I'm going to refer to this post for future sessions of general conference because all the preparations we did for the kids this year really paid off. General conference was enjoyable. With all four little children. For all 8 hours. Let me share with you what we did. (I grabbed these ideas from all sorts of places on the internet, mostly originating from the Pinterest website).
I put together a general conference basket. Sort of like an Easter basket. The kids loved this and were so excited to wake up in the morning and see this basket all put together and full of neat things for them to do during conference. Inside were fun snacks(I stayed away from refined sugars and did things like fruit leather, the Clif bar fruit twists, 100% juice capri suns etc), pens, new crayons, blank cards, activity envelopes, apostle and first presidency cards,clipboards with church activity packets, and whatever we needed for those packets like glue, scissors, tape, empty toilet paper rolls etc. I'll give you more details now for some of the things in the basket.
Activity Packets: A couple of days before conference(and next year I'd start a whole week before conference so I don't have to do it all at one time) I printed out the new activity packets for children off of http://www.sugardoodle.net/joomla/. The lady who does this website makes new activity packets every conference and they're fabulous. She has packets for nursery aged children, junior and senior primary and some things for teens as well. I printed off the nursery packet for Annabelle and Reese(our neice- we had my brother's family with us for the Sat. morning session) and the junior primary packet for Elisabeth, Charles and Shaun(my nephew). Each packet is about 12 pages long and has several coloring pages and several cut and paste activities. I divided the packet into four(because there are four, two hour sessions), each fourth having some coloring pages and some cut/paste activity, and then put the first portion of the packet on each child's clipboard. I already had clipboards for my children and I bought a couple of inexpensive one's for my niece and nephew from Walmart.
Here is one of the projects they cut and colored and our globe. I kept it out so when they announced new temples being built, we could find where in the world they'd be located.
Activity Envelopes: I had four envelopes in the basket. Each envelope had written on it the name of one of the four sessions: Saturday Morning, Saturday Afternoon, Sunday Morning, Sunday Afternoon. Before a session began, the kids were allowed to open the envelope, read what was on the paper inside and do that activity. The first activity was to cut out and color these paper watches I found online that say 'Come listen to a prophet's voice at 10 and 2'; they have other watches for different times if you don't live in mountain standard time. We taped them onto their wrists like real watches. For the other three activities we: wrote letters to grandparents telling them about conference, we read Mosiah 2:6 and then set up a tent facing the TV just like the people did in that time to hear the prophet speak, and last we put together more snacks and brought them down to eat while watching the last session of conference.
Quiet Zone: the whole room where conference was being shown was a quiet zone(meaning if there is talking it's in whispers) but near the 'quiet zone' sign we had bingo boards set up on a hard, flat surface and the kids usually colored over there and did their cutting.
General Conference Wall: I loved this. I printed out coloring pages off the Friend website, and had the kids work on coloring them for a couple of days leading up to conference. I wrote a topic on the top of each picture ie, prayer, repentance, temples etc. We printed off 14 all together. I taped them on our 'General Conference Wall' along with the insert of all the faces of the general authorities from the last conference Ensign. I also printed off cards that had pictures of the first presidency and the 12 apostles which you can find by clicking on that link. Each child had their own baggie with all the cards. When one of these gentlemen were speaking, the kids would find their card and listen for what that man was speaking on and then we'd put a piece of tape on the back and stick it on the correlating picture.
All four children did very well. Our 7, 5 and 3 year old children stayed in the room and were relatively quiet and busy with their packets and other things during all 8 hours. Okay, there may have been about 15 minutes during the last session when Charlie and Annabelle went in an adjacent room and ran around, but that's it. Jane, our 18 month old, napped during two of the sessions, and the other two she hung out with Scott and I on the couch with her blankey(we usually only allow her to have this in her crib). Or she'd wander around the room and pick up crayons and paper her siblings had left unattended and help color their pages or other scraps.
One other thing we did for conference that was special was we had a big breakfast both Saturday and Sunday morning which was something the kids, and the adults, looked forward to. Saturday we had pancakes, eggs and hashbrowns and Sunday I made something not so good for you. I'd heard about an amazing french toast that a local bakery made and I wanted to try it. This bakery had gone onto Good Things Utah several years ago and shared this recipe which I was able to find online and duplicate. As Elisabeth watched me make this french toast she said, 'Mom, this isn't good for us." My response was, "I know." "Well, why are you making it then?" "I just wanted to try it, but it's definitely something we won't make often. But if we love it, maybe we could call it General Conference French Toast and only have it then." "Hum. I think I like the other french toast you make better, and it's good for you." Gosh, our conversation made me feel guilty. But that's okay. I'm glad she's wanting to make good choices. And I usually do. Though every once and awhile I'm okay with eating something sugary and sweet if I'm really in the mood. And I was. As we ate it Elisabeth said, "this doesn't really taste like french toast. It tastes more like cinnamon rolls." :) And if you look at the picture below, those slices are so thick. Scott and I were stuffed with one piece. Two of the kids ate half a piece and the other two couldn't even finish their half.
Here's the recipe:
Overnight French Toast
1 Loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut into 8 slices(here is a recipe for a similar bread if you don't live near a Kneaders)
8 eggs (I used 7)
3 cups milk (I used 2 1/2)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter
Butter a glass 9 x 13 baking dish generously (I also used an 8x8 because I couldn't fit it all). Place the bread flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter and pour over the bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate over night or at least 1 hour. Bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 8
Kneader's Carmel Syrup
1 c. Brown sugar
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. Light Karo Syrup
Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth.