Twice a year we watch General Conference on our computer (since we don't have a TV). Since it is such a meaningful and important event to the Mr. and I, we try to make it extra special for the children, in hopes that they will appreciate it's importance.
We began by having a Family Home Evening the week before about King Benjamin teaching his people from a tower, and the people pitching their tents faced toward the temple to hear his words. Then, in preparation of Conference Weekend, we 'pitched' our (play) tent in the computer room, with the door to the computer. The kids really enjoyed this!
Saturday morning, we made Bunny Buns together, and prepared our "Conference Snacks". In the past, our children have referred to General Conference as "Candy Conference" because we often play 'Conference Bingo' with M & Ms, skittles, or smarties. This year, in an effort to reduce the amount of sugar consumed, I opted to go with bowls of various snacks, some healthy and some not-s0-healthy. Each bowl was labeled with a word/topic, and each time a speaker mentioned a particular word/topic, we were allowed one of the snacks from that particular bowl.
Though the snacks were a roaring success at keeping the children quietly occupied so that the Mr. and I could enjoy conference, the snacks themselves also served as entertainment for us during one particular talk! One of the bowls, labeled "Temple", was filled with jelly beans. When President Monson began speaking on Temples, the children were excited! They eagerly picked up a jelly bean (and popped it into their mouth) each time he said "temple." But their enthusiasm waned as his talk wore on, and he began using the word "temple" in nearly every sentence. Wiggles and Angel lost interest and moved on to coloring, but Grins dutifully sat next to the jelly beans, listening intently, and stuffing a jelly bean into his mouth each time "temple" was said. A few min utes in to the talk he commented "Wow! President Monson is talking a lot about temples!" The Mr. and I kept watching him pop the jelly beans in, laughing silently together. Finally, near the end of the talk, Grins whispered to the Mr. "Is his talk almost over? I'm getting sick from all these jelly beans! I don't want to eat another candy!" We laughed and explained that eating candy was optional - the purpose was simply to LISTEN to the talks, and enjoy a snack if you were hungry. Poor little guy. I'll have to be more clear on that next time. BTW - I looked back over President Monson's talk: the word temple was uttered some 69 times (in a matter of 20 minutes)! That's more than 2 jelly beans per minute! Poor Grins! :)
In addition to the snacks, I printed some "General Conference Packets" I found online. A HUGE thank you to those who put so much effort and time into these packets! They were INCREDIBLE! Wiggles enjoyed playing with the 'First Presidency Puppets' she made from toilet paper tubes. Grins really enjoyed making a 'General Authority paper doll chain'. And Angel, who loves writing and drawing, especially loved coloring each General Authority's tie. They had a lot of fun with the activities.
We also had a "General Authority Wall": I taped up pictures of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles, and each time one of them spoke, the children could put a sticker on their corresponding picture. This kept Wiggles quiet for hours, and halfway through, I looked over to discover that she had put a sticker over each of their eyes. Though I worried that it might be a tad disrespectful, I realized that she had not meant it as such, and I was grateful for the time it kept her quietly occupied, allowing me to listen and enjoy the talks!
During Conference, as always, we were truly spiritually fed, uplifted, and inspired to, in the words of President Hinckley, "try a little harder to be a little better". I am so
grateful for the endless hours of preparation and effort that were put into this year's conference, and for modern technology, which allows us to enjoy it all these miles away! We are already looking forward to the next one!
ETA: After watching General Conference, we had a follow up discussion on what we had each learned during Conference, and what goals we would like to set, to work on. They were as follows:
Daddy - Have a more Christ-centered home. This means no fighting - I'm setting a goal not to raise my voice for an entire month!
Mommy - "Behold your little ones" - I'm going to spend more time just watching/listening to/playing with/enjoying my 'little ones', and less time worrying about all the details of running a household.
Angel - Pay my tithing every Sunday
Grins - A lady said the kids paid their tithing first. I want to pay my tithing first.
I suppose this means we need to start the children on some sort of allowance system, so they will have earnings to tithe on! :)