Archive for the ‘Activity Days’ Category

I’m not on the front lines with Activity Days any more.  I serve on the Stake level so I get to attend Recognition events and hear about great ideas but I’m not the one getting to carry out these fabulous activities you are seeing here.

I was stopping to get the mail the other day when I saw one of my old Activity Day girls sneaking around the side of  my neighbor’s home.  A car was following nearby, very slowly.  Upon closer look, this car was full of other Activity Day girls and one of their wonderful new leaders.  I knew something good was up!



I went over to the car and found out that it was the older group of Activity Day girls (the 10-11 year-olds).  Each of them had chosen a different younger Activity Day girl to be their Secret Sister.  For their activity, they put together little bundles of treats with a note to each girl.  They were sneaking around the neighborhood delivering their treats to each younger Activity Day girl.



I loved it on the spot!  Then it got better.



Their next assignment was to call each girl’s parents and find out the answers to a series of questions about their Secret Sister.  They were then going to share about their Secret Sister as a surprise at their next Recognition Activity.

Girls celebrating other girls.  What could be better?  Being examples.  Saying, “This is what it looks like to be in Activity Days.  We care about each other!”  We all know that friendships and relationships are often made because we invest time in getting to know another person.  That is what this activity is doing.  Plus, the younger girls will watch this and know how to be kind to those around them.

VARIATIONS: This idea could be incorporated into your Activity Days program in lots of ways.  If you don’t have more than one group of Activity Day girls, who else could they be Secret Sisters to?  Maybe you focus on the 7-year-old girls coming into Activity Days the next year.  How about widows or older couples in your neighborhood?  You could choose various women in the neighborhood who have influenced each girl.  There are a variety of people who would benefit from this activity.

Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that had many older women living there.  When I was 12, we had a leader who asked each of us to choose individual women, then helped us do a “secret” something for them once a month for a year.  After about 12 months, we invited these women to a dinner and activity to recognize and celebrate them.  I still remember dropping off a bud vase with a garden rose and a note attached or a plate of treats that we had made then running away to hide in the bushes while our “Secret Sister” found their gift.  The gifts were always simple, rarely cost much money, but were a way to say, “Someone is thinking of you.”  You don’t have to do a gift once a month for it to be effective – keep it simple but make it meaningful.

Think about it.  How would you develop this idea?  Please, please, please tell me!  I love this whole concept and can’t wait to see what you do with it!




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Dads.  Activity Day Girls.  Square Dancing.  Need I say more?


Seriously.  Just say,  “you’ll be dancing with your dad” and 8-11 year-old girls will come in droves.  Here’s a great activity that focuses on connecting daughters with their fathers or other special person in their lives.  I have to say, the decorations were amazing.  I’ll show pictures of all of that ON ONE CONDITION…you don’t think that you have to make replicate it in order for your activity to be awesome!  The decor was fun and added a nice touch but focus on the events during the activity – THAT’S what made this activity so great.  Opportunities for  dads and daughters to connect and share and have fun.


Here’s how it went:


1.  Mingling + Photos with dads and daughters – they asked a person in the neighborhood who was skilled at photography to take great pictures of everyone.  Then he even printed out the photos and had copies waiting for each family as they left the activity.  So fun and a special memory for these girls.  I still remember the Daddy Daughter Western-themed activity I went to with my father over 30 years ago.  It’s a highlight for these girls, for sure!



2.Welcome / Prayer / Explain Get-To-Know-You Game
– everyone sat at a table for dinner.  On each table were 4 different “Menu” lists – one for each course.  You pass around a list of questions and each person answers one of the questions on the list.  After everyone has shared something, your table goes and gets that portion of the meal.  The order went like this:

WHINE LIST – beverage (ice water with lemon – already set up when everyone was arrived)


GARDEN FIXINS – appetizer (veggie tray with Ranch dip – already set up when everyone arrived)


MAIN GRUB – main dish (chile + corn bread with honey butter – served into cups as the appetizer and beverage courses were happening.  A bucket of Fritos chips were on each table.)



SWEET TOOTH – dessert (glazed donuts – brought out after appetizer course was served)



By the time we had gotten through all four courses, we knew a lot about each other and were comfortable with one another.  Dads celebrated and learned about their daughters and daughters found out things about their dads.  Added bonus: it helps the flow of serving the meal to a crowd because each table was ready for the different courses at varying times.  It was a natural way to bring purpose and meaningful sharing to a time of the evening that normally would have been spent waiting in a line for food.


