For those who don’t know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also nicknamed “Mormons“). The leaders of our church have asked us to hold a weekly Family Home Evening. This is a time, usually on Monday nights, when we get together and have a prayer, sing songs around the piano, have a short lesson, do an activity, and end with another prayer. Pretty idyllic, I know. : )
In our family, we have been working hard on increasing the quality of our lessons during Family Home Evenings these last few months. With Little Miss 20 Months, our lessons were really not going well. Haha. But I also sincerely want Little Miss 20M to know her scripture stories, even at this young age. And since I’ve always admired the Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) that my friends growing up attended, I started looking up VBS ideas online.
Eventually I found this little gem. Free printable masks to help tell the story of Esther. Brilliant!
Here are a few things I learned about using these:
(1) DEFINITELY need to be printed on thicker card stock paper. I ran out of card stock partway through printing and the ones on regular paper were too flimsy.
(2) When printing, go to the Page Setup tab and choose Landscape (circled in red, below). Mine is automatically set up for portrait, so I got a much smaller version when I tried printing them the first time. I just printed again on the backside. But save yourself the ink!
(3) Consider laminating these. I don’t have a laminator quite yet, but lamination (a) makes them less floppy while holding up to your face and (b) makes them more durable for the hours of playtime we have gotten since the original Family Night lesson.
(4) Esther’s mask needs a bit more support than the others because of her veil. On the back of mine, I added a second popsicle stick and a horizontal bamboo skewer for additional support. This may not have been necessary had I laminated it. (Notice that I originally printed Mordecai on this one, but hadn’t learned the landscape printing trick yet. Ah, well…).
(5) Write down a loose script before presenting the lesson to make it go more smoothly. I realized that although I know the story of Esther, I struggle to tell it at a toddler level. This will mean a little more preparation and a little more time in the scriptures (which isn’t a bad thing!) to get the details accurate, but it would have made this a lot more effective.
Little problems aside, this was an awesome lesson and totally got Little Miss 20M’s attention. Once I get a laminator (someday!), I will print these all out again on card stock, cut them out nicely, and laminate them for our permanent Family Home Evening props collection. It will obviously take additional retellings as she grows older, but I’m so pleased!