Monday, February 26, 2018

The 12 Best GROUP DATE IDEAS for LDS Youth - Any time of year!




In my previous post, "4 Group Date Ideas for LDS Teens," I talk about some of the major obstacles for LDS Teens who are trying to follow the FTSOY standards for dating (like transportation issues and money concerns) and how to help overcome them. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading that post HERE, because dating a variety of people in groups as casual friends is not the "norm" in many areas, so this can be a tough issue for many LDS youth. My post "4 Group Date Ideas for LDS Teens" has some great ideas for helping youth to date according to the standards that the living Prophets have set, and here are some more....

One of the obstacles that Priest/Laurel age youth face is trying to come up with ideas for what to do for group-dates. Here are 12 ideas that are low-cost, fun, and casual! Some of these ideas could be used any time of year, and some of them are season-specific. Any of these date activities could be for double-dates (two couples) or larger groups.

THE 12 BEST GROUP-DATE IDEAS FOR YOUTH:


#1- EXTREME SPOONS (ANY TIME OF YEAR)




This idea is from lets-get-together.com. "You know the game spoons? This is even better. A group sits around a table with a deck of cards, passing the cards and trying to get a set of four. Once someone gets a set of four they grab a spoon that sits in the middle of the table. However, there is one less spoon than people at the table…so the last one to grab is out! Well, we like to take it to an EXTREME level at our house and hide the spoons in the room. So once you get a set of four you jump up and run to grab a spoon, with lots of people close behind you! Last one there is out! "

SUPPLIES NEEDED: A table & enough chairs for everyone, deck of cards, spoons (you need one less spoon than the total number of people you have. If you have 6 people, you need 5 spoons)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 or more

COST: 0



#2- COMPETING LEMONADE STANDS (SUMMER) 




You need 2 couples (could possibly do 3 couples?) who will compete against each other to sell the most lemonade. They will sell lemonade in our driveway (like little kids do in the summer), 1 cent a cup. The point isn't to make a profit - its to be kind to the neighborhood kids (cheap lemonade). Since they will be in close proximately, they will have to use their charm to talk people into choosing their lemonade over the lemonade of the competing couple. I think this will be really fun! Each couple will make their own lemonade and make their own sign for their table before they head out to "sell"

SUPPLIES NEEDED: 2 folding tables (card table type), lemonade mix and pitchers, cups, ice, 4 chairs (folding or camping), 2 poster boards, markers, bucket or cup for keeping their pennies.

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 or more

COST: about $10 - lemonade mix ($4), ice ($2), poster boards ($2), plastic cups ($2)



#3- WOULD YOU RATHER? (ANY TIME OF YEAR)


This is a fun game that helps you get to know each other. Basically you just talk about your answers to various wacky questions, like, "Would you rather wear full scuba gear 24/7 for a year or go to a close relative's funeral dressed as Darth Vader?" and "Would you rather be a billionaire who never ever leaves the house or a penniless world traveler?"

The link below has a list of 50 silly questions that are kid friendly (though not everyone will necessarily consider all of them date-friendly - there are multiple questions about poop. You should definitely pre-screen the questions and take out any that you don't want to answer during the date).

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE QUIRKY BOHEMIAN MAMA WEBSITE WITH LIST OF 50 QUESTIONS

SUPPLIES NEEDED: List of questions (above)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 or more

COST: 0



#4- INDOOR BLANKET FORT (ANY TIME OF YEAR)


We got this idea from watching the TV show "Community" (the students at a community college make a giant blanket fort on campus). This was a daytime date. The youth spent about 30 minutes assembling the fort, then played board games inside.


SUPPLIES NEEDED: As many blankets, sheets, and pillows as you can get from everyone (ask the attendees to bring as much as they can). Clothespins are also helpful for keeping pieces together.