3.  Quick Initial Clean Up
– they announced that games and square dancing would follow and asked everyone to do an initial clean up of the tables and chairs to make space for the next activities.  It took about 7 minutes to do this with everyone pitching in.


4.  Games – divide into 2 groups.  Each group does one game then switch.  Each game took about the same amount of time so this worked well and was so fun for everyone.
Supplies Needed: (2) large plastic serving spoons, (2) rubber chickens
Divide group into two equal teams (if you don’t have an equal number of people, some can go twice to make up the numbers).  Mark of the “turn-around spot” at the far end of the space.  Each person must balance the rubber chicken on their serving spoon, run down to the end, turn around and run back.  If they drop the chicken, you must take 2 steps back, balance it again and move forward.  When you cross the starting line, pass the chicken and spoon off to the next person.  Winners are the first to get through all their team members.


STICK HORSE RELAYSupplies Needed: (2) bandanas, (2) cowboy hats, (2) stick horses
Divide group into two equal teams (if you don’t have an equal number of people, some can go twice to make up the numbers).  Mark of the “turn-around spot” at the far end of the space.  Each person must put on the cowboy hat and bandana, hop on their stick horse, then gallop down to the end, turn around and gallop back.  When you cross the starting line, pass the supplies off to the next person.  Winners are the first to get through all their team members.


Talk about the highlight of the night!  A cheer went up when square dancing time was announced.  The girls were so excited.  In the hunt for a square dance caller to hire for the event, the leaders for this activity were led to a wonderful couple who actually volunteered their services for free to groups like this.  Amazing!  They were a very nice couple who brought the sound system and their talents to teach the dads and daughters square dance techniques.

Check around your area – maybe there is a square dance club or group where someone would be willing to come teach how to do it with your group.  If not, the price might be reasonable enough to make it worth spending a little money.  Another idea is to teach line dancing – there are many people in our neighborhoods who have some dancing talent and would be willing to teach simple line dances.  Click here to see how we did this at another activity.


Really, all that matters about an activity like this is making real, meaningful connections between daughters and their dads or other special guests.  If all of your events focus on building a stronger, positive relationship, you are on the right track.

Get your boots shined and your cowboy hats on!  This activity is sure to be one of your best!  Yee Haw!


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There is power in helping children to make decisions about life before the situation arises.  What will their choices be in the moment?  Hopefully the decisions that they have “already decided.”  I attended this Mother/Daughter Activity Days event – I didn’t plan it.  I don’t have downloads or templates for you but I have the idea.

What I loved about it was the clear focus on building the relationship between each daughter and mother (or other significant woman in their lives).  Every aspect of the activity was centered on this goal – the amazing leaders didn’t get distracted with activities that took them away from this goal of linking daughters with their mothers.


As the girls walked in, the room was set up with all of the supplies needed to accomplish each activity for the night.  Here’s how it went down:

1.  Welcome / Opening / Theme Introduction


2.  “Gospel Standards I Spy Jar”   (Find instructions here).  Work on as they come in and finish after the Welcome.  Their “Gospel Standards I Spy Jar” worked so well with the theme – each item in the jar goes with a phrase that begins with, “I will…”  I liked that they were working on it with their mothers and they were encouraged to talk about each statement when they went home.   This is a helpful resource for Family Home Evening or gospel discussions with the family.  Be sure to outline ways that the moms can use this jar to help children make decisions before they are faced with difficult situations.



3.  Get to Know You Game (about the moms) – I don’t have a copy of what they did but you could do a variety of things.  Interview each mother beforehand, looking for interesting facts about them.  As everyone is finishing their jars, describe the mothers and have the girls guess who it is.  Someone is an amazing baton twirler or can touch their elbows together behind their back or loves to eat banana pickle sandwiches.  Those are the awesome things that kids love to know about adults!


4.  Mom & Me Journal – Explain the directions and purpose of  the journal.  There are many names for and a variety of ways to do this project.  Here’s one and another.  Basically, it’s a journal where you write to each other.  Back and forth.  Creating a dialogue between two people and building a relationship full of real communication.  The girls decorated their journals with their moms and made plans for who would write in it first.  Encourage them to ask each other questions in their entries.  The girls loved making their journals and it was a great way to get them excited about writing in it with their moms and continuing the communication.




