Service Activity Day
I am so excited for our service project this fall. We did it two years ago and couldn’t get the kids to stop doing it long enough to come have treats.
You’d have to move your date up a couple of weeks I think, but we did a Secret Service project. We had the kids dress up as secret agents and then we went around the neighborhood doing secret service projects. This mostly
consisted of raking leaves for people (the kids loved leaving big bags of leaves on people’s lawns), or of washing car windows.
Then we left a note at their homes saying the secret service agents were there. The kids had been divided in groups and in every group’s area, we had a “bad guy” which was just a picture on paper, for the kids to find. These bad guys were the things that prevent us from serving others, such as Lazy Larry, Selfish Sally, etc. We got rid of our bad guys then had treats.
This was a huge success for us, particularly for the non-members in our area who really appreciated the service. The kids are already looking forward to a return of this project. —Jennifer Nielsen
FIRETRUCK WASH – “Our town has a volunteer fire dept. and rescue squad. To help them one year we had an activity day that centered around cleaning the fire trucks. This was a big help for our local volunteers and fun for the
kids too. ” —Vicki Gallaher
UNBIRTHDAY PARTY – “At the beginning of the year we wanted to have a birthday party for our entire primary, but wanting to be a bit more service oriented, we decided to have an un-birthday party to give gifts instead of
receiving them. We held it in the cultural hall and everyone brought an old toy or book that they had outgrown to donate to a hospital or other children’s’ charity. We had three stations. At the first station they decorated cupcakes and had ice cream. The second they made party hats and the third they played dress-up relay. We all sat in a big circle at the end and sang the birthday song. They all received a helium balloon and a party bag to
take home.” —-Cora
FAMILY HOME EVENING ACTIVITY DAY – “I have done this activity day twice, in two different wards, on two continents. It is a simple idea that appeals to everyone. If you live near a Beehive Clothing Distribution Center, you can get all the boxes you need . Every family with Primary children in your ward or branch gets a free box of uniform size, which the Beehive Clothing center workers will happily donate to you. Each family decorates their own box as a storage container for the things they use for family home evening. This is done before the Activity Day. They bring their family’s unique box to the Activity Day to collect items given to them that day. The teachers and leaders organize several different stations or rooms for the children to rotate through, keeping brothers and sisters together in groups, and they learn and make things they can use at home to participate and plan for their own family’s FHE’s. For example, the groups can cover such things as musical ideas, stories, games, refreshments (especially those with an object lesson that tie in with the FHE lesson themes), and a station to make FHE assignment charts Use your imagination and your own local resources, and get as many people involved as possible. Invite parents to come with their children if they would like. This can serve as a way for the Valiant age children to accomplish the family service Gospel in Action goal, as they help organize future Family Home Evenings. It helps children of ALL ages to
feel like a valuable part of their families who can contribute something of worth to their own FHE’s. Have fun, and pass on the idea to others!” —Sara Potter
TEDDY BEARS FOR HOSPITAL FUND-RAISER – “”The Festival of the Trees,” a fund-raiser for children at Primary Children’s Hospital, is held each year in SLC. Volunteers decorate trees and contribute other crafts to sell. Our
Primary children made teddy bears to contribute. Ahead of time, leaders cut and sewed fifteen 3′ high teddy bears; bags and bags of scrap foam were donated by several upholstery places. At the activity, a Festival representative showed a video about the hospital, and about the children that are helped there. Then we had the children divide into groups to stuff the teddy bears. We put a mountain of foam in the center of the cultural hall. Each group chose a name for their bear, and wrote it on a tag pinned to his arm. Before finishing, the children cut a heart shaped piece of foam, and wrote their names on it; then they placed the heart inside the bear before closing him up. After cleanup, we took a photo of all the children with their finished bears. The children loved it! They really got into the
spirit of helping other children in need!” —Louise
SERVICE TO MISSIONARIES – “Before the activity day, we found some pictures in our primary closet of our current missionaries when they were Valiant age. We then obtained young pictures of the missionaries who weren’t in the
Primary Class pictures. (A sister, and a missionary couple) We made a cute scrapbook page using the pictures we had found with all of the missionaries on the page, with the caption, “I can be a missionary NOW”. We then had a
color copy made for each missionary and placed them in a plastic scrapbook sleeve. At the activity, we had on display, a recent picture of each missionary along with the color copies we had made. First we talked about
the things that the children can do to be missionaries NOW. We had a globe and pointed out where each missionary was ( 9 of them) and talked about how they don’t have to be far away from home to be missionaries. Then we gave them each a missionary name tag to wear. (paper “copy” slid into those plastic sleeves with lapel pins on the back) Then they went to the tables where the pictures were on display and wrote letters to as many of the missionaries as they could. We encouraged them to write down what they could do to be a missionary now. The children were then led to another room where they made turkey cookies featured in the November 1997 Friend. The
missionaries responded with delight at the letters and the scrapbook.” —Janiene Watson
MISSIONARY ACTIVITY – “We’ve done this activity twice in our Primary and we sure loved it! We can have 2 or 3 different groups for this activity. You’ll need to:
(1) Call the full-time missionaries serving in your area and invite them. Tell them three groups of children will come and ask them questions about the missionary life, Christmas spent in the mission field, their families, their feelings about the mission, etc.
