Young Women Mutual Activities With a Value Purpose
"Activities should be planned at little or no cost, should build testimonies and provide meaningful service to others." --Thomas S. Monson
"...these officers and teachers and these young men and women are people of ingenuity who can work out programs costing little in dollars that will yield tremendous dividends in wholesome recreation and faith-building activities" --Gordon B. Hinckley
Faith games: Play these games 1) knot game, 2) falling back into people's arms, 3) blind leading, etc. Liken the games to faith. You have to have faith to trust in one another, and especially the Lord to accomplish your task. Talk and let the girls discuss how each game applies to faith. End with a testimony meeting.
Memorized Hymns: Get the young women together and make a game out of learning hymns. Have memorization games and fun ways to learn the song so they will always remember the words to use them in a hard situation.
Family Home Evening Kit: Could include a flannel board and stories from the Friend magazine. Copy onto white cardstock or laminate. Many FHE ideas can be found at http://www.theideadoor.com/FHE.html
FHE Recipe Book: Make a Family Home Evening treats recipe book. Fill it with quick and easy treat recipes and have some samples of them made up for tasting.
Scripture Charades: Cards are written up before the activity begins. Each card has some type of scripture story or reference written on it. There are two teams and the girls on the teams take turns acting out the stories for the other girls on their team. Stories could be: Ammon, the missionary; Noah and the Ark; Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel; King Noah and Abinadi; Samuel the Lamanite, etc.
Rope Course: The youth are all blindfolded and paired off. They are taken by leaders out of the church and guided to the starting point of the course and given the end of a rope. One partner holds to the rope with one hand and to his/her partner with the other hand. The main rope leads around the church grounds and back to the entrance. However, other ropes with dead ends are also attached to the main rope. After all the youth make it back discuss the experience and its relationship to our life, faith and the iron rod.
Getting to Know the Bishop: The Sunday before the activity have a lesson on the Priesthood. Ask the young women to write down any questions they would like to ask the Bishop. On Mutual night they meet with the Bishop in his office, if possible, and their written questions are given to him to answer.
Get to Know the Bishopric: Invite the Bishopric members (including the executive secretary) and their wives to an activity where the young women can ask questions, play games, etc. and serve them a treat.
Temple Marriage Night: Ask a panel of 7 couples, married for 2-40 years, to bring pictures of temples and wedding albums, tell how they met, and answer a list of questions prepared by the young women in advance and other questions from the young women.
"No Room at the Inn": Young women are only told to dress warmly and that they are going to visit a few homes in the neighborhood to bring Christmas cheer. An adult leader calls 3-4 families in advance telling them to have an excuse for NOT letting the young women in or listening to a song at the door. Leaders must play along with this and not give it away. At the last home ask, "Could you suggest where we can go to have our Christmas program?" The family there tells you "there is a bar (or shed, stable, garage, etc.) you could use." The barn has been set up to resemble a stable with an empty baby cradle/basket draped with muslin and dimly spotlighted. Old blankets spread on hay are available to sit on. Read a poem, etc. about "No Room at the Inn"; play the song "Let Him In" from Michael McLean's "The Forgotten Carols" (or something similar); talk about making room for Christ in our lives and hearts; then sing together and share testimonies. After closing prayer serve hot chocolate either in the barn, at a home, or at the Church.
Life Story: Read an exciting biography to the young women about someone like Florence Nightingale, Camilla Kimball, or Emma Smith. Shortened versions may be found in the encyclopedia or library. Tell them that their biography can be just as exciting. Instruct them to pretend they are 80 years old and are writing their life stories. Give them at least 20-30 minutes. They will realize that their life is an open book and the possibilities for accomplishments are endless.
Chaste While Being Chased: The young women bring cars made from cardboard boxes. They sit in a half-circle in their "cars" like they are at a drive-in. Have a speaker come and talk to them about chastity. Serve root beer floats.
