Posts Tagged ‘Activity Days’

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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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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I only attended this activity as a guest so I can’t give you the play-by-play, behind-the-scenes plan.  But I will share what I have because….this is worth sharing…and doing.


It was meaningful.

It was simple.

It was about connecting.

It was about developing relationships.

It was about celebrating these girls.

It was a lovely evening and I invite you to try it with your own Activity Day group.  Here’s how it went down:


Everyone dressed up – looking darling and handsome.  They gathered at tables for a short program, had dessert and a photo booth opportunity, then the dancing began.  That was the extent of it.  But from the twirls and spins and dips I saw on the dance floor, it was a magical night for these darling girls and their dads.

  1. welcome
  2. short message from a member of the bishopric
  3. chocolate fountain bar for dessert
  4. photo booth (with props)
  5. dancing



I wish I had a copy of the invitation, but I don’t.  We will settle for the pictures I took that night with my phone.  They strung a few strands of twinkling lights criss-cross across the gym to create a “dance floor” vibe.  Kind of retro.  Kind of Town Square Courtyard feel.  Festive enough to feel special.  The girls were taught how to create tissue paper poms at a previous activity (a life-skill if I’ve ever heard of one) and those added to the decor.


The tables had simple vases with silver branches to add some sparkle.  There is never much of a budget for these things and I loved seeing them use their money on the most important parts of the event – the dessert was a special treat and the “gifts and favors” were meaningful and added to the event.



The bishopric counselor gave a wonderful (and short – about 5 minutes) message introducing their theme, “Daughter of a Heavenly King.”  He talked about the song “Daughter of a King” by Jenny Phillips as well as a quote, “Be loyal to the royal within you.”  Both became a little bundled favor for each girl to take home – a copy of the song and the printable.   (There are many printables available online with this phrase if you do a simple search.)

Playing the song for the girls and their dads would have been a simple addition.  Or perhaps have this song playing over and over as they arrived at the event.  Either would have been a way to incorporate the actual song to the evening if you wanted to.


I thought that this dessert option was genius for a couple of reasons.  I believe (this is totally my opinion) that serving a meal is often over-rated and an interesting dessert can usually (not always, but often) serve the same purpose.  The reason I say this is because of the time and money it takes to do a meal is high and we can often get the same result just doing a dessert or smaller food item.


The second reason why this idea was so fabulous was because it was SPECIAL.  Who has a chocolate fountain for dessert on a regular basis?  Not me!  It is fun and interactive and individual and SPECIAL.  It made everyone there feel important and made the night feel magical.  Plus, it probably didn’t cost a huge amount of money to provide the chocolate, some cut fruit, pretzels, cinnamon bears, marshmallows, etc.  Great idea, ladies!



Girls and dads chose props and had their pictures taken in sets of 3 – just like a photo booth.  I have a feeling these pictures will find their way back to the girls in strips of 3 photos (just like a photo booth would produce) and it’s a great idea.  If you don’t want to tackle that photoshop task, one picture is just as fun to commemorate the evening.

(UPDATE) – I was right!  Here’s an example of the 3 photos each Daddy/Daughter pair received from their awesome leaders.  So fun!





If dancing with your little princess wasn’t enough, each father received a gift from their daughter.  I loved what these leaders helped the girls do for their dads.  They decorated a frame but the photo inside was darling – an individual black and white shot of each girl (with a white background).  Someone is good at this photography thing in the group because the photos were great and then they photoshopped a little crown and “Daughter of a King” label onto each image before inserting them into the frames.


With each photo was a letter to Dad from their daughter.  This was a great opportunity to share their growth in the gospel, their goals, their achievements, and their love for their fathers.  This letter was one of my favorite parts of the whole activity.  What a treasure for these fathers to take home.


The dance took up about half of the hour and a half event.  Disney tunes, upbeat versions of Primary tunes and other completely uplifting and wholesome music was played once the dessert and dance started.  Lots of giggling, lots of twirling, lots of cool dance moves were going on.  Most of all – lots of love was being shared.

It was a magical night to remember.   It made me wish I was 10 years old.

This activity inspired me to design this printable.   Thank you to the wonderful leaders who created such a fabulous evening!


Be Loyal to the Royal - 6x6 raspberry

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I loved this activity on identifying and talking about Scripture Superheroes and was happily surprised that our youth leaders were excited to do it as well.  Here’s our plan – in Planning With a Purpose format.  Refer to this post for more info on how to do Planning With a Purpose and for downloads to help you in the process.


I am now serving as the Stake Primary Counselor over Activity Days – that means I am no longer carrying out the activities.  But we had already planned these activities with our two youth leaders so I want to share them even though I don’t have photos of the actual activity.  I will continue to share ideas as I see them in our Stake.  Enjoy!

1.  What do we value?
click here to see “Value Sheet” download – we use the same values for all of our activities

  • We value accomplishing the Faith in God requirements.
  • We value everyone feeling included.
  • We value people coming.
  • We value making friends.
  • We value respect toward each other.
  • We value learning in a fun way (short lesson plus activity of some sort)


2.  What do we want to have happen? (goals)
click here to see ” Planning Sheet” download

Instead of asking, “What do we want to do?” always ask, “WHAT DO WE WANT TO HAVE HAPPEN?
Refer to your list of values to help you answer this question – your values and goals should go hand-in-hand.

From the Faith in God Book (Learning and Living the Gospel): Tell a story from the Book of Mormon that teaches about faith in Jesus Christ. Share your testimony of the Savior.

For our Scripture Superhero activity, we adapted the above Faith in God requirement in the following way:

  • we want each girl to know more about a scripture person
  • we want to make scriptures more personal
  • we want everyone to feel successful at presenting
  • we want everyone to commit to be more like their scripture heroes


3.  How are we going to make this happen? (plans + implementation)

NOTE: We are sending out an invitation for this activity because there is something for the girls to prepare before they come.
The youth leaders also committed to preparing 2 extra scripture superheroes each (4 total) for girls to choose from if they forget to bring their superhero information.

1.  Youth leaders greet each girl – find out if they have their Scripture Superhero ready.  If not, offer to let them choose one from the extras that our youth leaders prepared beforehand.  This will allow everyone to participate even if they forget to come with a Scripture Superhero.
2.  Welcome (opening prayer) – 5 min.
3.  Short lesson about heroes in battle (who’s side will you be on? – refer to idea found in original Scripture Superhero activity here)
4.  Scripture Superhero Share: before everyone shares their superhero, explain that everyone needs to pay attention because when it’s over, each person will share something they “Liked and Learned” about someone’s superhero.

“I liked Holly’s _____________ because I learned ____________.”

5.  Journaling Capes: using the journaling pages found here, girls will write something that they are going to commit to do to be more like one of the heroes we talked about today.
6.  Treat: we don’t normally have treats because it’s not necessary and it starts to cost too much money.  However, we decided that this time we would have a simple treat of superhero fruit snacks!  Cute.
7.  Closing prayer.


Invitation (use the idea from here to make our invite – send out by 7 days before activity)
Calendar (we deliver a 3-month calendar to all the girls before the activities start)
Text Reminder to Moms (the day before – with reminder of what they need to have prepared)

4.  Evaluate the process and the implementation
Ask yourself often:
What DID we want to have happen?
Is that actually happening / did that happen?
Do we need to change something to get closer to what we want to have happen?
How can we do that?

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