(2) Call two people from your ward who have served missions. They will bring things from their missions, such as pictures, books, dolls, etc., and will set them up in separate rooms. They will talk to the children about
their time serving the Lord while as missionaries.
(3) Prepare a flier for the children’s families announcing the activity and asking each child to bring to the missionaries, wrapped as a Christmas gift, items they can consume quick, such as pens, pencils,
envelopes, notepads, stamps, canned soups, canned food, candy bars, breakfast cereal, dried fruits and nuts, peanut butter, jelly, jam, crackers, flavored oatmeal, napkins, toilet paper, soap bars, microwave
popcorn, fruit drinks, soda pop, etc.
(4) A few weeks before this activity, bring to Primary a basket with some of those items to show to the children. Explain to them how each item will benefit and bless the missionaries. Bring one of the items also
wrapped as a Christmas gift.
(5) Decorate a fake small Christmas tree with yellow paper stars. Each star will have the children’s and teacher’s names on it. We also prepared a paper chain to put around the tree. Each circle of the chain has
one of the children’s names. (We’ve asked each class to sign the star and the chain a few weeks before.)
At the activity:
The children will be welcomed at the door by one of us and will receive colored small stickers with the Primary colors. Each group will have an assigned color, an adult leader and together they will rotate from one group
to the other. One of us will ring the bell every 15 minutes for the rotation to happen. As they arrive, they will put their presents at the Christmas tree.
After the 3 groups were able to visit the 3 presentations, we all meet again, sing some Primary Christmas songs and tell the missionaries all those presents are for them. We invite them to open some, and it’s just wonderful to see the joy on their faces! We provide them with boxes or big plastic bags to take home all the presents and the small Christmas tree.
We call this activity also a “Service Project” from the children to the missionaries. We all have such a great time as we prepare and participate in this activity! Since we have different missionaries every year, this is
still a new experience to all of us, every December.
VALENTINE DAY SERVICE – “Our activity day fell on Valentines Day this year and we took this opportunity to do a service project. This activity day involves 4 stations. 1) bags, 2)Valentine cards, 3) sugar cookie decorations, 4) mouse suckers. The children went to each of these stations. They decorated valentine bags, made cards and a mouse sucker, then decorated sugar cookies. After everything was made there were several games and lunch.
