Tuesday, September 17, 2013

52 Young Women's Mutual Activity Ideas (that's a whole year, baby!)

I've been moved. 

Snatched out of Young Women's and sentenced to Primary teaching music and singing with the kids (again) because everyone knows that young children want nothing else than to hear my tenor "man voice" every Sunday. The same voice that my mom used to sing in when *I* was in primary that made me slump down in my seat, attempting to hide the fact that I was mortified and now MY children are mortified, like some sort of freaky circle of life thing. They have also forbidden me from using ANY of my killer dance moves while teaching, which has not been successful so far, but a girl needs something to strive for.

I digress.

I know the way these positions at church work. At some point in the next 80 years of the service life ahead of me (because I am only 18 now)(stop laughing), I'll be doing activities again, so before I throw out all the calendars and notes of what we have done, I'm making a record of them so that next time? I won't have to come up with new ideas. And maybe, JUST maybe, it'll help some of you out there who work so tirelessly to both entertain and inspire these wonderful youth we've got.

This is gonna be a long one, with some blurred out faces (so parents don't get mad) and one BILLION horribly bad quality phone photos. Oooo...sounds exciting.

1. Art Night

12 x 12 watercolor paper ripped from a pad, some cheap acrylic paints, and have the girls bring their own paintbrush. They can do this easy project or rock it free style.

2. Journal in a Jar

Girls bring their own mason/spaghetti sauce jar and cut up journal entry prompts (a quick internet search will find you TONS). Talk about the importance of keeping a written record and being able to look back on blessings, trials, and how you've grown.

BONUS: bring your own journal and read an embarrassing tidbit or two from when you were younger.

3. Make bookmarks as a Mothers/Fathers Day gift

We made these. Take the photos after an activity one night, and make the bookmarks the next week.

4. Book Club

Everyone brings their favorite book of the moment and a treat to share. Eat. Discuss. Repeat.

5. Daddy / Daughter Night

A game of dueling pictionary. There is a dad's team, and a girls team. Both teams send someone up (can be dad vs. daughter or mix it up), and they both get to see the word and the start drawing. The team that guesses first gets the point. {clean sweep by the girls, by the way}

We also played "Name That Tune". Again, girls vs. dads. I had a playlist for each team, and they took turns identifying the song by only hearing the first few seconds. The twist? The girls had to guess songs from the 70's and 80's (can I tell you how the father's couldn't believe their eyes when the intro from Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" came on and the girls sat there blankly? HA!), and the dads/leaders had only current songs. Hearing just a few beats of Maroon 5 would send the girls squealing and screaming "Oh COME ON, Dad! This is SOOO easy!!", while the fathers just scratched their heads.

We could have played this all night...

bring some dress up stuff, paper mustaches, and a sheet = instant photo booth

6. Modest Fashion on a Budget

We called this one "Pretty Pennies." One of our most fashionable ladies (that's you, Allison!) presented a fabulous presentation on modest-ing up barely there styles, examples of refashioning thrift store finds, and classic, low-cost staples for a wardrobe that will give you lots of outfit options.

7. Theater Night

There are tons of Readers Theaters online that you can print up and have them "perform." 
We followed up by playing a few improvisational games after talking about the basic rules that make a scene more successful: don't deny (never say no), don't ask open ended questions, no pregnant ladies as an easy way out, etc. The never say no rule was flawlessly executed by these two at a bus stop: 

"I've got a new deodorant. Do you wanna smell it?"

"Why yes - I'd love to!"

8. Sewing

There are several projects that are not only simple, but cute and functional too.
An easy tote bag, pajama pants, or a baby blanket for an expecting mother.
And speaking of babies...

9. Throw a Baby Shower

If one of your leaders is expecting, let the girls plan a Wednesday night celebration in her honor. 
Delegate party games, desserts, decor, etc.

10. Easy Gift Wrapping

Come on - you KNEW this would be on the list! Basic wrapping techniques with newspaper, Target bag poofs, and accordion flowers will take up the whole 90 minutes. Guaranteed.

11. Basic cake decorating

Someone you know can decorate a cake. Make a bunch of cupcakes, and let them teach the girls a few simple techniques.