Fashion Show: Each girl could dress up as her mother and present a "spotlight" on her mother's background, interests, etc. To prepare them for their participation each girl could fill out in advance a "Spotlight on My Mother" form to plan what she would present about her mother. Costumes could be as simple as an apron or hat, gloves with a garden tool, book about a hobby, etc.
Ancestor Night: Have the girls find out in advance about some of their ancestors and have them write down the birthdates, birthplace, marriage dates, baptismal dates, temple endowment dates and death dates, if available. Have them find the information available for their ancestor, their brothers and sisters, grandparents and great-grandparents. As a group, fill out family group sheets with the young women as children. Then split into two groups: one group plays "Ancestor Spin the Bottle." Spin an antique bottle, when it points to a girl she tells her ancestor story. The other group plays a game to fill in a pedigree chart. It is sort of like Bingo (the cards have grandfather, birthdate, etc.) and they fill in that spot.
Heritage Night: Each young woman invites her grandmother (or older person close to her) to attend. Each also brings an antique or heirloom item to tell about. The evening is spent enjoying amusing or inspirational stories told by the grandmothers about their younger days and learning about the antique treasures.
Progressive Dinner: This is an excellent idea especially with a new presidency. Each leader has one of the dinner courses at their house. In addition to what food is prepared, the leaders each prepare a poster with pictures of themselves. After the leader shares the pictures the girls would play one of the leader's favorite games. The girls do the same at each of the leaders homes. The leaders express their individual worth and it helps everyone grow closer.
Pretty in Pink: The leaders and class presidency plan a three-week event to help the girls learn to love each girl in the class and to make new friends within the class. The "Pretty in Pink" kick-off is a motivational and inspiring evening where everything is done in pink. First have the young women read two scriptures: John 15: 9, 12 and Matthew 25:40. Then watch the video called "The Award." Explain the "Pretty in Pink" program to all the girls. The young women choose out of a pink basket a pink plastic egg that has a name of one of the girls in the class inside. That girl would become her special friend for one week. The girls are given a calendar of the month with ideas of things they could do together listed for each week or they cane make up their own ideas. The only requirement is that they do something! Give the girls a bookmark to use all month to remind them to make their new friends a part of their life. Serve pink cake and pink raspberry frappe. The next week at Mutual the girls choose another name. Use a small card with the words "This week will be MOUNDS of fun with your new friend __________." Wrap a fun-size Mounds candy bar in pink cellophane. The next week they choose another name. At the end of the third week, host a "Pretty in Pink Ending Party." Share the scripture John 15:13 and show the video "The Last Leaf". Each girl should come prepared to spotlight her three new friends by telling all the things she learned about them. Once again, all pink refreshments must be served. It is a great bonding exercise for the whole class.
Water Olympics: Several stations are set and the youth are divided into groups and rotated into each station to play water games. Of course the evening ends in a giant water fight. Some examples of the stations are: volleyball with teams holding a sheet or towel to toss the big water balloon back and forth over the net; transporting youth in a wheel barrow to a chair to a chair in a team relay race where they must pop a water balloon by sitting on it; pouring a cup of water into another cup of water over your shoulder to the person behind you without looking. Continue this relay down the line of your team to see which team can get the most water in a bucket at the end of the line. Other relay races are: water balloon between the knees, water balloon toss, anything that is wet is fun!
That's Entertainment!: Decorate with red, black and white balloons. Make black cardboard top hats for the tables. Serve simple appetizers and 7-up. Show video clips that have been taken throughout the year of the young men and young women. Choose a few categories and make Academy Awards by spray-painting kewpie dolls gold and attaching them to a wood base.
Getting to Know You: If you would like to get to know the young women better and help them get to know each other, try this one. The young women rotate to three different rooms: first, this room has baby pictures of the young women and everyone has to guess who they are; the second room has a young woman trivia game where you have to guess which young woman did the crazy or exciting things from stories that leaders have collected from parents and siblings; the third room has all kinds of hearts for the girls to write notes of appreciation to their leaders (or their previous leaders if this is a new presidency). Everyone meets together at the end and tell the girls the answers to the games.
