Month: December 2013

Christmas Lesson

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“While we study the scriptures regularly and diligently, earnestly seeking guidance from the Spirit, we will be receptive to enlightenment about how to prepare lessons. We will also be prepared to receive and follow promptings from the Spirit while we teach. As we ‘treasure up continually  the words of life…it shall be given [us] in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man’.” (Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 14).

Materials needed: dress ups, copies of the handout and crayons, Gospel Art Kit pictures of the nativity and wise men, ipad or tablet, small white board and dry erase markers.

Read the story of the Nativity from Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Show the Gospel Art kit pictures.

Who are the important people in this story? How did they show their love for baby Jesus? Express your love for Jesus and how he came to earth to show us God’s love for all His children.

Watch this story of The Nativity and tell the names of the different people and what they are doing:

Bear your testimony.

Dress ups: each child takes a turn to be a character in the story (characters depend on the number of children). Tell the nativity story in your own words as each child acts out their part (bring a baby doll). (if you have enough students, it is fun to have different “inn keepers.” When Joseph “knocks” on their door and asks if there is room in their inn, they say, “No, we’re too full.” But the last one says, “No, we’re too full, but you can stay in our stable with the animals”). Each character says how they show love for baby Jesus.

Watch one or two of these short videos on giving a gift to Jesus at Christmas.

What is your gift to Jesus? How can we show love to him?

Have each child color a picture of Jesus. Write down what each child says to finish the sentence: “I can show my love to Jesus by….”

Make a box with things inside as described in the first videoclip for each child. Wrap them up and tell the Sunbeam child to open it up at Christmas morning and tell everyone what each thing means to us at Christmas.

Review games:

Pictionary: I’m going to draw a picture (on whiteboard) of someone or something and you try to guess who it is (Wise men, Mary, Joseph, cow, sheep, donkey, star, Baby Jesus, the manger, etc.)

The Standup-Sit down game: Tell something about the story and the children stand up if it is true and sit down if it is not:

Mary is the mother of Jesus

Mary rode on a camel to Bethlehem

The Wise Men gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh

Joseph was the husband of Mary

The Innkeeper gave Joseph and Mary a nice room in their hotel

The Star shined over the manger to show everyone where Baby Jesus was

The Angels appeared to the Shepherds

The Shepherds took care of elephants

The animals in the manger were zebra and lions

The Shepherds took care of sheep






Lesson #44 "We Can All Help At Church

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“As you teach children, you will find that you receive special blessings. Children will bring joy to your soul and prompt you to be a good example. As you come to recognize the faithfulness, love, trust, and hope of children, you will grow closer to the Lord and better understand His commandment to ‘become as little children'” (Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 108).

Materials needed: a small nativity with figures, Gospel Art pictures 1-71 and 1-8, coloring page and Coupons (if desired)

From the Attention Activity in this lesson from the Primary 1 manual, do the chair activity where one child tried to lift the chair with holding just one leg. He can’t do it himself. It’s too hard. Then others help by lifting the other legs at the same time. We can do hard things together if we all help.

Show the picture of Nephi building a ship. Tell about how Nephi couldn’t build the ship by himself. First he had to pray to Heavenly Father to see how to do it. Then he needed his family to help him build it.

Why couldn’t Nephi build the ship by himself?  How did his family help?

What happens when everyone works together?

Show picture of the sacrament. Who are these people? The deacons have the Priesthood and it is their job to help us take the sacrament. They all work together so we can all take the bread and water.  We all can do something at church to help each other.

Who are some other people that help us at church? What can we do to help others at church? (be reverent, sing the songs for the song leader, listen to our teachers and parents, help our friends, pick up trash, say “thank you” to people who help us.)

Sing “When we’re helping, We’re happy.” Children’s Songbook, p. 198. Add different verses of the people just discussed (“and we like to help teacher…” “and we like to help bishop…” etc.) On the chorus, have the children clap once at the beginning of each measure.