12. Modest Fashion Show

With free newspaper decorations

"Are we done setting up yet? This is BO-RING."

and over the top judges.

13. White Elephant

Wrap up gifts (with a max value of $2-3 dollars), and put them in a pile. Each girl gets a chance to pick or steal something that has already been opened. Once something is stolen twice, it can't be stolen again. Here are some ideas of cheap and easy presents we brought.

14. Commercials

Bring a ton of props (stuffed animals, blankets, sports equipment, dress up clothing) and add to your stash by having the girls bring one item of their choosing. Everyone picks an item, then split them into groups. Have them prepare a "commercial" for the product they've come up with using those items. Once everyone has performed, switch items and reassign teams.

BONUS: bring a video camera

15. Walk to the Park

Have a playground nearby? Take a hike.

16. Learn to crochet

There is bound to be a few people in your ward that would be great at teaching the basics.
Invite them all (more adults = more one on one for the girls that need it).
For the girls that get frustrated? Have them make pom poms.

17. Photography

Have someone come and talk about elements of taking better pictures: composition, lighting, backgrounds, etc.
Let them practice with their phones :)

BONUS: send them around the building on a photo scavenger hunt

18. Sanitize the nursery toys

Yes, there will be just as much playing as there is cleaning.

19. Caroling

You can bundle up and head out in the cold December night OR surprise your friends and neighbors with a Christmas in July visit.

BONUS: take your musical melodies to a senior community and make their day

20. Basic Car Maintenance

Changing a tire, checking oil, jump starting a battery. Girls need to know this stuff too.

21. Decorate the Ward Bulletin Board

A bright paper lining, some punched out flowers, a few embellishments...

22. 2 x 4 Pumpkins

Like these.

23. Thrift store challenge

Drive to your local goodwill and give them a time limit, and a theme. 
(Examples: A Night on the Town, Bedtime, For When You Want to Look Homeless, A Simple Halloween Costume, Releasing the Inner Diva.)
When the time is up, have them model the "outfits" they were able to create.

24. Dating Panel
 (combined activity)

 As youth we spend so much time planning on where we'll go to school, what job we'll have, where we'll live, but what about who we'll marry? If the choice of marriage partner is truly the most important decision of our life, shouldn't we be laying the ground work for what we want in that arena as well?

We had 5 couples of varying ages come and take turns answering different questions:

How did you meet?
What qualities did you first notice about your future spouse?
Looking back, what are some traits that should've been important for you to look for?
The secret to a happy marriage is _________.

BONUS: send out a ward email asking for dating / engagement photos, then print them up and display as part of the "decor"

 The follow-up the next week was

25. Candyland: the Life Size Version

I can take no credit for this idea. Our YW president rocked it!

Dollar Store favor bags like these for collecting candy along the way.
If you want a copy of the "dating is sweet" jpg, shoot me an email.

We kept the girls all together, and they made stops at every station.

Plum Tree - GROW in who you are. GROW in the gospel. GROW in your social skills and friendships.

Peppermint Forest - You aren't MINT to be serious right now.

 Gumdrop Mountain / Gumdrop Pass - There are no short cuts. Rather than focusing on what you "can't do yet", focus on all the benefits of friendships without the pressure of being romantic. Best friends are the best foundations for future relationships.

Licorice Castle - Don't TWIST the commandments of God to fit your desires.

Lollipop Woods - Take your time, stay on the path, and you won't get lost.

Ice Cream Sea - Stop only dreaming about Mr. Right and focus on BECOMING Ms. Right

"What will YOU have to offer a potential partner?" Deep thoughts by our own Queen Frostine.

Chocolate Swamp - Physical Intimacy. Something so sweet can get gloppy if you're not careful.

BONUS: secretly blowing up old facebook photos of your YW Pres to hang up as she's teaching

BONUS #2: "lap dancing" making the list of behaviors that could get you in trouble

If we can get through all these obstacles, we can end up at the Candle Castle - the Temple.