Understanding the Limitations of a Handicap: Young women rotate to different rooms where they experience or try to experience different handicaps. 1) wheelchair obstacle course (timed while open/shut door, pick things up, write on board, etc.); 2) learn sign language--someone teaches the girls to sign a song (no one can talk in the room); 3) blindfold obstacle course--have to step up on item like the curb using a stick to guide, get around furniture, etc.); 4) race and other activities using a walker, cane, and crutches. End the activity by having a woman who works with handicapped children talk to the girls about the value of each and every person regardless of appearance, etc. If possible have handicapped youth there to share some experiences and answer questions.
Camp Quilts: Each young woman acquires the necessary materials for own quilt to take to camp. Some may piece used Levis, others may choose to use flannel, etc. Everyone gathers at the Church or a leaders home and all work together on two quits at a time until all are tied before camp.
International Food Night: Plan a menu that includes food from all over the world (i.e. Mexican appetizer, Swiss salad, etc.). The young women can volunteer if they would like to prepare a dish. They then choose a recipe they would like to prepare. On the night of the dinner the girls can get together to prepare the food. Decorate the room with items from around the world and during the dinner tell about the food and the country it's from. You could also play games such as "country scramble" where the names of the countries are scrambled; match the country with it's capital; have them draw the United States with their eyes closed, etc.
Book Bags: This is especially good for a Beehive activity. Help all the class make and stencil a bag to carry their scriptures and Personal Progress book in. This encourages them to bring their scriptures to Church on Sunday and helps them keep track of their Personal Progress book. Hopefully they will continue to carry their bags with them throughout their years in Young Women.
New Era Bowl: Assign the young women to study several issues of the New Era. At the conclusion of the study period it becomes a competition between classes to see who can answer the most correct questions about the issues of the New Era. Prizes are given to the class with the most points.
Conference Bowl: A variation of New Era Bowl. Encourage the Young Men and/or Young Women to take notes and listen carefully to General Conference. Hold this activity the next Mutual night after Conference so it is still fresh on their minds and before the conference issue of the Ensign comes out.
Better Talks: Invite someone qualified to speak to young women on ways to begin a talk, contents of a talk, using notes (so you aren't reading the talk) and closing. Include poise and how not to appear frightened.
Book Review: Arrange a trip to the public library. A librarian could share books that would be of interest to the young women. (You will need to warn the librarian of the high standards of the girls). Have each girl choose a book and set a date to hold a book review. Fun refreshments would be a cup of pudding with crushed Oreos on top (to look like dirt) and a gummy worm on top. This activity works best in summer.
"Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?": Play the game Carmen San Diego, only use Church History and geography questions instead. The young women work in teams of 4-5 and can get prizes. Have 3 rounds and use the cultural hall so they can travel.
Child Care Clinic: Pass around a sign-up sheet in Relief Society and priesthood for parents who would like to bring their children ages 3-8 to the Mutual activity. Divide the girls into groups. Assign them to one of the following activities: story time, crafts, songs, snacks. Four girls are assigned to walk the children from one group to another. There is no charge for this. The young women will really enjoy doing this and the children's parents will appreciate it.
Jeopardy: Play using questions from the scriptures and from Church History.
Learning to Quilt: Find some fabric with large, cute shapes (animals, dolls, etc.) on it. Put a think batting and backing behind it. Teach the girls to quilt around the outside of the shape. Then frame them in a large wooden hoop and decorate it with ribbon and silk flowers.
Check It Out: Give the girls several situations where they would have to demonstrate their ability to handle money wisely. Have a mock checkbook made up for each girl and explain about such things as interest, credit cards, and savings. Help each girl to realize that tithing needs to be paid also, and that it is easier if it is paid first.
Choice and Accountability
Alphabet Picnic: Using the first initial in her last name (or first name) have each girl choose a food item that begins with that letter to bring to a picnic in the mountains (or park). For example, Sister Carter might bring chili or cookies or cantaloupe. Have them bring enough for each girl in the class--making her accountable! It's surprising how well the menu fits together.
