objects that a magnet will not attract.
Put the objects in a deep box (a half-gallon milk carton works well).
Tie a string to the magnet long enough to reach the bottom of the box.
Let the child use the magnet to "fish" in the box and put his catch in the egg
carton—paper clips in one section, safety pins in another, and so on.
The objects that a magnet will not attract are left in the bottom of the "pond."
When the child has finished, ask him to tell what is the difference between the
things in the egg carton and those left in the box.
4. Beanbag toss. Get three beanbags of various colors and shapes if possible
(yellow, red, blue, round, square, and triangular). If you make them, they should
be about five inches in diameter. You will also need a box or basket.
Have each player take three turns trying to throw the beanbags into the basket. If
the child can do it without missing, suggest that he move farther back.
You can use this game to help the child understand such space relationships as
in front of and behind, in the middle, to the right, to the left, and over and under.
You can also play catch with a beanbag. Stand a foot away from the child and
move farther back as the child's catching ability improves. Alternate beanbags
with each game and say the color and shape. For instance, "Let's play catch with
the square, red beanbag today."
5. Riddles. Gather some everyday objects from around the house, such as a
spoon, scissors, crayon, or thread.
First place three items in front of the child. Say something like, "I am going to
make up a riddle about one of these things. Look at the things and listen to see if
you can guess which one I am talking about." Then give clues, one at a time,
until the child guesses correctly: "You see me on a table. You cannot eat me. But
you use me to eat your soup. What am I?" "Yes, I am a spoon."
See if the child can make up the riddles for the other two items. Remind the child
not to say the name of the object. Give help, if necessary, by whispering
suggestions to the child.
Expand this activity by describing something in the room that both of you can
see. Have the child tell you its name from what you tell about it. Then let the child
describe something for other family members to guess.
6. "What Would You Do?" Begin by saying something like this to the child:
"Sometimes things happen to us and we have to think what is the best thing to do
about what happened. I will tell you some make-believe things that might happen
to you, and you tell me what you would do."
Present some situations like these for the child to solve.
The baby is crying and your mother is busy.
You spilled your juice.
You just broke your mother's vase.
You are lost in the grocery store.
You have spilled paint on the floor.
Make encouraging comments about the solutions the children present, and
discuss with them some other ways they might solve these problems. Explore the
possible results of each solution with the child.
7. "It Starts Like This." Say to the child something like, "Tell me a word that
starts like milk." At first, give such hints as these:
"It shines at night" (Moon.) "It makes fire." (Match.) "You see yourself in it."
(Mirror.) "It's a little animal that likes cheese." (Mouse.)
Later on you can stop giving hints. The child will soon get the idea that many
words start with the same sound and will enjoy thinking up words that "start like"
the word you provide.
8. "Things That Start with the Same Sound." Give the child scissors and old
magazines and let him cut out some pictures of things that start with the same
sound—a car, a coat, a cake, for example—and paste them on a brown paper
bag. To get the child started, you could cut out the first picture, then have the
child find pictures of things that begin with the same sound. You can also print
the first letter of the words on the bag.
9. Look-alike letters. Print these capital letters on a piece of paper.
Ask the child to pick out the letters that are just alike in each group of four letters.
Start with the combinations where the two letters in the group look very different.
Later, use combinations where the letters look more alike.
Play this game another way by asking the child to pick out the letter that is
different. You can play this game with small letters too.
Don't be upset if you have to do this many times for the same letter. It may be as
hard for the child to memorize the name of a particular letter as it would be for
you to memorize someone's seven-digit telephone number.
10. "What Is the Missing Word?" Say to the child: "I'll say something and leave
out the last word. You tell me what word you think I left out." A typical sentence
might be: "I guess I'd better open the ____________." If the child responds with
any word that makes good sense—door, window, gate, package, envelope, or
bottle, give some encouragement, such as "good thinking" or "good choice." Ask
for suggestions of other words that would make sense there. Try to use
sentences in which many different words would make sense at the end.
Be sure to make this game enjoyable and fun by not making it too hard or
pushing too fast.
Travel Games
With a little preparation, parents can make travel both educational and
entertaining. This activity is intended to help families do just that.
Travel Games
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Travel Games,
Travel with children is not always fun and games. Particularly on long automobile
trips, you can travel to a constant chorus of: "Are we there yet?" "I need a drink of
water." "When can we stop?" "I want an ice cream cone." "How much longer?" "I
have to go to the bathroom!"
But with a little preparation, parents can make travel both educational and
entertaining. This activity is intended to help families do just that.
To help children get the most from traveling, include them in the preparations for
the trip. Get a road map for each school-age child, and check the library for
books about the places you will see. Read the books together and take some of
them along. Then as you travel, talk about the things you will be seeing and their
Try some of the following games on your next family trip. You can also adapt
some of them for use in family home evening. Encourage family members to
make up their own games. The games suggested are intended for automobile
trips, but can be adapted for plane, train, or bus trips.
1. Junior navigator. Get a road map for each child. At home have a basic lesson
in map reading and have the kids mark the routes you will be traveling. On the
road, show how highway signs relate to the map. Make a game of estimating
how long it will take to reach a certain town. Let kids take turns giving directions.
Older children can also help keep track of mileage, miles per gallon, and trip
2. Talk show. Have children take turns pretending to be a talk show host. They
can use a tape recorder and have other passengers discuss what impressed
them most about attractions or pretend to be historical characters related to the
sites. The tape makes a nice trip souvenir.
3. Trip journal. The type will vary with the skills of the children. Little ones can
draw pictures of their impressions; grade-school children can write and illustrate;
older ones may want to gather materials for scrapbook collections—brochures,
postcards, leaves, or flowers.
4. "Roots." Take along a collection of family stories for long stretches of
highway. Stories that relate to the area are nice. But family stories need not be
old to be interesting. Parents can tell about their childhood, courtship, wedding
day, or other events.
5. License games. Various games can be played by spotting license plates.
Alphabet: Look for the letters of the alphabet—in order—on plates. The first one
to spot the next letter gets one point.
Doubles and triples: Look for double or triple digits on license plates, such as 22
or 333. Score two points per double, three per triple.
Bingo: With twenty-five squares marked off and numbered with two-digit numbers
like a bingo card, the leader calls out the first two digits of the license plates for
players to mark on their cards.
States: See how many different states you can spot on license plates.
6. Word games. Write down scrambled names of places along your route and
see who can unscramble them first. Or see who can make the most words from
the name of a city or river.
Older children often like to make their own crossword puzzles. The puzzles can
be designed around the trip's itinerary, duplicated, and taken along on the trip.
7. "I'm Going to the Alamo." The first player says, "I'm going to the Alamo and
I'm taking my camera." The second player says, "I'm going to the Alamo and I'm
taking my camera and sweater." The third might take his camera, sweater, and
sneakers. The object is to add to the list, while repeating in order all the previous
articles. Players drop out when they make a mistake.
8. Scavenger hunt. Each player has a list of common items that might be seen
along the highway. The first to spot an object and call it out can cross it off his
list. For team play, divide into two teams and take opposite sides of the road.
9. "Al from Alaska." The first player says something like "My name is Al; I come
from Alaska; and I like airplanes." The next player may say, "My name is Ben; I
come from Baltimore; and I like badminton." Continue in this way through all the
letters of the alphabet.
10. Counting cars. Take any common object, such as red cars, vans, black and
white cows, or red barns and see who spots the greatest number in a given time.
11. Blank maps. Before leaving home, make a photocopy for each child of the
map of the country. Have them color the states or areas they'll be touring.
12. Travel quizzes. Before leaving home, prepare quizzes on such things as
state capitals or the geography along your route. Have children complete the
quizzes and score points for each correct answer.
13. "Mile for Mile." Ask children to say "here" when they think they have gone
one mile, five miles, or any arbitrary distance. One person watches the odometer
and announces who came closest after all the results are in. A variation would be
to choose a point down the road and give a piece of candy to the person who
guesses most accurately how far away it is.
14. "Follow the Leader." This game requires at least four people. Any person in
the group starts an action, such as clapping his hands, raising one arm up and
down, or repeatedly touching his nose. All must follow this person, but at any
time any other person in the group may start another action. The object of the
game is for everyone to watch and follow the new action when it starts, while the
person who is "it" must touch the person who starts the new action. The person
who gets caught then becomes "it."
The more people involved in this activity, the more exciting it becomes.
15. "Categories." The players in this game decide on a category, such as makes
of cars, flowers, colors, vegetables, or fruits. The younger the children, the
simpler the category. The first player names an item in the chosen category, then
the next player does, and so on around the circle until someone cannot think of
an item that no one has said yet. He is then out. The last player in is the winner.
16. "Inkie-Pinkie." This game will be fun for adults. It requires creativity and
ingenuity. Any one of the players thinks of two words that rhyme. He then thinks
of a simple sentence that describes these two rhyming words, and says it to the
other players. The other players then try to guess what the two rhyming words
are. To help the players discover the two rhyming words, the following clue is
If the two rhyming words are one-syllable words, the player giving the descriptive
sentence says, "It is an ink, pink." For two-syllable words, the player giving the
descriptive sentence says, "It is an inkie-pinkie." For three-syllable words, the
player giving the descriptive sentence says, "It is an inkety-pinkety." For foursyllable words, the player says, "It is an inkety-pink, pinkety-pink."
There can also be other variations.
The following are examples of how the game might be played:
Ink-pink—a tidy vegetable
Answers—neat beet, clean bean
Inkie-pinkie—a friendly corpse
Answer—chummy mummy
Inkety-pink, pinkety-pink—a very happy patient
Answers—effervescent convalescent, exuberant recuperant
17. Scrapbook bag. Plan with each child to take along some sort of a bag to
collect souvenirs, brochures, and cards for scrapbooks and journals. These can
be designed and made by hand especially for the trip, or be simple inexpensive
18. Songs for the road. There are many fun songs to sing while traveling. You
can use family favorites or this is a good opportunity to teach new ones.
Memory Magic
This activity is designed to help us gain mastery of our memory power.
Memory Magic
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Memory Magic,
All of us have good memories. We see, hear, and speak thousands of words in
our own language with good understanding. But many of our memories are
untrained. Improved memory can help us prepare for a mission, give talks, and
teach lessons. It can help us gain self-confidence, meet and remember people,
and be well informed and well organized. This activity is designed to help us gain
mastery of our memory power.
In advance, assign a family member to one of these memory-power techniques.
1. Visualization. Picture in your mind the things you want to remember in a
systematic way. Pretend you are going shopping. You need to buy the following
A large ballpoint pen
A new hat
An apple pie
A mouse trap
A bottle of glue
A jar of mustard
A box of matches
A pair of sunglasses
A can of red paint
A hammer
Now that you have read these items, see how many of them you can recall
without looking at them. Take forty seconds to write down as many as you can.
How many did you remember? Now reorganize the list in this way:
Visualize an empty table. Then picture yourself standing a large ballpoint pen on
end. Then balance the apple pie on it. You then pour the glue on the pie, letting it
drip on the table. Around the table edge stand the matches and start them
burning. Then picture a friend standing beside the table pouring red paint from
the new hat. Just as you are ready to clean up the mess, you hear a loud snap
and glance around. You see a mouse trap closing on your new sunglasses. It
has broken one lens and the other is smeared with mustard. Someone is beating
on the lens with a hammer.
Now take another forty seconds and see how many you can recall. You will do
better than before.
2. Association. By associating, or linking in your mind, an unfamiliar thing with
one that is familiar or easy to remember, you can remember the unfamiliar thing
better. Rhymes, codes, initial letters, and familiar songs are all good memory
Almost everyone knows the rhyme, "Thirty days hath September." Many of us
still use it to help us remember the number of days in a given month. Rhymes
like this one can effectively improve memory.
Codes can also be very effective memory aids. For example, to recall the names
of the spaces on the treble music clef, just remember that FACE spells face. To
call the names of the lines on the treble clef, remember "Every Good Boy Does
Fine" which stands for EGBDF. Make up your own codes for things you have to
Using initials can also be helpful. For example, to remember the capitals of the
six New England states—Boston, Concord, Hartford, Augusta, Montpelier, and
Providence—think of the cities' initials—BCHAMP. Then think to yourself,
"Boston is largest, so B is the champ."
You can also use initials to help you remember outlines for Church and public
speeches. If you had to give a talk on salesmanship, for example, and the points
you will include are fairness, intelligence, gratitude, honor, and truth. These spell
fight when the initials are put together.
Set the words of a list you need to memorize to the music of a song you know.
For example, the books of the New Testament can be sung to the tune of "Praise
to the Man" ("The Books in the New Testament," Children's Songbook, p. 116;
see also Hymns, no. 27).
Have the assigned family member introduce the memory aids he has studied.
Then try one or more of these exercises.
1. Try to remember mom's shopping list using visualization.
2. Have an older child invent a code for remembering the Articles of Faith.
3. Memorize the books of the Book of Mormon by putting them to music.
4. Use the principle of association to remember family birthdays or other special
Strip Puzzles
Test your problem-solving abilities with this puzzle. The activity is designed for
school-age and older children, but preschoolers can try the first parts of it.
Strip Puzzles
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Strip Puzzles,
Test your problem-solving abilities with this puzzle. Using trial-and-error and
repetition is the only way to solve these problems. The activity is designed for
school-age and older children, but preschoolers can try the first parts of it.
Cut out eight strips of paper the size indicated below. Family members can take
turns using this set, or they can make or duplicate sets. Cardboard will work well.
Show the family the eight strips that make up the strip puzzle. Explain that they
must make the following shapes using the strips. There is only one rule they
must follow: All eight strips must be used for each of the puzzles. None can be
left out and no more can be added. They cannot be overlapped.
Decide who is going to try first, and have him begin. Make sure everyone has a
turn doing at least one.
1. Make two equal rows.
2. Make three equal rows.
3. Make four equal rows.
4. Make a staircase with eight steps.
5. Make a staircase with four steps.
6. Make a staircase with three steps.
7. Make a pyramid.
8. Make a tower like this one. How many different towers like this can you
9. Make a rectangle. Then make two smaller rectangles.
Additional Activities
1. If your family likes this kind of activity, check local bookstores and libraries for
collections of games and activities that allow experimentation and discovery.
Many are available.
2. Make a more permanent strip puzzle set out of long wooden blocks, using the
same dimensions.
Mind Stretchers
The following activities are all quiet puzzle activities. They may use pictures,
geometric shapes, mathematics, or words.
Mind Stretchers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Mind Stretchers,
The following activities are all quiet puzzle activities. They may use pictures,
geometric shapes, mathematics, or words. Family members will find that these
puzzles require careful observation. The activities are designed for elementary
children, teenagers, and adults.
Materials Needed
Copies for everyone of the worksheets you will need for the games you choose.
Assign a family member to become thoroughly acquainted with all of the puzzles
and decide which ones would be appropriate for family members to do as a
family activity. He should understand the instructions given for the puzzles and
the possible solutions.
As a family, try at least two of the following puzzles. Follow the instructions on
the worksheets and then check your answers with those on the answer sheets.
"How Many Squares Do You See?"
1. "How Many Squares Do You See?" Ask family members how many squares
they see. Have them number the squares on their paper if they would like. If they
find sixteen or seventeen, they have found the number that most people find. Let
them look again to see how many squares they can see, and then show the
answer sheet.
2. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" In the heart, there are thirty-four hidden
words that describe what love is. See how many you can find. Words run in all
directions, left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, and diagonally.
Circle them as you find them. Then look at the answer sheet to see how many
you missed.
Answers: accepting, bond, communicating, loyalty, happiness, exciting, joyful,
caring, trusting, fulfilling, receiving, giving, forgiving, understanding, tender,
lovely, belonging, respect, natural, sharing, ageless, open, warm, nice, patient,
faith, alive, always, hope, true, real, forever, right, wed.
3. "The Tricky T." Make patterns for these shapes by tracing them onto
lightweight paper. Then use the patterns to make cardboard cutouts. Number
them, and keep all the numbered sides facing you.
See if you can make the four pieces fit together to make a capital T.
This T is exactly the same size as the puzzle pieces when they're put together
4. "Lots of Triangles." There are thirty-five triangles in this pentagon. Can you
find them all?
5. "Division." There are seven tennis balls inside this square. Can you divide up
the square so that each tennis ball is left in its own compartment without any
others—by using only three straight lines?
6. "Snatch a Match." Arrange twelve used matches to make four equal squares
as shown. By moving only three matches, try to make three equal squares.
Answer Sheet
Click to View Larger Format
Click to View Larger Format
Additional Activities
If you and your family enjoyed these mind-stretching puzzles, there are many
available in books and magazines. You may even want to make up some of your
Magic Tricks
Most of these tricks require two people—a “mind-reader” and an “assistant”—
who both know the secret of the trick.
Magic Tricks
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Magic Tricks,
Activity, 284
Assign various family members to prepare one or more of the following "magic"
tricks or think up some of their own. Most of these tricks require two people—a
"mindreader" and an "assistant"—who both know the secret of the trick. Have
them present the tricks to the rest of the family. The tricks will seem very puzzling
until family members discover how they are done.
1. Mind puzzles. While the mindreader is out of the room, the family chooses an
object in the room. When the mindreader returns to the room, his assistant asks
such questions as "Is it the table? Is it the chair?" When the correct object is
named, the mindreader says, "That's it."
Solution: The trick is that both the mind-reader and the assistant have agreed on
a clue beforehand. For example, the assistant could name a black or very dark
colored object just before naming the correct one. You can also play this game
by naming the correct object after a red article the first time, a white one the
second time, and a blue one the third time.
2. Read the number. The family chooses a number while the mind-reader is out
of the room. When he returns, the assistant calls off numbers, and the mindreader identifies the right one.
Solution: The first digit of the first number called out by the assistant tells when
the selected number will appear. For example, if 45 were the number, the
assistant might call "39, 75, 45, 62." The mind-reader would reply "forty-five is the
number." The first digit of 39 is 3. This told the mind-reader that the right number
would be the third one called.
3. Reading the map. This requires a globe or a map. While the mind-reader is
out of the room, have the family choose a city. When he returns, the assistant
names one city after another. When he says the correct one, the mind-reader
identifies it.
Solution: The assistant names the correct city two cities after a city with two
words in its name, such as Baton Rouge or New York. You can also use this trick
with countries.
4. Reading sentences. Have each member of the family write a short sentence
on a slip of paper, fold the paper, and place it in a container. (Make sure that
everyone uses the same kind of paper.) The assistant pretends to write on his,
but actually does not. Mix up the slips in the container. The mind-reader then
draws a slip, places it against his head, and says any short sentence. The
assistant says that the slip was his. The mind-reader nods, unfolds the paper,
and reads it silently. When he does this, he memorizes the sentence that is
actually written on the paper. He throws away that slip of paper and repeats the
performance, this time repeating the sentence he has just memorized. When this
one is claimed by a player, he repeats the performance again, and so forth.
5. Temple reading. The mind-reader leaves the room while the group chooses a
number from one to ten. When he returns, he puts his hands on the temples of
each player, one at a time, stopping at each as if he is meditating. When he does
this with his assistant, the assistant secretly tells him the chosen number by
tightening his jaws and relaxing them, which makes the muscles in his temples
move, the correct number of times. The assistant must be careful not to move his
mouth and cheeks so no one will find out the trick.
6. Pick a color. The magician shows five new crayons to the family. He then
gives them to a member of the family and turns his back to the group. The family
member mixes the colors while the magician's back is turned and puts the
crayons in the magician's hand, behind his back. The magician then turns back
around to face the group as members of the family call for a certain color. After
much concentration, the magician brings each color forth correctly.
Solution: The audience doesn't realize it, but the magician has five identical
crayons secretly tucked under the back of his belt. He has memorized their order
ahead of time. As someone calls for a color, he puts one of the original crayons
in his back pocket and takes out the right crayon from his belt.
7. Invisible writing. Invisible writing is a method of secret writing with ink that is
invisible until something is done to "develop" it. Below are several formulas for
invisible ink:
Dip a sheet of paper in water: then flatten it against a windowpane or large
wall mirror. Place a dry sheet over it. Print your secret message on the dry sheet,
using a ball-point pen or a pencil with a medium hard lead and a point that is not
sharp. Press hard as you write. When you finish the message, remove the dry
sheet and throw it away. The printing will be clearly visible on the wet sheet.
When the sheet dries, the letters will vanish without a trace. Plunge the sheet into
water. The writing immediately becomes visible again.
One of the best inks of this type is ordinary milk. Apply it with a brush on a
thick, hard-surfaced paper or thin cardboard, such as a file card. To bring out the
writing, rub any kind of dark powdery substance over the dry page. A good way is
to scrape the point of a lead pencil, letting the powder fall on a sheet of paper.
Tap your fingertips on the graphite powder, then rub them over the invisible
Take one tablet of a laxative and mash it up thoroughly in about half an
ounce of rubbing alcohol. Be sure the entire tablet is dissolved. Use a brush to
print the message. The writing will be invisible when the ink dries. To develop it,
moisten a piece of cotton or cleansing tissue with household ammonia (or any
other strong alkaline, such as washing soda dissolved in a small amount of
water) and dab it on the page. The writing will appear.
Guessing riddles is fun, and you can do it anywhere. Use this activity to stimulate
your mind and your funny bone.
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Riddles, 285
Guessing riddles is fun, and you can do it anywhere. Use this activity to stimulate
your mind and your funny bone.
You could have one activity night where all you do is tell riddles or you could
intersperse riddles throughout several activity nights. Riddles can also be fun
when you are traveling.
Many riddle books are available at bookstores and libraries. Get some for your
family and let family members take turns telling riddles. You could even create
some riddles of your own, if you have that special talent. Listed below are some
Bible riddles that you can try on your family.
1. Who was the most successful doctor in the Bible? (Job, because he had the
most patients [patience].)
2. Who was the most popular actor in the Bible? (Samson. He brought the
house down.)
3. When is high finance first mentioned in the Bible? (When Pharaoh's
daughter took a little profit [prophet] from the bulrushes.)
4. At what time of day was Adam created? (A little before Eve.)
5. What evidence does the Bible give to show that Adam and Eve were rather
noisy? (They raised Cain.)
6. What did the cat say when the ark landed? (Is that Ararat?)
7. What simple affliction caused the death of Samson? (He died of fallen
8. Who was the best financier in the Bible? (Noah. He floated his stock
[animals] while the whole world was in liquidation.)