26. Budgeting / Real Life Finances

Have the girls make a list of "necessities" for living. Where will they live? What will they drive? How many times will they go to the movies? Then give them a monthly budget and have them figure out exactly how much they can spend on rent, utilities, food, car payments, entertainment. Brainstorm different ideas to live within their means. Illustrate that it's not always about how much you MAKE, but how much you SPEND that ultimately matters.

27. Service Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of different activities (reading a book to a child, wiping off counters, cleaning a sliding glass door, pulling 15 weeds, etc) and put split the girls into teams. Go out into different houses (arranged before hand...let the mothers have a heads up and they can have "extra" service opportunities ready...folding a load of towels anyone?) and see who can get the most things crossed off their lists.

28. Inspiration Boards

Collect used magazines destined for the recycle bin and have the girls make collages of things that inspire them. Fashion, words, foods they'd like to try, hairstyles, photos, quotes, etc.

29. Movie night

Everyone wears PJ's, and brings a snack to share. Don't forget a pillow.

30. Missionary Panel

Set up different stations and have the kids break into groups and talk about/practice different life skills with a leader at each stop. Basic cooking, ironing and laundry tips, staying in shape, putting on a suit while blindfolded (ha!) and -of course- sewing on a button.

31. Jazzercise / Yoga/Aerobics

 Find someone who is willing to lead. Pump up the volume. Enjoy the burn.

32. Story Switch / Creative Writing

Every one gets a piece of paper and 5 minutes to begin writing a story. When the time is up, pass your paper to the right, and the next person has to continue on with the storyline. Once everyone has gotten a turn with every story, the original author gets to stand up and read "her" story out loud. Kinda like Mad Libs, but awesomer.

33. Combined Talent Show

Singing, dancing, movie scene reenactments, anything goes. 
Especially if it's air guitar (is it still called that?)

Here's our thug act. I'm breaking the rules by smiling.

34. Assign a girl to teach something she's great at

Maybe someone is a talented artist, or loves to bead jewelry. In this case we did different origami creations. The other girls love it, and the "teacher" can pass it of as a personal progress value experience.

35. Mother / Daughter Night

Need something that will entertain everyone?

 I had them pair up (if mom has two daughters that works too...leaders can step in for moms that aren't there), gave them a piece of paper, and showed 50 photos of pop/church culture/history that span from mom's childhood until now.
Here's the powerpoint with the pictures.
Here are the "clues" that go along with the pictures. Here's the answer key.

After that we showed a video that we had worked on for a month before hand. I asked the girls 10 questions, edited the answers together, added some music, some photos of the girls with their mothers when they were younger, and played it for all to see. Not a dry eye in the bunch. Aw yeah.
{here's the list of questions}

36. Spa / Nails Night  

37. Healthy eating

How to read food labels, the dangers of extreme fad diets, and the importance of exercise.

38. Babysitting Prep

This is a great one to have the Laurels (16-17 year olds) teach. Fun impromptu children's games, "what should you do?" scenarios, and basic child development stages and safety.

39. Package up Father's Day goodies to pass out after Sacrament Meeting


2013 - inspired by these

40.. Family Home Evening Kit

Everything they'll need to teach a Monday night lesson: a story, a game, and an easy dessert recipe. Once they report back that they've done it, it counts as a value project.

41. Make and deliver cookies

You can visit less active girls, or elderly members that might enjoy a quick hello from a gaggle of girls.

42. Swimming party

Find someone with a pool they'd like to "donate" for the cause, or go to a free local splash park.

43. Halloween Carnival
(combined activity)

Invite the families of the ward and neighborhood to bring their kiddos and have them entertained for an evening. Each group is in charge of coming up with an activity and running a "booth", whether it's a cake walk, fishing for candy, face painting,

or tricks of the eye. The deacons ROCKED this.

44. Decorate the Bishop's office door

What could be more appropriate for the Thanksgiving season than {anonymously} telling our fearless leader all of the reasons we're thankful for him?
That unicorn on the corner was a little somethin' extra
("that's not magic - that's the Spirit!"). He left it up all month long.

45. Grandparents of the Ward Social

The girls invited the "mature" adults in the congregation to bring something from the past that meant a lot to them. Photos, a special Christmas ornament, a recipe, etc. They also were asked to talk about family traditions that they participated in or had been passed down through their families.

