I also can't think of anything more important or critical to 'curing what ails us' as individuals, communities, and nations. A wise church leader and former government official once said "no nation will ever rise above the condition of it's homes." (Ezra Taft Benson)
Close families don't just happen ... they are made. So, make family a priority.
You won't regret it.
1.Devote yourself to the principle of Family and have Family Home Evening.
2. . Look at Family Home Evening as a gift, not a burden.
3. . Remember that there is eternal purpose to FHE … it’s not a mindless task.
4.. Reserve Monday nights … endlessly.
5. . Make FHE fun and interesting – It isn’t a seminar or lecture.
6. . Keep the atmosphere safe, peaceful, and loving.
7. . Involve everyone in the family.
8. . Plan and prepare. Don’t be caught with “nothing to do” that evening. Do you wait until time to start to plan a lesson or talk for church? Think in advance.
9. . Create a family home evening kit which spans age categories.
· Family Home Evening Manual, Gospel Principles Manual, 250 Ways To Connect ...
· Hymnbook and Children’s songbook and/or tapes
· Christian Music CD’s
· Church pamphlets
· Gospel Art Picture Kit / Collection
· New Era Posters / Mormon Ads
· Church Magazines
· Paper, pencils, and supplies (include extra game pieces.)
· Family Puppets
· Lesson planner or calendar
· Lists of ideas for lessons, activities, and so forth
· Soft ball or ring toss game
· Flannelboard figures
· Church DVD’s
· Gospel related games and other games that can be adapted for Gospel themes
· Gospel themed books for ideas and activities
· Homemade games to reinforce gospel themes
(Variety of games made from 'Popsicle Sticks.')
Each of these games can be played one of four ways (some easier than others.) You can play a form of "Pictionary" (registered trademark game) where you draw clues for others to guess; "Charades" where you act out the clues; a type of 'password' where you describe in words for others to guess; or what we called "Sculptionary" where you mold the clues in clay for others to guess.
1. Gospel Words - write down words from the Bible Dictionary and add other Gospel "lingo."
2. Scripture-ades - write down the story on one side of the sticks and the scriptural reference on the other side of the sticks so that they can be looked up.
3. For Our Profit and Learning - words on both sides of these "indian" sticks from the Book of Mormon only.
4. My Hero - half sized popsicle sticks with names of true hero's. Include world history, church history, personal ancestry and each of the names of those who would be playing the game. Describe "why" that person is a hero for the rest to guess. (Keep a record on paper.)
5. The Song of the Righteous - Write all hymn titles in one color and Children's Songbook titles in another color on the sticks. Use to play "Name That Tune" or describe the songs. One family used them to place on the piano to say "When you can play every song in this can, you may stop taking piano lessons." :-)
6. Tongue Depressor (When you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.) We also called it the "Thumper" game - Write down subjects that are difficult for your children to discuss without being negative and encourage them to say positive things by only allowing positive clues. People in their lives which they need encouragement to see the best in could also be included.
7. We are family - Write the names of approximately 6 generations of ancestors on both sides on the sticks. Include siblings, cousins, and nuclear family. If no one knows the person, look them up so that their 'place' in your family becomes familiar. (In other words, keep the pedigree chart handy.)
Card game variety:
1. Family Ties ... a 52 card deck just like the traditional, only "colors" instead of "suits" and no 'points.' Place photos of the 8 great-grandparents, the 4 grandparents, and the parents (on one card in this instance) on each of the four colors with their name, birth date, and any interesting information about them one each card. This way, you'll have 13 sets of 4 suits (which is the traditional deck of cards.) Play "Go Fish", "Memory", "Spoons", etc. just like usual. Make up new rules like matching couples or only asking for their "nicknames" to help players remember.
2. Family Face Cards - Our deck had our dog as the Joker, the parents as the "Aces", our son as the "King", our oldest daughter as the "Queen", and then since we had two more daughters, we replaced the "Jacks" and the "Tens" with "Princesses" ... and played the game as usual. This one has the points, but not the suits ... the suits, again, are colors. Play all kinds of traditional games with traditional rules or make up your own which help instill a value, a lesson, or a character trait you are looking to develop.
