HEART to HEART
From Karen Schultz (Thanks Karen for sharing this fun idea!)
Primary Pres, Monrovia Ward, Monrovia, CA
Our activity was called “Heart to Heart” and involved making and serving a lunch for the grandparent-age members of the ward. The kids who had grandparents in the area were also encouraged to invite them. Since this year’s theme is on the eternal family we thought we’d use this as an opportunity to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers” so to speak. We did our activity in February to coincide with Valentine’s Day, but it would work in any month this year because of the theme.
We wanted the activity to fulfill the following objectives:
1) Serve and honor the senior members of our ward.
2) Help the kids get to know their grandparents or those of their generation.
3) Help kids take responsibility in decorating, preparing food, and entertaining.
This is what was involved in putting on the 2 hour activity.
1) Sent invitations out to the senior members of the ward and local grandparents a few weeks in advance. Announced in programs and over pulpit. Seniors were invited from 12-1, kids from 11-1 as they were doing the decorating and food prep beforehand.
2) Bought craft supplies for the kids to make decorations and centerpieces. We covered the tables with butcher paper and had the junior primary color hearts and pictures all over. For the centerpieces I found small heart buckets at the dollar store and filled them w/ kitty litter. I painted wooden skewers green and the kids cut out heart shapes and glued their pictures on them and the heart was attached to the skewer and several were put in each bucket like a bouquet. I used red raffia to cover the litter and put heart suckers in the buckets too. We had name tags that the kids decorated as well.
3) Made conversation cards that simply consisted of pictures of different activities a kid might be involved in (going to school, playing, playing instrument, a house etc). We placed a card under each child’s chair (note, we had the tables in a horseshoe shape and sat the adults on the outside and kids on the inside to facilitate conversation). Purpose was to have the adults discuss what they did as kids or how they related to the different pictures.
4) Purchased food for simple warm lunch and dessert. We served lasagna, Caesar’s salad, rolls, and brownies/ice cream.
5) Started learning the songs “The Hearts of the Children” pg 92 and “Grandmother” p 100 (change 2nd and 3rd verses to grandfather and grandparents) to sing at the lunch 3 weeks in advance.
The event itself:
Presidency arrived approx 45 minutes early to set up tables, put frozen lasagna in oven, and get everything staged for the kids “to take over”.
Separate junior and senior primary as they arrive. Juniors stay in cultural hall coloring the tables and decorating walls, centerpieces and name tags under supervision of primary counselor and some teachers. Senior primary goes to kitchen and starts preparing salads, slicing bread, slicing brownies (we had teachers make brownies), filling pitchers etc under direction of primary counselor and some teachers.
At about 10 minutes before the seniors arrived we had the kids run through the songs we’d practiced. As the grandparents starting arriving at noon a few kids at the name tag table helped them with their name tags.
I welcomed everyone and told the adults that the activity was prepared and brought to them by the Primary kids. Before the lasagna was brought out we had the kids find the pictures under their seats and that they were to ask their grandparent or adopted grandparent across from them what their experiences were like concerning the picture (did they live in one house whole life? What were their favorite sports, where were they baptized etc).
We had teachers do the serving so all the kids could participate in the lunch with the seniors.
Before dessert was served the kids sang the 2 songs mentioned above and “I am a child of God”. Our pianist was one of our Young Men and he played background music during the lunch and it was a really nice touch. We hadn’t asked him to do it and it really added a lot so I’d suggest it to anyone else!
The kids had fun decorating and getting the food together. They were great little lunch mates and stayed in their seats. I think when they are allowed to be in charge a little bit it helps with their reverence and behavior overall. The adults really enjoyed themselves and we got a really good response all around.