9. What man in the Bible had no parents? (Joshua, the son of Nun.)
10. Why should we be encouraged by the story of Jonah and the whale?
(Because Jonah was down in the mouth, but came out all right.)
11. Who was the straightest man in the Bible? (Joseph, because Pharaoh made
a ruler out of him.)
12. What was it that Adam and Eve never had and yet they gave to their
children? (Earthly parents.)
13. When was the longest day in the Bible? (When there was no Eve in it.)
14. Did Eve ever have a date with Adam? (No, it was an apple.)
15. How long did Cain hate his brother? (As long as he was Abel.)
16. Who in the Bible was the champion runner of all time? (Adam. He was the
first in the human race.)
17. When was tennis first mentioned in the Bible? (When Joseph served in
Pharaoh's court.)
18. What was the first theatrical venture in the Bible? (When Eve appeared for
Adam's benefit.)
19. When was the first meat mentioned in the Bible? (When Noah took Ham into
the ark.)
20. When was medicine first mentioned in the Bible? (When the Lord gave
Moses two tablets.)
21. How do we know that Noah was preceded from the ark by at least three
other people? (Because the Bible says that Noah came forth [fourth].)
22. Why was the giant Goliath very much astonished when David hit him with a
stone? (Because such a thing had never before entered his head.)
23. Why didn't Noah catch more fish than he did during the voyage of the ark?
(Because he had only two worms.)
24. Where was Noah when the light went out? (In the d'ark).
25. Who was the strongest man in the Bible? (Jonah, because the whale
couldn't hold him even after he got him down.)
26. What proof have we that there was sewing in the time of David? (He was
hemmed in on all sides.)
27. In what place did a rooster in the Bible crow where all the people in the world
could hear him? (In the ark.)
28. What reason is there to think that Moses wore a wig? (Because he was
sometimes seen with Aaron [hair on], and sometimes without.)
29. Which are the two smallest things mentioned in the Bible? (The widow's mite
and the wicked flee [flea].)
30. Who was older, David or Goliath? (David must have been because he
rocked Goliath to sleep.)
A tangram is a puzzle. It can be enjoyed by the entire family. It does not require a
great amount of skill. But it does require patience; time; and, above all,
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Tangrams, 286
A tangram is a puzzle. It can be enjoyed by the entire family. It does not require a
great amount of skill. But it does require patience; time; and, above all,
imagination. There are at least 1,600 possible designs that can be constructed
with one seven-piece set.
Divide a thick piece of cardboard or a panel of wood (1/4 inch [1/2 cm] thick and
6 inches [15 cm] square would be ideal) into sixteen smaller equal squares with a
pencil and ruler. See figure 1.
With pencil and ruler, draw the pattern that you desire, as shown in figure 2.
Then cut the block where you have marked it.
You can make a variety of different figures—birds, dogs, men, cats, and so
forth—with the seven tans that make up this square. The only rules are that you
must use all seven pieces, and none of the pieces may be overlapped.
Give each member of the family his own square or rectangle piece of paper and
a pair of scissors. Each then cuts his paper apart with two straight cuts (see
illustration). When each has cut apart his own paper, he mixes his pieces and
passes them to the player on his right. Each player has five minutes to arrange
the pieces so that they form the original square or rectangle. The player who first
completes his puzzle scores ten points. Once a player has scored, shuffle the
pieces again and pass them on to the next player to the right. Play continues as
before. The game ends when each player has had the opportunity to work all
puzzles but his own.
Making and Keeping Aids for Family Home
By using these ideas, you will increase the effectiveness of the activity and the
ease in presenting the material.
Making and Keeping Aids for Family Home Evenings
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Making and
Keeping Aids for Family Home Evenings, 287
Every effort has been made to make this manual as interesting for your family as
possible. Pictures and games necessary for the success of the home evening are
provided. You may want to make your own cutouts using patterns from the
manual or by cutting materials from old family home evening manuals. By using
the ideas below, you will increase the effectiveness of the activity and the ease in
presenting the material.
1. Removing cutouts from old manuals. To remove the cutouts from old
manuals, use a razor blade or a sharp knife. Place a thin pile of newspapers or a
piece of cardboard under the page you want to remove, and make a clean,
straight cut. This will protect the other pages in the manual and prevent jagged
edges that may result from using scissors.
2. Mounting cutouts. Cutouts are usually more useful if you mount them before
using them in the home evening activity. To mount a cutout, cover the back of it
with paste or glue and then attach it to heavier paper. Mount a picture to be used
in a game or jigsaw puzzle on heavy paper or cardboard. Cutouts for flannel
board may be mounted on lighter-weight paper.
3. Flannel boards. The flannel board is an inexpensive and easy-to-make
device. It consists of a piece of flannel or felt fastened to a stiff surface. A large
sheet of rigid corrugated cardboard makes a good backing for the flannel board.
Plywood or masonite can also be used. Cut a piece of flannel a little larger than
the cardboard backing. (Felt can be used, but it is more expensive.) Stretch the
flannel over the face of the backing material; wrap it around the edges; and tape
it securely to the back with wide masking tape or packing tape.
Use a wide tape to fasten flannel on cardboard or masonite.
On plywood or celotex, use tacks or heavy-duty staples.
To use the flannel-board figures, glue pieces of flannel to the figure in several
places, or use masking tape formed in a ring with the sticky side out so that it will
stick to both the figure and the flannel board.
4. Other ways of displaying cutouts. You need not use a flannel board to display
cutout figures. The following suggestions can be effective:
Use a pillow and straight pins. Stick the pin through the cutout and into the
pillow in the position you want it.
Have the family sit around a table and lay the figures flat on it.
Place the cutouts on the floor where all can see them.
If you wish to move the cutouts as the story progresses, use spools or
small blocks of wood or plastic. Make a ring with masking or transparent tape
(with the sticky side out), and attach it to the back of the cutout and to the blocks
or spools.
Cut grooves about an inch deep in the top of some of the blocks or spools.
Mounted cutouts can then be inserted into the grooves and will stand upright on
your table or floor to give a three-dimensional effect.
5. Chalkboard. The chalkboard is a familiar and convenient means of presenting
visual materials. Lightweight, commercially made chalkboards are available at
furniture and variety stores at moderate cost. But building your own chalkboard
can be a fun family activity.
One of the best materials available for making a chalkboard is tempered
masonite. This is a smooth, durable, and inexpensive material. You may make
your chalkboard any size, but three feet by four feet is adequate for most
When the masonite is cut to size and the edges are smoothed with sandpaper, it
is ready for painting. It should be coated with a paintlike material called
"chalkboard slating," which should be available at most paint stores and can be
applied easily with a clean, soft brush. Chalkboard slating is also available in
spray cans. Whether you brush or spray, be sure to follow the directions on the
label of the container. Let the slating dry thoroughly. Also, let it age for several
days before using.
Never write with chalk on a new or freshly cleaned board without first "sizing" it or
coating it with chalk dust. Do this by patting or rubbing a loaded chalkboard
eraser over the surface. If you fail to do this, it will be difficult to erase marks from
the chalkboard. After use, a chalkboard can be cleaned with a dry cloth or
chalkboard brush. Never use wet or oily rags. Once in a while, you may use a
slightly damp cloth to clean chalk dust from the chalkboard. But the board must
then be resized. Use soft, good-quality chalk. Colored chalks, which create
added interest for young children, may also be used.
6. Chalkboard substitute. A piece of heavy, white poster board can make an
excellent substitute chalkboard. Cover the whole poster board with a piece of
clear, medium-weight plastic. Tape the plastic over the front of the poster board,
using tape around the edge and over the back to secure it permanently. You may
write or draw pictures on the plastic surface with wax or grease pencils, marking
pencils, or soap crayons. The wax markings can be wiped off easily with tissues
or a soft rag. If they do not come off easily with a soft rag, use a sponge and a
mild liquid detergent or soap.
7. Bulletin board. A bulletin board can be very useful in family home evenings or
for general family use. It can be made very inexpensively out of celotex or similar
fibrous building material. These materials are generally available with a whitepainted surface on one side, which is satisfactory for a bulletin surface. To hide
the pin holes, cover the board with a coarsely woven cloth, such as burlap. Use
your imagination to decorate the board, perhaps with an interesting border.
8. Posting board. This simple teaching aid consists of a series of horizontal slots
or pockets on a folded board that will hold word-strips or pictures. Fold butcher
paper or heavy kraft wrapping paper like pleats; then tape it to the front surface
of the board.
9. Puppets. Simple puppets can help you dramatize stories and important lesson
ideas. Children love to be involved in these types of dramatic presentations, and
they enjoy the use of all kinds of puppets. A variety of puppets made from paper
sacks, socks, and other common items are shown below.
Creating Fancy Foods
Have the family spend this family home evening in the kitchen together creating
unusual ways of making and arranging ordinary foods.
Creating Fancy Foods
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Foods, 288
Have the family spend this family home evening in the kitchen together creating
unusual ways of making and arranging ordinary foods.
This activity can be used many times during the year. Be as inventive as you can
in what you do. You may want to divide the family into teams and see who can
create the most unusual dish.
Be imaginative about the arrangement and color combinations of your displays.
Make this a visual as well as an eating experience for the whole family.
1. Creative cakes. A bunny cake can be made with two round cakes put together
as illustrated. Frost and decorate it with eyes, nose, and a mouth.
A heart cake can be made with one square cake and one round one put together
as illustrated. Frost and decorate it with designs of your own imagination.
Any holiday can be remembered by special decorations on a cake. Be
imaginative; use unusual things. For instance, this Christmas cake, made of two
large square cakes, sectioned as shown, can be frosted a dark green and then
decorated with small cranberries and spaghetti dyed with food coloring.
You can make castle cakes, carousel cakes, almost anything you can think of.
Sometimes you may want to build with crackers or cookies also. One young
teenager created a "monster cake" by putting a single round layer of cake on a
large piece of cardboard that was covered in aluminum foil and decorating the
cake with carefully sliced vegetables to make the facial features. The eyes were
egg slices; the nose a small carrot; the mouth a half slice of tomato; the ears,
green pepper strips; the hair, noodles.
2. Butterfly breakfast. Try this one for breakfast some morning—or as a snack
for family home evening. Serve one sausage, one pancake, cut in half, and two
small pieces of parsley as shown.
3. Sandwich cutouts. For attractive open-faced sandwiches, use a cookie cutter
to cut out shapes from cheese slices. You can use both parts of the cheese for
two different sandwiches. Some meat under the cheese pieces will give color
contrast as well as good taste.
4. Bunny salad. Take half of a sliced pear and put it on some lettuce with a small
dab of cottage cheese for the tail. Marshmallows also make good tails. Use
cinnamon candies for the nose and raisins for the eyes. You can use blanched
almonds for the ears or pink paper cut in shapes like ears.
5. Brownie turtles. Put dabs of brownie dough on a cookie tin and place five
pecan nuts in each cookie in the proper places to represent a turtle's feet and
head. Bake the special cookies and ask everyone to eat them very slowly.
6. Silly salads. Many families have molds that set gelatin desserts and salads
into various shapes that can be decorated in many very interesting ways. But to
do something really creative and add sparkle to your salads and desserts, have
each member of your family select some odd-shaped object that you have
around the house and set the gelatin in that. They may pick vases, toys, or
knicknacks of various shapes and sizes, the sillier the better.
This looks as good as it tastes.
7. Food flowers. To make radish rosebuds, mark five or six lines from one end of
the radish to the other with a paring knife tip. Start at the end away from the
stem. Peel thin slices of the radish away between the lines to form the petals.
You can make larger flowers to fill a salad plate by using fruits and vegetables for
petals, with celery sticks for stems and mint for leaves. Watermelon and
cantaloupe balls, cherry tomatoes, or tomato slices, apple and orange slices, and
even cauliflower pieces would look good enough to eat with an olive or cherry at
the center of the bloom.
Slices of green pepper could be the outline for a bloom with creamed cheese
filling in the center, again finished off with an olive or cherry in the center and a
celery stick stem.
Make orange peel roses by cutting a slice of orange peeling about three inches
long and one inch wide. Roll the peeling into a ball and secure it with half a
toothpick. This makes a good garnish.
8. Delicious dolls. Raggedy Ann has a peach head, grated cheese hair, clove or
raisin eyes, a sliced cherry mouth, a lettuce dress, and carrot or celery stick arms
and legs. Her feet are made out of cheese.
Make a snowman out of three scoops of potato or macaroni salad. Decorate him
with olives, raisins, carrots, parsley and red pepper or pimento.
9. Colorful candles. To make candles, pour gelatin into an empty juice can, using
one color or different colors for each can, as you wish. When the gelatin is set,
unmold it, cut it in half crosswise and put it on a serving dish with a lettuce leaf
under the base. Drizzle with mayonnaise or whipped cream dressing. Cut a wick
from a piece of cheese.
10. Sandwich cutouts. Make ABC sandwiches by cutting a prepared sandwich
into strips and forming alphabet letters to spell out names and words.
Make lady's fingers by cutting the shape of fingers in an ordinary slice of buttered
bread. Use jelly to paint on the fingernails. Rings can be made with peanut
butter, cheese, or olive slices.
To make cheese sailboat sandwiches, cut cheese slices for the base of the boat;
three inches is a good size. Use a toothpick, or straw for the ship's center pole.
Cut a slice of bread diagonally into quarters and place one quarter on the pole for
the sail.
Fun with Games
Have fun making up your own games. See how creative you can be. You may
have as much fun making them as playing them.
Fun with Games
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Games, 290
Have fun making up your own games. See how creative you can be. You may
have as much fun making them as playing them.
This activity can be used many times during the year. There are many kinds of
games your family may want to create. Three kinds are illustrated below, just to
give you ideas of how to make up some in your own family. All of these games
are "homemade." See what you can do.
Thought Games
1. "What Animal Am I?" Have each member of the family think of an animal he
would like the family to guess. Choose one person to start. Have him act out
what that animal does until someone guesses what animal he is pretending to
be. The person who first guesses correctly gets a chance to act. Be sure
everyone gets a turn to be the animal at least once.
2. "Guess Who." Have one member of the family think of some favorite or
unusual scripture character. One at a time the rest of the family can ask him
questions about this person, taking turns around the family circle. The first one
who thinks he knows the correct name raises his hand and asks to answer the
questions about the character himself. If his answers are right (the one who
chose the personality will know), he continues until someone else guesses and
takes over the answering. If someone's guess is wrong, he will answer the next
few questions incorrectly (as judged again by the person who chose the name)
and will be out of the game to sit by and watch while the others play until
everyone in the family knows the correct personality. If two people guess on the
same turn, the first gets to answer at least one question before the second one
takes over as the answerer.
Board games
Invent a game of travel, taking the players from some famous scripture site to
another. Decide on where you want the game to start and end. (See the game
illustrated below.) You may want to take Abraham from Ur to Haran and down
into Palestine, or you may want to have him go from Palestine to Egypt and
On a big poster board or large piece of paper, draw a rough map of Egypt and
Palestine, putting in all the major cities, lakes, and rivers. Draw in squares
between these landmarks as shown in the illustration. Have the family choose
some things to use as their "men"—buttons, thimbles, pebbles, beans. Work out
some way to determine the number of spaces each will move each turn—using a
spinner, dice, or drawing numbered cards.
You may want to add more excitement to the game by coloring every seventh
square red. If a player lands on one of these red squares, he must go back three
Activity Games
1. "Ringer." Get three soft-drink bottles and line them up with a piece of paper
under each designating the number of points possible.
Have each member of the family toss fruit jar rings to see what score they can
achieve by getting ringers. Each should get three tosses a turn. To balance skill
and ability for various ages, allow small children to stand closer to the bottles.
Keep score for as many turns as you want each to have, but be sure you decide
the number of turns before the game starts.
2. "Ball tag." Play tag with a ball by letting everyone run around and dodge the
ball that the person who is "it" is trying to touch players with. The player who is
touched becomes "it" and tries to touch someone else with the ball.
3. "Baseball with marbles." Set up four blocks of wood and three glasses as
shown in the illustration, with the glasses on their sides. Mark the blocks "first
base," "second base," "third base," and "home run," consecutively. Each
represents a hit.
Divide into teams as fits your family size and ages. The object of this homemade
game is to pitch or shoot the marbles and hit one of the blocks. If you miss and
the marble goes into a glass you are out. If you miss a block and the marble does
not go into a glass that is a strike. The other rules of baseball can be applied, or
you can make up your own rules. Keep careful score as to how many runs you
make, who are on the bases, how many outs the team has, and the number of
innings. You may want to make the game much more difficult if your family is
good at marbles. You can put more glasses around where they will complicate
the pitching and make accuracy more important. (See illustration.)
4. "Fishing." Make a fishing pole out of a stick and a long string. On the end of
the string attach a paper clip, hairpin, or anything else with which you can make a
hook. Make about ten fish by drawing them on either side of a folded piece of
paper as shown in the illustration. The hole through which you must hook them to
get a "catch" should be cut on both sides of the folded paper.
Put the ten fish on the floor all spread out and see how many fish each one can
catch in turn within a one minute time limit. The fisherman must get the fish from
the floor into his hand to count it as a catch.
You may wish to vary the game by seeing how long it takes each one to catch all
ten fish. Make up your own rules—and your own game. It's fun!
5. "What Do You Hear?" Have all the family members close their eyes for one
whole minute, listen, and note all the sounds they hear. After a minute, have
them open their eyes and take turns naming the sounds they heard.
6. "Mother Goose Charades." Divide the family into two teams, with an adult or
teenager heading each team. One team acts out a Mother Goose rhyme in
pantomime. The other team guesses what the nursery rhyme is. Then they
switch roles.
7. "Whirlwind." All stand or sit in a circle. One person says, "I'm thinking of
something." He then gives three clues, such as, "It can swim. It doesn't live in the
water. It has webbed feet." When someone thinks he knows the answer, he
whirls around in his place and says, "Whirlwind." Then he tells what he thinks it
is. The one who guesses correctly gives the next three clues.
8. "Buzz." The players sit in a circle. They begin counting with one, each player
taking a turn calling the next number. When seven is reached, the person says,
"Buzz," instead of the number. This is true of any number with seven in it (such
as seventeen) or any multiple of seven (such as twenty-one). When reaching
seventy, the players say, "Buzz," for all the numbers; but when seventy-seven is
reached, the player must say, "Buzz, buzz." Each player who fails to say "Buzz"
or "Buzz buzz" when he should is out of the game. The last one out wins.
9. "How's Your Memory?" The players are seated in a circle. The first player
starts by saying, "One old ostrich." The next player repeats this phrase and adds
another phrase, saying, "One old ostrich and two tree toads twisting tendrils."
Each time the phrases are repeated in order and the player adds one of his own.
This goes on around the circle until there are at least ten phrases. When a
person makes a mistake, he is eliminated. There should be a prize for anyone
who can finish without a mistake.
Use phrases such as the following.
1. One ostrich
2. Two tree toads twisting tendrils
3. Three tiny titmice tapping trees
4. Four fat friars fanning flames
5. Five fluffy finches flying fast
6. Six of Susie's sisters sewing shirts
7. Seven seashells in Sarah's shawl
8. Eight elves eating Easter eggs
9. Nine nimble noblemen nibbling nuts
10. Ten throbbing thrushes twittering tunes in time
10. "Ghost." The players sit in a circle. The first player says the first letter of a
word he is thinking of. It must be a word with more than two letters. The next
player thinks of a word beginning with that letter and adds the second letter. The
third player adds another letter. The game continues in this way until someone
makes a complete word. Each player tries not to complete a word. Suppose the
first three players had named the letters n-e-x and the fourth player can think of
nothing but the word next and adds the t; he then becomes a "half-ghost." The
next player starts another word. If a half-ghost ends another word he becomes a
"ghost" and may no longer participate in forming words. Anyone who speaks to a
ghost becomes a ghost also. The ghost remains in the game by trying to draw
others into conversation with him.
A player must always have in mind a word of more than two letters. If one player
doubts that another has in mind a legitimate word, he may challenge that player.
The player challenged must then state the word. If he cannot, he becomes a halfghost or a ghost. If he does state a word, the person who challenged him
becomes a half-ghost or a ghost.
11. "The Old Hen and the Chickens." One person is chosen to be Old Hen. That
person leaves the room. The family decides who will be Little Chick. Then they all
sit with bowed heads. Old Hen comes back into the room and says, "cluck,
cluck." Little Chick answers, "Peep, peep." After they all raise their heads, Old
Hen tries to guess who her chick is. Then Little Chick becomes Old Hen and
leaves the room. If in three tries Old Hen does not guess who Little Chick is, she
should be told.
12. "Animal Farm." The family sits on chairs in a circle. They choose one
member to be the farmer. The farmer kneels blindfolded in front of another family
member and says the name of an animal. That person disguises his voice and
makes the sound that animal makes. The farmer tries to guess who the person
making the animal sound is. If he guesses correctly, the person who made the
sound becomes the new farmer.
13. "Buckle-Buckle Beanstalk." Family members are shown an object—a block
or small toy—which they are to look for later. Then all except one person leave
the room. The one left places the object in sight somewhere in the room. When
the others return, the first person to spot the object cries, "Buckle-Buckle
Beanstalk." He then takes a turn placing the object while the others leave the
14. "The Boy and the Bell." The family members are seated on chairs in a circle.
One person, who is the "bell boy," sits in the middle of the circle with a small bell
under his chair. He is either blindfolded or closes his eyes tightly so he cannot
see. Another member of the family creeps up, grasps the bell, holds the clapper
to keep it from ringing, and takes it to his seat. He puts both hands behind him,
still holding the bell. All the rest of the family put their hands behind them, also.
The one who has the bell rings it softly. The bell boy takes off his blindfold and
tries to guess who has the bell. It may be necessary for the bell to be rung
several times.
15. "Fruit Basket." One member of the family is chosen to be the caller. The rest
of the family members sit in a circle on chairs. The caller gives each member,
including himself, the name of a different fruit. When he calls out the names of
two fruits, such as apples and pears, the two who were given the names of those
fruits must change seats. The caller tries to slip into one of the seats, leaving
someone else without a seat. The one without a seat is the new caller. At any
time the caller may say, "The fruit basket tipped over." Then all must change
seats, and the caller tries to get any empty seat, leaving another person as caller.
16. "Dress-Up Race." For each child, prepare a sack containing items of clothing
such as a scarf, a ribbon, shoes, a belt, or a wig. Each child starts from a certain
point with his sack. Upon reaching a given point, each opens his sack, puts on
the items of clothing, and returns to the starting point. The first one to return wins.