Progressive Backwards Dinner: Plan a menu with four courses and choose four homes in the same vicinity where the courses could be served. The meal is served with dessert first, main course, salad, then appetizer as the last course. Ride bikes to each home. At the last home play volleyball and have fun together. The young women should also wear their clothes backward and as they get off their bikes at the different houses, they are to walk up to the house bac
ward. Do as much of the evening backward.
Choices Workshop: Four different workshops are prepared: 1) cooking class, 2) charades, 3) Pictionary, 4) dictionary game or spoons. These four workshops are given fun names like, "Keep 'em Guessing"; "A.M.O.T.L.F.O.T.H." (A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!); "Look It Up"; "Hi-Ho Silver!" These titles are written on index card-size paper. As the girls arrive they could choose two of the four classes (not knowing before-hand what they are choosing and not able to change once the classes start). Each workshop lasts approximately 15-20 minutes. The purpose of this activity is to help the young women realize as they make choices they are also accountable for those choices.
Sunday Choice and Accountability Lesson: As they young women arrive in the Young Women room for opening exercises they choose a stick which is then placed on a piece of colored cardstock. There are 3 different stickers with 3 different colors of cardstock. The girls don't know whether they will be going by the sticker they chose or the color of the paper. After opening exercises the girls are divided into classes by the sticker and go to that class. The advisor or Young Women presidency member will then teach the lesson on Choice and Accountability to the group of young women who chose that particular sticker. The young women are not allowed to change classes, but must stay with the sticker they chose as they came into Young Women.
Resistance to Peer Pressure--A Drug (Free) Party: An adult leader prepares on index card for each young woman. Most cards will say "Welcome! Eat as much as you would like! Be sure to get anyone not eating to eat!" Some cards will say: "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE YOU TO EAT ANYTHING!" Set up the room to simulate a party (music, low lights) and have plenty of healthful snacks or candy. As the young women enter they are told: "Welcome to my party, please follow the directions on the card carefully," and they are encouraged to socialize but not to show their card to anyone. The activity should continue for about 15 minutes. Bring the young women together to evaluate what has happened. The discussion should emphasize ways to avoid using drugs in similar situations. After the group discussion led by a leader, play group party games and give each young woman instructions for several fun games they could play at parties. The purpose is to encourage positive group fun as alternatives to videos or drugs and alcohol for having "fun". You may choose to have a special guest speaker on the topic.
Choice and Accountability Dinner: Several menu items are chosen. Each young woman decides what type of dish she would like to prepare and share with the class. Recipes are exchanged. A discussion is held about nutritional choices and how they affect our body and emotional well being. Demonstrations are held on how to make food presentable and nutritionally rewarding.
Chicken Bowl: Everyone brings canned items for donations. Fill 2 liter bottles with water for bowling (ten of them for each lane). Tape off lanes in the cultural hall. Use frozen chickens for bowling balls. Have fun bowling. This sounds weird, and the leaders had their doubts about it, but the girls thought it was one of their most funny activities!
Love Quilt: Each Mia Maid and Laurel were assigned to assist an elderly couple in the ward for a year and each Beehive was asked to be of special assistance to her family or a relative. Each time a girl performed an act of service she marked it on a chart circulated on Sunday. For each mark, a 3" square of fabric was cut to represent that act of service. Throughout the year you are in the process of creating a beautiful service quilt. It will be rewarding to see the quilt grow as the girls continually see to the needs of the families to which they are assigned.
Care Packages: The last two weeks before school is out or during finals is often a stressful time for the young women. They have difficulty attending activities because they are trying to get all their assignments turned in. The leaders decided to instruct the young women to be in their homes at 7:00 on Mutual night to receive a surprise. The surprise is a brown paper sack filled with things to aid them in their studying. Attach a poem to each sack and enclose things like "No Doz" tablets which are M&M's in a prescription bottle, a pencil, an apple with a gummy worm stuck in the top with a toothpick, a sucker, chips, etc.
