Bringing a simple craft to your LDS nursery class can help keep those wiggly young children,18 months to three years old, busy and happy, and can help you teach the week’s gospel lesson. The LDS Church encourages sticking with material issued by the church, such as those easily available at lds.org. However, many websites, such as sugardoodle.net, carry LDS-specific ideas, and ideas from general craft-themed websites can be adapted for use in the nursery class.
The LDS Church's manual used in nursery class, “Behold Your Little Ones,” can be accessed online at lds.org, and has crafts ideas for each of the 30 lessons. Most are coloring pages. For example, Lesson 1’s project is an illustration of a girl and a boy, under which it says, “I Am a Child of God.” You could print the page for the boys and girls in nursery, cut around the figures, and have the children color them in. You could then tape or glue each figure to a craft stick and use it as a simple puppet. Puppets are a popular storytelling tool for the nursery age, and it might be fun for the children to create something used in a story to accompany the lesson.
Another example is Lesson 10, entitled “I Will Take Care of My Body.” Again, print out the simple illustrations of the child and the five circles with drawings of things that are healthy for the body. Cut around the figures and drawings. Have the children color the cutouts and glue them to a colored piece of paper.
Other LDS Resources
The LDS Church publishes a magazine, “Friend,” for kids up to age 12. It is also found at lds.org and has craft ideas for use in the nursery. Look especially at the “For Little Friends” and “Funstuf” sections. Each monthly issue also has a coloring page. For example, the January 2010 coloring page illustrating “The Creation” could be used to supplement Lesson 7 from “Behold Your Little Ones,” entitled “Jesus Christ Created the World for Me.”
Websites such as the LDS-specific sugardoodle.net and ideadoor.com offer ideas for nursery class crafts. For example, sugardoodle.net suggests potato printing. Before church, cut two or three small potatoes in half, and then cut out a simple image such as a star, heart or circle in the end of the potato. Bring the potatoes, paint and paper to nursery. Have the children press the potato stamps on the paper. A heart-shaped potato stamp could be used to create a Mother's Day craft, or children could use a star-shaped potato stamp to make a Christmas craft.
Ideas from general craft websites such as orientaltrading.com can be used to supplement a lesson. For example, Oriental Trading has a Nativity sticker sheet set that could be used to augment a Christmas lesson. For an Easter lesson, the website artistshelpingchildren.org provides directions on how to make a paper-crafted Easter lily bouquet using tracings of a toddler’s hands.
The LDS Nursery Manual advises that although not all children enjoy coloring, they can still learn from the illustrations. The LDS Church does not generally use the image of a cross.
Kirsten Sorenson has been an online, print and television reporter, and a columnist since 1994. Her work has appeared in the "Washington Post," "Parade Magazine," the "Arizona Republic," the "Cincinnati Enquirer," KSL Television, Associated Press and the "Deseret News." Her areas of expertise include health and medicine, education and parenting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.