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 OR 3

COST: 0


#5- COOKIE BAKE-OFF (ANY TIME OF YEAR)

For this date, my daughter and her friends did a baking competition (sort of like "Cupcake Wars" or "Chopped," but slightly different). Each received a package of chocolate chip cookie mix (and eggs, oil, etc needed for the mix). Then each couple took turns selecting add-in items from a tray of unusual goodies (licorice, swedish fish, mint chips, caramels, pretzels. chocolate covered cherries, etc). Then while the cookie creations were baking, the youth played a board game. When the cookies were done, they had us judge the final products. Then they all walked 2 blocks away to a relative's house and had them test out the cookies, too. Some of the cookies were....uh...interesting, but everyone had fun
This photo shows Christmas cookies, but you can do this any time of year

SUPPLIES NEEDED: cookie mix & ingredients need (1 per couple), cookie sheets & mixing bowls (1 per couple), variety of miscellaneous extra add-in ingredients (could use leftover holiday candy after Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 OR 3

COST: $6 (for 3 cookie mixes. Would be more if you need to buy add-ins, but its best to use stuff you have around the house. Look in your cupboards for leftover stuff like coconut, sprinkles, candy, pretzels, nuts, etc that could be used in a cookie)



#6- CANDY CANE HUNT (WINTER)

This date idea can be done indoors, but it would be really fun to do outdoors (especially in the snow). Basically, you just need someone to hide the candy canes, and whichever pair finds the most candy canes wins! You can have someone hide them ahead of time, or you can take turns hiding the candy canes (several times!)


You can read more information about candy cane hunts at theresjustonemommy.com

SUPPLIES NEEDED: Candy canes (at several boxes for 2 couples, more if you have more couples)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 OR MORE

COST: $2-$3 (depending on how many boxes of candy canes you want. The cheap ones are usually about $1 a box. I would get several boxes, more if you have more than 4 people)


#7- CARROT ROULETTE (ANY TIME OF YEAR)


This youtube video that shows how to play HERE

This is a popular "challenge" seen on YouTube. Basically you get a bunch of condiments from the fridge (ketchup, mustard, honey, ranch, hot sauce, chocolate syrup, etc) and put them in a circle on the table. You spin a full-size carrot in the middle, and whatever condiment it points to, thats what you put on your (baby carrot) carrot - and then you eat it. So, you could get lucky with landing or ranch or really un-lucky with landing on chocolate syrup. Actually, the kids thought the dill relish was the worst of all. The kids played this for an hour or more, then started mixing condiments and daring each other to eat it. It was pretty gross, but they had so much fun.

SUPPLIES NEEDED: a bag of mini carrots, a large carrot (or a water bottle) for spinning, and whatever condiments you have on hand. Probably also want to have some paper towels and water available.

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 OR 3 (OR MORE)

COST: $1-$2 (carrots)


#8- CARAMEL APPLE MAKING & APPLES TO APPLES (FALL)

This idea comes from the Dating Divas blog, which is geared toward married couples. This is a double-date or group-date idea for couples, but you can easily adapt this date for youth by making it simpler and lower cost (i.e., you don't have to print out all of the fancy labels & invitations, but you COULD if you wanted to).

Basically, you will prepare the toppings and supplies for making caramel apples ahead of time, and the date will be making caramel apples and playing the game "Apples to Apples." Just a cute and fun idea with an apple theme!


Complete instructions for setting up this date are here at TheDatingDivas.com

SUPPLIES NEEDED: "Apples to Apples" board game (try to borrow it if you don't have it), apples, sticks, caramels, toppings (see instructions for specific details)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 or more

COST: VARIES (by cost of supplies for caramel apples), but probably between $10 and $30, depending on how fancy you get.



#9- CHRISTMAS LIGHT SCAVENGER HUNT (WINTER)

This an another group date idea from the Dating Divas (a blog with ideas for dates for married folks) that is appropriate for group dates for youth as well. It's a scavenger hunt (race) with a Christmas light/decoration theme.

