Edwards Family

Edwards Family

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

13 Fun Get-to-know-you Activities

I survived my first day of teaching early morning seminary today!  I already love these students, and I know I'll love them more and more and more...

Here are 13 fun ways students can get to know each other. I'll likely use a handful of these over first couple weeks of seminary. 

(Note: I didn't create any of these...I'm just good at gathering others' great ideas!) 

1. Question ball 

On a ball, write a bunch of questions like: What college do you want to attend? Favorite sport? Favorite movie? Pet peeve. Toss the ball. When the student catches it, they answer the question by their right thumb. 

2. Foodie names 

Each person says their name and a food that begins with the same letter as their name. The next person repeats the first person's name and food, adding their own. Each additional person repeats all previous names and foods, and adds their own. 

3. Name and favorite ice cream...scripture...any other favorite

This game works the same as Foodie names. 

3. Toss the name ball 

Students sit in a circle. Say your own name and another person's name, and then toss the ball to that person. That person says their own name and a different person's name and then tosses the ball. If the ball is dropped, the group gets to start from the beginning. 

4. Two truths and a lie 

Each person tells three things about themselves: two truths and one lie. Others try to guess which one is the lie. This game goes more quickly when the kids write it down first. This is the game we played today for the first day of class. I set my watch timer to give each person 30 seconds to quickly say their three things and then let people guess. If people didn't guess by then, the lie was revealed and we moved on. I had 28 students there, so I needed tricks to keep the game moving or it could have taken way too much class time.  

5. Which object describes you?

Bring five or so objects to class. They could be items like a spatula, a tool, a mirror, a toy ball, a journal, a band-aid...anything. Set the items in front of the class. Ask each member to choose one item that best describes themselves and why. They can get pretty creative with this one. 

6. Signature page

Create a list of descriptions that's about the same number of students in your class. For example: I have my Young Women medallion, I had pizza in the past week, I can say all 13 Articles of Faith, I have my Eagle Scout, I've never had a cavity. Give a sheet to each student and have them get as many signatures as possible, but only one signature from each person. Also they can't just say "Sign my page." They have to ask questions like, "Have you had a cavity?"  When the time is up, you read the list and have everyone raise their hand who could have signed that line. 

7. Snowball fight 

Each person writes one thing they are excited about, one thing they're nervous about, and one thing they want to learn. They crumple the papers and have a snowball fight! When time's up, they each grab a ball and take turns reading it aloud, trying to guess who wrote  it. 

8. Ready, set group! 

Students form groups quickly with criteria given by the teacher. For example: Make a group of three people with the same color hair. Then give new criteria for them to mix up again. 

9. Silent line

Students organize themselves into a line silently according to criteria from the teacher. For example: height, birth month, how many siblings they have. 

10. Fruit basket 

The group sits in a circle with one person in the middle. The middle person sets a criteria, and everyone who meets it moves to another seat in the circle. The middle person tries to find a seat before the last person does, so the next person gets to choose a new criteria. 

11. A poem about me 

Each student writes a poem with five lines: 

  • Three things they like 
  • Three things they dislike 
  • Three words that describe them 
  • A place they'd like to visit 
  • One thing their mom likes about them 

12. All about you page 

This is best given after a few days of class, when students feel safe to open up. List things like their name, cell phone or email they'd like to be given reminders with, and other questions like: 

  • Tell me about your family
  • What do you do for fun? 
  • Favorite and least favorite food 
  • Pet peeves
  • Most embarrassing moment in 10 words or less
  • Personal hero 
  • Your best quality 
  • Weirdest characteristic 
  • Little-known ambition or desire 
  • Your favorite book, movie, song 
  • What do you like about seminary?
  • What would you like to do when you grow up? 
  • Write me a letter. What else would you like me to know about you? 

13. Integrate a get-to-know-you activity into the lesson 

You could create a page with as many short-answer questions as students in the class. They might be questions like: How old was Joseph Smith when he had his first vision? How many siblings did Joseph Smith have?  Then under each short question, add the question: Write something we probably don't know about you.  Assign each person a question number. After they write their own two answers, students go around the room to fill in the rest of their questions. Then briefly go through the list with the whole class. 

If you have another get-to-know-you activity that you like, feel free to share it in a comment below! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tomorrow is my first day of teaching early morning seminary!

Do I feel ready? 

I'm not sure if I'll ever feel ready...

Will I teach anyway? 


Will I love it? 

