WALKING ON THE BEACH BEFORE SUNDAY SESSION:
Now as a mother of 4 kids, I have tried each year to make Conference a meaningful experience for everyone. When I woke up to the reality that 8 hours of tv time, no matter how spiritually uplifting, is just really long for kids. I tried packets and coloring pages to no avail. The best attendance we got was when we did Word Treats. We allowed the kids to pick several gospel terms and then affixed those terms on different treats and foods. We tried to limit the types of treats to healthy fruits and veggies and a few semi sugary wonders but in the end it felt like we were just constantly eating which felt gross after sitting and watching the tv for hours on end.
Then, last year while scouring the internet for ideas, I stumbled onto the best solution ever (at least for my kids) on sugardoodle.net by Janna Barnes. She had little presents for each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the First Presidency. I also loved her idea of having mini snickers for the kids to eat each time they heard someone laugh and little hugs candies for the times someone cried.
I have done this for two Conferences now with amazing results. For less then $15, we had kids excited for and ready to "listen" to General Conference. Now, I am not so naive to think that it was excitement solely for the messages that would be heard, but I hope that this same concept could be applied here
"6 months from now you will not remember how the cookie tasted, but you will see the result" Our translation, 6 years from now, you won't remember why you were excited for Conference but you will see the result of a habit of watching all sessions with fondness.
We have one session to go and the kids are still excited to listen!! By the time the kids figured out who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and match it with the gift, open the gift, and played with it for a few minutes it was time to move on to the next activity. No one got bored and I could listen while they hopefully listened and learned by osmosis.
Our tweaks that I found worked best for us:
The members of the Twelve got various dollar store wonders. Play dough, egg dying kit, water bottle drink mixes, those capsules that dissolve in water and become some animal, etc. The best find for us were 100 piece puzzles. They took about a talk and a half to finish and took everyone of the kids working together to do it.