Instructions & printables here at TheDatingDivas.com

SUPPLIES NEEDED: print-outs of the scavenger hunt. You will also need transportation around town to look for lights/decorations (unless you meet at or live near a neighborhood that goes all-out that you can just walk around)

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 (or more)

COST: 0


#10- UNO BOWLING (ANY TIME OF YEAR)

A creative twist on bowling - you bowl different ways (eyes closed, one-legged, etc) depending on which UNO card you draw.





Instructions here at twobestfriendsinlove.com

SUPPLIES NEEDED: Deck of UNO cards (borrow if you don't have), game instructions

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 (or more)

COST: The cost of bowling & shoes


#11- PUMPKIN PATCH (FALL)

A quick online search will help you locate pumpkin patches in your area in the Fall. Pumpkin patches often have features like corn mazes, pumpkin tossing, haunted hayride, photo opportunities, etc because that helps draw in customers. Most bigger pumpkin patches offer some free activities and some activities that cost $, so make sure you know what is available and make sure everyone knows if they need to bring $. Preferably, try to find free activities to do. If you want to select pumpkins to take home (or decorate), those will cost $.



SUPPLIES NEEDED: N/A

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED: 2 (or more)

COST: Will vary, depending on what activities you want to do or if you want to do other activities.

#12- GRILL & CHILL (SUMMER)

Another idea from the Dating Divas website! Basically its a casual BBQ. You don't have to print out all of the fancy invites and labels, but you could if you wanted to. For a date that requires purchasing food for a group meal, you might consider asking each person to bring something (buns, lettuce, etc) so that one person doesn't get stuck footing the whole bill. You could do this at someone's home or at a park where they have BBQ Grills available to use.

Depending on where you are, you could also add frisbee, soccer, softball, charades, etc to the the agenda.


Info from thedatingdivas.com here

SUPPLIES NEEDED: Whatever you want to BBQ (burgers, chicken, whatever), buns, condiments, chips, etc

NUMBER OF COUPLES NEEDED 2 (or more)

COST: Will vary, depending on what you choose to cook/serve. I would say probably $5 per person would be a good estimate on cost. Try to have the other participants chip in (bring the chips, bring the buns, etc) so that no one person has to spend a lot of $






Wednesday, January 31, 2018

CARE PACKAGES - What to SEND to full-time missionaries

This is a follow-up to a previous post, entitled "What to WRITE to full-time missionaries" (CLICK HERE to see that post, or look in the "missionary" section on the right side of the blog page)


Sending a care package to full-time missionaries serving from your ward is a good activity for the youth because it helps them think about those who are serving (and hopefully appreciate them a little more). It can be difficult to figure out what to send full-time missionaries, though - especially if you are restricted by diet limitations or restrictions on what you can send to a specific mission... What do they want? What do they need? What would they really like?

Our friend Alex is currently serving in Brazil (Manaus), so I am somewhat restricted by what I can send there (and by the package size - its $24.00 for me to send a small flat-rate box that is only slightly larger than a VHS tape), but any size larger of box is over $50!!!!! So I keep it small  and send only candy/food that I think won't melt in transit (because it is HOT there!). 

Check with parents (or the post office) to see what kind of price and box size options you have if you are sending anywhere foreign. Its more expensive than you probably think!

Think "small" and "useful" and/or "fun"

Here are some of things I have sent Alex:
post-it notes, pencils, stickers (to give to kids), scripture markers, silly putty, card games (like Uno), gum with a hard coating (just because I think it won't melt as easy), pop rocks candy, hand sanitizer (he requested this), sample-size shampoo, sample-size toothpaste, sample-size soap, stain-remover stick (small size, like in travel-size section of grocery store), small lint-roller, PICTURES (pictures of the family, etc), a tie, etc 

Check with parents to see if something like socks (or nylons) might be needed and what size they would want. For sisters, if they wear makeup, things like lip gloss and mascara would probably be very welcome (and one less thing they would have to buy themselves!)

