The semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the perfect time for faith, family — and food. Here are 10 traditions to help children and youth stay engaged as they hear talks from church leadership.
1. “Meet” the speakers
Children and teens may be more likely to pay attention and listen to speakers who they know something about. In a Family Home Evening prior to conference, visit the Meet Today’s Apostles and Prophets section of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s website LDS.org. You can also make learning a game by taking this matching quiz on UtahValley360.com.
2. Play bingo
To keep little ears listening, consider playing conference bingo. Put out a bowl of candy, and have children fill spaces of words they hear until they get a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Find bingo cards here on UtahValley360.com. You can also find conference-themed activity packets at Sugardoodle to keep children occupied.
In the Book of Mormon in Mosiah, Chapter 2, people pitch their tents around the temple to hear King Benjamin speak the words of God. Prior to conference, you can read his address and make a family activity to go along with it. For example, Utah blogger Tiffany Erickson of Raising Lemons describes how her family reads the address and then sleeps in a tent before general conference. Martin Jenston of Connecticut told LDS Living that his kids would each decorate their own “tent” cardboard box, then align the cutout doors toward the TV to face the speaker.
4. Keep a conference journal
Prior to conference, you can purchase (and decorate) notebooks where family members can record thoughts, ideas and impressions that they gain from general conference. Sparkly pens, markers, stickers and crayons can also make the activity more lively and fun.
5. Do a puzzle
One way to keep hands occupied during conference is to pick a puzzle to work on during the speakers. You can set it on a table near the TV, and have family members work to complete it as they listen to conference.
6. Drive and picnic
Fall general conference is the perfect time to enjoy the stunning color as leaves change. In Utah, click on this list of Scenic Drives and Byways for inspiration, and considering packing a picnic to enjoy between conference sessions. In particular, the Alpine Loop Scenic Backway is gorgeous in the fall. In between sessions, you can stop and picnic at beautiful Cascade Springs, a spring area with a terraced boardwalk.
7. Make key-word candy jars
Fill mason jars or bowls with different kinds of candy, and then write a key word on each bowl. (Ideas could be words such as temple, tithing, pray, scriptures and service.) As children listen, they can take a piece of candy each time they hear a speaker say one of the key words.
8. Set up a general conference store
Arizona blogger Stephanie Dulgarians of the blog Somewhat Simple sets up a general conference store with dollar-store treats and candy for her children. At the beginning of conference, she gives each child $2 in conference cash. They can earn more money for her store by being quiet and listening to speakers. You can find instructions for her store and template for the conference cash here on her blog.
9. Celebrate mothers and daughters, and father’s and sons
Use the time before or after the general women’s session and the priesthood session of general conference for family bonding time. Go to dinner before or out for a treat afterwards — anything to extend that special time spent together.
Food is an important part of general conference weekend, so incorporate food in your traditions. You could host a brunch in between sessions, or find a favorite cinnamon roll recipe that can be passed down for generations. You might even try these beignets found here on the blog Bombshell Bling.