Older children could be given more items of clothing to put on. This game will be
most successful with at least six players. It is a good game to play when you
invite another family to join with you for a home evening.
17. "Feather Volleyball." Tie a string or rope between two chairs for a net. One
team stands on each side of the net. One team starts the game by tossing a
feather (a downy one that will float) into the air and trying to blow it over the net
and onto the ground on the other team's side. The opposing team tries to keep
the feather from falling on their side, and tries to blow it back over the net. When
the feather falls on one side of the net, the team on the other side wins a point.
Play continues until one team wins the game by gaining eleven points.
18. "Bottle Build-Up." Give each member of your family ten or fifteen toothpicks
or matches. All should have the same number. Place a narrow-necked bottle on
a table. The object is to stack the toothpicks or matches on top of the bottle
across the opening. Each player in turn places one toothpick across the opening
of the bottle. This continues until one of the players upsets the pile. The person
who upsets the pile must take all the toothpicks that fall. The winner is the player
who gets rid of all his toothpicks. If your family consists of only older children and
adults, increase the number of toothpicks each has to make the game more
19. "Jinx-Up—Jinx-Down." Divide the family into two teams. Have the teams sit
on opposite sides of a sturdy table. Choose someone to be captain of each team.
No one but the captain gives orders. Give one team a coin about an inch in
diameter. On the signal to start, this team starts passing the coin among
themselves from player to player under the table. At the call "Jinx-up" from the
captain of the opposing team, all members of the team with the coin must raise
their hands above the table, keeping their fists clenched. At the command "Jinxdown" by the captain of the opposing team, all must slap their hands flat on the
The opposing side then consults together to guess who has the coin. The captain
orders the hands raised, one at a time. When he orders the hand up that is hiding
the coin, his team wins as many points as there are hands left on the table.
The coin is then given to the other side. The team that first scores twenty-one
Cultural Activities
Singing Praises: Learning Hymns and
Children’s Songs
Singing together brings joy, and knowing the words to a song makes singing
more fun.
Singing Praises: Learning Our Hymns and Children's
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Singing Praises:
Learning Our Hymns and Children's Songs, 294
Sunday is a good day for the family to spend some time learning our hymns and
children's songs. Singing together brings joy, and knowing the words to a song
makes singing more fun. Encourage all family members to sing. Remind them
that if only the birds with the prettiest songs were allowed to sing, the forest
would be a mighty quiet place.
Materials Needed
A copy of Hymns
Children's Songbook
Squares of paper or 3-by-5 inch cards
These five games all involve singing. Playing them often can help family
members learn the words to their favorite hymns.
Game 1
A number of words are used in more than one of our hymns. Here is a list of
some of these words: come, home, mountains, high, how, fire, Zion, let, there,
sing, now, hills, guide, 0, Oh, we'll, hark, light, thank.
The family leader calls out a word, and each family member has a chance to sing
part or all of a hymn using the word in the lyrics. When no one can think of any
other hymn using this word, go on to the next word. Everyone stays in the game
to the end, even if he misses a word. There is no particular winner in this game. It
is a participation game. After the last word is given, the whole family can sing a
hymn suggested by that word.
Game 2
Each person takes turns clapping or tapping out the rhythm of a Church hymn or
children's song. The first person to guess the song may sing along with the
Game 3
Have family members sit in a circle around the room or on the floor. Choose a
hymn or song from Hymns or Children's Songbook that family members want to
learn better. The leader will read the words to the song. Play the melody if you
have a piano or other instrument available. The family then sings the first verse
two or three times. The leader then gives each person a turn to sing one word
alone. The leader sings the first word, then points to another member to sing the
second word, another to sing the third word, and so forth until someone misses.
Starting where they left off, the leader points to the next members to sing a word
at a time until the song is completed. The leader should try to keep the rhythm
going as each sings his word in turn. At another time, each of the verses might
be learned in the same manner.
Game 4
From Hymns or Children's Songbook, pick as many songs as there are family
members playing the game. Then pick one extra hymn or song. Divide each song
into four fairly even sections or phrases and write each section on a separate
card. Include the page number of the hymn in the lower left-hand corner of the
card. In the upper right-hand corner, the cards should be numbered 1, 2, 3, or 4
according to the position of the phrases in the song. Also, make several free sing
cards, according to the number of players as follows:
two players:
2 free sing cards
three players:
3 free sing cards
four players:
1 free sing card
five players:
2 free sing cards
No more than five players can play this game effectively. If there are more in the
family, divide into two groups. One could be for younger children, using easy
Mix up all the cards and give each player an equal number. There will be one
extra card. Turn the extra card face up on the table as a discard or an exchange
card if desired.
The first player sings a phrase from one of his cards. He then can pick up the
discard or draw one card from another player. He puts one card down as a
discard. If he draws from a player, that player picks up the discard on the table.
Players rotate turns around the table. The second player has the same choices.
He sings one phrase from his hand and either picks up the discard or draws one
card from another player. If he picks from another player, that person picks up
the discard to keep his original number of cards.
The point of the game is to find out who holds phrases from the different hymns
and try to choose those that complete a hymn for you. The free sing cards can be
used in place of any phrase to complete a hymn as long as the player can sing
the missing words. The first person to collect all four cards for one hymn or to
complete a hymn by using the free sing cards is the winner.
A player should pick a different phrase to sing each time he has a turn or at least
until he has sung them all. Then he can repeat as he chooses.
Game 5
Divide the family into teams, or individuals if the family is small. Each team or
person will choose a well-known Church hymn or song and act it out as a
charade. The other members try to guess the title of the song. When the correct
title is guessed, the family sings the hymn together.
Additional Activities
1. Make up your own musical games.
2. Listen to the Tabernacle Choir sing hymns on records and tapes.
3. Use the musical accompaniments for the hymns and songs available on
compact disc (Hymns: 50166, 50866; Children's Songbook: 50428, 50505) and
audiocassette (Hymns: 52175, 52297; Children's Songbook: 52428, 52505).
4. Advanced singers might hum the alto, tenor, or bass parts to a hymn and see
if the other family members can guess what the song is.
Appreciating Music
There are many kinds of good music, and each has its place. Even very small
children enjoy listening to music that expresses different feelings.
Appreciating Music
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Appreciating
Music, 295
There are many kinds of good music, and each has its place. Even very small
children enjoy listening to music that expresses different feelings.
Materials Needed
Collect some music by well-known classical composers. Many libraries have
records and tapes you can check out with a library card. And many radio stations
play music written by these composers. If you live in a western culture, you may
want to select one of the following compositions:
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev)
Nutcracker Suite (Tchaikovsky)
Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas)
Sixth Symphony (Beethoven)
The Messiah (Handel)
Fireworks Music (Handel)
Grand Canyon Suite (Grofe)
Mother Goose Suite (Ravel)
Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saens)
Peer Gynt Suites (Grieg)
Pines of Rome (Respighi)
Ask the librarian or salesman at the record store to help you find descriptive
music, music that tells a story or creates a mood.
Select a piece of music to listen to as a family. Have a family member summarize
the information on the jacket of the record. If you are using the radio, the
announcer may give a brief summary before playing each selection.
Family members might want to sit on pillows on the floor or just on comfortable
chairs. Very young children might be encouraged to move quietly to the music.
Shorter selections will hold their attention best.
When the music begins, ask each person to close his eyes and imagine what the
music might be expressing. Tell the others that we are almost always surrounded
by sounds, but we learn to "tune them out." Tonight we want to "tune them in."
After listening to the music for a few minutes, ask the following questions:
1. How does this music make you feel?
2. What colors do you think of when you listen to this music?
3. Can you imagine what might be happening?
4. Is it fast or slow? Loud or soft?
5. Can you hear a melody? Is it played more than two times?
6. Can you tell when the melody changes a little bit?
7. Can you hear the sounds that are made by the different instruments?
8. Do you feel like quietly moving your hand to the beat of the music? Do it if you
Do not expect immediate answers. Tell family members to think about their
answers while the rest of the music plays. Let them sit back and relax. Avoid loud
talking, which could be distracting.
Ask the same questions when the music is finished. Respect each person's
answer. Each family member is unique and will have a unique response to the
same music.
Additional Activities
1. Repeat the activity described above on another night. One of the pleasures of
listening to music more than once is that the melodies become familiar to us. We
enjoy recognizing a melody and anticipating what comes next.
2. Choose a kind of music other than classical—perhaps jazz or folk music.
Bring some examples to enjoy together.
3. Have a "Name That Tune" night. Guess the names of songs played by the
family member in charge.
4. Pick one composer and bring several recorded examples to listen to. Or you
could bring several records featuring the same instrument—the piano, guitar, or
violin, for example. Or bring several examples of music from one country or one
historical period.
5. Attend a concert as a family.
6. Take a walk in the country and pay attention to the sounds of birds, babbling
brooks, the wind, and even silence. Talk about the sounds. Go home and listen
to the third movement of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony.
7. Take a walk on a busy street in town. Listen to the horns honking, cars
screeching, and jackhammers working. Go home and listen to George
Gershwin's An American in Paris.
Arranging Flowers
Knowing a few basic principles of flower arranging can help you add beauty and
life to your home. This activity will help your family learn these principles.
Arranging Flowers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Arranging
Flowers, 296
Knowing a few basic principles of flower arranging can help you add beauty and
life to your home. This activity will help your family learn these principles.
Materials Needed
Flowers from your own garden, or cut flowers from a florist
A container, usually one of simple design
Tools or materials to hold the flowers in place such as one or more of the
1. A metal pinpoint "frog," available at variety stores
2. A block of "oasis," available from florists
3. Some pebbles or sand
4. Some crunched up pfitzer juniper or other branches to be stuffed in the vase
Florist's clay to hold frog in place (if you are using a metal frog)
Scissors or snippers (some prefer a sharp knife to cut flowers on a slant)
To help flowers last longer—
Use clean containers to slow bacterial growth.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to make a clean cut on the flower stem.
Cut most flowers the evening before using them and place them in a bucket of
warm water (too hot or too cold may shock the flowers).
Fill the bucket of water up to within a few inches of the heads of the flowers and
put them in a cool place overnight.
Roses are best picked in midafternoon, when the sap is up in the stem.
Dahlias and poppies are often burned at the end of the stem, or recut under
Remove all dirt and old leaves from the flowers. Remove leaves that will be
under water. Place a frog firmly in the bottom of the container with clay. You may
use other items to hold the flowers in place, such as oasis, sand, or chicken wire.
Have a design in mind when you start arranging. Geometric shapes are most
commonly used. Try a triangle, a half circle, an S shape, or a rectangle (see
illustration). Start by placing the longer stems with smaller flower heads in the
Usually place the larger flowers closer to the lip or edge of the container. Cut the
larger flower stems shorter. Cut each flower stem a different length. The
arrangement is more effective when the stems are at all different levels.
Keep in mind that simplicity is the key to a beautiful floral design. You don't need
a lot of flowers. Actually, each one will show better when the arrangement is not
Look for gracefully bent branches and let them form the outer design. Follow
these lines with other flowers and filler branches, but don't cover the original
graceful line. Experiment with color harmonies to see which colors blend well.
Keep the following things in mind as you choose flowers for a vase: scale of
flowers to container (smaller flowers in smaller vase, large flowers in larger
vase); balance of flowers (see that the arrangement is not too heavy on one
side); harmony with the other furniture or surroundings. When putting flowers on
a dining table, keep the flower arrangement rather low, usually below eye level,
so that it won't interfere with conversation.
Use the following illustrations as guides for flower arranging:
Isosceles Triangle
Vertical Rectangle
Additional Activities
1. Make Christmastime arrangements with pine branches and red carnations or
holly and other evergreens.
2. Make dried or artificial flower arrangements using the principles of design
discussed above. Have a family outing to gather the dried materials—weeds,
pods, and leaves.
3. Try making arrangements in different types of containers from your kitchen—
on a bread board, in a frying pan, in a kettle. Look for toys that might hold flowers
for a child's room.
4. In the summer, have your own flower show. Each family member can make a
design to brighten the home.
5. Visit the local flower shows in your area.
6. Consider planting in your garden different varieties of flowers that could be
used as arrangements in the home or as corsages.
Arts and Crafts
A simple art or craft activity can be a truly satisfying experience for your family.
Develop your family’s creativity and self-confidence by trying these crafts.
Arts and Crafts
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Arts and Crafts,
A simple art or craft activity can be a truly satisfying experience for your family.
Develop your family's creativity and self-confidence by trying one of the crafts
described below.
Materials Needed
The materials listed for the craft you choose.
The following are simple arts and crafts that one person, or the whole family, can
1. Spiderweb print. A spiderweb is a thing of intricate beauty. Find a freestanding
web in the weeds or bushes. This may be easiest in the early morning, when dew
is on it. Then, later in the day, when the web is dry, go back to prepare it for
printing. Do not break the web away from its support. Prepare it while it is still in
To prepare the web, spray it on both sides with white enamel paint. Be careful
not to hold the can too close, or you might tear the web. Be sure the spiderweb is
completely covered with paint; but don't use too much, or it will sag. Hold a piece
of black construction paper under the web. Center the web on the paper and
break the main fibers that hold the web in place, allowing the web to fall onto the
This print will be nice enough to frame or mount on cardboard.
2. Wooden buttons. Family members can have fun making their own buttons for
articles of clothing they sew.
You will need a piece of dowel 1 inch (3 centimeters) in diameter. Place the
dowel between pieces of cardboard to shield it, and put it in a bench clamp or
vice. Father can drill two or three holes into the end of the dowel. Center them so
you can use them for the holes in the buttons. If you don't have a drill with a bit,
make holes by twisting an awl or leather punch into the wood.
Use a hand jigsaw to saw off rounds of the dowel to the thickness you desire for
a button. If you have a triangular file, you can file a design in the top of each
button. Make four or five similar buttons so you can use them for a set.
Use a fine sandpaper to smooth off the rough parts. You can stain, paint, or wax
the buttons to the desired finish.
3. Weathered wood or driftwood sculptures. Interesting wood pieces can be
found in deserts and along beaches. The wood is often twisted and gnarled by
the weather. Find an artistic piece of wood. It can be any size, but a size that is
easy to work with is about 12 by 4 inches (30 by 10 centimeters).
Fill a bucket with water and add one cup of household bleach. Use this solution
and a wire brush or stiff brush to clean the wood. Sand it with varying weights of
sandpaper to get it smooth. Then stain, varnish, paint, or wax it.
Make a square stand to place the sculpture on by cutting a 4-by-4-foot (1-by-1meter) post 4 inches (10 cm) high. Drill a hole in the center of the square and one
in the center of the wood sculpture. Glue a piece of dowel 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20
cm) long into the hole in the sculpture and then glue that to the hole in the stand.
4. Sand candles. Some people who live on the oceanfront like to make sand
candles in the sand along the beach. Not everyone has a beach handy, but you
can usually get a bucket of sand.
Fill a bucket with clean, damp (not wet) sand. Hollow out any shape you like with
your hands. Whatever you hollow out will be the shape of the completed candle.
You might want to push a round cereal bowl or a jello mold into the sand to make
your shape.
You can use commercial candle wax purchased at a crafts shop or you can use 1
ounce (25 grams) of paraffin wax mixed with 1 ounce (25 grams) of stearin. A
colored wax crayon will provide the color or you can purchase candle dye.
Heat the wax carefully to 120° F (49° C). Cut a piece of string or wick and
prepare it by placing it in the melted wax with a spoon or tweezers. Straighten it
by pulling it out tight and setting it aside to harden.
Carefully pour the wax into the sand mold. The sand should be damp, but not too
wet or it won't stick to the wax. As the wax begins to cool, the sand will drop,
forming a hollow in the wax. Keep refilling the hollow with hot wax. If you want a
thick crust, you need to use hotter wax. The hotter the wax the thicker the crust.
But be careful: hot wax can cause severe burns.
Let the candle set for two or three hours in a cool place. Use a candle needle or
a piece of thick wire to make a hole for the wick. Cut the wire as long as the
candle is deep. Leave it in the mold overnight until the wax hardens.
Dig the candle out of the sand the next day. Carefully brush any loose sand from
the candle. Remove the wire and insert the prepared wick. You may have to melt
a little more wax and pour it around the wick to help the wick stand in place.
You can decorate the outside sand crust by gluing on sea shells, or you can
carve a design in the sand with a sharp instrument.
5. Fine pen drawing. This is especially good for young children to do alone. No
preparations are necessary.
Observation is the key to drawing. Pick a flower or a leaf. Look at it and
memorize how it looks. Now put it away and make a line drawing with a fine-line
After you have completed your first drawing, hold the flower or leaf in one hand
while you draw it with the other hand. Look at it very carefully as you draw each
part. See how much easier it is to draw when you can look at the object at the
same time.
Try drawing your favorite toy by memory. Now get the toy and observe it carefully
as you draw.
6. Drawing with scissors. You can create some interesting designs by cutting or
tearing paper. You will need some different colors of construction paper or tissue
See what different shapes you can cut or tear from the tissue or construction
paper. Paste them on a full sheet of construction paper in any design that
pleases you. You can even overlap some of the pieces you paste on.
7. Fingerprint art. Get an ink pad and some notepaper. Make your own designs
by placing your thumb or finger on the ink pad and printing it on the paper.
Use felt-tipped pens of different colors to complete the design. You can add
petals around the thumbprint to make flowers. A few strokes with the pen can
turn thumbprints into people. Print three thumbprints, one on top of another.
Draw two big ears at the top to turn it into a bunny. There is no end to what you
can make.
8. Pressed Flowers. Gather flowers just before they reach full growth and when
there is no dew on them. Place them between the pages of a magazine that you
carry along as you pick the flowers. When you get home, put several books on
top of the magazine for weight and leave the flowers to press for four or five
days. Use the pressed flowers in—
Glass pictures. Place several different kinds of pressed flowers and
grasses between two squares of glass. Tape the two pieces together around the
edges with black electrical tape. Display the picture on a plate stand or attach a
fine wire under the tape so that the picture can be hung in a window.
Framed pictures. Buy a small oval or square frame at a variety store. Place
the flowers on a paper or cloth mat inside the frame.
Place mats. Place pressed flowers on a rectangular piece of cloth. Cut a
piece of clear contact paper one inch smaller on each edge than the cloth. Stick
the contact paper to the cloth over the pressed flowers. Fringe the extra cloth
outside the contact paper border.
Notepaper covers. You will need notepaper, wax paper, and tissues.
Separate the tissue so that you only have one ply in thickness. This is so the
pressed flowers will show through. Cut the tissue and wax paper the same size
as the notepaper.
Mix one part household glue with one part water. Cover the wax paper with
diluted glue. Place the pressed flowers in a design on one half of the wax paper.
Place the single-ply tissue over the flowers and glue the two sheets together.
Fold the wax paper in half and place it over the folded note paper. This forms a
cover to place over the notepaper.
Additional Activities
1. Set up a family arts and crafts exhibit. You will need to choose a place for the
exhibit—a table outdoors, a dining room table, an empty bookcase, or a place on
the floor. Have each person display his craft with a tag or card telling about it.
2. Invite your extended family to visit your arts and crafts exhibit.
3. Ask neighbors to set up their own exhibit the same evening. Take a walk
around the neighborhood to see their exhibits.
4. Suggest to the ward activity chairman that he arrange a ward arts and crafts
exhibit. Encourage ward families to display what they have made.
5. Display some of the crafts in your home permanently.
6. Put tags on the things already in your home that family members have made,
such as drapes by mother or fireplace by father. Have a surprise recognition
Christmas Crafts
Homemade Christmas decorations can become a special family tradition that will
draw your family together, as well as beautify your home.
Christmas Crafts
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Christmas
Crafts, 299
Homemade Christmas decorations can become a special family tradition that will
draw your family together, as well as beautify your home.
Materials Needed
Materials needed are listed below under each activity.
Choose one of the crafts listed below and let each member of the family take a
part in gathering the materials needed for making the item.
1. Fresh wreaths. Popular around the world, wreaths can be hung on a wall or
door or placed flat on a table with a large candle in the center. Be creative with
decoration. Gather these materials:
Metal coat hanger carefully bent into a circle
Florist's tape (optional)
Branches from evergreens such as juniper, spruce, fir, yew; branches from
broadleaf trees such as magnolia, laurel, holly, Oregon grape
Spool of wire (may be covered with green cloth), 2428 gauge
Garden pruners
Pinecones, seed pods, other ornaments
Ribbon bows
To make the wreath, cut the branches into 6- to 15-inch (15- to 51-cm) lengths. If
you have some green florist's tape, wrap the wire frame so that the branches will
not slide on the wire.
Pick up a cluster of branches as thick as you want your wreath to be. Lay them
all going the same way on the wire frame. Using a continuous piece of wire,
begin wrapping the branches to the frame. Pick up another group of branches
and place them in the same direction overlapping the ends of the last bunch.
Wire to the frame. Keep going in the same direction until the frame is covered.
When you have finished, clip any branches that extend too far out so that the
wreath will be an even width. Any thin spots can be corrected by wiring more
branches on top of those already in place.
Decorate the fresh wreath any way you wish. Use your own creativity. Here are
some suggestions: wire on pinecones, make poinsettia flowers from milkweed
pods sprayed gold and sprinkled with glitter, use other natural pods and nuts.
Combine shiny ornaments with natural materials. Tie a ribbon bow at the bottom,
side, or top. Let ribbon streamers hang down.
You could entwine a string of popcorn around the entire wreath. A cluster of
popcorn balls can form a center of interest at the bottom or they can be wrapped
in plastic and tied to the bottom of ribbon streamers. This wreath makes a nice
gift for families with children.
To wire a pinecone, use a 24- to 28-gauge wire for medium size cones. Larger
cones will require a heavier wire, about 20 gauge. Cut the wire into lengths of
about 6 inches (15 cm) plus the diameter of the cone. A large cone will require a
longer wire. Catch the wire in the crevice behind one of the last rows of scales.
Bring it completely around the cone under the scales and twist the two ends of
the wire together. Make sure the wire is firmly in place.
Use the remainder of the wire to attach the cone in place.