Personalized items are always great, too. Our YW sent missionaries care packages a few months ago and along with treats they put in the box, they also made homemade cards, origami neckties, and pillowcases with their handprints (done with fabric paint). 

Even if there are no diet or mail issues, please ask the parents of the missionary if there are any mission-specific rules (for example, they are usually not allowed to read books other than scriptures, though some missions have made certain exceptions..... some missionaries are allowed to listen to certain types of music, others aren't, etc). 

Food is almost always the best thing to receive because it is usually in short supply (because of spending money on other things like bike repairs!) and it always nice to get treats. One of my companions got a giant box of mini peppermint patties and we thought that was the best thing EVER! It was a whole display box like you'd see in a mini-mart. It was so cool!

Here are a few more things you want to consider:

Anything that isn't edible or used up WILL eventually end up IN ONE OF THESE PLACES:
  • In their suitcase that they carry from area to area (very limited space - they have to carry all of their clothes & belongings in their luggage)
  • Staying in their apartment after they get transferred - a great 'bonus' for the next Elder transferring in! 
  • Given to a local member (because they don't have room to take it with them)
  • In the trash
  • Or, worst of all, they will end up using their (food) money to ship it home (because they don't have room)
That may sound harsh, but its just reality. My parents sent me a singing Christmas tree one year and my companions and I got a big kick out of it, but it got left in the apartment when I was transferred, because in order to pack it in my suitcase I would have had to leave some of my clothes behind! They didn't expect me to keep it with me and bring it home after my mission, but a lot of times people send things to missionaries and sort of expect them to keep it. Missionaries live a sort of transient lifestyle - they are asked to move without much notice and what they can't take with them gets left behind. So if they have just bought a new broom or 80-load jug of laundry detergent and they get a transfer call, its going to be left behind for their companion (or their replacement). Its just not practical (or possible) for them to lug extra belongings around, especially if they are traveling a long distance to their next area.
It wasn't exactly this same one that I received, but you get the idea!
So no matter how much they might like items that you send them, please be aware that unless you are replacing items of clothing that they need, they probably won't be able to take things with them after their upcoming transfer.
Its okay to send fun things like this, but just don't let it hurt your feelings if they can't keep it!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

HOW TO write to full-time LDS Missionaries (what to write, what NOT to write)



Sending letters/packages to missionaries serving in the field is a common service activity. As a returned missionary myself, I can tell you that mail is a vital part of a missionary's life. What seems like a simple letter to us is a big deal to a missionary. It is their link to home, friends/family, and support. They may go weeks without anything in the mail, so when something finally comes (no matter who its from), they may read an re-read the same letter many times (I am not exaggerating. When I was a full-time missionary, I saved & re-read my letters many times over).

When I was a missionary, it was before missionaries used email, so we only got letters in the mail. I received mail from relatives and friends, and occasionally from ward members. But I would have loved more -much more- mail. Once I received an envelope of letters from a family in my home ward who had obviously written letters to both me and their grandma for a family home evening activity. I only know this because I received the envelope with letters meant for grandma (thanking her for the birthday presents, etc), and I imagine that their grandma received an envelope with letters meant to encourage a missionary. :) The point is, any mail is better than no mail.

Me, serving a mission in Minnesota (1997)
While any mail is welcome, you do want to consider what you say in your letter, especially since it is so important to the missionary. For example, an innocent question about the number of baptisms they've had might be painful to a missionary who is struggling to even find someone to teach. Or, a  letter with hints of romantic intentions might be really distracting to a missionary who is trying to focus on their work.

Our good friend, Elder Heiden, serving in Brazil

While many people (and missionaries) use email for correspondence now, the same principles apply whether you are doing a physical letter (snail mail) or an email...

It's common to do a letter-writing activity for mutual or FHE, but it can be really difficult to know what to write. Just try to keep things light and positive! 

