I would like to give a HUGE shoutout to the ladies on the LDS Nursery Leaders and LDS Primary Choristers for a lot of the ideas you find below. Join these groups on Facebook for help and inspiration.
This is the play that we do the first 15-20 minutes of class to get some wiggles out and to get the rest of the day set up. For parents to sign in their kiddos and bathroom breaks. We have a bathroom just down the hall and just for nursery. It is marvelous! The gathering activity should be as independent as possible, but a leader should be there to supervise.
Wash Hands/Clean up
One leader will take the kids (2 if you've got a large nursery) to wash hands while the rest of us will clean up the gathering activity and will be setting up for snack/scripture as well as singing time and for the lesson. We are going to have these all in different parts of the room.
Snack and Scripture
Scriptures for Each Lesson Printouts (coming soon!)
These are just simple scriptures to go along with the lesson.
*please remember to ask parents to fill out this paper so you know if there are any allergies in the class.
(INCLUDES COLOR AND B/W)
We give each of the children a snack in either a coffee filter, a cupcake liner, or just a napkin. It just depends on what it is and how "contained" it needs to be. Put a table cloth down to minimize the clean up. Have the kids clean up their own mess and take it to the garbage. If you use sippies, have a small bucket with a picture of a sippie cup on it so you can just take it home and wash them.
-Tortillas and peanut butter
-Tortillas and peanut butter
(again check for allergies)
-Mixed Fruit (or any canned fruit)
-Graham Crackers (plain or with frosting)
- Yogurt Chips
- Cheese sticks
This the beginning of our circle time. We put the "hard" felt sheets down on the floor and those are our seats. It is here that we do singing time and our lesson.
I am a Child of God (pg 2)
Egg Shakers (plastic eggs with beans/rice glued shut)
-Could also use baby food jars
Spray Bottle (mist for Rain is Falling)
Picture of Prophet on Yarn necklace
Bells on Pipe Cleaners around wrists
Tree and Seasons
Red Felt Hearts (Jesus said Love Everyone)
Star Wands (I am like a Star)
Family members on popsicle sticks
Yellow paper plates with center cut out (Sunbeams)
Temple pictures on popsicle sticks
Blue ribbons on shower rings (Give said stream)
Here's some comments from choristers:
Heather F. "I have a list of songs we sing every week (all from the children's songbook, but mostly wiggly songs) and we sing them in the same order. We do lots of actions but always end with I am a Child of God sitting down with arms folded before they start their lesson. I don't like giving them things like shakers or pictures because it doubles or triples the time involved and the kids get upset about giving them back or getting the wrong color."
Brenda C. "There is a poster on the wall in my nursery with titles of several suitable songs. It is helpful to glance at when I need to modify my plans."
Abbey B. I've started doing is asking questions as we sing like "where did the wise man build his house" "how many monkey's are left". " can you beat me in head shoulders knees and toes" they love to shout out answers!
Katharine D. "I have bags with props for songs in them and let the kids chose the bag, take the props out, hand them around to all the kids and then we sing the song. I put all the props on craft sticks.
Roseanne K. "Just keep it active and fun. Props do work best, but you don't have to have a ton of them or spend a fortune. I find success with letting the kids PICK songs in creative ways. Starting and ending the same way with the routine helps too."
We make a tentative lesson schedule with each lesson being 2-4 weeks. Each lesson is so broad that you can do SO much with it. Story Time for us is from The Friend: For Little Ones or telling a scripture story using flannel pieces made from the Friend Scripture Characters.
Lesson Helps and Activities (coming soon!)
This is "free play" in the sense that they can play and just use their imaginations with the toys that we have in the Nursery room, but it's not a free for all. Each child goes and picks 1-2 toys and then we play with those and just "rotate" them and share. It's just easier this way so there's less to clean up instead of having every toy known to Nursery out on the floor. The kids also help with the cleaning up.
While the kids are playing, we set up for the game/craft/activity.
This can be as simple as taking a walk outside (we have one of those rope things with handles that works great to go explore), a game like duck duck goose, bouncing a ball around, or playing a "tag" game. Crafts and Activities, could be a coloring page, painting activity, or a craft.
Roll and Papers going Home
While we are setting up for Nursery (we are the second ward to meet so we can't go early), parents take their kids to the bathroom and then come and write their names on these cute little clips. These are for 2 purposes. 1) Roll, when someone comes from Primary to take roll they don't have to interrupt the play and can just look at the board to see who is in Nursery. 2) These are laminated and hot glued to magnetic clips found at the dollar store (kitchen aisle) and put into a bucket out in the hall on a table with a dry erase marker so they can put their child's name then any papers/projects are just clipped to their clips so there's no shuffling of papers at the end of nursery.
Names are then just erased and put in the bucket so that the kids can choose a different animal the next week.
Also on the papers/projects, make address label sheets with each child's name so instead of having to write each name each Sunday you can just slap a label with their name on it already and put it on their clip.