2. Straw wreaths. If you live on a farm, you should have no trouble finding straw.
If there is a field or roadside nearby, you can cut some of the wild grasses before
winter. You may also be able to buy a commercial straw wreath to decorate
Gather these materials:
Wire coat hanger carefully bent into a circle
Brown florist's tape (optional)
Tissue paper or newspaper (necessary only if you don't have enough straw)
Straw or wild grasses (soak in water fifteen to twenty minutes before using)
Jute twine or nylon fishing line
Pinecones and other ornaments
Ribbon bow
Cover the wire coat hanger with florist's tape. If you have plenty of straw, tie it by
handfuls directly onto the wire. If you don't have much straw, prepare the wire by
placing damp crumpled paper around it and attaching the paper with twine or
masking tape. Cut the straw or grass into bunches and tie it in place with a
continuous piece of twine or fishing line. Overlap each handful over the last
bunch of straw. Continue to do this until the frame is completely covered with
straw or grasses. Set it aside to dry.
Decorate with a bow at the bottom, wild grasses, plaid ribbons entwined around
the complete wreath, artificial red apples, berries of holly or other bushes and
trees, or anything you can think of. This wreath can be saved for years if stored
in a plastic covering.
3. Cornhusk wreaths. This kind of wreath can be saved from one year to the
next. If you grow your own corn, save the inside husks. (The outside husks may
be a little too coarse.) You can also buy bags of corn husks at most craft stores.
If you live in the tropics, try using banana leaves or broad leaves from bamboo.
Gather these materials:
Wire coat hanger bent into a circle
Brown florist's tape (optional)
Your own corn husks or three bags from craft store
Jute twine or fishing line
Large darning needle
Cones, pods, or other ornaments
Ribbon bow
Cover the wire circle with brown florist's tape. Soak the cornhusks in a pan of
water for fifteen to twenty minutes before using. Cut fifteen pieces of twine into 6to 8-inch (15- to 20-cm) lengths.
Place four cornhusks together with the small ends facing the same direction. Put
1 inch (2.5 cm) of the small end of the husks under the wire frame. Fold this 1
inch (2.5 cm) back against the rest of the husks. Pinch the two parts of the husks
together and tie them close to the wire frame with a square knot.
Continue to tie on the remaining groups of four husks until the wire frame is filled.
Put the groups close to each other; they will shrink when they dry. While the
husks are still wet, take a darning needle and, beginning about 1 inch (2.5 cm)
from the twine knot, shred the husk to the end. Make these shreds about every
1/4 inch (.5 cm). This gives the shaggy look to the wreath.
Now take a continuous piece of twine and bind the wreath together so it will keep
its shape. (Do this by taking about a 1-inch (2.5-cm) group of shredded husks
until you have gone around the complete frame.) Tie off in a square knot. Shake
the wreath to make it fluffy and set it aside to dry for about one day. You can
hang it on a clothesline to dry.
When it is completely dry, fluff it again, and separate the shreds with your fingers.
Decorate with any ornaments you may have. Add a bow for the final touch.
4. Candle centerpiece. This is an easy craft for small children.
Gather these materials:
Plaster of paris
A small round plastic container approximately six inches (15 cm) in diameter and
three inches (8 cm) high
Small candle
Gold spray paint
Pinecones, pods, twisted twigs, and other small natural objects
Mix a small batch of plaster of paris. Pour it into the round plastic container to the
height you would like your candleholder to be. When the plaster of paris gets a
little firm, place the candle in the center of the bowl. Decorate with small
pinecones, pods, or twigs which are stuck into the plaster all around the candle.
When the plaster is hard, remove it from the container. Spray the cones, twigs,
and plaster with gold spray paint. Let the paint dry. This will make a festive
centerpiece. If you wish, place a few evergreens underneath and around it.
5. Nativity scene. Making your own nativity scene can be a fun family project.
The finished scene can be an important addition to your family Christmas
Have all family members help make the figures and manger. There are many
ways to make the figures, and many craft stores and holiday craft magazines will
tell how.
You can make the figures of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men,
sheep, and other animals from rolled or molded dough clay, from straw, from
cornhusks, from carved wood, or from cardboard or construction paper with
acorns or nuts glued on as heads. You can make the manger out of wood,
cardboard, clay, or twigs tied together with twine. The smallest child can be part
of this activity by gathering some dry grass to be used as straw for the baby.
Salt Dough
2 cups (500 ml or .5 liter) flour
2 cups (500 ml or .5 liter) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) water
Mix flour, salt, and water to make a stiff mixture. Knead mixture for about ten
minutes to dissolve salt.
Cornstarch Clay Dough
(Porcelain type)
2 cups (500 ml or .5 liter) cornstarch
2 cups (500 ml or .5 liter) baking soda
1 1/4 cups (310 ml) cold water
In a saucepan, combine cornstarch and baking soda. Gradually add water until
the mixture is smooth. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a moist
mashed-potato consistency.
Turn onto a plate, cover with a damp towel. Knead dough when cool enough to
Mold the clay into figures. Or roll out the dough about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) thick on a
floured board and cut out the figures by placing a pattern on the rolled dough and
tracing it with the pointed end of a knife.
Bake the figures on a flat cookie sheet at 225° F (107° C) for two or three hours.
Turn them over occasionally to keep them from curling.
Paint on faces and clothing with poster paints that have been mixed with a little
white glue.
Make cardboard stands and glue them on back of the figures.
6. Christmas tree cookie ornaments. Use either the salt dough or the cornstarch
clay dough described above. Roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters into
stars, bells, circles, or other shapes. Make a hole in the top of each ornament so
you can tie yarn through for hanging it on the tree. Bake the ornaments and paint
them in the same way as the nativity figures.
7. Christmas tree ornaments. You may decorate your tree with pinecones, seed
pods, dried flowers, or a combination of these things along with your sparkling
ornaments. Homemade decorations will make your tree one of a kind.
You can do many things with pinecones. Leave them their natural color and wire
them onto the branches of the tree or up the center of the tree trunk. Spray them
different colors or spray them with clear plastic and sprinkle them with glitter. Try
combining them with two milkweed pods to form the wings of a bird and add
plume grass for a tail.
Make milkweed pods into contrived flowers that look like poinsettia and spray
them red, gold, or other colors. Tie small straw flowers of various colors together
with thin ribbons and place them in small bunches on the tree. Clusters of
berries, such as holly or pyracantha, look lovely tied onto the branches of a
Christmas tree.
Wire different nuts on the tree in clusters. Drilling a hole in the nut and wiring it
takes quite a bit of equipment. An easier way is to cover the nut with a layer of
plastic wrap and tie the plastic with thin florist's wire. Twist the wires of five or six
nuts together like a cluster of grapes.
8. Yule log. Many families already have a tradition of bringing in the Yule log. It
is fun to decorate one for the house, even if you don't have a fireplace.
Gather these materials:
A wood log or piece of twisted driftwood
Evergreen boughs
Wire or strong twine
Find a log. It can be just one that you burn in the fireplace, or it can be an
interesting twisted piece of driftwood.
Cut the evergreen branches a little less than one-half the length of the log. Tie
the stems to the center of the log with twine or wire, so that the tips of half the
branches point toward one end of the log, and the tips of the other half point
toward the other end of the log.
Wire about five or six pinecones in a cluster near the center of the log and tie a
big red ribbon around the very center.
If you have a fireplace, you can make this log part of your Christmas Eve
tradition. Throw the log on an already burning fire. The pinecones will burn with
blue and green flames. Tell the Christmas story around the fire.
9. Rose potpourri. This activity begins in the summer when roses are in full
bloom. Collect and dry the rose petals to make potpourri or sachet bags for
Christmas giving. Any age child can help collect the materials.
Gather these materials:
Rose petals or other fragrant flowers that grow in your climate (plumeria,
gardenia, camellia, lavender, geranium)
Flat pan, such as a cookie sheet
Fixatives, such as dried lavender or oak moss (sold in herb and spice shops and
many drugstores)
Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, vanilla beans, or dried grated lemon peel
2 to 3 drops of perfume
Pick the petals from roses just after their prime and before they start to turn
brown. Some roses are more fragrant than others. Pink roses are especially
fragrant. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet one layer deep. Sprinkle a little salt over
them. They will dry in a few days. Shake the salt from the petals, and to every
quart of petals add one tablespoon of the fixative.
Place the petals in a glass container. Add other herbs and spices you may have
and two or three drops of your favorite perfume. Close the container tightly and
shake it well. Shake every other day for ten days.
Put this potpourri in colorful glass containers and decorate them with ribbon. Or
put it in sachet bags for dresser drawers or closets. To make sachet bags, sew
squares of nylon, organdy, or other lightweight materials into little bags. Leave
one side open so you can fill them with the rose petal mixture. Blindstitch the
open end together. Decorate with lace, ribbon, or embroidery. An easy-to-make
pouch bag can be made from a small square of cloth such as organdy, silk, or
fine cotton. Gather the square at the four corners with the rose petals enclosed
and tie with a ribbon.
10. Greeting cards and wrapping paper. It is fun to work as a family making
wrapping paper and greeting cards. There are many methods. Here are a few:
Wax rubbings: Remove the paper covering from several large wax crayons.
Place a piece of paper over the wrong side of a broad leaf, such as holly, or over
a pine branch. Begin rubbing the broad side of the crayon on the paper. Work
from the stem of the leaf outward, holding onto the stem as you work.
Potato block prints: Draw a design on a piece of paper the size of a potato cut in
half crosswise. It can be a holly leaf, a bell, a Christmas tree ornament, or any
other simple Christmas design. Trace the design onto the potato half with a sharp
Remove excess moisture from the potato with a paper towel. Cut around the
design with a knife so that the design stands up and the background is cut away.
Using poster paint or water-soluble ink, paint the design on the potato with a
brush. Print it on a card or folded piece of paper. You can use this potato design
on greeting cards or wrapping paper.
Additional Activities
1. Take some of the crafts you have made to other families. (See "Serving
Others Together.")
2. Combine giving crafts with a caroling activity. Take crafts to your friends and
sing Christmas carols to them.
Fun with Stories and Poems
Have fun together being creative with stories and poems.
Fun with Stories and Poems
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Fun with Stories
and Poems, 302
Have fun together being creative with stories and poems. No great talent is
needed, although some may be discovered. Just have fun together using your
imagination freely.
1. Continued stories. Relax with your children lying on the floor around a warm
fire, on a big bed with a child on each arm, or anywhere that you all feel close
and comfortable. Tell them that each is going to participate in telling a story you
are going to create together. The first person will start the story and then stop at
some critical moment. The next person will have to continue the story in his own
words using his own imagination. Then he stops and lets the third person take
over until all have had several turns and a story has unfolded. Set up some
sequence or order in which you will participate. Encourage the children to be
completely uninhibited in what they want the story to be like. You may want to
make up several stories in one home evening, letting different members of your
family start and finish each story.
First person: Once there was a beautiful little girl who loved the color purple. Her
favorite game was to sneak out to the airport near her home and paint airplanes
this favorite color, bright purple. Oh, it was messy! She often got into trouble
because she would spill paint all over the runway where the airplanes came in.
One dark night she crept out to paint the biggest airplane in the whole world, to
paint it purple. When she got there she was surprised because ...
Second person: When she got there she was surprised because somebody had
already been there and painted that huge airplane yellow like a great big canary.
She was so mad that she sat down and cried and cried. Suddenly the airplane
opened up its big mouth and said ...
The third person goes on by having the airplane say some ridiculous thing.
One variation to this kind of storytelling is to give each person a word that he
must weave into his narrative in a natural way. Pick interesting words or funny
ones. Examples: volcano, stupefied, rhinoceros, magnificent, ugly, etc.
Another variation is to prepare a rather long piece of string that the person telling
his segment of the story winds into a ball or onto a stick. He must talk as long as
it takes him to wind up the string. Yarn, thread, or even rope could be used
instead of string.
Little children like to make up stories about themselves, using their own names.
Consider one like the following:
One morning, ____________ (your child's name) got up and found a cute little
bluebird singing on the windowsill.
"Good morning, Mr. Bluebird," said ____________ .
"Good morning, to you, ____________ ," said the bluebird.
Have the child go on telling what happened. Encourage him to use his own name
frequently throughout the story you tell together.
2. Personal poems. Children love to make up their own poems. They will not
always rhyme or fit a particular meter, but they are very refreshing and revealing.
The following poem was written by a little girl eight years old who loves dogs.
When she was six, she told her mother, "When I grow up, I'm not going to have
babies; I'm going to have puppies."
What If Dogs Took Over the World?
What if dogs took over the world?
What a sight to see,
People tied to a tree.
What would happen to me?
There would be a dog police.
Animals in the zoo would be released.
Dogs would walk us as we walk them.
They'd wear dresses with a hem.
They'd drive cars.
And have bazaars.
They'd roll and run,
And have such fun!
I hope dogs don't take over the world!
Let your family write some poetry about their pets, their hobbies, their concerns,
their troubles, their interests—whatever they may be. Some of the poetry may
turn out to be beautiful. Never correct your child's efforts. Let him feel his
expression is good enough to be unconditionally accepted.
Older children may want to create funny limericks. Following is an example of the
form they take:
There once was a girl named Janet
Who came from another planet.
Her hair was green
With a beautiful sheen,
And skin so white you could tan it.
They may want to make them up about their own names or those of other family
Another activity is to have each family member write new words to his favorite
song. For example:
Sing to: "Jingle Bells"
Elephants, elephants, elephants are fat.
They each have a big long trunk
Where their nose is at;
Elephants, elephants, elephants are fat.
It appears their great big ears
Should cover where they sat.
You may want to use a favorite hymn and write some new words that are very
meaningful to the music. Caution: Because of later association, it would not be
wise to write humorous words to a sacred hymn, but some serious, thoughtful
expression would be appropriate.
Sing to: "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"
We thank thee, O God, for our family
To guide us through our younger days
We thank thee for wise and good parents
To teach us of thy righteous ways.
We thank thee for brothers and sisters
Who fight, tease, but help sometimes, too.
We hope to grow more close and loving,
And living the gospel's the clue.
Try some of your own favorites. Make up serious words for the hymns or funny
ones for other songs. It does not matter as long as you do something original.
3. Family poems. Let your family compose a poem as a group. This is called a
"mosaic" poem. Have each one express in a short sentence how he feels about
some selected subject. Write down each expression as it is given. Sometimes it
is best to have each keep his sentences secret until you all read them aloud.
Sometimes you may want to give each line out loud right at first, expecting the
first ones to influence what others may say, and thus build a more harmonious
poem. Try both ways.
After each family member has contributed, you may want to rearrange the
sentences to make more sense or create more unity in the poem. Any subject
you are all interested in would be a good topic to start with.
4. Expressive language. Little children like to express themselves. They may not
be able to create poetry or stories but they will enjoy completing phrases like the
As soft as ____________
As slippery as ____________
As green as ____________
As scary as ____________
As tall as ____________
As happy as ____________
As big as ____________
Let them say whatever comes into their minds. Some of their responses can be
very revealing and surprisingly wise. Make up many more than the seven
examples given. It will be fun for you too.
5. Haiku poetry. This form of Japanese expression and appreciation for nature
can be a really creative experience for the adults in your family. Find some
beautiful picture from nature and have each one write three sentences about it,
each on a separate line. Then cut down the first sentence to just five syllables,
selecting the most expressive words. Cut the second one down to seven
syllables; and the third, to five again. This is your haiku poem. See how simple,
yet moving, your expressions can be.
Viewing a beautiful picture of a mountain stream, one amateur wrote the
following in the two steps of creating this kind of poetry:
Three Sentences
I love the verdant mountain streams with their fresh, icy water.
To sleep lightly by a stream like this and listen in half slumber to the cascades
would be heaven to me.
I hope I can sit by some cool, bubbly bank forever.
The Poem
Verdant mountain streams.
Sleep lightly, listen. Heaven!
Cool bank, forever.
Now you try some.
Creating Pictures and Things
Use your imagination to create some pictures, puzzles, and other things. Have
fun together as a family being inventive and original.
Creating Pictures and Things
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Creating
Pictures and Things, 304
Use your imagination to create some pictures, puzzles, and other things. Have
fun together as a family being inventive and original.
1. Drawing for fun. Have each family member draw his favorite thing around the
house—for example, a Chinese vase, a doll, the tree in the front yard, the cat,
the big swing in the back, or the old pioneer cradle. The children may wish to
draw a picture of the happiest moment they can remember or the most
impressive—for example, blessing the new baby, Christmas morning around the
tree, the flood in the basement last summer, or a family picnic. You could also
have the family illustrate favorite scriptures—for example, Noah and the ark,
David and Goliath, or Christ visiting the Nephites.
2. Crazy creations. At the bottom of a piece of paper, write the following
sentence: "This is a ____________ ." Fill in the blank with some silly word that
you make up yourself—ziggybob, twirple, babookit, or gabbygook, for example.
Have everyone then draw whatever they think that silly word looks like.
3. "What's This?" Draw a crazy line on a piece of blank paper, one for each
member of the family, and ask the children to use their imagination to create a
picture from it.
4. "Color Bright." Draw a lot of intersecting lines on a piece of paper for each
family member. Have everyone color in all the geometric shapes thus formed,
using a different color in each. Little children love to do this.
5. Collage. Have your children cut out odd-shaped pictures and colored shapes
from a magazine and paste them onto a piece of wood or cardboard. You can
use newspaper, Christmas cards, or even pieces of colored paper or tissue to
add variety and give different textures to the creation.
6. Mosaics. Almost any material can be used for a mosaic: tiles, broken glass,
nutshells, macaroni, wood pieces, or stones. Have your family each find several
small things in your yard, on the beach, in the park, or in the school yard and
arrange them on a piece of wood, gluing them down in some design. You may
want to spray the whole piece with gold paint after the glue dries.
The next time you go on a vacation, take a box to keep little mementos of the
trip. Then when you get home, make a mosaic of them to keep for years of
7. Family mural. Pick a wall or floor in your home where you can spread out a
large piece of butcher paper and attach it securely. Then have each person draw
or paint on this great big picture. Each one can add the shapes or colors he feels
will make it more artistic. Be sure all get a chance to contribute. You may want to
take a long time to finish this and have fun with it for several days. Some families
have even painted on their walls permanently, giving each one in the family a
chance to make his effort a part of that room forever.
You can use any medium you have available: oil paint, crayons, chalk, water
colors, poster paint. Make a collage, a mosaic, or anything together. The main
thing is to have fun and do something the entire family will enjoy and feel free to
participate in.
8. Puzzles and blocks. Little children may enjoy cutting out their own puzzles.
They could draw, color, or cut out a picture from a magazine and then cut it up in
pieces to make it into a jigsaw puzzle.
You can cut blocks out of scraps of wood and paint them bright colors. If you do
not want to work with paint, soak the blocks in food coloring.
You could even go to a lumberyard and pick up scraps and board ends to make
a set of blocks. Take them home and sand them during your home evening after
cutting them into the shapes you want.
9. Silly sculpture. Try making some sculpture by gluing pieces of junk together.
This can really be fun. Just about anything small can be used. You may want to
divide into teams and see who can come up with the most interesting piece.
If you want to use more conventional materials, have the children make things
out of clay or carve something from a bar of soap. If it happens to be a snowy
day, you may want to create a snow sculpture, something a little more original
than a snowman. Try a sleeping giant or a dragon.
10. "This Is Me." Get a large piece of poster paper, butcher paper, old wall
paper, or wrapping paper. The children will enjoy coloring themselves life-size.
Have each child lie down on the paper you have selected and some older child or
parent can trace his outline onto it. Then the child who has been traced fills in the
details, adding the facial features, hair, and clothes, until he has made a life-size
picture of himself. Children love to do this, and the entire family will enjoy the
Enjoying Dance and Drama
Have a creative time together dancing or dramatizing. Let yourselves go. This
kind of physical expression is satisfying and can be a lot of fun.
Enjoying Dance and Drama
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Enjoying Dance
and Drama, 305
Have a creative time together dancing or dramatizing. Let yourselves go. This
kind of physical expression is satisfying and can be a lot of fun.
Choose one of these activities:
1. Dance your feelings. Play a record, a tape, the radio, or create your own
music. Let the children dance the way the music makes them feel. Have them
one by one take a turn to dance for the family so that each gets a turn to have
everyone's complete attention. It is important that you allow them to be graceful,
silly, or even clumsy as long as they are expressing something. If you are
understanding, they will enjoy being inventive.
The children will want to dance only two or three minutes each turn. Vary the fun
by grouping them now and then in different ways between solo acts. This is a
simple activity, but one the children find extremely satisfying.
You may want to use some variations to their free expression by giving each a
certain activity that he is to dance. For example:
Be a skater.
Be a flower coming up in the spring.
Be a lion in the forest.
Be a skier coming down the mountainside.
Be a princess at a ball.
Be a swimmer.
Be a horse on the prairie.
Be a tree swaying in the breeze.
Another variation to this activity is to have each one dance and then have the
family try to guess what he is depicting.
One family has a dance night at least once a month. The children look forward to
it with real enthusiasm and plan what they are going to do, especially their
dances in pairs and groups.
2. Statues. This game is fun to play with children in a yard or field outside. Have
everyone form a circle around someone. The person in the middle is the statue
maker. He has each one come to him in turn to be swung around two or three
times and then released. The position in which the one being swung comes to
rest must be kept until all have been swung. All this time the statue maker has in
mind what he wants them to be. The one who is most like what he has in mind
wins and gets to go to the center and be the next statue maker.
3. Charades. Have each person one by one take a pose and have the family
guess what each is trying to be. This activity can be made exciting if you let the
children dress up and make their own costumes. They are very inventive and
love to express themselves. You may even encourage them to pantomime
stories from the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Church history that they particularly
Words could be added to make a play if they so desire. Some props and scenery
that they choose or create can make the evening even more fun.
4. Fairy tale fun. Your children may enjoy acting out scenes from their favorite
fairy tales. Let them be Snow White, Cinderella, Billy Goat Gruff, Prince
Charming, or a great big giant. They may do the whole story or just one part of it.
Let them dress up and have fun pretending.
5. Hand puppets. Your children may have fun making a stage using a small table
or desk. They can make props and curtains and everything they need to furnish
their stage. Let them make up a play with hand puppets or dolls and present it for
the family. Children will have some marvelous ideas if you encourage them to be
Nature Activities
Hiking with Small Children
This activity will give you ideas to help make hiking fun for your whole family.
Hiking with Small Children
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Hiking with
Small Children, 306
One of the best ways to appreciate the outdoors is by hiking with your family off
the beaten path. This activity will give you ideas to help make hiking fun for your
whole family.