HERE IS A CONVENIENT CHART THAT PROVIDES SOME GREAT IDEAS FOR WHAT TO TALK ABOUT (THINGS TO SHARE AND THINGS TO ASK) AND ALSO SOME TIPS FOR THINGS THAT IT IS BEST TO AVOID: 


Feel free to print this out for a reference!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

NO-BAKE COOKIE COOK-OFF

"No-Bake Cookie Cook-off" - try saying THAT fast 5 times!

For a recent Beehive Class Activity, we learned to make no-bake cookies.

Ever competitive, the Beehive Class Presidency thought it would be fun to make it a competition. We selected 3 different types of no-bake cookie recipes and purchased the ingredients ahead of time. We also printed the recipes so that each team would have a copy of the recipe they were working on.

We did 3 teams (2 girls on a team), but if you have a larger class you could either have more teams or more girls per team.



We made Peanut-Butter No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE), Nutella No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE), and traditional No-Bake Cookies (recipe HERE)

I thought for sure that the Nutella cookies would be the winner because we have a lot of Nutella fans, but everyone liked the Peanut-Butter and traditional versions of the cookies best.

I would recommend making the cookies at the beginning of your activity and refrigerating them so that they "set" - then you can play a game or something and eat/judge the cookies at the end!

This was a relatively low-cost activity, since rolled oats, sugar, etc are fairly low in price and you don't use much of the more expensive ingredients (peanut butter, nutella, etc).  A bonus is that the refreshments are part of the activity! And if you are careful with the ingredients, these cookies can be gluten-free, if that is a concern for any of your girls (there is no flour in these recipes, but check the label


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

3 TIPS for CHEAPER & BETTER Handouts, Invitations, and Posters for any activity or event



I've always felt that advertising is key when it comes to church activities... While you don't necessarily need a beautiful handout for every single Mutual activity, a well thought out and eye-catching handout or invitation can make the difference in your attendance. Once I started upping my handout game, I noticed that the youth would actually take home (and even display or save!) my handouts and invitations (instead of dropping them in the trash on their way out the classroom door!)

For many years, I've been creating my own handouts and posters for ward and stake events. The "old school" way of making posters by hand or even making on the computer and then printing them at home was way too much work and/or cost me far too much in printer ink. Since I started printing advertisements using these 3 tips, I have gotten more compliments than I can count. I am no longer YW President in our ward, but I am still often asked to help with advertising for other ward events. Even the High Priests Group in our ward has started using these methods - they have beautiful, glossy, memorable handouts and posters for every BBQ and Pancake Breakfast!

Once, the Stake President was in our ward building and saw the advertisements I had made for our ward's annual Youth Fundraiser activity. "WOW," he said, "You must have a pretty big Young Women budget!" I just had to laugh - we didn't have a big budget. I'd printed hundreds of full color glossy invitations for less than $10.00.  I'd simply figured out how to make a bigger impact, spend less time doing busy-work, and have better looking advertising!

Before we get into the 3 tips, let me say that I mention the name of multiple retail stores, websites, and software programs below, but I am not employed by any of these companies (and I am not compensated by any of them for my opinions here). I am simply sharing my personal experience.

Here are three tips that have helped me to get more professional looking and memorable (even KEEP-worthy!) handouts, invitations, and posters.

TIP #1 - DON'T PRINT HANDOUTS, INVITATIONS, OR POSTERS AT HOME, HAVE THEM PROFESSIONALLY PRINTED AS A PHOTO.


A few examples of invitations and handouts printed as 4"x6" photos

I've learned that by creating my own advertisements on my computer and then having them printed on glossy photo paper (as a "photo"), I get a better looking result at a lower cost. If you are worried about your ability to design your own advertisements online, see tip #3! If you feel comfortable with digital design, remember that you will need to have the item you want printed in an appropriate format (such as a .jpg or a pdf, depending on where/how you are having it printed) in order to have it printed. The staff can help with this if you are new to the process. Basically I will create a handout (or whatever it is) like in the example below, making sure that it is in the size I need (such as 4"x 6") and then they print it on glossy paper as if it were a photo. At first I thought that maybe they would care that they were printing something other than an actual photo, but nobody seems to care at all.