At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. There were many people who were there when he was born in a stable. A stable is where animals are kept, like a barn. Mary and Joseph were visiting the town of Bethlehem and it was so crowded, there wasn’t any place for them to stay. So they had to stay in a stable. They were very poor and didn’t have very much. But there were a lot of people who came to help them.(Show the different people or figurines of the nativity and ask what each did to help Jesus. Then talk about how Jesus was the best helper of all. Because he came to earth as a baby, and grew up to a man, he helped many people by teaching the gospel and healing them. He is our biggest Helper because he gave us eternal life.)

Each child can color this page:

You could also have each child make a Christmas gift for their mom or dad. On pieces of paper, they fill out “Coupons” that tells what nice thing, act of service or being a big helper, they will do for their parent.  The parent can “redeem” the coupon when they want their child to do one of the things. You can put each child’s coupons in a nice Christmas wrapping or small sack to open at Christmas.


2013 Year in Review

Happy Holidays from the Nelsons in Utah!

Our blessings just keep multiplying each year.  We have added much to our gratitude list and want to share the math of the Nelson’s 2013 year (get out your calculators).

Danie's ipod 053We lost our beloved dog Sadie after she was run over by a car (minus one pet) but a few weeks later received the miracle of another dog (plus one pet) named Scout. The first thing our new dog did when we brought her home was to walk over to the corner of our backyard and lay down on Sadie’s grave. Statistically speaking, quite improbable.

A common denominator is two medical assistants in the Nelson family careers. Kathryn (middle, below) finished her degree and passed the national certification and loves her work in a dermatology office. Rachel (left, below) began the same program and straddles morning classes at Orem High School and afternoon classes at the medical assisting college.


Rachel multiplied her happiness and added another country to her travels as she earned the money to serve in an Ecuadorian orphanage for two weeks in June.IMG_9405. It was an infinitely life-altering experience.

When Julie went to the Orem High Ladies’ tennis parent team meeting in August, she began adding up the number of seasons she and Roland have been attending team meetings, watching matches, and driving to tennis tournaments. Between Jared, Kathryn, Emily and Rachel, we have thoroughly enjoyed 10 consecutive years of high school tennis, and a few more beyond that if you count junior high. It’s a bittersweet farewell after Rachel finished her senior season this fall and we said goodbye to tennis (Daniel will probably go a different athletic route).

Rachel and Olivia2

Emily lived in Chelan, Washington for the first three months in 2013 for an accounting internship. She worked with the properties of arithmetic every day, and became an expert in bank reconciliations, saying no to alcohol served with meals, and sharing the gospel. Jared also works with numbers everyday at his job at Vivint, supervising 85 employees.

August 2010 LiahonaJulie added a few accolades to her professional life and has had to divide her time and attention among many demands since publishing her book, “Parenting With Spiritual Power” in March. She received the UVU Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award, has been featured in or written for various news sources such as, The Wall Street Journal,, Family Share, and Deseret News; she is a regular guest on BYU radio and will be interviewed on KSL TV this month. If you are still looking for a great Christmas gift, her book is available and she hopes to strengthen families, relationships and especially give parents confidence in raising children through her endeavors.

There was nothing more exciting this year than Emily’s decision to serve a mission, her mission call to the Mexico City Northwest mission, farewell talk in sacrament meeting (where Julie’s former mission president, Elder Hammond, also spoke—who had been an area authority over Mexico City among other places), and her entry into the MTC in November. She will be serving a few miles from where Jared served so we can add two missions to Mexico for the Nelson children!                                                                                      First day with new companion, Hna. Braby  We love her letters and count the multiplying blessings each day from her service.

This was the year for subtracting organs (bodily ones, not the musical instruments). As Emily received her mission physical, we were informed she was born without a left kidney. Random! Daniel underwent surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids, Rachel had an emergency appendectomy and Kathryn had her wisdom teeth removed (that’s 8 missing body parts if anyone is counting). Serious money was deducted from our bank account as well.

October was a busy month for the three Nelson men (Roland, Jared, Daniel). Daniel was ordained to the priesthood by his dad and brother and they took a fantastic, male-bonding trip together back east to all the historical sites in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Gettysburg, and Civil War sites.  It was a trip of inestimable value.