5.  Short Message of the Theme / Testimony

6.  Mother / Daughter Question Game – this is a take-off of the “Newlywed Game.”  Click here for a great example of how to make it happen.  I saw this same game at another Recognition Activity a week later so I KNOW it’s a hit!   Do it for sure!


7.  Closing + Refreshments

I loved this activity.  The leaders genuinely care for these girls and happily serve.  It was ultra-organized and well-planned.  It was focused on building a relationship between mothers and daughters and every aspect of it encouraged communication and sharing experiences plus, it was a foundation for further communication when they went home.  It was just over an hour long.  Do you have to do everything that they did?  No.  But what they did was fabulous.

Thanks for the invitation!

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You will love this.  It’s one of those things that I looked forward to before it happened but after the fact, I loved it so much that I feel the need to share it with everyone.

It’s a party.  A family party.

But not just any family party.

A party dedicated to celebrating….really celebrating….EVERYONE in our immediate family.  Here’s the thing, though.  It is a family party that will work for ANY group – youth groups, Activity Days, even co-workers.  Totally applicable – just tweak it to fit your needs.


There have been a lot of great things happening in our family recently and my sister, Kara, decided to throw a party for all of us to recognize what an awesome family we have.  We are the Coleman family and COLEMANS ROCK!  This party included our parents and our siblings’ families.  There are 6 siblings in my family and 17 grandchildren.  Everyone who could make it came to the celebration.

1.  INVITATIONS – ask everyone to send in 3-4 things about each person in their immediate family.  Some people had no problem sharing their awesomeness on their own and some people needed a family member to submit their accomplishments for them – either way is fine.  Just find 3-4 things that you can share about each person.  It was easy to email the lists to Kara before the party.  But be prepared to hound some of the people to get their lists in or to help them come up with ideas.  You can also assign food for a dinner or lunch if you choose.


2.  ACCOMPLISHMENTS – we kept it simple and just hand wrote each person’s accomplishments and talents on bright colored paper squares.  Multiple people helped write them because it took forever.  It’s ok if they’re not perfect or the same or extravagant.  Remember the purpose – to share why each person in the family ROCKS….it’s not about perfect-looking writing.


What do you think happened as people trickled in to the party that day?  Reading.  Laughing.  Talking.  Sharing.  Celebrating.  “Wow, you ran a half marathon?  I didn’t know that!  Awesome!”  “That is so exciting that you got into the Nursing Program.  You will be great!”  “Tell me about your new job.”  “Hey, did you see Mackenzie’s over there?  That’s a good one!”


Keep in mind that EVERYONE who was going to be there that night had their own accomplishments included.  My niece brought her boyfriend – we learned that he won a 4-wheeler in a milk-drinking contest.  My other niece had brought her friend with them on their family vacation from Washington.  We learned that she is #1 in her class and on track for Valedictorian next year.  What???!!!  Awesome!


3.  DINNER – we like planned pot lucks in our family so Kara planned the Mexican menu and everyone contributed something to the cause, helping to get it ready all together.


4.  PROGRAM / LESSON – Kara was brilliant in planning the lesson portion of the evening.  Very short.  Kept it light but meaningful.  Perfect.  My brother, Kyle, gave a short lesson about magnifying your talents (see below).  Jason spoke about his Grandma Hall who was a celebrator.  She liked to play the game, “Why is it Like Me?” and for each person’s birthday, they did “I Love ___________ Because….” (see below for instructions of each game).  He shared why these habits were so important for their family to do together and how amazing it is that we can share that same celebrating attitude in our family.  Colemans Rock!  We love celebrating each other!

The messages were short, taught important lessons, and were applicable to all ages in attendance.


Talents Lesson Overview:

  1. Pass around clear pebbles or marbles and have everyone take one.  Discuss how each is individual just like each of us.
  2. Ask everyone to think about a talent that they have and how that talent has helped someone.  Have a few people share (Kyle knew who he wanted to share in advance – people who don’t normally want the spotlight, and people of different ages – this was a really special part of the lesson when we got to hear why each person is awesome).   Ask one person in advance to choose NOT to share something about themselves when asked – this is a secret.
  3. When each of the 4 people share, give them another pebble if they share their talent with us.  Take away their pebble if they choose not to share.
  4. Retell the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.
  5. Each of us has been given our own talents and when we share them with others, we are given more talents.  God wants us to recognize our talents and share them with others for good.  Where can we find out what our talents are? (patriarchal blessing, work opportunities, prayer and personal revelation, others can tell us, etc.)
  6. When we recognize our talents and work to develop them and share them, we are given more talents and we are happy.