I prefer to use a local photo shop with same-day pick-up (many stores offer photo printing, such as many Walmart stores and drugstore chains) because I often need my prints right away.

Here are a few examples of the types of advertisements than can be created using programs like PhotoShop or websites like Picmonkey:

A few more examples of handouts & invitations which were printed as 4"x6" photos

TIP  #2- PRINTING HANDOUTS/INVITATIONS/POSTERS AS PHOTOS IS CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK! (ESPECIALLY IF YOU USE AN ONLINE COUPON!)

It is much more cost effective to have things that I needed printed for events (such as invitations or posters for the bulletin boards) at a local photo place (I use Walgreens, which is a drugstore in our area, but you can do the same thing anywhere you have photos printed). I place my order online and then pick it up in store. Walgreens almost always advertises a coupon code to be used at checkout. I can always get at least 30% off the total order, often 40% off the total order, and sometimes more. If you need to print MANY things (like 50+) you can often get a bigger discounts.

I always check retailmenot.com (a website that has up to date online coupon codes), and you can check any photo service you want to use and find a better deal than if you paid full price. I've always gotten a discount of some kind.

I most often print 4"x6" (regular size photo prints). When you look at the total cost (prices may vary, but for me this is usually about 9 or 10 cents each for a 4x6" print), it might seem like a lot of $ compared to how much it would cost to photocopy something in the meetinghouse library. Except you get what you pay for - and people are much less likely to throw away or lose a beautiful full color glossy print than a 1/4 sheet black and white grainy photo copy. It's made a big change in our advertising - I hardly ever hear "what time is the activity again?" anymore - people keep and look at these types of handouts. And the posters are much more eye-catching when they are printed on photo paper!

One day I calculated how much I was spending trying to print (color) handouts on my home printer. It was 25 cents a page. If I could fit 2 of the same thing on one page, it would cost me about 12 cents each. It is literally cheaper for me to print a handout as a photo (usually 9 or 10 cents). Like I said before, if you have MANY prints to print at once (like 50 or 100 or more), you can usually find an online coupon that lowers the cost per print.

I don't print color photos for everything, but I do use this method for printing invitations/handouts to major activities/events, and also for other important things (like printing copies of the YW theme or Personal Progress reminders).


TIP #3- YOU CAN EASILY PURCHASE PRE-MADE ADVERTISEMENTS AND PRINT THEM AT YOUR CONVENIENCE!

Don't want to create your own advertisement from scratch on your computer? You can BUY premade digital printables for a very reasonable price. I have done this several times myself when I was short on time or it was a project that was more complicated than I was able to handle. On sites like Etsy.com, you can purchase printable invitations, handouts, posters, etc that people have created to sell. The cost is minimal (price varies, but my digital printables average around $2 each), and there is such a great variety out there that you can pretty much find anything you are looking for - any event, any style, etc. Once you purchase a digital printable, you can make as many copies as you need (make sure to note any copyright specifications in the seller's description, but these items are created to be printed by the purchaser).

Keep in mind that if you purchase a digital file, you will still be responsible for ordering your own prints and for the printing costs that are involved in printing whatever items you want printed. In purchasing a digital file, you are paying for the use of the creation (such as a poster featuring the 2018 Youth Theme) and the right to print it for personal use (Church use is considered personal use).

Many items are also customizable (for example, in my Etsy shop, I sell invitations to Y.W.I.E. and New Beginnings that I can add your Ward's name and the event date/time to for you. So they will be totally professional looking and ready to print at a local shop at your convenience!