Not to be left out of the equation, the three girls (Julie, Kathryn and Rachel) vacationed in Chicago to visit museums, the zoo, restaurants, ride the architectural riverboat tour, and shop. We’ve been there a lot,  and it has become a favorite city of ours. 100% awesome. We were even interviewed on the local TV channel for eating at a pizzeria that was voted #1 in the US. That’s two TV appearances this year if anyone is counting.


Count up to 50 and that would be the number of years the Corvallis, Oregon stake has been organized. We traveled home for the 50th anniversary  in July and were happy to see family and friends we hadn’t seen for many years. Additionally, we enjoyed a great time at the Oregon Coast for the Nelson family reunion.

Fifty is also the prime number for Roland and Julie. It equals their ages they turned this year. They are both feeling middle-ageish, a bit nostalgic about the past, more sanguine about the future, and sorrowful seeing children leave the nest. Next year, there will likely only be one child left at home. 5-4=1. That subtraction is an equation we don’t like the sum of.

Story problem: Bishop Nelson was travelling from work to home (2.5 miles) at the rate of 45 miles per hour. A monster storm was travelling at 200 miles per hour in the opposite direction pouring a deluge of rain over Utah County. How many hours before he would make it home to find members of his ward with 2 feet of water flooding their basements? Well, who can ever figure out those dang story problems anyway? You get the idea, but in case you had to know: the basements were flooded in about 30 minutes but he was detained for 2 hours before he could return. Roland has been bishop for about one year (rounding down). He continues to serve faithfully and divides time with many competing demands between work (BYU) family and church. Due to stress, he has subtracted pounds and added some grey hair. Our family’s admiration has multiplied for his devotion to his family, faith, neighbors, and God.

At the end of this abundant year, we add our witness that God loves His children and keeps His promises: “And inasmuch as he is faithful in keeping my commandments, which I have given unto him, I will multiply blessings upon him and his seed after him, even a multiplicity of blessings” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:42).

Mission Pic

Merry Christmas and may you feel the peace of the season.

P.S. We DO have 3 males in our family although none are represented this year in photos. Sorry! It was a miscalculation on our part.

Lesson #43 "We Have Living Prophets

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“Children are believing. They believe what you say. They are receptive to the truth. You have an obligation to teach them correct doctrine simply and clearly, with language and examples that they can understand” (Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 108).

Materials needed: pictures of past prophets and the current one, a blanket, a Christmas box or present you can open, the coloring page listed below and crayons, an ipad or tablet.

Have each child come up and face the class. Look at her/his face. Do you recognize who they are? What is his/her name? Have a little fun and tease them with “Is this_______(another child’s name)? Why not? How can you tell?

Show a picture of the prophet. Here is a face of another person? What is his name? When have you seen his face recently (discuss General Conference and how he speaks in person and how the children can watch him on t.v.). What does a prophet do that is special? (He speaks for Heavenly Father and we follow him).

Play the game: Follow the leader. Let each child have a turn to come forward and be the leader.

When you are finished, ask the children who are some leaders we follow? (parents, teachers). There is another special leader who is very important to us all. Our parents follow this leader and we do too. (hold us his picture again). Who is he?

We have had many prophets that have lived on the earth. Most prophets lived a long time ago. Sometimes they lived in tents because they didn’t have houses in the desert. Let’s build a tent and sit inside while I tell you stories about special things they did. (put a blanket over a table and invite children inside). Show pictures of prophets and tell stories about them.

If we follow the prophet, we will be happy. He is our leader. If we follow the prophet we will be safe.  Sing the chorus to, “Follow the Prophet” (Children’s Songbook, p. 110) while everyone stands and marches. The second time, have the children sit down and count how many times you sing the words “follow the prophet.” The next time, have the children sing the words “follow the prophet” with you. Ask them, “What does ‘Don’t go astray’ mean?” and “What does ‘He knows the way” mean?” Finally, have them sing the chorus together with these actions:

Follow the prophet (raise one finger), follow the prophet (raise another finger)

follow the prophet (raise another finger), don’t go astray (shake head and frown).