3. Our Family is UNO - Just a variation on the UNO game where we added photos of each family member when they were about 1 year old, along with new rules and new cards which helped to instill ways in which we could be united.
4. Our Family Heritage - Just like the classic "Memory" game where there are two cards for each person (with interesting information) to match up during the game. Go as many generations back as you can and include 'catch phrases' or 'one-liners' which will help instill honor and remembrance of those who've gone before.
Miscellaneous Board Games:
1. Dig - This was the name for it years ago when it was developed as a marketed game. It had a rubber hand you could use to collect your letters . . . but this one just needs your fingers and your imagination. Fill up a container with laminated letters and use for a myriad of games, and reinforcing concepts. Give clues to what the 'subject' of home evening is and see if people can spell out what they think it is, or say name a Book of Mormon Prophet that starts with "M", or spell out a quality of your life you would like to have said of you after you are gone. Our kids always managed to pull it out and practice their spelling with it after Home Evening.
2. Bear Your Testimony - A game where you learn and express the elements of testimony to help develop and strengthen your families testimony. Each of the discs has subjects written on it and we would fill up the heart as we talked of those subjects. The objective of the game became "Everyone wins when our heart is full!" (The bear was used for smaller children who needed a little extra comfort to hold as they expressed testimony.)
3. For older children (including adult children) - try to take the opportunity every 6 months to a year to write down your testimony and have a special place to store it.
4. Look for Lehi or Lost and Found - old version ... gospel theme. One player hides Lehi or the Liahona while another player is out of the room. The player re-enters the room carrying Lehi or the Liahona (whichever wasn't hidden) and proceeds to try to find the other. Family members say "hot" or "cold" to help give direction or better yet, choose a Primary song to sing and sing louder when the person gets closer to the object they are trying to find. We had two versions for younger and older players to alter the level of difficulty.
5. What Makes Our House a Home BINGO - Same game -- just with subjects and people who make your house a home. The FREE space in the CENTER is JESUS CHRIST because he gave his gift freely to all of us and if he isn't in the center of our lives and our home, we don't stand a chance.
6. I Love You - three dice with 1) people in the family 2) actions 3) time to do the action written on the sides. Spin all three dice to "Hug your brother three times" or "Say something nice about Dad right now."
7. Language of Love - help to reinforce the many different ways to love each other by creating this game which gives alphabetical reinforcements and reminders of the importance of Love.
8. Building Blocks - Used like "Scrabble" or "Boggle" or other word games. We used it often to reinforce the power of words to build or to tear down. We often worked our way around the table adding positive words to the spelling of each family members names.
9. No Fear - a game of preparation. The container was the ark, and wooden shapes had stickers of animals on them ... one on each side (2X2), with the cards being specific questions or actions in regards to our storage, preparedness, and readiness for disaster or the second coming. Cards included questions or actions which taught the children where to turn off the water to the house, where the fuse boxes were, where our important documents were stored, what our 'meeting place' in case of fire was, and what the secret "code" was in case someone tried to take them from our family. (You had to know the secret code or they would know not to trust you.) We practiced "Stop, Drop, and Roll", first aid, and re-stocked preparedness items as we filled our ark with the animals.
10. Let's Do The Twist (Twister) and Homeward Bound (Aggravation) - same retail games but with a "twist" where the red is "Love", the blue "Obey", the yellow "Serve" and the green "Honor." We played the same way but had those words on the spinner and mat and instead of saying the color, we said the word. Homeward Bound was changed a little to make it a reward for going out of your way to help someone get "home" ... because that is where we all want to be together eternally.
Family History Fun:
1. Make your Jumbo Checkers game into a Family History reminder. Put one side of the family on each color or make one side women and one side men. Include the names on the backs, so that as they play, they can learn to associate names with faces.
2. Guess Who ... your children's great-parents (8) and great-great grandparents (16) fit perfectly in this guessing game with 24 slots for characters with matching calling cards. Replace the cartoon characters with your own family photos and let your children narrow down whose card is on the other board by the same elimination rules of the retail game.
10. Have GREAT refreshments!
11. (And I would now add: make it an "electronic free zone." Put the I-Pads, I-Pods, and Cell Phones away!)
If you need more help on patterns or have other questions, just contact me at email@example.com