“Why Is It Like Me?” Game

  1. One person goes out of the room.  As a group, the other people in the room choose one item in the room that they want the person to guess.
  2. The person comes back in and says, “Why is it like me?
  3. Giving positive clues, the group tells them why the item is like that person.  “It is bright.”  “It shines.”  “It smells great!”  Whatever you choose – the clues being harder for older people and easier for younger ones.
  4. The person guesses till they discover the item – feeling GREAT because everyone just said such nice things about them!
  5. Repeat.


“I Love __________ Because….”
This family tradition has lasted through to our generation.  On your birthday or other special day, everyone goes around the table and tells why they love the birthday person.  It doesn’t matter if you are a friend visiting and you just met the birthday person for the first time that day or not – everyone tells why they love the birthday person.  We have warned many friends attending our family events to be prepared because they will not be given a pass!

This tradition does two things: 1.  It teaches everyone how to celebrate each other.  2.  It teaches YOU to accept compliments and love from others.

I believe that this is why Jason’s family is so good at recognizing each other’s talents and why they have a strong sense of self.  They have PRACTICED it their whole lives so now they are good at it.  It is an amazing quality to develop in a family.




5.  DANCE PARTY – the evening ended in a spontaneous dance party, complete with a Congo Line and singing along to the “Frozen” soundtrack, of course.

Simple.  Meaningful.  Fun.  My three favorite descriptive words for any event.  Don’t you wish you were there?


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I just attended a Recognition Activity for Activity Days where they focused on Developing Talents.  I’m going to share it with you – I’ll tell you a little bit about how they carried it out and also how it might be adapted to fit your resources (i.e. people) and needs.

Here’s the gist of it:  they invited a couple who have strong musical talents – she is a professional violinist and he is a vocal coach and recording artist.

1.  She gave a talk about talents that we normally think of (music, sports, academics, cooking, etc.) and about spiritual talents that we can develop (Christlike characteristics, reading the scriptures, friendship, etc.) and encouraged the girls to develop more than just one talent.  Everyone has many talents if we choose to look for them and then work at developing them.

This lesson can be taught by anyone.  She brought her experiences of being a concert violinist into the lesson but anyone can do this same thing referring to their specific talents.


2.  He then taught a short vocal coaching lesson to the entire group.  This was a challenge and would work better in a smaller group but it was interesting and fun to learn about something that many of the people didn’t have much experience.

This part can also be done by anyone with a talent that you want to share with the group.  Maybe acting or storytelling or something where everyone can participate in the instruction then “perform” for each other.  There are MANY talented people in our wards and stakes who aren’t “professionals.”  Think about YOUR resources and use what you have to develop a fabulous lesson that everyone can participate in.



I LOVED this idea for an invite.  The leaders asked the Activity Day girls to draw a picture of a talent that they had or a talent that they wanted to develop.  These pictures were scanned in and became the border of the invitation.  Come on…don’t you love that????  The purpose of Recognition Activities is to share the girls’ growth in the gospel.  This is a great way to accomplish “sharing.”



They created little vignettes of different talents throughout the room.  Cooking, music, art, sports.  Simple and effective.  But my favorite part had to be the display of each girls’ talent picture that they had created.  Each girl took home their picture at the end of the activity.



Keeping it simple, they  sent everyone home with a little favor box filled with jelly beans.  What girl doesn’t like little boxes?  It was a sweet way to make the treat special.



GO FOR IT!  Find the people in your sphere of influence and think about their talents.  Someone will come to mind that can teach a group a new skill and have fun at the same time.  Paired with the girls sharing their own talents through their artwork on display, this made a great Recognition Activity opportunity for families to connect and celebrate these girls.



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I started to help plan this activity but then got a new calling in the Stake.  My new job requires me to attend each Recognition Activity in our area – lucky me!  Our ward finished the plans we started and I got to attend the event tonight!  Here is the plan and some pictures of how it was carried out.  Plus some downloads are coming to help you with your own activity.