While lunch was being served we talked about loving one another and how it is important for us to show love to recent converts and let them know that we care for them. After the lunch our 8-11 year old girls along with three
leaders filled the bags with the cookies and other goodies and delivered them to our recent converts, shut ins, and the elderly in our ward. In all 22 bags were delivered. It was a great success and a fabulous missionary tool. We will definitely do it again next year.” —Becky Compton
SERVICE SCAVENGER HUNT- “We had a unique scavenger hunt where we divided into 3 groups (because we had 3 leaders) and each group took an area of the ward. We set up a list of items that could be accomplished including raking leaves, pulling weeds, picking up apples, sweeping out the garage, bundling newspapers, watching young children, etc. Only one item could be done at each house and each task had a number of points assigned to it. Other rules stated that you could only go to houses that you knew, you had to stay together as a group, and all the groups had to be back to the church within 1 hour. The kids had a lot of fun and we were able to serve a lot of members of the ward as well as people in our neighborhoods. —Julianne Stirling
CHRISTMAS GIFT SHOP – “For our Christmas Activity we are going to help the children make Christmas gifts for their loved ones. We will have three stations for the junior primary, three stations for the older girls, and three stations for the older boys. Here is a list of some of the gifts we will be making: Salt candles, Bath salts, Candy trains, Clothes pin reindeer, Gingerbread ornaments (applesauce and cinnamon recipe), Water-colored pictures, Felt ornaments. We are also going to have a table for gift-wrapping. We will let them cut out snowflakes, hold them against white paper sacks and spray them with glitter spray. For refreshments we are going to have gingerbread men and let the kids decorate them. My aunt did this activity in her ward once, and has made it a yearly tradition because the kids loved it so much. It seems like it is really easy for kids to get caught up in Santa Claus and what they are getting.” —Julianne Stirling
CHRISTMAS SERVICE – (This was submitted as a class project but can be modified for use as an activity day.) “Each year, in my primary class, we ask the Primary President or the Bishop for a family in our ward (who is
perhaps inactive, or just having a hard time) for us to adopt for Christmas. Depending on the needs of the person or family, we invite another class (around the same age) to join us. Once we decide what we are going to do, we
have one or more get togethers at my home to prepare “a basket” (this might be a plate of cookies or something more elaborate) for the person or family we have adopted. Sometimes we take the “basket” personally and sing
Christmas carols or give it to the Bishop to give to the family. This year we decided to do our adoption a little earlier. Our basket will be prepared for Thanksgiving. The family we adopted are not members and lost everything they had in a fire. Our basket will be filled with Christmas decorations we are making ourselves. This activity brings us closer as a class, teaches the concept of service to others through hands on experience, and helps othersfeel Heavenly Fathers’ love. It’s a great missionary tool.” —Francesca Z.
PARK CLEAN-UP “For our Service activity day, we did this simple, easy clean-up. We met at a local park, and brought plastic shopping bags and gave one to each of the children. Each teacher was responsible for 4 or 5
children, and we covered the park picking up garbage as we went. The children were very enthusiastic. Afterwards, we let them play on the playground equipment while we got an easy lunch ready: hot dogs, chips, punch, popsicles. Be sure to have somewhere that the children can wash up before eating. Relay games could also be played in the park, if desired. It was a very successful activity, and the children seemed to enjoy all of it.” —Elayn Dahl
MISSIONARY/CHRISTMAS – Our primary went to a nearby mall and sang Christmas Carols and Primary Christmas songs on the stage that was used by holiday performers. (This will need to be arranged with mall management fairly early so that space will be available, and sometimes malls will post a schedule of upcoming holiday performances). The children wore their Sunday clothes. Many positive comments could be heard about the group, and some were curious as to what organization we were. The final song was “I am A Child of God”. Most parents accompanied their own children and afterward they received a candy cane. (Be sure to get the proper permission from Priesthood leaders for an activity like this.)
MISSIONARY – “We enjoyed a successful activity centered around the missionaries. We called it our Mighty Missionary Day. The children were able to see and hear a little bit about each missionary from our ward (pictures, hobbies, and where they were serving) There was stationary for pictures and letters and mailbags for each missionary. The children then experienced with the help of our ward missionaries a Day in the Life of a missionary (door approaches and an alarm clock etc.) Next they wrapped a small item that they brought from home to put in a care package (candy, Kool-Aid, pens, stamps,etc.) . Then they told a little bit about themselves on a taped interview and gave words of encouragement. Last they helped make large Mighty Missionary Cookies (M&M’s). Before eating we recorded about 8 of our favorite primary songs to be included on the tapes. The children loved this activity and so do the Elders and Sisters serving from our ward when they received their surprise care package of love.” —Kim Hickman
PIONEER – “Choose service that children would have had to do then, which is still meaningful today. Such as, I know girls who at eight-years-old (my great great grandmother!) had to knead and make bread for the family —
sometimes 10 loaves in a batch! As long as the children have clean hands, they could rotate past the dough and punch it, poke it, learn how to knead it, shape it, etc. Making it into “fry bread” at the end would make easy
refreshments, too. Meanwhile, dig around your ward for an antique collector who would loan you their butter churn and put some children to work doing that. Another “service” children had to learn was “darning socks” and who
doesn’t have a sock with a hole in it! Children had to do a lot of tending their younger siblings, which shouldn’t be hard to replicate either. In some ways, making the service “the same” helps children to realize that though
their ancestors lived in a different time, they were a lot like them, too.