If you're interested in purchasing YW related printables, check out Etsy - especially MY Etsy shop! (here)   :)










Friday, December 1, 2017

MUTUAL SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES ACTIVITY

IN A FEW WEEKS WE'RE HAVING AN ACTIVITY WITH ALL OF THE YW CLASSES IN OUR WARD COMBINED (WE CALL THIS AN "ALL-GIRLS" ACTIVITY, BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE GET THE TERMS "JOINT" AND "COMBINED" CONFUSED). IT IS THE SAME WEEK AS SCOUT CAMP AND THE SAME WEEK THAT WE NORMALLY HAVE OUR COMBINED YM/YW ACTIVITY, SO WE MIGHT HAVE SOME OF THE YM WHO AREN'T GOING TO CAMP JOINING US ALSO.  

THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE PLANNED:



HERE ARE LINKS TO THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL OF THE GAMES. MOST OF THESE LINK TO OTHER BLOGS/WEBSITES (EXCEPT THE WATER BALLOON VOLLEYBALL POST, WHICH IS ONE OF MINE!):

BANANA RELAY RACE





SLEEPING BAG WORM RACING



BOX OF LIES





WATER BALLOON VOLLEYBALL




I COULDN'T FIND A SOURCE OR INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CANDY-BAR MEDALS (JUST SAW THE PHOTO ON INTEREST), BUT HERE IS A CLOSE-UP PHOTO:


IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'VE HOLE-PUNCHED THE CANDY BAR WRAPPERS AND STRUNG RIBBON THROUGH TO MAKE A NECKLACE.  LOOKS EASY ENOUGH! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

CRAFTS THAT TEACH SKILLS - handmade bracelets


In trying to plan class activities that we could do in the upcoming months, I was thinking that it would be nice for the girls to be able to make gifts that they could give to friends or relatives. Most of our girls are not what I would consider "crafty," and if I told them we were going to make crafts they probably would run screaming the other way.

I spent some time trying to think of things that they would enjoy making, but would also teach a skill or reinforce a principle. I think its empowering to make something yourself - and when you can make something that you are really proud of that is great for self-esteem. Some girls are into crafts, others are not. I am always very conscious that our mutual activities have substance - they are learning something or doing something meaningful and we have a variety (a mix of types of things) so that we don't get stuck in a rut of always doing crafts, always playing sports, always playing board games, etc.

This activity idea can be used any time of year, but is especially good for around the holidays, since a lot of people are cutting back because of the not so great economy, so its nice to feel like you have skills that allow you to make something special as a gift.

While there are many things that YW can learn to make, I decided on handcrafted bracelets. The young women were able to make as many bracelets as they wanted, and were given the option to give some (or all) of the bracelets they made to a local women's shelter.

Here are some of the bracelets we made

BRACELETS: We made 3 different types of bracelets. I looked on Pinterest and found tutorials for (relatively easy) bracelets.

While I was picking up the bracelet supplies, I thought of a way that we could make the activity more meaningful. I remembered that our local Women's shelter always requests donations of items that children can give to their mothers as Christmas gifts. So I went to the dollar store and bought 12 small Christmas gift bags and set a goal that (in addition to any bracelets that the girls want to make/keep for themselves) we would also complete 12 bracelets to donates as gifts. I'm hoping each of the girls will like at least one of the bracelets we're making, but even if they don't, I think they will be enthusiastic about making them for a good cause.

Here are the 3 bracelet styles I chose (click on photos to go to the tutorials on Pinterest)-



UPDATE:
Here is a photo of some of girls working on the bracelets at Mutual last Wednesday. As you can see, we had quite a mess going! They worked very quickly, so it took a lot less time than I'd planned. So if you do this activity you'll probably need to either make MORE bracelets to donate (I set a goal of 12 bracelets and it took less than 20 minutes for them to get them done!) OR plan an additional activity/craft to go along with this. The girls did enjoy making the bracelets and seemed excited about donating them to the Shelter.



MATERIALS NEEDED: depends on type of bracelets being made (see tutorials by clicking on photos)

PURPOSE: Teaching thriftiness, working with our hands to create things, and good works