I'm 100% sure I will. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tips from a professional organizer...the Edwards family's five-part housework system

1) Click here to check out our family's morning and evening chores

As a professional organizer, you can imagine I've experimented with a lot of routines. This one has been the best. We've used it for years. 

2) Click here for our magical "earn back box"

You'll love the power of this one simple tool to help your home stay neat and tidy. 

3) Click here for our "liberation from laundry" system 

This is the simple, efficient system I've taught to thousands of mothers. It's so awesome it can turn a closet into a sweet laundry room! Never be overwhelmed by mountains of dirty or to-be-folded laundry again...except maybe when you come home from vacation. Sorry, can't help you there. But vacations are worth it, right? 

4) Click here for our family chore hour...newly restarted last month 

Last month, to lighten our daily morning chores (see number one chart above), we removed garbage and weekly job. Then we added those things to a one-hour family chore hour that we do all together. Add loud dancing music, maybe a treat after, and believe it or not, it's kinda fun!  And I L.O.V.E. how the house looks and feels afterward! 

5) Click here for our money chore list

This is my go-to list when kids want to earn money, earn their belonging from the earn-back box, or if they disobeyed and need a consequence. 

BONUS:  We started a new family tradition of adding a 15-minute family work project some days after our regular morning routine. Click here to check it out.

This is for those periodic projects like cleaning out drawers or the garage, or deep cleaning light fixtures and lamps. 

Click here to see blessings of families working together

It's harder at first than doing the work yourself, but the benefits are just too important to miss! 

I'd love to hear what housework systems work for you! Feel free to leave a comment below. 

Our morning and night chore routines

This is the chore routine we have used for years and it has worked great!  

Notice we put the two chore routines to songs. That way family members can sing the song to themselves to see which chore to do next. If I see kids dawdling I say, "Which chore are you on?"  Their ticket to freedom is to come to me and check off the chore list. Because my husband was in the Army, when the kids were little we did the check-off Army style. "Morning prayer." "CHECK." "Breakfast too." "CHECK." Too cute.  

To get started on a chore routine, or when routines change, it can help to use an incentive program like points and a prize each week. I love Miracle Music and highly recommend it. 

In the past few weeks we made a change to remove two daily chores from our morning routine, and do a weekly family chore hour instead. Click here to read about that. 

Click here for the Edwards family's five-part housework system...tips from a professional organizer. 

List of ideas for kids' money chores

Here's my go-to list when a child wants to earn some money. 

Or if someone disobeyed a rule and needs a consequence, or if a child wants to earn their belonging from the earn-back box. Other ideas for money jobs are here.

Family chore hour...prepare to be amazed by what your family can accomplish in one hour a week!

I've been praying for ways to streamline my life to make room for a new busy church calling. Next week I start teaching early morning LDS seminary. During my scripture study recently, the idea popped into my mind to re-start ...


Family chore night is something our family did every week when we had three little ones. We had two teams - the laundry team and the cleaning team, with Mom and Dad each in charge of a team. It was actually pretty fun! We bonded, got a lot of stuff done in about an hour, sang and danced to happy music, and taught our children life skills that too many kids are leaving home without. I REFUSE to let my kids leave home without these skills. 

Here is our new plan.

Now that we have teens, we can have three teams! Mom in charge of one, Dad in charge of one, and our 15-year-old daughter wanted to be her own team. We've experimented and tweaked for about four weeks now and the goal is to get as much done in one hour as you can...and then if we're lucky, to sit around as a family and eat something yummy like ice cream!  

We have family home evening lessons on Sundays already, so it works great for us to do this on Monday nights. I've heard of families doing chores together on Saturday morning or Friday after school, and the reward is a fun family activity or free time to play with friends. 

Click here for the Edwards family's five-part housework system...tips from a professional organizer. 

Summer tradition...15-minute family work project

Some days this summer we started a new tradition. 

We tacked onto our morning chore routine a 15-minute family work project

I L.O.V.E.D. it!  

It is amazing how much progress you can make when several people focus on one work project. Sometimes we got going and decided to work longer one day and skip the next few days. 

I got virtually every kitchen drawer and cupboard de-junked, wiped down, and tidied. We cleaned out the garage, deep cleaned light fixtures and ceiling fans! These are all tasks that aren't part of our normal housework system. I think I'll make this a new summer tradition. 

I have a fun little toy. It's called a label maker. I had fun with it in this drawer! 

Click here to see organizing ideas for each room of the house! 

Click here for the Edwards family's five-part housework system...tips from a professional organizer.