LDS General Conference is a great way to build family unity and spirituality, but it might end up being a missed opportunity if you don't prepare — especially if you have young children.
Little kids might have a hard time paying attention to a full weekend of Conference talks, but there are some simple ways to get them ready. Use these activities to get you and your family on the right track.
1. Keyword listening/Conference bingo
Although General Conference isn't for several weeks, you can help your kids get ready to listen earnestly by challenging them to listen for certain keywords at church each Sunday.
For instance, choose words or phrases that are common and hold doctrinal significance, such as "missionary," "prophet," "temple," or "priesthood." As your children keep their ears pricked for these keywords, help them keep a running tally. If they can get each word, reward them with a prize or small treat following church that day.
This will help them be more than ready to play Conference Bingo when Conference weekend finally arrives.
2. Singing hymns and 'name that tune'
Congregational hymns are a part of General Conference, and it's always more fun if you are familiar with the music. In the weeks leading up to General Conference, gather as a family to sing some spiritual music each week. This makes for an enjoyable sabbath day activity. If no one in your family plays the piano, you can play the music from lds.org music archives. Start with the Primary Children's Songbook and finish with a hymn or two.
If you want to make things really fun for young children, play "name that tune" with some favorite Primary songs. Children learn by example, so, if you're not singing, they probably won't want to, either. When you're all singing together as a family, individual members are less likely to feel self-conscious. By the time Conference weekend arrives, you can enjoy singing aloud together during the congregational hymns.
3. Attend Music and the Spoken Word
Music and the Spoken Word is a broadcast on Sunday mornings at the Conference Center, where General Conference takes place. Each Sunday at 9 a.m. MST, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform a variety of spiritual music along with uplifting words spoken.
This decades-old tradition is a wonderful way to start Sunday morning and also will prepare your children for the same type of broadcast as General Conference. If you can attend this broadcast in person, it benefits children as a dry run of sorts for General Conference attendance.
4. General Authority memory game
The General Authorities and officers of the church change from time to time. It's quite a few people and faces to remember.
Help your children recognize and care about the speakers at Conference by creating a General Authority memory game. Print two copies of the chart found on lds.org on cardstock, and then play memory (sometimes called "concentration" or "match-up") as a family activity in the weeks leading up to Conference.
5. Watch The Living Scriptures Streaming
Conference talks often reference stories from the scriptures, and your children are more likely to listen if the stories sound familiar. Other than reading scriptures together as a family, watching Living Scriptures Streaming provides a way to become familiar with stories from the Bible and The Book of Mormon.
As your children watch these videos, they'll connect with characters from the scriptures and understand the meaning behind the parables and narratives. Then, when speakers at General Conference pull principles and doctrines from the scriptures, it will be that much easier for your children to understand and follow.
If you currently have access to Living Scriptures Streaming, get started now at livingscriptures.com. Get your subscription, so your kids will be ready for scripture-filled talks at General Conference.