Follow the prophet (raise another finger), follow the prophet (raise another finger)

follow the prophet (raise another finger), he knows the way! (shake head with a smile). Repeat again if children desire.

Show “What Shall We Give?” under Mormon Messages on the internet to show what our prophet today is leading us to do. After it is over, ask the children, “What was President Monson telling us to do at Christmastime?”

Sit in a circle on the floor. One child at a time will open the lid to the present and take out a word on a paper to draw out.  The papers will say, “Mom” ” Dad” “Neighbor” “Friend “Sister” Brother” etc. Ask them, “What  can you do that is nice for _____________to follow our prophet?”

Give away the Prophet page from the Friend magazine.








Lesson #42 "I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"

***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.

“Vary your teaching voice. Do you talk too slowly, too fast, too loudly? Do you use the same tone of voice, with little inflection? Is your speech clear? Are you enthusiastic about what you teach? How you use your voice can influence the attention level of those you teach” Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 71.

Materials needed: Paper puzzle pieces cut out to fit together with each child’s name on a piece, simple puzzles, Gospel Art Kit picture 1-39, a blanket (a nativity set if desired).

If you teach this lesson in December, you can start with this opening; if not, skip to the puzzle piece activity next (or do both).

Bring out each piece of the nativity set and talk about the character in the story, what they did and why they were important. Leave out baby Jesus. At the end, ask the children if someone is missing. When it is determined that Jesus is missing, bring out that piece and discuss why the story wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have Jesus. He is the whole reason for the Christmas story and he was the baby of this family. We are also important to our families and to the family of Heavenly Father. If we were missing, it wouldn’t be right. We are very important and needed!

Show a paper puzzle piece. What does this look like? This has someone’s name on it. It says, “_________.” Repeat for each puzzle piece and have each child come forward and put their piece on the floor, with assistance to fit them together. Save one middle piece and do not give it out (or keep the piece(s) of the children who are absent). What does our puzzle look like? Is it finished? Do you think something is missing? (put the last piece(s) in and let the children respond to how it looks when it is all put together). When the puzzle is put back together, tell the children you are going to read all the names in the puzzle. When their name is called, they stand up.

We all have a part in this puzzle to make complete. If it didn’t have you in it, it would have a hole and not be finished. Look around and see all our friends in our class. (Sit back down).

When we come to church, we are an important part of our class. If you don’t come, we miss you. We have a chair empty without you. We feel like there is a hole in our class. You belong here.  (If a child is absent, talk about how our class isn’t put together completely unless ________ is here).

Would your mom and dad miss you if you didn’t come home one day?  You belong to your family too. We belong and are important to our families and to Heavenly Father’s church.

 Sing this song from Lesson #40:

 I’m glad I come to church each week (hands peaked)

I love to listen (hand over ear)

And to pray (fold arms, bow head)

I learn of Jesus up above (point up)

The sacrament shows us His love (hug self)

(sing to the tune “Come with me to Primary”)

Heavenly Father and Jesus are so happy when you come to church each week and take the sacrament to remember Jesus.

Show a picture of a baby blessing (1-39).  When you were a baby, you were blessed by someone with the priesthood.  You were given a name and your name is put in the church list of members. You belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I have a song that is called, “I Belong To the Church of Jesus Christ” and I would like to sing it to you (or play it on the CD). Children’s Songbook, p. 77

I’m going to sing the song and I’d like you to pretend your chairs are a drum. Turn around and beat while I sing. Repeat. Now let’s march to it while I sing it.

What if _______didn’t come to church?  Would we miss him?  Yes. Let’s play a game where we pretend someone in our class was missing. We’ll see if we know who it is.

Have the children sit on the floor and close their eyes. Cover up one child up with the blanket. Tell everyone to open their eyes, look around and see who is “missing.” When they guess correctly, lift the blanket and say, “Oh I’m so glad to see ________.” Have the children move to a different place on the floor and repeat until each child has had a turn to be covered up.

I brought some more puzzles for you to play with. Remember that each piece is important to make the puzzle put together just like you are an important piece that belongs to Heavenly Father’s church.