Sunday, June 12, 2011

Operation Get Through Church

For those of you who don't know, our sacrament meeting at church is 70 minutes. For adults, that is fine. Unless, of course, you have children. If, however, you are blessed with squirmy children who enjoy running around and being a kid, sacrament meeting can quickly turn into a NIGHTMARE. Especially when church does not start until 11:00- during lunch time and after they have been running around all morning. Something about trying to get kids to sit still after having a long morning does not seem to work well. (As a side, I would be OK if we decided to have a special kids sacrament meeting separate from the adults, but don't start yelling at me- I know it won't ever happen. I'm just saying I would support the idea if it ever came out)

Anyway, sacrament had become completely unbearable. Like, truly, the most dreaded and horrible hour of the week. It's not that our kids are bad, it's that they are KIDS- they would much rather be playing than sitting nicely. We knew it was really getting bad when we were sitting down, then discovered Claire was missing. In about 15 seconds Claire had climbed underneath 2 pews (what family didn't see a little girl crawling under their feet?) and had run back half-way through the back gym. Nice.

I decided I needed to come up with a plan- and fast. I researched. I photocopied. I prayed. Here is what I came up with:

I made four different file folder games. These are a pain, but also a surprising amount of fun to make. This one I designed myself based from an idea I got from a file folder game an autistic child I used to tutor used:

 White boards!!! I actually bought 2 cheap white boards from Target, but then I was invited to an Expo House Party at a friends house. This was the best party ever! Basically it's a party where you are given tons of free stuff. We got white boards and markers and an eraser for FREE!!!! Three words: WASHABLE Expo markers!
 This idea was brilliant: Take workbook pages and put them in a binder in sheet protectors so they can be used over and over again! The Expo markers work perfect on these pages! I found a million free printable pre-school worksheets on-line, and Audra just LOVES them! Every day she wants to do them. I will need to keep printing more copies.
 This idea was another super smart one: give each girl their own blank notebook and just let them draw. Colored pencils work well because they don't break like crayons.

Then, some new coloring books and some fresh books from the library, and we were ready to go.

How did it turn out? AWESOME! It has been two weeks, and sacrament has actually been bearable! This week, in fact, they didn't even ask for snacks! Now I think I am going to make two more church bags so we rotate them so they don't get bored.

Admittedly, this was a lot of work. But if it allows Ben and I to enjoy at least a little bit of sacrament, it is worth it.

1 comment:

  1. We've been doing the white board markers and sheet protectors with our girls for a little over a year and I agree - they are great. And, they get to practice writing letters and learning. Luckily, lately our girls have been completely happy with reading the Friend and doing the activities in there. I'm glad they won't be running around the church for awhile and you and Ben can listen to the talks.