Mother Daughter Polka Dot “T” Party – Recognition Night

“T” stands for Testimony :  D.O.T. – Develop Our Testimony
We are going to have a fun but spiritual night where we learn about how to recognize the Holy Ghost and then act on promptings we receive.
Girls and moms are invited to bring their journals.

Opportunities to share their individual growth in testimony development will happen one-on-one with mothers in the Faith Walk.

From the Faith in God Book (Learning and Living the Gospel): Mark these verses about the Holy Ghost in your scriptures: John 14:16–172 Nephi 32:5, and Moroni 10:5. Discuss ways the Holy Ghost helps you.


One of the 11-year-old girls will do the conducting for the meeting and another lead the music.
“Left-Right Game” (We are using this post for inspiration – including the “Left Right Game”)


HOLY GHOST OBSTACLE COURSE: We’ll do a blindfold obstacle course where the moms will guide their daughters through a course set up with found objects.  The other participants will serve as distracters and the girls will work to listen to the still small voice of Mom.


Following the obstacle course, share the pocketknife story from this article: “Learning to Hear and Understand the Spirit” by David McConkie in the February 2011 Ensign.  Discussion:  How is the obstacle course experience like the pocketknife story?  How can we recognize the Holy Ghost?  How does the Holy Ghost speak to us?  What can we do to increase the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives?


FAITH WALK: We will give the mothers and daughters one-on-one experiences in a “Faith Walk” to talk about things of the Spirit and how to increase their commitment to listening to the Holy Ghost.IMG_4846

We’ll have different 2-minute “stations” will be set up around the church with a small/short learning activity such as unscrambling the letters of a word puzzle or cracking  a secret code to spell a word or a scripture to look up and read –  maybe the word is “Holy Ghost” or “Joseph Smith” – including the 5 parts of a testimony found in “The Testimony Glove“.   Then it will have a question or scenario to discuss that goes along with each phrase or scripture.   Moms and daughters will talk about each scenario or scripture and make commitments for how they can increase their testimony.  One station will include the Faith in God requirement listed at the top of this post.  Each station will only be about 2 minutes long – a quick puzzle/code /scripture to look up with a question or prompt to discuss with moms.


Example: Joseph Smith (unscramble letters to create the word): “What do I know about the story of Joseph Smith and the First Vision?”  “What can I do to increase mine and my family’s understanding of the First Vision?”

See what I mean?  Sharing about their growth in the gospel, setting goals together of how to move forward in their testimonies….pretty awesome sharing going on.






Throughout this walk, give girls opportunities to share what they are doing to increase their faith & strengthen their testimonies of various gospel principles (this is reporting progress of Learning and Living the Gospel).

(Use the Testimony Glove printable found in the Friend here) or just make your own like our group did!  Each station earned a sticker that is applicable to the testimony principle.


LESSON + JOURNALS: We are asking the girls to bring their journals (because they already have so many and we don’t want to spend budget money).  We will meet back together to have a short lesson about testimonies using “How to Acquire Spiritual Guidance” by Elder Richard G. Scott.  Consider reading “How the Holy Ghost Makes Me Feel” by Michele Leigh Carnesecca.  Have each person (moms, too) to write their own testimonies in their journals.  We will have a few spare journals or journal sheets available if someone doesn’t bring their own.  Click below to download this page.

Journaling Page - Polka Dot Journaling Page – Polka Dot


INVITATION INSPIRATION: Of course, everyone will be encouraged to wear polka dots – and tea party cakes and treats will be served.  I was thinking that a version of this is great invitation inspiration.  Easy, unique, special…but easy.


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Here are some 5 x 7 and 6 x 6 versions of this royal printable, inspired by a recent Daddy Daughter Ball – Activity Days Recognition Night I attended.  Click on the name below the image to get each color.  If it pulls up as a new page then simply right click to save as a new file somewhere that you can find.  Click here to see where I got the magical inspiration for this printable.


Be Loyal to the Royal - 5x7 teal5 x 7 teal
5 x 7 raspberry
5 x 7 navy
5 x 7 coral

Be Loyal to the Royal - 6x6 raspberry

6 x 6 teal
6 x 6 raspberry
6 x 6 navy
6 x 6 coral

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