If you want to make hiking a family activity, here are some hints to make it fun for
the younger ones:
1. Start hiking with children on small treks that do not get them so tired that they
cannot enjoy themselves.
2. Forget your adult rules about how fast you want to go. Instead, think about
how your children would enjoy spending their time. Walk for fifteen to twenty
minutes, then look around for fifteen to twenty minutes. Throw rocks in a creek,
float sticks in the stream, flip a bug on its back and see how it turns itself over.
Look at and smell weeds, flowers, moss, rotten logs, and interesting rocks.
Watch a hawk in the sky, a squirrel in a tree, a bird in a thicket, a rodent on the
ground, a bug on a log, or other people on the trail.
3. Promise a party at the next bend of the trail. For the party, have a surprise
piece of candy, bring a small toy to play with, have a story ready, make a stick
whistle, or imitate a bird call.
4. Sing songs on the trail. Make up a song, rhyme, poem, or story with your
children as the characters. Count the number of animals you see or see who can
be first to spot a certain colored flower.
5. Avoid major changes in elevation; young babies and children up to two years
of age have trouble adjusting to major changes in altitude. They may fuss, have
an earache, or show symptoms of stress in breathing.
6. Using a child back-carrier is much better than carrying a child on your
shoulders. The weight of even a small child on the neck and shoulders can cause
dizziness or even a temporary paralysis of certain neck muscles of an adult.
7. Have young children three or four years of age carry a small knapsack
containing a sweater, a special toy, a doll, or some of their favorite food. Increase
the load as they get older. Have children pack their own knapsacks.
8. Allow some freedom and independence in hiking, but set limits for how far
children can move away from you.
Activities in the Rain
These rainy day activities can help your family appreciate rain rather than dread
Activities in the Rain
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Activities in the
Rain, 306
How many of your plans for family outings have been upset by rain? There are
many activities that you can do in the rain or after a rain, some of them so fun
that you might want to actually plan an outing for a rainy day. These rainy day
activities can help your family appreciate rain rather than dread it.
Choose from the following activities for your rainy day outing:
1. Collect rain in containers and use it to wash your hair, put in mom's iron, water
the houseplants, or put in your car battery.
2. Paint some paper with powdered tempera paints and water. Then set the
paper in the rain to allow the water to run and make designs.
3. Have each person mark a line on a container showing where they think the
water line will be when the rain stops. The person closest to the actual line is the
4. Tell stories in which rain plays an important part—Noah and the ark, the early
Saints in St. George paying their tithing so that rain would come, Elijah
prophesying the end of three years without rain.
5. Have a water fight.
6. Talk about the kinds of animals that like the rain.
7. Go for a walk in the rain and notice the changes in nature. Observe what
happens to the birds, bugs, worms, trees, flowers, and people. Notice the sounds
and smells that this change brings.
8. Choose a long word that is related to the rain (umbrella, for example) and
have each player write it in the center of a piece of paper. Then allow them two
minutes to build up as many other words as they can from the basic word. All the
new words must in some way be related to the first word. The player with the
most words wins.
9. Discuss questions about rain, such as the following:
What causes rain?
What causes thunder?
What causes lightning?
What does the rainbow mean?
What are the rainfall records in our area?
10. Sing songs with words about rain.
Gardening in Containers
This activity will help you get started gardening in containers.
Gardening in Containers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Gardening in
Containers, 307
Many people who live in apartment buildings or houses with little or no yard
space may think they cannot follow the prophet's counsel to plant a garden. But
you can grow quite a bit of food in pots and hanging planters inside your home or
on a balcony. This activity will help you get started gardening in containers. Even
if your family has plenty of outdoor garden space, you might want to try growing
some of your vegetables indoors.
You can plant in almost any kind of container. Try using plastic jugs, garbage
cans, milk cartons, cans, plastic bags, baskets, a wagon bed, kitchen canisters,
or clay pots. The bottom of the container should have several small drain holes
and be lined with 2 to 3 inches of small gravel before you put in the topsoil. Hang
containers from windows, put them on windowsills or in window wells; line your
sidewalk or driveway with them, or hang them from your ceiling.
The following chart shows you how much dirt you will need in a container to grow
some common vegetables. This will give you an idea of what size container you
need to use. It also tells you when to plant and harvest the vegetables and how
big they will get. These are not the only vegetables that grow well in containers.
You can try almost any kind that is common to your area.
Gardening in Containers
Mature Size
of Plant
1012 inches
of soil
spring, fall
24 weeks
before last
1012 inches
810 inches
of soil
Early spring Snap 5055
Lima 65
1214 inches
1012 inches
spring, fall
24 weeks
before last
1012 inches
34 weeks
before last
Shape vines
by cutting
Cucumbers 1 gallon (4
liters) per
3 gallons (11
liters) 1214
inches (3035
diameter of
after 8
23 feet (.51
1 gallon (3.8
liters) per
after 78
23 feet (.51
1 gallon (3.8
liters) per
can stand
46 weeks
before last
610 inches
slight frost
810 inches
of soil
can stand
slight frost
46 weeks
before last
1012 inches
6 inches (15
of soil
can stand
slight frost
24 weeks
before last
68 inches
810 inches
per plant
spring, fall
24 weeks
before last
Plants spread
out, do not
grow tall
5 gallons (19
liters) for a 34
plant hill
34 weeks
before last
will produce frost
through fall
Bush 23 feet
(.5m1 meter)
Vine-pinch off
to control
Dwarf: 1
gallon (3.8
Standard: 23
gallons (7.511
liters) Mini:
810 inches
Dwarf: 23 feet
(.51 meter)
Standard: 35
feet (11.5
vines need
support frame
after 34
harmed by
Additional Activities
Make an indoor herb garden on a window sill.
Bird Watching Close to Home
This activity will help your family set up situations in which they can watch birds
close to home.
Bird Watching Close to Home
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Bird Watching
Close to Home, 308
Bird watching, even through the kitchen window, can teach your family much
about the world of nature. This activity will help your family set up situations in
which they can watch birds close to home.
Invite birds to your home by choosing and doing one or more of the following
simple activities:
1. Birdbath. Build a wooden frame with a bottom 2-feet square (60 cm square)
and sides 4 inches tall (10 cm). Cover the bottom with plywood. Mix together one
part cement, two parts sand, and three parts pea gravel; moisten with water so
the mixture flows slowly. Pour into the frame and, before it hardens, slope the
sides until the center is depressed about 2 inches (5 cm). Molding the cement
mixture around a wire frame will reinforce the basin. Allow the mixture to harden,
and mount the bird bath on a pedestal or above ground level so cats can't prey
on the bathing birds. Then watch the birds enjoy the water.
2. Windowsill observatory. Fasten a wooden board to an outside windowsill or
ledge. Nail two or three dowels to the board to act as perches for birds. Place
some small pans on the sill to hold food and water. Make a "blind" by putting a
small hole in a piece of cardboard and by placing the cardboard against the
inside of the window. You can then watch birds from inside the house without
distracting or frightening them. Place honey on a donut or a bread crust, sprinkle
it with nuts, and see how many birds are attracted.
3. String feeding. String bits of food—such as bread, nuts, or popcorn—on a thin
string or thread. Space the food several inches apart and tack both ends of the
string to a tree trunk or limb. Watch the birds' different methods of feeding. This is
especially effective in wintertime.
4. Nest building. Place colored yarn, string, or straw in an easy-to-find place for
birds. Watch to see which birds pick which material to build their nests.
5. Hummingbird feeder. Attach a small or medium-sized tube or vial to a tree
twig or a stem of a flower. Decorate the vial with bright ribbon and place a
mixture of one part sugar to two parts water in the container. Watch the birds
hover and sip the nectar. It may also attract moths, butterflies, and other insects.
If you are interested in learning to recognize different kinds of birds and
understand their habits, check local libraries and bookstores for the numerous
guides to bird watching. The following ideas will give you some information with
which to start learning about the birds you watch:
What time of year is best for observing specific activities? Summer is the best
time to watch nesting, hatching, feeding the young, and hunting for insects. Fall
is best for watching migration, flocking, and molting. Winter is best for watching
the hardy birds struggle to survive and to watch feather changes. Spring is best
for watching migration, courting and mating, nest building, and spring molting.
What time of day is best for watching? You have the best chance to hear the
songs in early morning or late evening.
How do you keep track of what you see? Write down what you see in a
notebook. You might include the following information about each bird you see:
Name of bird
Where you saw it
When you saw it
What the bird was doing
Characteristics: color, size, wing shape, beak, feet
What do bird sounds mean? You may hear a mating call, a morning or evening
greeting, a cry of danger, a call to communicate with other birds during migration,
or a means of self-expression. Each kind of bird has its own special calls, and
getting to know the calls can help you recognize the different kinds of birds.
Additional Activities
1. Build a birdhouse.
2. Record bird songs on a sensitive tape recorder. Play the song back and see if
you can attract a bird with the same song.
3. Learn which kinds have migratory paths in your area. Watch the semiannual
migration of various birds.
4. Make a bird calendar. Let your family record the first time one of you sees a
robin, the first bird's nest you see, or the first baby bird you hear. Think of unique
things to observe and record.
Rock Hounding
A simple collecting trip requires little more than the desire to get outdoors and to
notice the geological wonders of the earth. Collecting rocks, or just looking at
interesting ones, can be a fun family activity.
Rock Hounding
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Rock Hounding,
Rocks can be fascinating to young and old. A simple collecting trip requires little
more than the desire to get outdoors and to notice the geological wonders of the
earth. Collecting rocks, or just looking at interesting ones, can be a fun family
Materials Needed
1. Cold chisel for breaking off a sample
2. Magnifying glass for examining what you collect
3. Knapsack or heavy canvas bag for carrying samples home
4. Pocket knife for cleaning
5. Newspapers to wrap fragile specimens
6. Old gloves to protect your hands
7. Mineralogist's hammer (blunt on one end, pointed on the other) for breaking
off samples
Prepare for your rock hounding trip by first choosing an area that has interesting
rocks. You may need to check with local experts at a rock shop, university, or
gem club for advice on where to collect. The best areas are where rock is
exposed—a quarry, mine dump, excavation gravel pit, stream, beach, road cut,
dry wash, or plowed field. The best time for finding good material is often in the
spring or after a storm, when fresh rock is exposed.
Be careful to obey the laws of your country. In the United States, rockhounding is
usually legal on public lands, but not in national parks, national monuments, and
other restricted areas. It is also against the federal law to collect vertebrate
fossils and Indian artifacts in the United States. Collecting on private lands
requires the permission of the owner. Obeying the laws of your country, using
courtesy, and taking good safety precautions can help to make your trip more
Once you have chosen a place to hunt, plan your trip. You may want to take a
whole day with the family to collect rocks, eat lunch, and enjoy the outdoors.
Use moderation in gathering your rock samples. Take only the most interesting
ones. It's a good idea to devise a labeling system so you can keep track of your
collection in the field and at home. A simple system is to label each rock as you
find it with a number on a small piece of adhesive tape. Record the number in a
notebook with a description of the rock, the place you found it, the collector, and
the date.
There are many things to notice in the rocks you collect, including hardness,
crystal form, color, cleavage, fracture, possible magnetism, and luster. You might
find it interesting to test the hardness of the stones you find. Knowing the
hardness of rocks can help you identify them.
The Mohs scale, developed by Friedrich Mohs, is the hardness scale used by
mineralogists. On this scale, 1 is the softest and 10 the hardest.
The minerals named in the scale are the ones that are typical for that hardness.
1. Talc
2. Gypsum
3. Calcite
4. Fluorite
5. Apatite
6. Orthoclase feldspar
7. Quartz
8. Topaz
9. Corundum
10. Diamond
Other rocks and minerals will have their own typical hardness. You can find their
hardness by finding what will scratch them and what they will scratch. These
common items have the following hardnesses:
Penny (3.0)
Knife blade (5.5)
Glass (6.0)
Steel file (7.0)
So if glass will scratch your rock and a knife blade will not, your rock must have a
hardness between 5.5 and 6.0.
You can do a rough test in the field by scratching your specimen with your
fingernail. If it can be scratched, then its hardness is approximately 2.5.
Rocks have many other distinct characteristics, too. A good handbook can help
you distinguish these characteristics in the rocks you find and perhaps identify
your samples.
Additional Activities
1. Join or visit a gem and mineral club.
2. Check your library for books or magazines on rock collecting.
3. Visit a natural history museum to see mineral collections and learn how
rocks are formed.
4. Attend a rock show sponsored by a local gem club.
5. Check government sources for pamphlets or other information on rock
6. Visit rock shops in your local area or as you travel. Most rock hounds will be
glad to share collecting tips.
7. Build display shelves or cases to house your collection.
8. Take a class in lapidary (rock polishing) or jewelry making.
9. Take a geology class through a college or university. These classes often
include field trips to local areas of interest.
11. Make gifts, a fireplace, a rock wall, a wishing well, a birdbath, or other
garden ornaments out of unique rocks.
Making Snow Sculptures
Making snow sculptures can involve your whole family, and even your neighbors,
in creative outdoor fun.
Making Snow Sculptures
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Making Snow
Sculptures, 309
Wintertime in some areas can be long and tedious. Making snow sculptures can
involve your whole family, and even your neighbors, in creative outdoor fun.
First, sketch on paper the sculpture you want to make out of snow. Figure out the
approximate dimensions of the parts of the sculpture. For best results, use snow
that is wet or packed in compact drifts and shape it into dense balls, squares, or
related forms. Use a knife, spatula, shovel, hoe, wood scraper, or other tool to
carve the packed snow. This will keep your hands from getting too cold. Add
snow as required to give proper form.
Add color to your snow sculpture by dissolving food coloring or clothing dye in
water and painting it on the sculpture or mixing it with the snow. Spray water,
using a clothes spray or garden spray. Brushing on water with a paint brush can
add a nice glaze to your object. Try an igloo, snowman statue, dog, cat,
spaceship, or nativity scene for starters.
Additional Activities
1. Have a family contest and award prizes for form, style, creativity, or color.
Invite your neighbors to join the competition.
2. Use sand in areas without snow.
3. Take pictures of your sculpture.
Collecting and Preserving Shells
Shell collecting can be a good family activity.
Collecting and Preserving Shells
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Collecting and
Preserving Shells, 310
The sea holds a fascination for people of all ages. Fishing, building sand castles,
surfing, snorkeling, people watching, playing beach games, and swimming are
just a few of the activities you can enjoy at the beach. Shell collecting can also be
a good family activity.
You need very little equipment for collecting shells: a cloth bag, bucket, or similar
container will do. If you are going to explore exposed rocks, you may need a pair
of sandals or canvas shoes. Be alert to the tides, exposure to the sun, and
breakers that could knock a person off his feet. Don't allow members of the family
to explore isolated beaches alone.
Before you go collecting, check local regulations on collecting shells. Also watch
for dangerous forms of sea life, such as jellyfish, Portuguese men-of-war, or
sharks. Visiting curio stores and sea life museums can give you an idea of the
types of shells to collect and the hobbies associated with collecting.
Shells are simply the hard coverings of animals. So you must remove the
remains of the animals from the shell to prevent odor from decay. You can use a
small penknife or fishhook to remove the meat from the shell. Placing shells in a
box of ants also cleans them well.
Clean hard shells with a mild solution of hydrochloric acid, and rinse and polish
them with a soft cloth. Many shells are fragile, so be careful when you work with
them. To file rough edges or make holes in the shells so you can use them for
jewelry, use jewelry files, fine emery boards, and small electric drills for minimal
Try making rings, cameos, necklaces, bracelets, or buttons out of especially
pretty shells. You can decorate a picture frame with shells or make a hanging
mobile. Use broken pieces of shells to make a mosaic or use a large shell as a
paperweight. Decorate an aquarium or a sand castle or make a unique dinner set
using shells as plates, cups, saucers, and napkin rings.
If you become very interested in collecting shells, check out books from the
library and learn the names of the shells you have found and what kinds of
animals lived in them. You might try to collect samples of the five classes of
1. Collect, dry, and preserve sand dollars, sea urchins, crabs, starfish, and coral.
2. Try to find shells near local freshwater lakes.
3. Collect driftwood and display it with your shells.
Physical Activities
Carpet Square Challenge
This activity gives young children problem-solving experiences as they try to
place different parts of their body on a carpet square, newspaper, reed mat, or
other kind of mat.
Carpet Square Challenge
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Carpet Square
Challenge, 311
It has been said that playing and moving are the full-time jobs of little children,
just as daily work is the full-time job of adults. And, indeed, play is one of the first
ways children learn to use their bodies. Families can help little ones by spending
time helping them to both identify body parts and to learn how the body and its
parts can move. It is essential for a healthy, growing child to feel good about his
body. This activity gives young children problem-solving experiences as they try
to place different parts of their body on a carpet square, newspaper, reed mat, or
other kind of mat. Teenagers and adults can also join in to get a workout, as well
as to have fun.
Get a carpet sample, reed mat, hand towel, or something similar for each family
member. Choose a space inside or outside where each person can move on and
around his carpet sample without bumping into anyone. Prepare in advance a
lengthy list of movement challenges (see sample list) to verbally give to
participants. Start with simple problems and gradually increase the difficulty.
Have each family member find his own space and position himself with his carpet
square on the floor or grass. Have the family member leading the activity call out
body parts to be placed on the carpet sample. By calling out opposites such as
front—back, bottom—stomach, right hip—left hip, the leader can intensify the
physical activity. By calling out body parts quickly one after another, this activity
can turn into a vigorous game. The leader can also call out two body parts to be
put on the carpet square at the same time. Giving each family member a chance
to be the leader helps them learn body parts and allows them to observe the
many different ways family members may be solving problems.
Try to challenge the problem-solving abilities of family members. The following
are sample instructions:
More Complex
Right hip
Right ear and left knee
Top of head
Left foot
Left shoulder and right foot
Left hip
Top of head and right hand
Back of head
Right foot
Left elbow and right knee
Left shoulder
Left ear
Right ankle
Right knee
Right hand
Right ear
Left elbow
Left knee
Left hand
Right shoulder
Right elbow
Left ankle
Caution: Keep it simple, lively, and fun for small children. Remember, learning
right and left takes time. Be patient in helping them learn.
Additional Activities
1. Try these challenges on top of the carpet sample.
Place one body part on and one part off the carpet. Find five different ways
to solve this problem using different body parts and different positions each time.
Place two body parts on and two off the carpet. Find five different ways to
solve this problem.
Place three body parts on and one off the carpet. Find five different ways to
solve this problem.
Place four body parts on and two off the carpet. Find three different ways
to solve this problem.
Place five body parts on and one off the carpet. Find three different ways to
solve this problem.
Place six body parts on and two off the carpet. Find two different ways to
solve this problem.
2. Try these challenges over the carpet. Move your body through the air from
one side of the carpet to the other in these ways:
Hop in three different ways.
Jump in three different ways.
Step in four different ways.
Leap in three different ways.
Change your body support from your feet to your hands and back to your
feet in two different ways.
3. Play the game "Simon Says" by calling out body parts to be placed on the
carpet sample.
4. Create a new game your family can play using carpet samples.
5. Lie on the floor and spell your name, one letter at a time, by forming the
letters with your body.
6. Make different numbers with your body while lying on the floor.
7. With two or three family members on a team, see which team can make
numbers on the floor the most quickly, for example, 25 for two participants, 147
for three participants.
Number and Alphabet Grid Challenge
This activity offers not only an enjoyable family activity, but also hours of selfdirected and small-group problem-solving play for children.
Number and Alphabet Grid Challenge
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Number and
Alphabet Grid Challenge, 312
This activity offers not only an enjoyable family activity, but also hours of selfdirected and small-group problem-solving play for children. It involves using
different body parts and basic motor skills. It will help children recognize numbers
and do simple arithmetic problems and also recognize letters and spelling words,
including family names.
Mark a number or alphabet grid on some hard surface (driveway, floor, or
sidewalk). Use paint or chalk, masking tape, white shoe polish, or other
substances depending on how long you want the grid to last.
Number Grid
6 feet (183 cm)
12-inch (30.5-cm) squares
Letter or Alphabet Grid
7 feet (214 cm)
12-inch (30.5-cm) squares
Pose different problems and challenges to family members to solve. Use the
following or make up your own:
1. Number grid.
Step on each number in order from one to nine.
Hop on each number in order from one to nine.
Jump on each number in order from nine to one.
Jump backwards on ten different even numbers.
Hop on each number in order from one to nine, twisting your body onequarter turn in the air each time.
Jump on ten different odd numbers, twisting your body one-half turn in the
air each time.
Jump on five different even numbers, twisting your body one full turn in the
air each time.
Solve simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems by stepping,
hopping, or jumping on the numbers that equal the answer. For example, 3 + 2 +
2 + 1 = 8.
2. Letter grid.
Step on the letters of your first name in order.
Hop on the letters of your last name in order.
Jump on the letters of the alphabet that are vowels.
Jump on the letters of ten consonants.
Spell simple words by placing a different body part on each letter of the
word being spelled.
Correctly spell the name of your father and mother by hopping on the
letters in correct order.
Hop or jump on the letters of simple words while doing one-quarter, onehalf, or full twists in the air between each letter.
Additional Activities
1. Using both grids, hop on the numbers and letters in your home address, both
street numbers and name; your grandmother's address; your dad's work
Jump on the numbers and letters in today's date, month, and year.
Put a different body part on each number of the emergency telephone
number for your community.
2. Assign family members to create unusual challenges and solutions using both
the number and letter grid.
3. Encourage family members to create different games using the number or
letter grid.
Marked Yard Games
Simple yard games can help children learn to take turns, play by simple rules,
and win and lose.
Marked Yard Games
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Marked Yard
Games, 312
Simple yard games can help children learn to take turns, play by simple rules,
and win and lose. Because they involve hopping, jumping, catching, throwing,
bouncing, hitting, and striking, the games described also develop motor skills and
coordination. These games require little equipment and space, and you can mark
the game area on indoor or outdoor surfaces.
As a family, select two or three yard games to be marked on your sidewalk,
driveway, or floor. Although nine sample designs are given here, you may want
to choose some activities to mark that are best suited to your family or culture.
You will need chalk, paint, or floor marking tape.
Mark the two or three activities you have selected using the dimensions given
here. Show and talk about different ways each game can be played. Encourage
young children to make up some games of their own. For instance, they might
jump or hop the hopscotches without throwing a marker.