HALLOWEEN SERVICE PROJECT – “Buy some pumpkin garbage bags at your local supermarket. Have the girls bring a rake from home. Ask a neighbor or someone in your area that has a big tree with lots of falling leaves. Usually we ask a elderly person or couple, but it doesn’t have to be. I guarantee you’ll find someone. Then start raking up piles of leaves and put them in the pumpkin bags. Set them somewhere where it will look nice in their yard. This works for Halloween and through Thanksgiving. I also made hot chocolate and brought it for the girls while they were working hard. They had a blast.” —Pam Clapier
SECRET SERVICE AGENTS – “The presidency dressed up in trench coats, hats and sun glasses. I welcomed the children to our Secret Service Agents Training Mission and explained what a SS Agent is. I told the story of Jesus healing the leper and that Jesus then told him to go and tell no one. I told another story about 2 brothers that did secret acts of service for their neighbors. Then we handed out Secret Service Briefcases. I have a pattern for making them out of 11X17 cardstock. However, large manila envelopes would work well also. Inside we had pictures of both stories so that they could go home andtell their families in FHE. Also included was a paper for them to list their secret service goals on for the week and Clue Cards (to be left secretly at the scene of a secret service.) The children then colored their briefcases and wrote their service goals. Next we divided into 4 rotation groups:
1. Relays: * dressing in a trench coat, hat and glasses * picking up trash (ten crumpled papers into a trash can) * stacking up books (represents picking up their rooms)
2. Learning the 13th article of Faith (the sister had written the first letter of each word on the white board to help with the memorization. After that, they sang the 13th article of faith song.
3. Write letters to the missionaries
4. Decorate cookies to take to their mother’s (this was the day before Mother’s Day.” —Sallie Shelton
CLEANING – “We took all the hard plastic chairs from our primary room outside on the lawn of the church and scrubbed them all with biodegradable soap (we don’t want to kill the lawn). The kids found pencil marks, gum, crayon, etc. and realized they needed to be better at respecting the furniture of the church. While the chairs were drying, we played some simple water games like knock down the empty pop cans, wet sponge relay, scoop
ducks from a wading pool, etc. When the chairs were dry, we carried them back inside and afterwards we all had a otter pop. Obviously, this is best when done on a hot day!!” —Kristin Bair
EASTER- “Last year we had our “service” activity at Easter time. We made arrangement to go to a day-care for handicapped children in our area. Our Primary children stuffed plastic Easter Eggs with candy. Then they got to hide them around the yard area. This was a great twist as the children don’t often get to hide the eggs. Then we paired our children up with their children and had each group find 10 eggs. (important to get a count and have extra!) I had to wear sunglasses the whole time, but it didn’t disguise the tears streaming down my face as I witnessed our sweet children helping those less fortunate! It was a special experience. (We found many local stores willing to donate eggs and candy for this event.) Then we had a ward Easter Egg hunt at our church on another day. Each child that wanted to hunt brought 12 eggs filled with goodies. As the children arrived they would deposit their eggs on a blanket outside. Then they would go into a classroom and write letter to the missionaries from our ward. With the help from the youth or other ward members the eggs would all be hidden behind the church. Then the children would get to hunt for the eggs in age groups: 3 and under first, and so on. When they found 12 eggs they would stop and gather at a designated spot. We have found that having them come out in age groups and the fact that they will all get 12 eggs, worked best. (note- I always make sure to have several extra dozen in my car just in case- a family thinks it’s 1 dozen total or someone forgets the eggs at home, or some are lost when hidden etc…) The eggs can be filled with candy, stickers, or little prizes. This was one of our favorite activities!!!” —Becky Myers
We had an activity in a park that included dividing up the kids into the four quadrants of the park and cleaning up for 1/2 hour. Each had his/her own little garbage bag. We had a cookout (hot dogs, chips, Kool-Aid) for lunch after and some organized games in the park.
1st half-hour – free play on the playground while stragglers arrived.
2nd half hour – organized games – races, etc.
3rd half hour – cleanup
4th half hour – lunch
Another activity involved planting flowers at the chapel – more a springtime than a fall activity, I think.
You could maybe hook it up with somebody’s Gospel in Action award and have the other kids “help” with whatever the service project is. —Ann