General Conference weekend! I always look forward to it, while at the same time worrying about it. I love the spiritual uplift it brings when I’m able to listen to the talks and to the spirit. But sometimes the kids are too noisy for me to hear much, let alone feel calm enough to feel the spirit. Tell me I’m not the only one who’s been there! It’s also a time when I’m supposed to be teaching my kids to not only be quiet and listen but to enjoy the experience — and that can take work! We’ve done all sorts of things over the years, handing out candy when they listen to a talk or when they learn something from a talk, just sitting in the same room but with their toys so they can hear but have their hands occupied, and lots of the fun ideas you’ll find out in internet-land. There’s some super cute ideas out there! We’ve tried & had fun with lots of them.
As my kids have gotten older (ages 3-10 now), I wanted to move away from handing out candy and actually teach the kids how to learn something. But I still wanted to make it enjoyable. But how to do that?
As I thought and prayed over a couple weeks leading up to last General Conference, inspiration hit! I would give them a fun way to take notes — they would listen and learn but it would still be fun. That’s doable right? I knew that doing the same thing for each session would get old, so I had to come up with 4 different ideas, one for each session.
We used 4 of these ideas last conference and they were a hit! But I wanted to come up with a bunch of things we could rotate through, so here they are — 9 fun ways for kids to take notes during General Conference (while watching at home):
1 – Shape Art Notes: Randomly draw connected shapes on a piece of paper (or print out the one I made here). Kids get to write or draw something they learn about during the session in each shape and color it in. This is meant to last a full session of conference, so tell them not to rush and fill up all the shapes at once, just one or two things from each talk.
2 – Conference Posters: In the days leading up to General Conference, spend some time going through old church magazines and cutting out pictures that have to do with gospel topics. I sorted the pictures into ziploc sandwich bags by category (pictures of: family, temple, prayer, etc). For conference, each kid got a 1/2 piece of poster board and a glue stick. We laid out all the pictures on the floor — I took them out of their bags and put them on paper plates that were labeled as to what the pictures were. The kids were up on their feet for most of the session as they would listen, hear a key word and get up to find a picture of it. This one took some prep work, but was so worth it. I loved the way their posters turned out and we hung them up on the wall in our bedroom hallway for a while to help us remember what we learned in conference.
3 – Butcher Paper Art: Roll out a roll of butcher paper on the table or floor and give the kids markers, crayons, or colored pencils. As they listen, they can work together to write down or draw pictures of the things they hear and make one giant masterpiece.
4 – Post it Notes: Give each kid their own stack of post it notes. As they listen to the conference session, they can write or draw pictures of what they hear on the post it notes. Then stick those notes to a picture of the person who gave the talk. If you used our General Conference countdown and have the pictures of the apostles on the wall already, this is perfect! You’ll need to add some Mystery Speaker pages to the wall for the speakers that aren’t part of the 12 apostles and first presidency. Someone can draw a picture of the mystery speaker and you can write their name on the page before the post it notes get added.
5 – Mobile Notes: Have the kids use 3×5 cards (or cut out pieces of paper, different shapes would be fun!) to write or draw their notes of what they hear during the session. Add a string to each card and hang them from a hanger (here’s an example). These could be hung up in their bedrooms afterward as a reminder of what they learned at conference.
6 – Secret Message Notes: Each kid should get a piece of white paper and a white crayon. Have them write or draw what they hear during conference. This could be tricky for the little ones since they won’t be able to see as they draw, but some might still have fun with it. During the last talk of the session, they can trade papers and use watercolors to paint over the top of the paper and see the notes/drawings that the other person made being revealed!
7 – Bubble Notes: Similar to the shape art notes, create a page with circles all over it, using paint and a toilet paper roll (see this link for an example). The kids can do this as an activity between sessions on Saturday t0 use for notes during a Sunday session. Draw pictures or write notes in each circle. You could also use butcher paper or a larger sheet of paper and make your circles with a cup (as shown in the example link) for larger circles.
8 – Bookmarks: Print out a few bookmark templates for each kid (on cardstock if you won’t be laminating them). They can use one bookmark for each speaker to write or draw their notes. Write the name of the speaker and the conference year & session on the backside of the bookmark. After conference, cut out the bookmarks and laminate then let the kids keep them to use when reading.
If When they lose them its not a big deal and maybe someone else will pick it up and enjoy the uplifting words or pictures from conference!
9 – Doodle Cubes: I saw this super cute idea on Pinterest (of course!) and thought it would be a great way to take notes. Print a few doodle cubes for each kid and have them write/draw their notes on the unfolded cubes. After the session, fold them up into cubes.
This post seems like it needs one more idea, doesn’t it? Like we need a nice round 10? I couldn’t come up with anything, but if you do, leave it in the comments so we can all benefit from your creativity! And if you try any of these ideas, I’d love to hear about it. Enjoy your General Conference weekend & I hope your kids learn to love it, too!