Service Scavenger Hunt: Teams can visit member homes and receive points for doing acts of service (cleaning, washing a car, reading a book to small child, changing a diaper, etc.) A prize can be awarded to the team with the most points.
Canned Food Scavenger Hunt: Teams could gather food and paper items for a local shelter or Ronald McDonald House. The team with the most items could receive a reward/certificate. Everyone could meet afterwards for ice cream sundaes. The key to successful service projects is being very organized and bringing the youth together at the end of the activity to talk about what they did, how they felt, and the purpose of service.
Car Wash: Free for all members of the ward who have so graciously supported youth activities in the past.
Secret Grandmothers: The young women choose a secret grandmother. They take her something they have made at least once a week without her knowing who they are. After a month, a dinner is held for the girls and their secret grandmothers to meet.
Christmas Remembrances for the Elderly: On a regular fireside Sunday (before December) divide the YM/YW into groups of 5 or 6 and give each group a tape recorder and the names of 1 or 2 elderly people in the ward. They will need to go visit with those assigned to them and ask about the Christmas they remember best or their most special Christmas. Prepare questions ahead of time so they can help stimulate their memories about the stories and get details. The recorded stories are then typed and put into a book. The following month (December) the youth host a nice dinner for the people that they were visiting and present them with a copy of the book of memories. The dinner gives the youth a chance to sit and visit and get better acquainted with some of the older members of the ward. The youth may also share some of their talents with them at the end of the evening.
Puzzling Out Integrity: Clues are places throughout the church. At each spot the girls will find a puzzle piece which they later put together. The puzzle is a small scripture on integrity. Then have a short lesson on integrity and give each young woman a handout with a picture of Christ with the integrity scripture. Mount these on purple cardstock and decorate with a ribbon.
Worthy of Imitation: Each class might select a woman they would like to honor. The guests could be from ward or stake. A statement is read by a representative from each class about the woman selected by the class. Women could be chosen who represent qualities of each of the seven values.
Puzzle Activity: Divide into groups: Provide a jig saw puzzle (300 pieces) for each group. Award a prize to the first group to: 1) get all their puzzle pieces turned right side up, 2) complete the outside frame of their puzzle, 3) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for completing their puzzle, 4) first group to get every piece back into their box after completing the puzzle. Hold an "on-time" drawing and award a mini puzzle to a young man or young woman who had arrived on time. This activity fosters cooperation as the youth work together to complete their goal.
Traveling Values Dinner: Each young woman should bring her mother (or another woman she is close to, if mother is not available). Have a committee of four plan the activity. Each home is assigned one or two Values. The girl and her mother are to work together on a game, song or story to teach the Value color, Value scripture, and/or Value definition. Some may use crossword puzzles, memorization, or color songs, etc. Each activity is planned for the various houses. After the short game, song, or activity is over, serve a food item in the color of the Value or Values that were focused on in that house. Examples are: pineapple/banana slush at one house (Good Works), green vegetables with a white dip at another (Knowledge/Faith), red jello jigglers (Individual Worth), and blue cake with purple frosting (Divine Nature/Integrity), etc. Be creative! Balloons in the Value color for that house are hung on the mailbox.
Cookbook: Compile a cookbook for use by missionaries, Laurels who will be going away to college, or college students. This is good for the Laurel class in preparation for college.
Values Quilt: Make a quilt with squares representing the Young Women Values.
Leadership Training Sleepover: Present four 20 minute workshops: 1) Positive Attitude, 2) Friendship, 3) Time Management and 4) Personal Progress. After a night of snacks, games, and fun, end the activity with a simple breakfast. Follow up with a leadership training lesson at your next class presidency meeting on Daily Spiritual Preparation.
Articles of Faith: Have ingredients of a banana split to be earned for each Article of Faith memorized and repeated perfectly that night. These ingredients include the bowl, spoon, ice cream, bananas, various toppings, whipped cream, nuts, etc.