1. Tetherball. You can make your own tetherball pole from an 8-foot (2.5-meter)
to 10-foot (3-meter) piece of 1 1/2- or 2-inch (3.8- or 5-cm) pipe, two 10- to 12inch (25- or 30-cm) pieces of rebar (concrete reinforcing steel rod) welded to the
bottom of the pole, an eyebolt attached at the top of the pole, an old rubber tire,
and a small amount of concrete mix.
Usually two players play at a time. The goal is to hit the ball hanging from the
rope so that the rope will completely wrap around the pole. Each player must
stay in the marked hitting area of the court. Variations may be played where the
ball is caught and then hit.
2. Hopscotch. The player tosses a stone or some flat object into the first square,
hops into that square and picks it up or kicks it out, and then hops back out. The
stone must not land on any lines, and the player must not touch any lines with his
hand or foot. The goal is to do the same thing in each square from 1 to 10. If the
player throws his stone outside of the square he is aiming for or touches a line
with his hand or foot, he must begin again or let someone else take a turn.
3. Snail hopscotch. The player does not throw an object, but merely hops in the
squares from 1 to 30 on one foot and then hops from 30 to 1 on the other foot
without touching any lines.
4. Toss-and-reach hopscotch. The player always tosses the object into the
center square, then hops to each square in order. From each square, he must
reach in to pick up the object without losing his balance or stepping on any lines.
5. Agility hopscotch. This game is more difficult. The player must hop back and
forth across the center line without touching any lines or losing his balance. He
must hop on his left foot in squares marked L and on his right foot in squares
marked R. He may rest with both feet down where the L and R are marked
opposite each other.
6. Four-square. Four players usually play at a time. The player in square A
usually bounces the ball to the player in another square. This player must control
the ball and bounce it to a player in a different square. A player misses and goes
to square D if he steps on a line, bounces the ball on a line, or cannot control the
ball. The goal is to move up to square A. More than four players may play by
having another person waiting outside each square. When the person in the
square bounces the ball to another square, he must then jump out of his square
and the waiting person then jumps in before the ball is bounced back to that
square again.
Additional Activities
1. Have a family hopscotch tournament. Draw a ladder and put each family
member's name on a rung. Players may challenge any person above their name
on the ladder. Involve mom and dad, as well as the children.
2. Plan a neighborhood or extended family hopscotch, four square, and
tetherball activity night with refreshments.
3. Identify and mark a new yard game to add to your family's ready-to-go games.
Physical Fitness Award Program
This activity is designed to encourage families and individuals of all ages to take
part regularly in activities that promote health and physical fitness.
Physical Fitness Award Program
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Physical Fitness
Award Program, 314
Physical fitness is important in the lives of all of us. But we sometimes neglect
our physical health, only to realize how precious it is once it is gone. This activity
is designed to encourage families and individuals of all ages to take part regularly
in activities that promote health and physical fitness. Other benefits include
increased personal discipline and positive self-image, weight control, release of
unwanted stress, and family fun and communication.
Make copies of the physical fitness activities chart and the physical fitness
progress chart printed here for each family member.
Physical Fitness Progress Chart
Check off the numbered boxes in sequence as you earn points. Each box
represents one point.
381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400
361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380
341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360
321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340
301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320
281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300
261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280
241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260
221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240
201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220
181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200
161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180
141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160
121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140
101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120
Physical Fitness Activities Chart
To accumulate points toward your individual or family award, participate in any of
the physical activities listed below, earning points as shown. Points may be
earned in any or all activities. You receive one point for accomplishing the
minimum standard listed in any of the eight areas. The awards are designed to
provide minimum standards in various age groups. We encourage you to
participate in your selected activities at least three times per week for at least
fifteen minutes or more. (Activity should promote deep breathing, but not be so
intense that a person cannot carry on a conversation.) Keep a record of your
points earned by recording them on the progress chart.
Running Walking Cycling
Swimming Stationary
Run 75
or rope
Soccer, or
Racquet Participation
in other
Handball, events*
1.5 miles 2 miles
14 min.
27 min.
400 yds.
8 min.
30 min.
30 min.
4 miles
14 min.
15 min.
1 event
30 to
1.5 miles 2 miles
15 min.
28 min.
4 miles
15 min.
400 yds.
8.5 min.
15 min.
25 min.
25 min.
1 event
40 to
1.5 miles 2 miles
16 min.
28 min.
4 miles
16 min.
400 yds.
9 min.
15 min.
25 min.
25 min.
1 event
50 and
1.5 miles 2 miles
17 min.
29 min.
4 miles
18 min.
400 yds.
9 min.
12 min.
20 min.
20 min.
1 event
Fitness 1
* Ward physical activity specialists may approve a broad spectrum of activities in this category. Activities
should be large-muscle type and last at least fifteen minutes.
Encourage each family member to participate in the physical fitness award
program with the goal of earning a bronze, silver, or gold award certificate during
a twelve-month period. You may also want to work together as a family for a
family award certificate.
Post the progress charts for each person in a place where everyone will be
continually reminded of their commitment to physical health through regular
physical activity.
Additional Activities
1. If you can arrange to, watch one or more of the excellent films available on
physical fitness. What Makes Millie Run? is excellent for women. Run Dick, Run
Jane is good for all ages. Coronary Counterattack shows how vigorous aerobic
activities help prevent heart disease. Check your stake or regional film library for
these films.
If these films are not available to you, contact sport clubs, libraries, or schools
that may have similar films you could use.
2. Add a 5,000- or 10,000-meter road race to the activities of your family
reunion. Or enter a local or neighborhood road race as a family.
Rhythmical Exercise Program
This activity offers an inviting and invigorating exercise program for those who
may be less able to take part in active sports or games.
Rhythmical Exercise Program
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Rhythmical
Exercise Program, 315
This activity offers an inviting and invigorating exercise program for those who
may be less able to take part in active sports or games. Although it can be fun for
all ages, it is designed especially for older members of the family. The exercises
can be done in and around a chair in any home setting.
Assign a family member to put the exercises in this activity to music of his choice.
Have that person bring a cassette tape player or record player and become
familiar with the exercise routine so he can teach it to others.
Before beginning this activity, make sure everyone understands that they should
stop or slow down if they become too tired. You may also want to talk about the
need for regular physical activity in your family's daily routine.
Have the assigned person introduce the music and exercises to the family. Have
everyone follow him as he leads them in the exercise program. Going through
the routine several times is helpful in learning the different exercises.
Schedule and participate regularly (four to six days a week) in these exercises or
some other large-muscle exercise program.
1. Arm Raises
2. Side to Side Trunk Bending
3. Hip Flexion Forward Trunk Bending
4. Arm and Leg Swinging
5. Foot Flexion and Extension
6. Foot and Leg Rotation
7. Head Rotation
8. Toe Raiser and 1/2 Knee Bends
9. Hip Flexion While Sitting
10. Wing Stretcher and Arm Rotation
11. Arm Push and Pull
12. Toe Raiser and Alternating Arm Lifts
13. Knee Lifts and Trunk Flexion
14. Hopping and Arm Swinging
Additional Activities
1. Invite or assign family members to make up a new exercise routine using a
chair to some of grandma's or grandpa's favorite music. Teach it to the family
and use it in your fitness program.
2. Older members of the family might join with nearby neighbors for daily
participation in a rhythmical exercise program.
3. In addition to a rhythmical exercise program, begin a program of regular
walking. Walking is the best exercise for many older people. You can walk and
talk with a friend, a grandchild, or other family members.
Begin with easy walking while shaking your hands loosely and breathing
naturally. This helps prepare the body for more vigorous activity. After walking
easily for five to eight minutes, increase to a brisk walk. Step heel first in order to
minimize strain on the joints. Gradually increase your time until you are able to
walk comfortably for thirty minutes.
4. Consider working toward a bronze, silver, or gold physical fitness award.
Family Physical Activity Center
A family physical activity center can help children and youth develop physically
and also help the whole family achieve and maintain physical fitness.
Family Physical Activity Center
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Family Physical
Activity Center, 317
A family physical activity center can help children and youth develop physically
and also help the whole family achieve and maintain physical fitness. It can also
provide inexpensive recreation close to home.
In a family council or home evening, discuss what you might do to develop a
family physical activity center. First, find a small area, outdoors or indoors, which
you might use. Visit a park, school playground, health spa, or athletic club for
ideas. Consider equipment that will help family members work on balance,
flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance. Include items for the ages of
your family members. Try to find inexpensive ways to build your center. You
probably won't need everything listed below. A few versatile items may be all you
can afford and all you have room for. And remember: you can build it over
several years' time, getting one piece of equipment at a time.
1. Make an overhead ladder from two 2-by-4-inch (5-by-10-cm) boards, 8 feet
(about 2.5 meters) long, and several lengths of 1-inch or 1 1/8-inch (2.5- or 3-cm)
dowels. Hang it from basement ceiling joists or install it on posts outside.
2. Make a balance board from a small log 12 to 16 inches (about 30 to 40 cm)
long, and a cleated board 10 inches (25 cm) wide and about 24 to 26 inches (61
to 66 cm) long.
3. Hang a climbing rope (even if it is short) from ceiling joists in the basement.
It can also serve as a swing where children use their arm and shoulder strength
to hang on instead of sitting on a seat. It can also be mounted outside from a tree
4. Make a chinning bar out of three lengths of 1 1/2-inch (about 4-cm)
galvanized pipe and a bag or two of concrete mix.
5. Make a shinny pole or fireman's pole out of a 10- to 12-foot (about 3-to 4meter) piece of 2-inch (5-cm) galvanized pipe and a bag of concrete mix.
6. Make a tire vault by burying one-third to one-half of a large truck tire in the
7. Make tire trees from 12- to 14-foot (about 3- to 4-meter) logs about 10 inches
(25 cm) in diameter with three sets of four used passenger car or truck tires
mounted up the log so that they overlap a little. Putting two tire trees close
together allows children to jump from one tree to the other. Installation in the
ground should be firm.
8. Make a log walk (balance beam) from a pole 6 to 8 inches (about 15 to 20
cm) in diameter and about 12 to 14 feet (about 3 to 4 meters) long. Mount it on
two hewn-out small pieces of log.
9. Make a log jam using varying heights of logs 10 to 12 inches (about 25 to 30
cm) in diameter. Mount them vertically in an irregular arrangement, side by side.
10. Make a trapeze bar out of four eyebolts, two short pieces of chain, and about
a 30-inch (about 76-cm) piece of 1 1/4-inch (about 3-cm) dowel. It can be
mounted from basement floor joists, outside on an A-frame, or from a tree.
11. Make beanbag targets from plywood to look like clowns, animals, or trees.
Bags can be tossed through holes shaped like mouths, eyes, or fruit.
12. Mount a dart board on a cloth-covered piece of celotex 4 feet by 4 feet
(about 1.25 meters by 1.25 meters). Then there is less chance that darts will hit
walls and floors.
13. Make a jumping board out of a 10-by-42-inch (about 25-cm-by-1-meter)
piece of hardwood. Mount a 2-by-4-inch (5-by-10-cm) board securely under both
14. Tumbling mattresses or mats
15. Sit-up or abdominal slant board
16. Basketball backboard and hoop
17. Tire swing
18. Volleyball and badminton standards and net
19. Stationary bicycle
20. Jogging trampoline
21. Weights
22. Ballet bar and mirror
23. Gym scooters
24. Tetherball pole
25. Skip ropes
26. Any other device for exercising muscles in which the resistance can be
progressively increased
After you have decided which items you want to make or buy, work toward
having them installed. Encourage regular use of the equipment.
Family Superstars
This activity offers wholesome fun for the entire family, practice in many basic
sports skills, and vigorous to mild physical activity.
Family Superstars
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Family
Superstars, 318
This activity offers wholesome fun for the entire family, practice in many basic
sports skills, and vigorous to mild physical activity. In it the family, in pairs or
small teams, take part in a wide variety of challenging events. A "Family
Superstars" event requires several weeks of planning and would be a good
activity for times when the extended family or guests will be present.
Choose or invent eight to twelve different events that you can hold in your yard,
at a park, on the church lawn, or at a school near you. Assign different family
members to prepare for one or two events, including getting or making the
needed equipment and materials. Choose a date several weeks in advance and
invite other family members or a neighborhood family to join you. Your family can
also use one or all of the events without staging a formal superstars day.
Make a small banner advertising your superstars day and display it a week or
two in advance. Be sure to establish simple and easy-to-understand rules for
each event. Don't be afraid to make up your own rules. You may choose not to
keep score or have winners and losers if it is more appropriate for your family. If
your family has small children, you might want to give teenagers and adults a
handicap when they compete against the children. This might include throwing or
kicking with the arm or leg they do not usually use, running backward, or giving
the child a head start.
A week or more in advance, have a family member prepare a special award
certificate for each person who will take part. A simple hand-lettered certificate
(see example) will do.
Invent or create your own events, or you may find it helpful to try some of the
1. Milk carton field goal kick. You will need three half-gallon (2-liter) milk cartons
filled with crumpled newspaper and wrapped with masking tape, and a makeshift
goalpost approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide.
Each person tries six times to kick a milk carton over the crossbar and through
the upright. Keep score by counting the number of times each person makes it.
2. Flying saucer throw for accuracy. You will need a target made from a hulahoop, inner tube, tire, or other circle. Each person tries six times to throw a
frisbee, ice cream bucket lid, or stiff paper plate through the target. Keep score
by giving each person one point for hitting the circle and two points for going
through the target.
3. Jump-and-reach balloon. You will need twenty to thirty small balloons,
masking tape, five or six pins, and a wall. Tape the balloons to the wall with
masking tape at approximately the heights shown in the drawing. Measure how
high each person can reach while he is standing flat on the ground. Then give
him a pin and allow him three tries to jump and pop a balloon as high as possible
above his head. The person who pops a balloon the highest above his standing
reach wins.
4. Hula-hoop agility race. You will need ten hula-hoops, inner tubes, tires, or
circles of some sort 2 1/2 to 3 feet (about 75 to 90 cm) in diameter. Lay them on
the ground in two parallel lines, spaced out so that each line is 30 feet (about 9
meters) long. Have each person run up one row of circles and down the other,
making sure that both feet land in each of the circles. The person who can run
down and back the fastest wins. Give each person three chances to run and take
his best time.
5. Standing long jump. Mark an area for the long jump on the grass, sidewalk, or
floor. A sewing tape measure taped or pinned down will do. Give each person
three tries to jump as far as he can.
6. Rope skips in one minute. You will need two or three ropes 7, 8, or 9 feet
(about 2, 2.5, or 3 meters) long. Little children can use a 7-foot (2-meter) rope;
adults require a 9-foot (3-meter) rope. Have each person count how many times
he can successfully skip the rope in one minute.
7. Throwing for accuracy. You will need five soft balls—newspaper balls, foam
balls, or yarn balls—and several cans. Let each person try ten times to throw a
ball into a can some distance away. Give two points for each can hit and one
point for each can knocked over.
8. Soccer dribble. You will need eight chairs, boxes, or cones for markers and
two playground or soccer balls. Set up the chairs or boxes as shown in the
drawing. Have each person try to kick and guide the ball with his feet, up and
back as shown by the dotted line. The person who can do it successfully wins.
9. Basket shooting. You will need a basket, box, or garbage can and a
basketball, rubber ball, foam ball, yarn ball, or large paper ball. Draw a circle 10
feet (about 3 meters) in diameter around the basket for adults, 6 feet (about 2
meters) for children. Have everyone stand outside the circle and make fifteen
tries to get the ball into the basket. The person who throws it in the most times
10. Wrestling sticks. You will need two smooth wood sticks, each 5 inches
(about 13 cm) long. Two people face each other, grip the stick between them,
and try to wrestle the stick out of the hand of their opponent. The opponents can
use one hand or two hands and cannot move their feet. The person who wins
two out of three times is the winner.
11. Shuttle agility race. You will need four boxes, baskets, or small garbage cans
and ten old stuffed socks, newspaper balls, or blocks of wood. Arrange the boxes
as shown in the drawing. Put five balls in each of the far boxes. Have two players
begin by the full boxes and move the balls to the empty boxes as fast as they
can, one ball at a time. Items must be placed in the container, not tossed in. The
person who transfers all five balls the fastest wins.
12. Pioneer pillow push. You will need two soft pillows. Mark a 10- to 12-foot
(about 3- to 4-meter) circle on the grass or the floor. Contestants stand inside the
ring and try to push one another out using the soft pillow. Both feet must be out
of ring to count as a fall. Play for the best two out of three falls.
With all family member assignments completed and the eight to twelve events
ready to go, divide the family into pairs or teams. The teams need not match
exactly in age, height, and weight, but do not put all the young children on one
team. Pairs or teams take part in an event while others cheer them on. If there
are more than six pairs or teams, have two different events going on at the same
At the conclusion, give a "Family Superstar" award certificate to each participant.
Encourage family members to display their certificates on the family bulletin
board or in their rooms.
Additional Activities
1. Buy or make a simple little surprise (candy, cookie, or small toy) to give
participants at the end of each event.
2. Change your superstar day to a challenge day. Omit competition between
pairs or teams and merely challenge all family members: Can you do this?
3. Take pictures of your superstar activity and make a collage of superstars for
your family photo album.
4. Plan and conduct a "Neighborhood Superstars" activity. Be sure to invite
some nonmember friends or neighbors.
5. As a family, volunteer to stage a superstars day for the extended family at a
6. Give a prize to the family member who invents the best new event for your
family superstars.
7. Adapt the superstars activity to an indoor activity. You will need to adapt the
events listed and invent new ones.
Let’s Go Fly a Kite
The following activity teaches family members how to build and fly a kite and is
good for all ages.
Let's Go Fly a Kite
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Let's Go Fly a
Kite, 320
The following activity teaches family members how to build and fly a kite and is
good for all ages. It takes two to three hours and requires breezy weather.
Materials Needed
A brown paper bag or brown wrapping paper
Reed stems, twigs, bamboo barbecue skewers, or any other lightweight wood
about 1/16 inch (about .16 cm) in diameter
A nail to punch holes
Strips of paper or cloth 1/2 inch (about 1.25 cm) wide and 6 feet (about 2 meters)
To build a Bermuda kite, follow these steps:
1. Trace the pattern on the cut-apart paper bag or on the brown wrapping paper.
Then cut out the pattern.
2. Use the nail to punch holes in the pattern as shown in the drawing.
Since kites are so inexpensive at the store, you may want to buy one instead of
making one. The following are some activities you can do with your kites. Your
neighbors might enjoy getting involved with these activities.
1. Reeling-in race. The kite string should be 100 yards (about 90 meters) long.
The contestants launch their kites and, at a signal, begin to reel them in. The first
to reel in his kite wins.
2. Altitude race. The object of the altitude race is to make your kite reach higher
than the other kites in a certain time period. Each person starts at a starting line
and has five minutes to get his kite in the air and return to the starting line.
3. Messenger race. Thread a cardboard circle on each kite line. While the kites
are in the air, contestants try to maneuver the cardboard disc up the kite line to
the kite.
4. Kite fighting. In a clear, open area such as a field with few trees and no
electrical lines, two contestants launch their kites and take a position 40 to 60
feet (about 12 to 18 meters) from each other. The object is to cut the opponent's
line before he cuts yours. This is done by entangling the lines and making a
vigorous sawing motion. The kites should be flown lower than normal height.
When one line is cut, the game is over. Prepare the kite line by applying glue and
then sand to the 100 feet (about 9 meters) of kite line nearest the kite.
Additional Activities
Have each family member design and decorate a kite. If you want to judge them,
do it according to construction, design, appearance, materials used, and flying
1. Using this pattern as your guide enlarge and trace on brown paper. Cut it out.
2. Use nails to punch holes as shown.
3. Insert sticks as shown.
4. Make bridle using a string twice as long as vertical stick. Tie a loop in the
middle; then tie the string to the stick as shown.
5. Wrap a piece of light wire around the bottom of the vertical stick, forming a
1/2' loop on the bottom of the stick. Tie a cloth tail (1/2' wide, 23 times as long as
vertical stick) to the wire.
6. Attach the end of a ball of string to the loop of the bridle. Now go fly your kite!
Click to View Larger Format
Family Preparedness Activities
Emergency Supplies
This activity will help your family gather and organize the emergency supplies
that can make your family more secure.
Emergency Supplies
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Emergency
Supplies, 322
Do you have the supplies your family would need in case of emergency? Are
those supplies in good working order and in a place where you could find them
quickly? Or are they scattered all around your home? When emergency supplies
are in a central place, your family will be better able to handle emergency
situations. This activity will help your family gather and organize the emergency
supplies that can make your family more secure.
Recall together some emergencies that have happened in your home or area: a
blackout in the city, someone's falling and bumping his head, someone's cutting
his finger on a knife, or a fire in the kitchen. When these things happened, where
did you find the supplies you needed? Did you have to search for candles or
antiseptic or bandages? Perhaps you could not find or did not have what you
needed. Talk about how important it is to have emergency and safety supplies
stored near the place where the emergency is most likely to happen and where
everyone could find them quickly.
First decide where in your home you can put a central store of supplies. Then
assign several family members to find the safety and emergency items that are
scattered throughout your house. You likely have many of the items you need
already. Look over the following suggested list of items. You may want to buy
those on the list you do not have, as well as others you feel you might need.
1. A flashlight in good working condition.
2. Extra batteries for radio and flashlight. Do not keep batteries in the flashlight
or radio. Keep them in an airtight container.
3. Portable battery powered radio. Use for receiving emergency instructions.
4. Candles (bowl type). Keep in case of power failure. Bowl will help prevent fire
in case candle is overturned. (You can make these inexpensively out of paraffin
5. Wooden matches. Use for lighting candles and relighting pilots on gas
appliances. Be sure matches are kept in a metal container out of the reach of
small children.
6. Fire extinguisher (ABC or dry chemical type for all classes of fires). Be sure
you know how to handle and use it. Check it regularly.
7. Fuses (if your home has a fuse box). Numbers on the end of the fuse indicate
size. When replacing blown fuses, be sure the number on the end of the new
fuse is the same as the number on the old fuse.
8. First-aid instruction book.
9. First-aid supplies. The following list suggests minimum items to be included in
your first-aid kit.