46. Melted flowers
Who doesn't want to "Craft with Fire"? Grab some cheap faux satin fabric and let the girls make pins (for Mother's Day) or attach them to hair clips. Easy tutorial here.

47. Make book page wreaths

48. Grocery Store Challenge

Head to your nearest market and give each group of girls a budget and a challenge to come up with a menu plan. Bring pens and a notepad for keeping a record of each items price.

49. IHOP

Bring your plug-in griddle and a costco size bag of just add water pancake mix.
The girls bring the toppings: syrup, whipped cream, chocolate chips, etc.
Template downloaded and modified from here.

50. Make homemade soap or body scrub

Great for handing out as Christmas presents.

51. Jeopardy

52. Personal Safety

There are officers in every community that go around and speak to different groups about protecting themselves / basic self defense. Utilize these experts, and give your girls a little street smarts.

And 53, just because.

You have a Primary chorister in your ward, and she would be thrilled if you'd like to make some visual aids for a song the kids will be learning that year. Help a sister out, would ya?


  1. Awesome you did this! I recently got released too! It's nice when people share ideas! There is tons of song ideas On Pinterest! Good luck in your new calling!

  2. Awesome you did this! I recently got released too! It's nice when people share ideas! There is tons of song ideas On Pinterest! Good luck in your new calling!

  3. What a great post! Thanks for sharing all your ideas!!

    You are awesome. If I move to Texas can we be best friends?

  4. I think you are such a blessing to so many people. Thank you for giving of yourself and being salt and light.

  5. Ok I myself am more of a singing leader type, but if I ever am called upon to take my turn in YW, this would be a gold mine! What lucky blessed girls to have had you! 53 ideas? I'm exhausted!!

  6. I was needing some YW activity ideas for a planning meeting tonight and you had some fantastic ones. Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas!

  7. Awesome list! I totally shared it with my friends in YW. I'm sure you'll be awesome in your new calling, too! So, I just totally have to tell you about my favorite 'game' that the Primary chorister did when I taught Primary a few years ago. She made a poster of 'herself' with holes poked out for the eyes and told the kids that if they sang well enough Sister Workman would feel the spirit and cry. She used a clear ketchup bottle with water for the 'tears' and went around the room squirting the kids. They loved it!

  8. What an awesome list of great activities. Sounds like you have a lot of fun with these kids!

  9. Thank you so very much for sharing this! I sent it to my presidency, and we will do the majority of ideas on the list, they sound like so much fun!
    Thanks again.

  10. Oh yes, me, the judge! That was fun getting that ensemble ready. Nothing beats Angry Bird figurines and generic Hot Wheels hanging from your ears.
    And C still has the beautiful decorations in her room. :) BTW, she loves having you in Primary! And she'd support any random dancing you'd do.

  11. Oh yes, me, the judge! That was fun getting that ensemble ready. Nothing beats Angry Bird figurines and generic Hot Wheels hanging from your ears.
    And C still has the beautiful decorations in her room. :) BTW, she loves having you in Primary! And she'd support any random dancing you'd do.

  12. Thanks for posting this! We are having a planning meeting tonight and your list is very helpful. Could you share more details on the candyland one?

    1. Each "stop" had a different leader who talked about their specific topic (check the post - I put them below each photo), and then the girls got a piece of candy to add to their little treat bags and moved on to the next station. There was no rolling of dice or taking turns, and because it was summer and we only had about 15-20 girls, we just kept them all in one group. The leaders can read a story or talk on their subject if they want...we kept it open with just the prompt and then had everyone pray about what they should say. Because it's about dating, EVERYONE has a personal experience (both good or bad) that they can share, which makes it so much more meaningful (I hope!) for the girls. We closed with a mormon.org video about the temple. Because all the leaders are helping out, the biggest work is raiding the house/making the decor, but you could totally put classes in charge of it too, using a Wednesday or two prior to the activity for making props :) Hope that helps!!

  13. Oh my goodness this is a goldmine! This activities are all so awesome! Can't wait to share these ideas with my presidency! WOW!

