This weekend is one of my most FAVORITE times of the year! It's our church's General Conference and it only happens twice a year. My kids get SO EXCITED about it because they know I'm going to pull special tricks out of my bag to keep them quiet and entertained while we listen to all of the amazing speeches and musical numbers, so they look forward to it just as much as Neil and I do.
Today we're sharing 20 general conference activities for kiddos that will keep them (quietly!) busy, that can be shipped right to your doorstep, to prepare for watching general conference this coming weekend.
What is General Conference?
In our church, we believe that there is a modern-day prophet on the earth who reveals God’s will to His children, just like in the Bible! Twice a year the leaders of our church and our wonderful Prophet gather together for a conference. There’s beautiful musical performances and talks (a lot like TED talks, but spiritually based!) on topics such as faith, family, strengthening your relationship with God, and parenting with love.
In normal circumstances, there are four 2-hour sessions that are for the whole family, and in October a women's meeting for girls 8 and older, and in April it's for men ages 12 and older. This time will be even a little more special because Saturday night's session is for all men and women over the age of 12!
Although filled to the brim with goodness, it can be tricky to get my kiddos to sit quietly and listen for the entire 8 hours at home. But I've found some pretty awesome tried-and-true tricks that have made a huge difference and today I'm sharing all of them with you!
My #1 tip for General Conference is to BE PREPARED!! Have LOTS of kids activity options that are new and exciting, plus SNACKS!!! A couple General Conferences ago, I crowd sourced and asked YOU GUYS about some ideas for keeping kids busy with wholesome activities during General Conference, and I had an outpouring of suggestions. So here is some advice and tried and true ideas that I’m so excited to share with everyone!
Make sure to check my Instagram today to see what new ideas everyone shares too! If you need even more ideas, check out my list of indoor activities to do with kids during social distancing.
Say no to messes
One thing I make sure NOT to do is choose activities that will make a huge mess for me now or later! I don’t want to have to stop listening or taking notes to clean up gigantic messes; instead I want to encourage my kids to play nicely while trying to feel the warm spirit the Gospel messages bring into our home. The one exception is our washable paints that I kind of keep in my arsenal for when I REALLY need them to be happy and distracted for a good 30+ minutes.
General Conference Printables
Colorly Love has the most beautiful printable's that I love to use during General Conference! She has SO kindly offered my readers a 20% discount with the code MINTARROW to get her Restoration Conference kit, past conference kits (which are only $5) and 20% off their big conference coloring page (which is only $3)! These kits have it all, activities, places to color and take notes, and beautiful drawings! You can print them out for the kids to color OR put it on your iPad to color on there!
Distract, distract, distract
@busytoddler is a child distraction GENIUS! Most of the things that she suggests utilizing to keep toddlers occupied can be found at the dollar store, but I also rounded up a ton of kids activities on Amazon (that will still ship in time despite the current extended delivery time) so you can order them in time for General Conference weekend!
20 Secret Weapons for distracting your kiddos
1. Tetris Puzzle
This Tetris puzzle takes concentration, so it's sure to be a big hit when sitting and listening for a couple hours at a time!
My littles are OBSESSED with MAGNA-TILES and they're one of my fave secret weapons for getting kids to play quietly for a LONG time. Look up #magnatiles on instagram to see lots of inspo for what your kids can build. They really do listen better while they're quietly at work!
3. Construction Paper
My girls LOVE to color so my go-to is ALLLLL the arts and crafts! This construction paper equals approximately one hundred hours of creativity and fun!
4. Melissa & Doug Water WOW! Bible Stories
This Water WOW! is super highly rated and is the perfect mess-free “painting” activity for your littles. Love that it's a bible stories version too!
5. Crayola Washable Dry Erase board
Dry Erase Boards are so nice for drawing and coloring over and over, and they're the perfect size to fit in your lap so that you don't have something gigantic to store after, and your kids can take them on trips (someday) when we can all travel again.
6. Threading Toy
We got something similar to these for General Conference one year and then ended up taking them to church each week for over a year! Such a good “quiet time” activity!
7. Jumbo Puzzle
Puzzles are the BEST and I love that there are so many picture options for this one!
8. Temples Coloring Book
Coloring Books are so nice for kids (and adults!) of ALL ages, and these illustrations are absolutely beautiful.
9. DIY Jewelry Kit
We LOVE this kit, but make sure to get string! I made the rookie mistake of buying this a couple General Conferences ago and having no string for my girls to actually make jewelry. Oops! But they still played with it haha so #momwin.
10. Lacing Beads
Lacing Beads are the perfect toys for littles improving their fine motor skills. Even toddlers need good distractions if you're going to contain them in one room for a long time!
11. Rainbow Scratch Art Notepad
This Scratch Art Notepad is a really fun, mess-free option for art and quiet entertainment while kids listen to conference talks.
12. Shapes Puzzle
Shapes Puzzle – this is a super cute idea for having kids create these artistic puzzles out of shapes! 700+ amazing reviews and one reviewer said, “best toy ever!”
13. Color Dot Dominoes
Dominoes is such a classic game for adults, but kids can always find a million other fun ways to play with this game!
14. Book of Mormon Heroes Coloring Book
Book of Mormon Coloring Book – another really fun coloring book option to throw in the mix!
15. Melissa & Doug Tape Activity Book
Tape Activity Book – this one is under $5 and has over 1k amazing reviews!
TINKERTOYs are really fun, interactive sets for building things! This is definitely more of an investment at $43 but something you'll hang onto for a long time!
17. Crayola Art Set
Art Set – need some new crayons? This is a gigantic set to refill everything you're out of so kids can color and draw for hours and hours.
18. Plastic Ball Pit Balls
Plastic Ball Pit Balls – my girls LOVE jumping with these in our trampoline! They have provided HOURS of fun since we've begun our social-distancing self quarantining life.
19. “Mom I'm Bored” Activity Book
Activity Book – this comes with 22 different re-usable ideas for kids to do over and over like mazes, matching games and educational exercises.
20. Book of Mormon Stories board book
Board book – one of my girls' favorite board books that you'll be able to have them look through and read over and over, well after conference is over.
Tune in with us
General Conference is my favorite weekend of the year! I’m able to grow so much spiritually by listening to testimonies of so many followers of Jesus Christ. If you love uplifting messages (kinda like TED talks!) all about different aspects of living a happy and fulfilling life, tune into General Conference on churchofjesuschrist.org on April 4-5 from 9-11 a.m. PDT and 1-3 p.m. PDT.