Aromatic spirits of ammonia—one unbroken tube
Aspirin—100-count bottle
Calamine lotion (for insect bites, hives from allergic reactions, or exposure to
stinging nettle or poison ivy)—one tube
Thermometer—one oral and one rectal for small children or babies
Scissors and tweezers—one of each
Safety pins—one package of assorted sizes
Adhesive tape—one roll
One large box of assorted adhesive bandages
Matches (for sterilizing)—one box of wooden matches
Absorbent cotton—one box
Rubbing alcohol—one unbreakable bottle
Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or Bacitracin)—one tube
Bicarbonate of soda (used for shock and upset stomach)—one box
Diarrhea remedy (Kaopectate or Pepto Bismol)—one bottle
Elastic bandages (for sprains and aches)—one 3-inch (about 7.5-cm) and one 6inch (about 15-cm)
Gauze—one roll
Hot water bottle
Hydrogen peroxide—one unbreakable bottle
Ipecac syrup (induces vomiting)—one bottle
Finger splints (popsicle sticks)—ten splints
Roller bandages—two 1-inch (2.5-cm) and two 2-inch (5-cm)
Three-by-three-inch (7.6-cm) sterile pads—one box
Triangle bandages—four or more
Hand soap—one bar
Water purification pills and/or bottle of 2% tincture of iodine
Eye drops and medicine dropper
Razor blades
Measuring cups
Consecrated oil
Soothing throat lozenges—one package
Place all these items in a waterproof container (metal, heavy plastic, or wooden).
Also store blankets, sheets, and at least four thin board splints 30 inches (about
76 cm) long.
You may wish to add items to the kit as you need them. For example, if you have
small children, you may wish to add liquid acetaminophen. If someone in the
family needs special medication, add this to your kit.
Label your supplies, and date all medicines. Check supplies periodically,
replacing them as they are used and throwing away old or contaminated
supplies. Do not throw old medicines into trash cans around the house, where
small children could find and eat them. Instead, flush them down the toilet or
dispose of them in some other safe way. Perishable items should be rotated
regularly to reduce spoilage.
After you have gathered your safety supplies and decided what you need to buy,
divide up assignments. Assign some family members to buy items you need, and
others to label the items. Buy things as you can afford them. It may take a while
to get all the supplies you would like to have.
After you have gathered and stored your supplies, you may want to have a series
of family home evenings where you discuss how to use them.
Additional Activities
1. Hold a family home evening and invite neighbors and extended family
members. Learn together what to do in emergency situations.
2. Take a first-aid course from a school or organization in your community.
3. Assign a family member to periodically inspect your supplies to make sure
they are kept current.
4. Take your first-aid kit along on a trip or campout.
5. Put together a kit of emergency supplies to keep in your car. You could
include the following:
Standard first-aid kit
Reflector and flares in case your car stalls on the road or is involved in an
Flashlight and batteries
Blanket to be used for shock, cold weather, fire, or other emergencies
Tow chain
Fire extinguisher
Flat block to be used as a car jack support
6. Sing this song together to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."
Be Prepared
Verse 1:
We have been told we must prepare
For famine and disaster.
If we obey, our family will
Live happy ever after.
"Be prepared," to be ready.
Store your wheat and honey.
Plant a garden; learn first aid;
And don't forget some money!
Verse 2:
When Father Noah built an ark,
The people laughed and shouted.
But when the rain began to pour,
Those people never doubted.
Chorus: Repeat
Verse 3:
We have been warned in these days
There will be floods and earthquakes.
So put your house in order and
Prepare before the dam breaks!
Chorus: Repeat
Verse 4:
Please do not procrastinate.
Excuses have no muscle.
You'll never find a better time
Than NOW! So better hustle.
Chorus: Repeat
Emergency Telephone Numbers
In this activity, your family will post all emergency numbers and learn how to use
Emergency Telephone Numbers
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Emergency
Telephone Numbers, 323
In case of emergency, can you immediately find telephone numbers that could
bring help to you and your family? In a crisis, just a few minutes of time can make
a lot of difference. In this activity, your family will post all emergency numbers
and learn how to use them.
With help from all family members, look up in the telephone directory the
following numbers:
Fire department
Police, sheriff, or constable
Department of Public Safety
Ambulance rescue
(In some areas, the numbers listed above can be reached by dialing a special
number for emergencies. Check and see if there is such a number in your area.)
Doctor—home and office
Poison control center
Highway assistance
Home teachers
Visiting teachers
Relative or close friend
List these numbers on a piece of paper to post by each telephone in your home.
At the bottom of the list, write the words who, what, and where.
Make sure all family members know how to report an emergency. Explain that,
when the person they are calling answers, they should always first say, "This is
an emergency." Then they should tell—
Who (give their name). What (tell what is the matter—whether anyone is trapped
or injured). Where (give address and directions).
Then they should answer questions about what first aid has been given and
listen for instructions about what to do until help arrives. If for some reason they
cannot stay by the telephone until the call goes through, they can give the
necessary information to the operator. If the number they call is busy, they
should dial "0' to get faster action.
Make sure that each family member knows which numbers to call for which kind
of emergency and can relate all important information. It is also a good idea to
have small children memorize their names, ages, addresses, and parents'
If your family does not have a telephone, find out the location of the nearest
telephone or source of help. Because you may need to use a pay telephone in an
emergency, it is a good idea to carry change with you. Since you probably will
not have emergency numbers with you at a pay telephone, dial "0' for the
operator. As soon as the operator answers, tell her, "This is an emergency." Give
her the number of the telephone from which you are calling. Then tell her who,
what, and where and wait for confirmation.
After you have posted your emergency numbers and taught the proper reporting
procedure, have everyone practice making an emergency telephone call. Leave
one or two members of the family home to role-play the operator, fireman, doctor,
or other person you might call. Have other family members go to another phone
and call their home telephone number.
Sample emergency phone number card:
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Rescue Squad (paramedics or EMT)____________
Fire Department____________
Hospital Emergency Room____________
Life Support Unit____________
Poison Control Center____________
Other numbers____________
Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may well be a gift of life to one of your own family
members. All family members should know how to perform this life-saving
Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Mouth-to-Mouth
Resuscitation, 324
Smoke inhalation, heart attack, drowning, choking—all of these can stop a
person's breathing. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may well be a gift of life to one
of your own family members. You never know when an emergency will arise that
requires you to use it. All family members should know how to perform this lifesaving technique.
Have a family member become familiar enough with the following instructions
that he can teach them to the rest of the family:
When you encounter someone who is not breathing, start mouth-to-mouth
breathing right away. Do not wait to call for a doctor or aid. Don't try to move the
person or give secondary first aid before giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The following chart explains the procedures in giving mouth-to-mouth
If a victim appears to be unconscious:
Tap victim on the shoulder and shout, "Are you okay?"
If there is no response:
Tilt the victim's head, chin pointing up. Place one hand under the victim's neck
and gently lift. At the same time, push with the other hand on the victim's
forehead. This will move the tongue away from the back of the throat to open the
Immediately look, listen, and feel for air. While maintaining the backward head tilt
position, place your cheek and ear close to the victim's mouth and nose. Look for
the chest to rise and fall while you listen and feel for the return of air. Check for
about five seconds.
If the victim is not breathing:
Check for and clear any foreign matter from the victim's mouth. Give four quick
breaths. Maintain the backward head tilt, pinch the victim's nose with the hand
that is on the victim's forehead to prevent leakage of air; open your mouth wide;
take a deep breath; seal your mouth around the victim's mouth, and blow into the
victim's mouth with four quick but full breaths just as fast as you can. When
blowing, take only enough time between breaths to lift your head slightly for
better inhalation. For an infant, give gentle puffs and blow into both the mouth
and nose, and do not tilt the head back as far as for an adult.
If the chest does not rise when you blow, it may help to reposition the head and
try again.
Again, look, listen, and feel for air exchange.
If there is still no breathing:
Change rate to one breath every five seconds for an adult.
For an infant, blow into mouth and nose at the same time. Give one gentle puff
every three seconds.
Mouth-to-nose method. The mouth-to-nose method, instead of the mouth-tomouth method, can be used in the same sequence described above. Maintain
the backward headtilt position with one hand on the victim's forehead. Remove
the other hand from under the neck and close the victim's mouth. Blow into the
victim's nose. Open the victim's mouth to look, listen, and feel for breath.
For more information about these and other lifesaving techniques, contact your
Red Cross chapter for training.
Treating Choking
A series of simple techniques could save the life of someone who is choking on
food or other objects. This activity will teach your family how to use these
Treating Choking
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Treating
Choking, 326
A series of simple techniques could save the life of someone who is choking on
food or other objects. This activity will teach your family how to use these
Have a family member become familiar enough with the following material to
present it to the rest of the family: If the victim can cough, speak, or breathe, do
not interfere.
When someone is seriously choking, he will become pale and turn a bluish color.
He may perspire and collapse. The signs of choking are often confused with
those of a heart attack. But you can tell when someone is choking because he
will be unable to speak. Time is a critical factor when someone is choking.
Breathing must be restored within four minutes, or else brain damage may result.
The person will die within eight minutes. So there is no time to call for a doctor or
rescue vehicle.
Here are several life-saving techniques—
1. The abdominal thrust, or Heimlich maneuver, is the preferred method. With
the victim standing or sitting, stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around
the waist (see fig. 1). Place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's
abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the tip of the breastbone. Grasp
your fist with your other hand and press it into the victim's abdomen with four
quick upward thrusts.
2. If the abdominal thrust method does not work or is impractical, use the back
blows method. With the victim standing or sitting, stand at his side and slightly
behind him (see fig. 2). Place one hand high on the chest for support and
position the victim's head at chest level or lower so that gravity can assist the
procedure. Give sharp blows with the heel of your hand over the victim's spine
between the shoulder blades. Do not just pat him on the back; use a series of
quick, sharp blows. Give the blows as rapidly as possible.
If the victim is in the lying-down position, roll him toward you and deliver the back
blows (see fig. 3). Figure 4 demonstrates back blows to an infant.
If the victim is lying down, roll the victim on his back and straddle his hips or one
thigh. Place one of your hands on top of the other, with the heel of the bottom
hand in the middle of the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel and below
the rib cage. Move forward so that your shoulders are directly over the victim's
abdomen and press upward toward the diaphragm with four quick thrusts (see
fig. 5). Do not press to either side.
For infants and small children (fig. 6), place the victim face up on your forearm,
with his head down. This maneuver may be performed more easily by resting
your forearm on your slightly elevated thigh. Place two or three fingertips on the
middle of the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the rib cage,
and press into the victim's abdomen with four quick upward thrusts.
If you are choking and there is no one around to help you, perform the abdomen
thrust on yourself.
3. If neither of these procedures works, you must repeat the sequence: four
quick upward thrusts and four quick back blows.
Press your own fist into your upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust, as
described for the victim standing. Or you can lean forward and press your
abdomen quickly over any firm object, such as the back of a chair, the edge of a
sink, or a porch railing.
4. The chest thrust technique is an alternate technique that can be used for
women in advanced pregnancy or people who are so overweight that your arms
cannot encircle the victim's abdomen.
If the victim is standing or sitting (see fig. 7), stand behind him, place your arms
under his armpits, and encircle his chest. Place the thumb side of your fist on the
breastbone, but not on either the lower tip of the breastbone or the lower edge of
the ribs. Grab your fist with your other hand and make four quick inward thrusts.
If the victim is lying down, place him on his back and kneel at the side of his body
(see fig. 8). Locate the tip of the breastbone, at the upper abdomen. Measure two
to three finger widths—1 to 1 1/2 inches (about 2.5 to 4 cm) up from this point.
Place the heel of your other hand toward the victim's head, on the lower half of
the breastbone, next to the two fingers used to locate the tip of the breastbone.
Put your other hand on top of the first and lean forward to bring your shoulders
over the victim's breastbone. Make four quick downward thrusts with your arms,
which will compress the chest cavity.
If you use any of the above procedures properly, the food or other blocking object
should pop from the patient's mouth.
Have the assigned family member explain the above procedures to the family.
Have everyone get a partner and practice; the children could practice on dolls.
Spending a few minutes now may prepare you to save a life.
Treating Shock
This activity will help your family learn to recognize and treat shock.
Treating Shock
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Treating Shock,
At least one of your family members may well experience shock during his or her
lifetime. Shock is extremely dangerous, and, unless it is recognized and treated,
it can kill. This activity will help your family learn to recognize and treat shock.
Before you begin, write down on slips of paper a few situations that could cause
shock and could actually happen in your family (see list below for ideas). Put the
papers in a jar.
Shock may be caused by any of the following:
Loss of blood through internal or external bleeding
Loss of plasma (the liquid part of the blood) through burns
Loss of body fluids from vomiting, dysentery, or dehydration
Allergic reactions
Heart trouble, heart attack, or stroke
Poisoning by chemicals, gases, alcohol, or drugs
Snake and animal bites
Respiratory problems
Lack of oxygen
Chest wounds
Broken ribs
Obstructions in the throat that cause the victim to choke
Injuries to the respiratory system
Damage to the spine that paralyzes muscles
Water-related accidents
Injuries of all types, both severe and minor
Occasionally, fear, bad news, or the sight of blood.
Explain to your family that tonight you are going to discuss something that could
happen to any one of you sitting in this room—shock. Shock is the severe
condition that depresses body functions and can keep the heart, lungs, and other
organs from working normally. Many different things can cause it, and almost all
medical emergencies involve some form of shock. Unless it is treated, shock can
kill a person, even if his injuries are not serious.
1. Causes of shock. Discuss the causes of shock as outlined above. Stress that
if any of these things happen, you should always treat for shock as a
precautionary measure.
2. Recognizing shock. Discuss the following signs:
One common form of minor shock is fainting or faintness.
The skin may be pale or bluish and cold to the touch. If the victim has dark
skin, look at the color of the inside of the mouth or of the skin under the eyelids or
The skin may be moist and clammy.
The pupils of the eyes may be dilated. The eyes may be dull and
lackluster, a sign of poor circulation.
The victim is weak.
Breathing may be shallow, panting, labored, or irregular.
The pulse is usually fast (over 100 beats a minute).
There may be nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and thirst. The victim may
As shock grows worse, look for these signs:
The victim may become apathetic and not respond. This is because he is
not getting enough oxygen.
The eyes may become sunken. The victim may have a vacant expression.
The victim's skin may become spotty because of very low blood pressure
and congested or collapsed blood vessels.
Unless the victim is treated, he will eventually pass out. His body temperature will
fall, and he may even die.
3. Treating shock. Tell family members that you treat for shock as soon as you
have dealt with stopped breathing and severe bleeding. A first aider cannot give
complete medical care for shock; only a medical facility can do this. However, a
first aider can give care that will help prevent shock.
For minor shock, such as faintness, have the victim sit down and put his
head between his knees. As blood flows to the brain, the body's normal functions
will usually resume.
Have the victim lie down. Do your best to comfort, quiet, and soothe the
victim. Keep him comfortable, and keep the body temperature normal. If it is hot,
provide shade; if it is cold, put blankets or other protective coverings both under
and over the victim.
Choose the best position for the victim according to the nature of the injury.
The following illustrations will help you make a decision.
Standard position for giving care for shock: feet up, injury elevated. Warning: Do
not elevate the injury if you think a bone may be broken. Do not elevate any
unsplinted fracture.
The victim should be flat on the back if you think a bone may be broken and it is
not splinted, if elevation is painful, or if you are unsure about which position is
If the victim has a head wound or is having trouble breathing, elevate the head
and shoulders. Do not elevate the feet and the head at the same time.
A victim who is bleeding from the mouth, vomiting, or may vomit should lie on
one side, so fluid will drain from the mouth.
A trained medical person can help prevent shock by giving intravenous fluids to
replace body fluids lost through an injury or illness. If you cannot get medical help
within one hour and the victim is likely to die, giving fluid by mouth may help
prevent shock.
Do not give the victim fluid to drink if he or she is unconscious or semiconscious,
vomits or may vomit, or appears so severely injured that surgery or a general
anesthetic may be needed.
Make a salt and soda solution. Mix 1 level teaspoonful of salt (about 5 ml) and
1/2 level teaspoonful (about 2.5 ml) of baking soda in a quart (or liter) of water
that is neither hot nor cold. If you mix this solution in an ordinary drinking glass or
cup (250 ml or 8 ounces), use about 2 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of soda.
Never give alcoholic beverages. If you do not have salt and soda, give plain
water in the amounts listed below:
Adults who are conscious and not vomiting: Give half a cup (about 120 milliliters)
or glass of salt and soda solution over a period of fifteen minutes. Have the victim
sip it slowly. Give the same amount during the next fifteen minutes, and the next,
if the person is still conscious and not vomiting.
Infants and children who are conscious and not vomiting: Give the same salt and
soda solution in smaller amounts. To a child, give about 1/4 cup or glass over
each fifteen-minute period. To an infant, give about 1/8 of a normal glass over
each fifteen minutes. You may need to use a nursing bottle.
If someone has not already left for help, take all necessary precautions and be
fairly sure the victim is stable. Then go for help yourself. Return as fast as you
After you feel your family understands what shock is and how to treat it, take
turns drawing from the jar the situations that could cause shock.
For example:
Janie is allergic to many foods. She ate one.
Grandpa has heart trouble.
Grandma is a diabetic. She has to be very careful of what she eats and
what she does.
Bobby loves to swim and spends a lot of time at the pool. As energetic as
he is, he could very easily have a water accident.
We all camp out a lot. We have been bitten many times by insects.
Aunt Joan went into shock when she heard about Uncle Bill's accident.
Have the person who draws the slip read the situation to the rest of the family
and then pretend to be the victim. Have the rest of the family take the necessary
steps to treat him. Continue until all the slips have been drawn.
Treating Bleeding
This activity will teach your family how to handle bleeding.
Treating Bleeding
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Treating
Bleeding, 330
How often has a child come running through your door holding up a finger and
announcing tearfully, "Mommy, my finger is bleeding. Can you make it better?"
Most of us could handle that emergency. But what if you came upon a really
serious accident where someone was bleeding—perhaps a car accident or a
more serious household accident? This activity will teach your family how to
handle bleeding.
Materials Needed
Strips of cloth
Have a family member learn these steps to control bleeding. Have him present
them to the rest of the family.
1. The best way to control bleeding is to hold a thick pad of clean cloth over the
wound with your hand and apply direct pressure. A folded handkerchief will do,
but it is best to use a sterile cloth if possible. If you cannot get a pad right away,
use your hand until you can get a pad. Put your hand, palm flat, directly over the
wound. Press firmly and evenly as necessary to stop the bleeding. Pressing will
make the flow of blood slow down and clot.
2. Keep the original covering on the wound. Changing the covering will disturb
the blood clot that has formed. If the pad becomes saturated, add other layers of
material to the top as needed and keep pressing. Keep these pads in place until
the blood has clotted and bleeding subsides.
3. Unless you think a bone may be broken, raise the victim's bleeding limb
above the level of his heart as you continue to apply pressure. Gravity helps to
reduce blood flow in the injured area, which slows down the loss of blood through
the wound.
4. After the bleeding is under control, apply a pressure bandage to the wound.
Steady the victim's limb. Keep the original covering on the wounded area and
place the center of a strip of material or gauze over the middle of the covering.
Wrap this strip around the middle of the covering, around the limb, and back to
the starting point. Repeat until the strip is used up. Tie it in a knot directly over
the center of the covering. Keep the bandage tight enough to prevent bleeding,
but loose enough to allow blood to circulate.
5. If direct pressure does not stop the bleeding, you may need to use the
pressure point technique. With this technique, you press the main artery above
the wound in order to stop bleeding. You can identify the artery by feeling a
strong pulse beat. Fig. 9 shows the locations of major pressure points.
Locations of Common Pulse and Pressure Points
Lay the victim on his back. Press with the flat of your hand directly over the
pressure point. If the bleeding does not stop, use the flat of your fingers to apply
more direct force. Place the fingers of one hand over the artery and use the other
hand over those fingers to add greater pressure.
To apply pressure on the pressure point in the wrist, for example, hold the
victim's arm in the air. Place your fingers on the inside of the wrist and your
thumb on the outside. Press your fingers firmly toward your thumb.
The pressure-point technique stops circulation within the limb. Use it in addition
to the other methods already in progress. As a rule, do not use the pressurepoint technique alone to stop bleeding. If bleeding should start up again,
however, be ready to reapply pressure at the pressure point.
6. Using a tourniquet can be very dangerous. It can cause the victim to lose a
limb. But, if you cannot stop serious bleeding any other way, you may need to
use a tourniquet as a last resort to save a person's life.
Wrap a band of cloth about two inches wide twice around the limb between the
wound and the heart. Do not use wire or cord. On the arm, place the tourniquet
no less than a hand's width below the armpit. On the leg, place it no less than a
hand's width below the groin. In either case, place it as close to the wound as
practical, but there must be unbroken skin between the tourniquet and the
wound. Tie the ends of the tourniquet into a half knot; place a stick across the
knot; then tie the ends above the stick in a tight knot. Twist the stick to apply just
enough pressure to stop the bleeding. Use a second bandage to tie the end of
the stick in place so it will not untwist.
Do not loosen the tourniquet. This will only allow more bleeding, which may be
fatal. A tourniquet can safely remain in place for 30 to 45 minutes. Get medical
help immediately. Make sure the tourniquet is visible and that everyone
concerned knows that it is there.
7. Always treat a bleeding victim for shock (see "Treating Shock").
8. For nosebleed take these steps:
Tilt the head forward.
Pinch the nose just below the bone in the bridge of the nose and hold for
five minutes.
If the bleeding does not stop, blow the nose to clear the nasal passage on
the bleeding side.
Pinch the nose again in the same spot.
Do not blow the nose to clear the clotted blood once the flow of blood has
Do not remove the blood clots from the nose for several hours.
Ice held on the bridge of the nose can also help stop the bleeding.
9. A fall or an automobile accident may cause dangerous bleeding inside the
body. Watch to see if the victim coughs up blood or if there are traces of blood in
the bowels. Do not give the person anything to drink; move him as little as
possible; and go for help immediately.
10. For bleeding from the ear, get a doctor quickly.
11. Stay calm. Seeing lots of blood can be very alarming. But realizing that you
know what to do to stop it can help you be calm.
Have the assigned family member present the material he has prepared. Using
the cotton and strips of material, have family members practice on each other the
steps in treating bleeding in different situations. The small children could use
dolls or stuffed animals. Use the situations below or make up some of your own.
Divide into teams if you wish.
Remind the family that the instructions to be calm and apply pressure to the
wound apply to all bleeding problems, large or small.
1. Barbara cut her finger on a kitchen knife. What should we do?
2. We are hiking and John falls off a ledge and injures his left leg. He is in pain
and is bleeding. Now what?
