This is such an important topic, and the children really need to know about it. So, the other day I was talking with my Mother-in-law, and she gave me a really great idea.
I remember being young and never really understanding what the Atonement was. I always heard people talking about it, but I guess I didn’t listen when they explained it. So, I really want to help the children understand what the Atonement is, and why Jesus did this for us. I hope these ideas can help some of you get started.
What you will need for this Sharing Time:
Print out a large picture of a girl or boy laminated (http://www.mormonshare.com/ has some cute pictures of girls and boys)
Peanut Butter or Chocolate
101: Adam and Eve
227: Jesus Praying in Gethsemane
230: The Crucifixion
For the game:
Print-out pictures of apples (I found one on Microsoft Word), cut, with different scenarios on the back (examples given below)
A board game (Make your own, or you can do a life-size board game. Cut out square pieces of paper and lay them in a path around the Primary Room. At the end of the path have a picture of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ)
A picture of a tree or a potted tree (Real or fake)
Show the children GAK picture 101: Adam & Eve.
Ask them if they know who this is? Then tell them the story of Adam & Eve, reading to the part where it says “but, remember that I forbid it.” (Show the children your little girl/boy or have one of the children come up and help you. Keep reading and you’ll find out what we will use this for. 🙂 ) This is Sally. See how clean she is. Well, Sally is going to help me out today.
(Here is a picture of my ‘Sally’ girl. I got it from a Primary Clipart CD I have)
Then continue the story about Adam and Eve, telling the children that Heavenly Father had commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but they did. Since they chose to eat of the fruit, Heavenly Father told them they had to leave the Garden of Eden. They no longer got to live with Heavenly Father because they had disobeyed and were no longer pure and clean. This is what we call The Fall.
(Put some peanut butter or chocolate on Sally, use something to show the kids she is no longer clean. If you use one of the Primary Children cut out some brown or black circles and safety pin them on the child.)
Tell the children that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they were no longer clean, just like ‘Sally’. And because they were no longer clean, they could not be in the presence of Heavenly Father. So Heavenly Father told them that they must leave the Garden of Eden.
Sometimes we do things that are wrong, maybe we lie to our parents (add another glob of ‘sin’), or say mean things to our brothers or sisters (add another glog). And when we sin/do bad things, then we are no longer clean and pure. None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, but we have to be clean and pure in order to be saved/live with our Heavenly Father.
So, poor Sally, because she has all of these spots on her, she isn’t clean. Does that mean she can’t be saved/live with Heavenly Father?
Then explain to the children that that is why Jesus came and suffered for our sins. Show them GAK Picture 227 & 230 and tell the children about the Atonement. Explain to them that because of what Jesus did for us we are able to repent and be made clean again. And since we are clean (wipe off Sally), we are able to be saved/live with our Heavenly Father again. Tell them that not everyone will be saved though, there are things that we must do. You could have them read with you, the 3rd Article of Faith, and then explain that at the end it tells you what you need to do to be saved. You also need to remember to Repent, have Faith in Jesus Christ, be baptized, etc. etc.
Next, show them the tree that you brought with the apples/fruit on them. Tell them that you are going to play a game.
Have the children take turns coming up and picking an apple from the tree. Read what it says on the back and move their piece the number of times it says on the apple. The goal of the game is to make it back to our Heavenly Father (To the end.) After you read each bad one, you could ask them what they should do.
-If you do a life-size board game start by choosing a child to come up and pick an apple. Then have them move the number of spaces that was written on the apple. Choose the next child to come up and pick an apple. Have the new child replace the other child on the board, that way everyone gets a chance to be the ‘game piece.’
To prepare for the game:
Print and cut out the apples (or other fruit). On the back of each fruit write a scenario that will help the children understand what they need to do in order to return to Heavenly Father. Make a board game (or you could have them play a life-size board game) and have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ at the end.
Some examples that could be on the apples:
Today during Math we had a test. I didn’t
study, so I decided to cheat off of my friend.
I felt bad, but what else could I have done?
Move back 2 spaces.
There is a boy at school that always is mean
to you. One day, you see that he has fallen
and hurt his knee. You decide to stop and
help him home.
Move ahead 3 spaces.
You earned $5.00 for mowing the lawn.
On Sunday, your Mom tells you that you
need to remember to pay your tithing.
You really want this toy that you saw
Costs $5.00, but you know that we are
supposed to pay tithing, so you do.
Move ahead 3 spaces.
You break your Mother’s favorite
vase. You want to hide it so she can’t
see it, but you decide to tell her what
happened and tell her sorry for what you
Move ahead 2 spaces.
For this Sharing Time you will need:
The 3rd Article of Faith typed up. Have each word on its own seperate piece of paper.
GAK Pictures 227: Jesus Praying in Gethsemane
Picture 230: The Crucifixion
Picture 305: Enos Praying
Picture 321: Conversion of Alma the Younger
Type up or write the 3rd Article of Faith, having each word on its own strip of paper. Have the word ‘Atonement’ in a different color. Give a piece to each child or tape them to a chalkboard/bulletin board. Have the children put the words in the correct order. Then read the 3rd Article of Faith together.
Post GAK Pictures 227 & 230 where the children can see them.
What is the Atonement? Explain to the children what it is.
Why did Jesus have to do this?
What must we do so that we can be saved/have Eternal Life? Show them the end of the 3rd Article of Faith.
Because of Jesus’ Atonement we are able to repent and be made clean again. (I liked the idea in the Primary Outline, but I changed it up a little) Tell the children that there are many stories in the scriptures of people who were blessed because of the Atonement. Choose a few of these stories and find pictures that go with them, either in the GAK or from the Lesson manuals. Play a ‘Who am I?’ game.
How to play:
Choose your stories that you would like to share with the children. Write 4 or 5 clues for each story.
For Alma the Younger you could have clues like:
– I did not obey my Father. My four friends and I went around trying to destroy the Church by teaching the people to do wrong.
– An angel appeared to us, we were so afraid that we fell to the earth. I lost my ability to talk or to move.
Have them read one clue at a time until someone knows the answer. Have the child show the children the picture and then tell them the story. Then have the next child read their clues one by one, until that person is guessed, and so on, and so on.
This idea is like Idea #1. You could have them say the 3rd Article of Faith with you. Then show them GAK picture 227 & 230 and tell them the story of each picture. Ask them if they know what Atonement means. Explain to the children what The Atonement is, and why Jesus had to do this. Explain to them that not everyone will be saved. Tell them what they need to do in order to be saved.
Then you can play a game using the idea from Idea #1, (without the apples and the tree.) You could have a game board (made on a poster board or a life-size game). Write questions about the Atonement and different scenarios. Instead of having ‘Move ahead 2 spaces’ you could bring a dice or make one, and have them roll it, but in order to move that number of spaces they have to answer the question right or get a good scenario.
**I almost forgot. The first counselor in our ward teaches the 2nd week in February, and at the beginning of her Sharing time she was going to read ‘The Parable of the Bicycle’ to the children. It is a really cute story, and you could use that to explain the Atonement to the younger children. Here’s a link to the talk that it is found in. It is found under the ‘Give Him all that we Have’ part of the talk.
Parable of the Bicycle (Link to Stephen E. Robinson’s Talk)
Have a wonderful week and a great Sharing Time!