    1. Coming up with activities was the hardest part of the calling - glad I could help! :)

  14. Love all of these ideas. Thank you! Would you please email me the dating is sweet jpeg? brittniec@gmail.com. Thank you so much!

  15. These are GREAT ideas! I am definitely sharing this with the rest of my class presidency! Thanks for sharing(:

  16. I didn't see an email to request the Dating is Sweet picture for the candyland activity. Will you please email it to me @ wdrichards1(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  17. Hi Rebecca, we are doing your AWESOME idea candyland this week could you please send me the jpg for the front of the boxes "dating is sweet" candy land picture,
    Thank you so much

  18. This is amazing!!! Thank you for taking the time to post it all!!!

    1. Just a way of "keeping it somewhere safe" as I was throwing out all our calendars. You never know when you're going to be put back in YW someday, and there's no WAY I could remember all this.

  19. This list is amazing! I'm so excited to have more ideas for YW activities! Thank you so much!

    1. I can't tell you how many times we went to plan ahead and all of us would go totally blank - that's the worst! May your meetings be easy and inspired!! :)

  20. The Dating is Sweet picture for the candyland activity is adorable. Will you please email it to me @ pbron1040@gmail.com

  21. Can I get your dating is sweet candyland box? Thanks!! So cute!! My email is shae_24@msn.com

  22. Could you please send me your "dating is sweet candy land picture? I am finding this late and hoping you can send it by tomorrow. Thanks.

  23. Could I please get the "dating is sweet" jpeg too? We can't wait to do this for an activity! Thanks for sharing. My email is jeffandwhit@gmail.com

  24. My Mia Maids are doing a dating bootcamp in two weeks and the Candy Land idea is perfect. Could I possibly get a copy of the dating is sweet file? Thanks in advance! amandagrotegut@gmail.com.

  25. Just sent it. The first bootcamp that actually sounds fun to attend :) Good luck!

  26. Could I get the jpeg for "Candy is Sweet" as well as anything you have on the candy land activity? Thank you sooooo much. This info is awesome and such a help. dbrbmw@aol.com

  27. Just so happens we're going caroling tomorrow night! Thanks for all the great ideas!

  28. Love your candy land gift bags! Can you please send me the jpeg at zavalaamanda@yahoo.com

  29. Hi, would love to use your 2013 Father's Day idea with the M&Ms? Do you have the download for that? It's so cute and would be great to use this year. Love your ideas!!

    1. So sorry to take forever getting back to you - I haven't checked this email in forever!

      I didn't save it, but I can throw another one together if it's something you'd still be interested in :)

    2. Could you also send me the Fathers Day idea as well as the "dating is sweet" printable for the treat bags? We are going to girlscamp next week and our theme is Candyland!! I love it!!

    3. could you please send me the 'dating is sweet" idea. It sounds awesome and would love to do it. My email christineboyce@hotmail.com thank you!

  30. Thank you SO much for sharing these! Planning activities is definitely not my strength. This helps so much!

  31. These are amazing..thank you from a new YW leader­čśÖ

  32. You are heaven sent!! Thank you from a new presidency!

  33. This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!! Can you please send me a dating is sweet documents for the candyland night?? kalissacotten@gmail.com

  34. This is such a great list. So many excellent ideas I've never seen before!! Thank you so much for writing these down...and sharing with everyone! Thank you!!!!

  35. this list helped sooooooooooo much!

  36. Thank you so much!!! We are having a planning meeting tomorrow morning and I was putting off looking for ideas so this was fantastic! Thanks!

  37. Hi! Thank you for your ideas... it's really nice..could you please send us the "dating is sweet jpeg"? please email at etubelan@gmail.com. thank you so much!

  38. Would you be able to send me the Candyland jpeg? megs_2109@hotmail.com

  39. Thanks for sharing the many great ideas. The Dating is Sweet and Lifesize Candyland game is awesome! I'd be interested in getting a copy of them if possible? Thanks!

  40. I'm so happy I came across this post! Thanks for sharing!! Is it still possible to get a copy of the Dating is Sweet jpg? laurenkdanielson@gmail.com

  41. As a new young women's president I appreciate the time you have put into this and the awesome ideas you have give me thank you!


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