3. We are driving down the road and hear the screeching of tires. In the road is a
small boy who has just been hit by an automobile. He is injured and is bleeding
from the mouth. What should we do?
4. Greg was playing with a stick, and he fell and punctured his arm. It is
bleeding. What should we do?
5. The boys have been mowing the lawn. Jenny comes running in and
announces that the lawn mower has just cut Mike's toe. It is bleeding and he is in
a panic. What now?
Make sure that family members understand the basic steps in treating bleeding.
You may need to review these skills periodically.
Additional Activities
1. Talk over some safety rules that might prevent accidents which cause
bleeding. For example, teach your children how to use knives properly. Show the
proper way to carry scissors. Discuss how to use hand tools and power tools.
2. Support your local and ward blood drives.
Protecting Your Home Against Fire
This activity teaches your family basic steps to prevent and deal with fires.
Protecting Your Home against Fire
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Protecting Your
Home Against Fire, 332
Every year thousands of people lose their homes or their lives by fire. But many
fatal fires could be prevented by basic knowledge and practical precautions.
Every family should have a fire safety program to teach family members how to
prevent fires and how to react in case one occurs. This activity teaches your
family basic steps to prevent and deal with fires.
Study the checklist "Fire Safety All around Your House." Discuss it with your
family. Then with the checklist, a black pencil, and a red pencil, walk together
through each room in your home. As you do, discuss whether your family takes
all the safety precautions listed. With a black pencil check off the precautions you
are already taking. If you need to improve in an area, make an X with a red
pencil. If you have red Xs, your home is not as safe from fire as it could be.
Assign family members to correct each problem. As they do, erase the red
Fire Safety All around Your House
1. Kitchen
___Never fight a grease fire with water. Have a lid available for every pan in
which a grease fire could start.
___Keep towels available for drying hands before using any electrical appliance.
___Turn pot handles inward on stove.
___Wear close-fitting sleeves when you cook.
___Keep stove and exhaust fan clean and grease-free.
___Don't hang clothes, dishtowels, or decorative objects, that could catch fire
over the stove.
___Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Know how to use it.
2. Laundry and Furnace Room
___Keep the lint trap around the dryer free of lint after every load of drying.
___Replace furnace filters regularly. Clean dust and lint from around the furnace
motor and burners.
___Service fan motor and check fan belt regularly.
3. Bedrooms
___Be sure windows open easily.
___Always sleep with bedroom doors closed if you don't have a fire detector.
___Plan two escapes from each bedroom.
4. Storage
___Never leave greasy or oily rags lying about.
___Store gasoline and other flammable substances in tightly closed metal
___Keep the basement, attic, and other storage areas clean. Do not store old
clothes, cardboard boxes, magazines, newspapers, or other items that catch fire
5. Electrical Outlets
___Don't overload circuits. Avoid plugging more than two appliances into one
___If a fuse blows or circuit breaker trips, find the cause.
___Don't use extension cords under rugs, over hooks, or through door openings.
They can become worn and cause short circuits.
6. Care of Children
___Never leave a young child unattended.
___Do not let children play around stoves, open fires, or electric heaters.
___Keep matches and combustible fluids out of reach.
___Instruct babysitters on what to do in case of fire.
7. General Fire Safety Practices
Keep a garden hose with a nozzle attached to a water outlet at all times in case
of fire. Be sure the hose is long enough to reach all areas of the home.
Make sure each family member has a whistle for warning others. Have the family
keep their whistles by their beds.
Turn off or unplug appliances when you finish using them.
Protect children by buying them flame-retardant sleepwear and costumes for
special holidays. If clothing catches on fire, remember to stop, drop, and roll—
don't run, lie flat on the floor or ground, and roll over several times then back,
leading with the legs. Keep the arms drawn in and the hands over the face.
Practice this skill with each family member.
Additional Activity
1. Memorize these four rules of fire safety:
Eliminate fire hazards around the house.
Teach every family member safe fire habits in daily life.
Install a smoke detector system, if possible.
Be sure that everyone knows exactly what to do in case of fire.
2. Discuss the possibility of installing a smoke detector system in your home.
You will need one smoke detector for each level of your home. You will also need
one for each sleeping area if the bedrooms are not grouped together.
3. Develop a home emergency escape plan. With your family, find the best
possible escape route from different parts of your home, giving special attention
to the bedrooms. Every room needs two escape routes, one normal and one
emergency exit. Consider using doors, halls, and windows.
If you choose a window for an emergency exit, make sure that it is possible to
reach the ground safely. You may need an escape ladder or rope. If a bedroom
window does not open, keep a hammer under the bed to break out the glass if
necessary. In emergencies when no one can help you in getting down from a
high window, rip up bed sheets and tie them together to form a rope.
Make a master home emergency escape plan. Draw a map of each floor,
showing emergency and normal exits, as well as the location of windows, doors,
stairs, and halls.
Decide on a place outside to meet after you leave the home. Mark it on your
master plan map. Make sure your family knows this is where you will all meet.
Post copies of the master plan in several areas of your home. You may also want
to post individual plans in every room.
4. Fire drills reduce the chance that someone will be hurt in a fire. Hold family
fire drills regularly—at least three times a year. Use your home emergency
escape plan as the plan for your fire drill. Make sure that everyone understands
the exit procedure. You can hold a drill in several ways.
To start the drill, have everyone go to their bedrooms, close the doors, and wait
for a prearranged signal. When the signal is given, have them use the
emergency escape from their bedrooms and meet in the assigned place outside
the home. Or have someone give the prearranged signal when no one is
expecting it and see how fast family members can meet outside in the assigned
place. As part of each drill, have someone practice going to a phone outside the
home so that family members will remember that they must call the fire
Review these rules each time you have a drill:
Post emergency telephone numbers at all telephones. See "Emergency
Telephone Numbers" for instructions on how to make emergency calls.
Do not return to a burning building once you are outside.
Do not try to put out the fire, unless you see that it is confined to a very
small area.
When you hear the alarm, get out of the house immediately. Don't stop to
dress, get valuables, or call the fire department. Go to a neighbor's house to call.
Do not rush into a hallway. Touch the closed door with the palm of your
hand. If it is hot, use your emergency exit. If it is not hot, open the door with
caution. If there is fire and smoke, close the door immediately. It takes ten to
fifteen minutes for fire to burn down a door.
If you become trapped, don't panic. There is a good chance of survival.
Cover the vents with cloths, and stuff cloths in the cracks in the door. If there is a
telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you
are. Then signal from the window with a light or bed sheets. Don't jump from a
high window unless someone is holding a net to catch you.
If your room is filled with smoke, get down on the floor and crawl. Cover
your face with a cool, wet cloth if possible.
Always close windows and doors behind you as you leave. This will slow
down the spread of the fire.
Coping with a Blackout
This activity will help your family be prepared to deal with power failures that
result in loss of light and heat.
Coping with a Blackout
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Coping with a
Blackout, 334
This activity will help your family be prepared to deal with power failures that
result in loss of light and heat.
Materials Needed
Matches and candles
Battery-powered radio
Flashlight and batteries
Fuses (if you have a fuse box that requires fuse replacements)
Food storage items: food requiring no refrigeration or cooking such as crackers,
canned meats, fruits, dried meats, fish, juices, water, and powdered milk
Decide on an evening when your family can practice coping with a blackout.
Parents might want to plan the evening together and then surprise the rest of the
Before dinner, announce that in a few minutes you will be turning out the lights.
Tell everyone that for a specified amount of time they will not be allowed to turn
on the lights again because tonight your family will be learning what to do during
a blackout. Have all family members follow these steps:
1. Don't panic and don't walk around in the dark. You can get hurt if you wander
about in the dark, especially if you are outside or in a strange place.
2. Check the inside of your home to see if the problem originates there. Check
the fuse box or circuit breaker box. Find the replacement fuses and make sure all
family members know how to replace them. If your home is run from breaker
switches, check them for malfunctioning circuits.
3. If you find the problem does not originate from these sources, look out the
window to see if other lights are off in the neighborhood. If they are not working,
turn on your battery-powered radio for information. Use your telephone only for
serious emergency needs to avoid jamming the lines.
4. Get the flashlight, candles, batteries, and matches.
5. Discuss how best to prepare your evening meal. Since you have no electricity,
you must prepare food that requires no cooking. Also, you must prepare your
meal from food storage or from food on hand. The water you will be drinking
must also be supplied from your food storage. (Use purification tablets if
necessary.) Use your creativity.
6. After your meal, plan some activities that will keep family members from
feeling frightened or anxious. Following are a few suggestions you may wish to
Create shadow pictures.
Tell stories.
Whistle or hum songs, and play "Name That Tune."
Play games.
Create an add-on story. One person starts with the background, the next
person adds the characters, the next states what they do, the next creates a
problem, the next complicates that problem, and finally the last person solves the
problem and concludes the story.
Here are some things to keep in mind during a blackout:
1. If someone in the home depends upon electrical medical equipment, such as
an iron lung, contact the police or fire department immediately, or take the patient
to the hospital at once.
2. Even in a power shortage some appliances remain in service. While gas
furnaces cannot heat homes when there is no electricity, gas water heaters still
make hot water. A gas oven will not work, but a gas range-top will.
3. Telephone lines are separate from electrical lines.
4. Most burglar alarm systems have battery backups.
5. It is suggested that you unplug appliances when there is an outage. When
power is restored, plug them in slowly, one by one, to prevent an overload.
6. If the power outage is from a source other than your own home, turn off the
main circuit breaker.
Making Your Home a Tough Target for
This activity will teach your family security measures that will help to make your
home a more difficult target for thieves by making it as difficult and timeconsuming to steal from as possible.
Making Your Home a Tough Target for Thieves
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Making Your
Home a Tough Target for Thieves, 334
In about 20 percent of burglaries, the burglar was able to enter the home without
forcing entry. Either he has a key or has found an open door or window. This
activity will teach your family security measures that will help to make your home
a more difficult target for thieves by making it as difficult and time-consuming to
steal from as possible. A burglar likes to be in and out of your home with what he
wants in five or ten minutes.
Choose some or all of the following security measures and do them as a family:
1. Lock up your valuables. Money, silver, and jewelry are obviously valuables.
But your most prized possessions may be items that cannot be replaced, such as
family heirlooms.
2. Choose hard-to-reach or hard-to-find hiding places. Bedrooms are the worst
hiding places. They are generally searched first. Also, dirty clothes hampers and
backsides of dresser drawers are unsafe hiding places.
3. Don't keep large amounts of cash at home.
4. Etch identification numbers onto your valuables—your drivers license number,
your phone number, or other identifying number. Give a record of these numbers
to the police department. Most police departments will furnish you with an
engraving tool free of charge.
Call your local police department to determine if they have a crime prevention
program that offers the service of engraving identification numbers. If they do,
make the necessary arrangements to have this done. If they do not, you may
want to organize a neighborhood or family project to purchase the tool and share
it to mark your valuables.
On items that cannot be engraved, such as silverware or paintings, write
identification numbers on white tape and place the tape on the items. Then take
a picture of these items. Keep an itemized record of all property and pictures in
your safety deposit box or other safe place.
5. Make and record a room-by-room inventory of your possessions. Identify each
item and record its serial number, if it has one. After recording this information,
place the document in a safe, fireproof place (perhaps your refrigerator freezing
6. Install a peep-hole viewer with a wide-angle (180°) lens. This is an
inexpensive way to view those who are on the outside without opening the door.
Don't rely on a chain guard, which can be easily broken. Always talk to strangers
through a closed door.
7. Beware of people you are not expecting. A stranger at the door may claim to
be a repairman, police officer, or someone in need of your help. If a stranger
comes to your door—
Offer to call for anyone in need or in trouble. Make sure the stranger waits
outside while you make the call.
Verify that he is who he claims to be before opening the door by calling the
company he claims to be representing. Always look up the number yourself and
check his name and description. Never call the number the stranger may give
you. There may be a fellow conspirator on the other end of the telephone.
Remember that official-looking identification can be easily forged.
You may want to have family members role-play a situation with a stranger at the
8. If you are a babysitter or child left alone at home, always answer the phone. A
burglar may call and think the house is unoccupied if there is no answer. Never
admit that parents are gone. Tell a phone caller that your parents are busy right
now, and they will call back when they are finished. Ask the caller for his name
and number. Never open the door to a stranger. Say that your parents are busy
and cannot come to the door. If the person persists, call the police.
9. Make sure that your windows and doors can be safely locked. If you need
more security, see the illustrations "Pin Double-Hung Sash Windows" and "Pin
Doors with Outside Hinges."
Pin Double-Hung Sash Windows
Drill a hole through the lower sash window, and halfway through the upper.
Insert a pin, dowel, or nail into the hole to prevent the window from being opened
from the outside. Drill additional holes in the upper sash to allow the window to
be secured while left partially open for ventilation.
Pin Doors with Outside Hinges
To prevent doors from being lifted off the hinges if the hinges are located on the
outside of the door, simply remove the two center screws from the hinges. Insert
a headless screw into one of the holes, allowing it to protrude approximately 1/4
inch. When the door is closed the screw will engage the other hinge, and even if
the hinge pin is removed, the door cannot be removed.
10. Establish a family security system. Assign family members to lock the doors,
shut and lock all windows, and check the stove and electrical appliances, making
sure they are properly turned off and disconnected. Turn on the burglar alarm if
you have one. Don't forget to assign someone to shut and lock the garage door
and all access doors. Make any other assignments necessary for your safety.
11. Decide where you are going to keep your house keys. It is a good idea not to
leave them under the mat or on a cup hook. Also, thieves will often look for keys
left on door ledges.
12. Invite a police officer in your area to a family activity evening and discuss the
security of your home.
13. Find out about the possibility of installing a burglar alarm system in your
14. Get a film from your local library on crime prevention. See the film and
discuss the information.
Earthquake Preparation
There is no plan that can eliminate all earthquake danger. But you can greatly
reduce damage and injury by following several basic guidelines.
Earthquake Preparation
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Earthquake
Preparation, 336
What are earthquakes? The earth's crust is constantly subjected to stresses from
deep inside the earth. First the crust bends, and when the stress exceeds certain
limits, the crust breaks. This breaking process causes the vibrations we call
We have been warned by the Lord to expect earthquakes in our day. "And there
shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations" (D&C 45:33).
There is no plan that can eliminate all earthquake danger. But you can greatly
reduce damage and injury by following several basic guidelines.
As a family, discuss the following guidelines for protecting yourself in an
earthquake. You may want to role-play some of the steps.
1. Try to stay cool and calm. Think through what you should do. Try to reassure
2. If you are indoors, stay there. Protect yourself in one of the following ways
and wait out the earthquake:
Take cover under a heavy desk, bed, or table. This will protect you from
falling debris.
Move into a strong doorway, or sit or stand against an inside wall. If you
are large enough, brace yourself in a doorway. A door frame or the structural
frame of a building are the building's strongest points.
Stay away from glass, as the earthquake may shatter it.
Move away from bookcases, ceiling fixtures, or china cupboards.
Try to keep your children with you.
3. If you are in a tall building, get under a desk. Do not dash for exits, since
stairways may be broken and jammed with other people. Power for elevators
may fail.
4. If you are in a crowded store, do not rush for a doorway since hundreds may
have the same idea. If you must leave the building, choose your exit as carefully
as possible.
5. If you are outdoors, get away from buildings, tall objects, and electric wires.
Falling debris can injure or kill you.
6. If you are in a moving car, stop in an open area if possible. Don't stop on a
high overpass or bridge, or where buildings can topple down on you. Stay inside
the car until the shocks stop, even if the car shakes a great deal. A car is a fairly
safe place to be.
7. Be prepared for additional earthquake shocks, called "aftershocks." Although
most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be large enough to
cause more damage.
When the earthquake stops—
1. Check your water line, gas line, and electrical lines. If there is a gas line into
your home or building, turn off burners and pilot lights. Do not light candles,
matches, or lighters until you determine there is no leak. Gas leaks can cause
explosions. Report damage to the appropriate utility companies and follow their
instructions. If there is a leak, stay out of the house.
Do not flush toilets until you know that sewer lines are unbroken.
Electric lines can cause fire. Shut off all electrical power if there is damage to
your house wiring. Do not operate electrical switches or appliances if you suspect
a gas leak. They can create sparks which can ignite gas from broken lines.
2. Check your household for injured members.
3. Check your neighborhood for injured people who need help.
4. Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs, and other potentially harmful
5. Turn on your radio (battery-operated or car). Listen for damage reports and
6. Don't tie up the telephone unless there is a real emergency to report. The
lines will be urgently needed.
7. Don't go outside to see the damage. The area will be cluttered enough and
you may hamper rescue. Keep the streets clear for passage of emergency
8. Do not touch downed power lines or objects touched by the downed wires.
9. Stay away from damaged buildings. Aftershocks can collapse them.
10. Stay away from beaches and waterfront areas. Not all quakes cause tidal
waves, but many do. If you are near the ocean or tidal inlet following an
earthquake, be alert for tidal waves. Move inland.
11. If water is off, you can get emergency water from water heaters, toilet tanks,
melted ice cubes, and canned vegetables.
12. Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass.
Strain liquids through a clean handkerchief or cloth if you think broken glass may
be in them.
13. Respond to requests for help from police, fire fighters, civil defense and relief
organizations. But do not go into damaged areas unless your help has been
requested. Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
Making a Survival Kit
This activity will teach family members to make a lightweight survival kit that they
can easily carry with them.
Making a Survival Kit
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Making a
Survival Kit, 337
Outdoor activities are no fun when someone gets lost. Adequate preparation will
usually keep this from happening, but some simple equipment can prepare a
family member to survive if he does get lost. This activity will teach family
members to make a lightweight survival kit that they can easily carry with them.
First make sure that family members understand a few simple rules:
1. Wear a shrill whistle around your neck when you are hiking or fishing in an
isolated area.
2. Tell someone where you are going and when you are coming back. Don't
leave the camping area by yourself.
3. Orient yourself to the area and do not explore longer or farther away than your
family feels is safe.
4. Remember when you are lost to—
Keep calm, find a sheltered place, and stay put. Get out into the open if
planes are overhead.
Build a fire if possible, conserve your heat and energy.
Mark your location. Move out from it to seek familiar landmarks and return
to it.
Shout, use a whistle, and concentrate on being found—not on finding
Prepare for the night, gather wood, build a shelter before dark.
Then have all family members help construct a survival kit. Make sure they know
how to use each item. The following items can be put in a 2 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-16
1/2-inch (6-by-11-by-16-cm) leather pouch and will weigh less than one pound (.5
Survival Kit
Pocket knife with cutting blade, can opener, leather punch
Metal canister 1 1/2-by-3 1/2-by-4 1/2 inches (4-by-9-by-11-cm).
Many of the following items can be put in this canister.
Surgical tubing, 40 inches (100 cm)
100 halazone tablets
Six small cotton balls
1/32-inch (5-mm) twine, 96 inches (30 meters)
line, snare,
Aluminum foil, 12-by-18 inches (30-by-45 cm)
Wire survival saw 15 inches (36 cm)
Three razor blades
Twelve safety pins, 1 inch (1.5 cm)
shelter to
Six No. 12 fish hooks and 12 feet (3.5 meters) of line
Three balls of steel wool
Tinder for
fire in wet
Waterproof matches, candle, metal match
Metal whistle
Small sharpening stone
Pencil and paper
notes or
Twelve heat tablets
Electrician's tape, 120 inches (3.6 meters) (wrapped around
shelter to
Six small band-aids
First aid
Card showing ground-air signals
Six bouillon cubes, dried soups
body heat
Two plastic sheets 9-by-12-feet (2.6-by-3.6 meters)
cloth, water
1/8-inch (2-cm) nylon cord, 12 feet (3.5 meters)
Sewing kits: two needles, three buttons, 6 feet of thread (1.8
first aid
Small compass with mirror on back
Additional Activities
Try each component in your backyard or on a simulated exercise to prepare
yourself and your family for possible use.
Water Safety Skills
This activity is designed to help each family member learn water safety and water
survival skills.
Water Safety Skills
31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Family Activities, Water Safety
Skills, 339
Most drownings happen because people fail to practice safety rules for water
activities. This activity is designed to help each family member learn water safety
and water survival skills. You will need to have access to water (ocean, lake,
river, lagoon, or swimming pool) along with instruction and careful supervision.
If you live in an area where water safety classes are taught, plan to take a class
as a family. If you do not, have a family member learn the following basic safety
techniques and present them to the rest of the family. Have all family members
practice the techniques until they feel comfortable with them.
1. Survival Floating
Resting position. Let the body float in the water with the knees tucked up
against the chest.
Preparing to exhale position. Make swimming motions with arms until head
is above water.
Exhaling position. Exhale.
Inhaling position. Inhale.
Resting position. Allow body to return to resting position.
2. Back floating or sculling. Lie back, kick feet slightly and move arms from side
to side. Very little motion is required to remain afloat.
3. Emergency flotation device. Practice removing clothing such as pants or shirts
in the water and filling them with air to make a flotation device. Tie off the pant
legs or shirt sleeves and raise them above the head scooping air into them.
4. Treading Water
1. Learn to swim.
2. Never swim alone. (You may want to use the Scout buddy system.)
3. Swim at a safe place, preferably with lifeguards present.
4. Don't swim when overheated or overtired.
5. Before diving, make certain the water is deep enough and that there are no
hidden objects.
6. Don't swim further away from shore than you are able; distances in water are
7. When distance swimming, always be accompanied by someone in a boat who
remains close by.
8. Learn and practice the skills of survival floating, treading water, and back
9. Learn and practice the skills of removing shoes and clothing in the water. (In
very cold water the clothes should not be removed.)
10. Learn and practice the skills of emergency rescue in the water.
11. Learn and practice the skills of mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration (see pp.
32226) and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
Caution: Require each family member to pass a minimum swimming and water
survival skill test before being allowed to play in deep water. Always take a rope
or some floating item to throw to a person who may get into trouble.
Additional Activities
1. After drown-proofing all family members, plan a family outing or camp at a
nearby beach, lake, or resort.
2. Pursue other family interests such as river running, kayaking, surfing, or
snorkeling. Encourage all family members to wear flotation devices during such
activities. Many LDS families have a standing rule that some flotation device
must be worn whenever anyone is in the water. This significantly reduces the
chances for a mishap while boating or swimming.
Family Home Evening. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from

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