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Simple & clever ways to get children excited and ready for General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that happens every April and October.
FIRST, WHAT IS GENERAL CONFERENCE?
General Conference is a semi-annual gathering of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On the first weekend of April and October every year, the current living Prophet and other church leaders share inspirational messages to worldwide members.
As members of Jesus Christ’s restored church, we believe that God continues to speak to us through His living prophet and leaders. We look forward to this 2-day conference to hear what God wants us to hear for our day.
WHO IS GENERAL CONFERENCE FOR?
General Conference is for anyone, including YOU, who wants to be uplifted from inspiring music, talks, and to hear from God’s living prophet on the earth today. All of the speeches provide ideas and counsel for all ages from children to grandparents.
WAYS TO PREPARE FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE
There are so many great ways to prepare for General Conference. I’ll talk about some things that have worked for us and our young children. You can read other ideas for older children/adults at the end of the post!
With that said, let me give you a few disclaimers:
- our children are still wiggly and chatty and not perfectly quiet.
- these ideas will not guarantee a totally peaceful listening experience, although that’s the goal
- we’ve learned that choosing a few of these activities can keep children engaged longer, rather than just having one activity for both days of General Conference
I’ve learned that a little preparation goes a long way!
Remember, the ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere where you and your family can feel uplifted and inspired.
Whatever General Conference activities you choose to do, make sure to prep them a few weeks in advance so you can have time to talk with your family and get them excited.
And now…here’s the ideas!
1) FIRST PRESIDENCY & QUORUM OF THE 12 APOSTLES MATCHING GAME
Help your family get to know the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles with this matching game. By having your children become familiar with their names and faces, they will recognize them when they speak during conference. You can play memory, a matching game, or “Go Fish.”
- LDS Leaders Matching Game Printables (below)
- color printer or copy shop
- laminator (if you want to reuse this over and over!)
TIP: If you can, make this game a few weeks before conference so that everyone can be very familiar with the Apostles and Prophet before General Conference even begins.
Or you can find this General Conference game in our Freebies Section.
2) CHURCH LEADERS TREAT BAG
Another idea that our children love are First Presidency and Apostle Treat bags. Since every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles will speak at least once during General Conference, you can prepare a small treat or quiet activity that your children will get to open when He speaks.
We’ve observed that our children really look forward to the next speaker to see if they’ll get to open a bag.
Our children LOVE this! It has been a great way to keep them excited throughout all the sessions. They will hold up the bags to see which photo matches the Apostle speaking. However, the one downside is that once the treat has been eaten, they tend to lose interest in the speaker. So, just keep that in mind. Having a quiet activity would be a good way to keep them occupied during the duration of the entire talk.
- craft bags or lunch bags
- Pictures of The First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles (below)
- 15 different snacks, treats, small toys, quiet activities, etc (use fun seasonal treats)
- Basket to put the snack bags in
- Print off the pictures of The First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles. We only make bags for these church leaders because we know that each of them will speak at least once during the Saturday and Sunday sessions.
- Fill your paper bags with a small snack or treat. It’s best to have a variety, but you don’t need to have 15 different kinds. You’d be surprised at how many different snacks (pretzels, goldfish, crackers, etc) you already have at home. Sometimes I’ll take my children to the store and let them pick out some of the treats. This gets them excited for General Conference! If you have a store that sells bulk candy, that’s the way to go! You can buy just a small quantity of snacks for each bag.
- Attach one picture to each filled snack bag. Staple the bag shut and place all the filled bags into the basket.
During LDS General Conference, when that leader speaks, you get to eat that snack or treat. You could also do this with a simple, quiet activity instead of a treat.
Tip: Make it special! We’ll make a trip to our favorite Trader Joe’s to get some novelty items we don’t usually buy. This is just one way to make conference seem extra special.
3) PREPARE FOOD IN ADVANCE
Another great way to prepare for General Conference is by having food ready ahead of time to avoid having to cook during the sessions.
General Conference weekend is a great time to have:
- slow cooker meals
- finger foods
- favorite appetizers
- special treats
Tip: Having some fun and special food will make General Conference an exciting weekend to look forward to.
FUN FOOD IDEAS:
Conference Caramel Dip (make ahead, no reheating required!)
Crudite platter with veggies, hummus, dips, pickles
Slow cooker soup
Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches
Cinnamon or Orange rolls (we buy Rhode’s frozen most of the time)
4) HOW TO HELP OLDER KIDS TAKE NOTES
If you’re children are not old enough to take notes on their own, there’s an easy way to help them practice! For our 7 year old, I simply wrote a bunch of key words on a sheet of paper and put it on a clipboard. Any paper or notebook will work! When he heard that word, he would make a tally mark next to it.
He loved seeing how many times each word was said and I was actually amazed at how much quietly he sat to listen for his words.
We made a new sheet for each session.
You can included any words on your sheets, but here’s a few ideas: (I chose words that I was pretty sure he would hear often to make it easier for him to stay listening):
- Faith, God, Jesus Christ, Family, Temples, Joseph Smith, Missionary, Prayer, Scriptures, Book of Mormon, Prophet, Love
OTHER GREAT IDEAS & RESOURCES
- 5 Ways to Learn From General Conference
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Getting to Know the Apostles dinner ideas
- Preparing for General Conference FHE Lesson
- Conference Cash Game Activity
- LDS General Conference Bingo Sheets
- Current Chart of LDS Prophet, Apostles and other leaders
- General Conference Printables and Game Ideas for Children
- If you near Salt Lake City, take a free tour of the Conference Center
- General Conference coloring packets from The Mormon Cartoonist