Busy Bubbers: Conference edition

General Conference is just around the corner and James is finally at an age where I think I can get him to participate.  I’ve always dreamed  of making Conference a big deal in our family.  I’m excited that James is growing and that his little brain is getting mature enough to appreciate the ideas I have up my sleeve.
Last Conference I had him listen to the talks and tell me what they were talking about, then I would draw a cartoon of the sub jects for James to color.  And of course treats were involved as motivators.  This year, though, I was ready and eager to take it up a notch.  My darling friend, Tiffany, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to awesome parenting ideas and ways to make Conference fun for kiddos (you’ve probably seen her stuff plastered all over Pinterest).  She inspired me to get started preparing for Conference early, and I thought I’d share some of the ideas with you that I will be using.  Make sure to head over to Tiff’s blog for more ideas!
First, I printed off some images of commonly referred to topics at Conference and taped them to different jars of candy so that when James hears the word he can take a piece of candy from that particular jar.  I’m sure there’s a way you could do a healthy version of this, too…. you could use banana chips, raisins, nuts, etc.  BORING, if you ask me — we’re all about the candy.  The topics I used were:
Book of Mormon
Heavenly Father
President Monson
Jesus Christ
Holy Ghost
Joseph Smith
Next, I made a trip to the dollar store and got about $30 worth of little surprises for grab bags (I’m planning on using whatever bags he doesn’t earn as potty training motivators, so you don’t need to spend that much, by any means…).  I figured there were about 6 speakers each session, so I put together about 20 grab bags (knowing James won’t listen to all the speakers).  Every talk James listens to without being irreverent or distracted or naughty, he gets to pick a random grab bag to open.  My mom used to do this when we were on road trips as kids.  Every hour we’d get a chance to earn a new surprise.  Brill!!
Lastly, cast your eyes upon the CONFERENCE CENTER (center center center…..) BOARD!!  I got inspiration for this from Tiff’s blog.  Seriously, all the credit goes to her.  She provides all the printables and explanations and instructions, so head over there if you want to make your own!  She spent HOURS putting all of it together for anyone to enjoy.  It still takes time to put together, but so much of the grunt work is cut out because of her!! I did a few things differently on our board, so I’ll only be going over those things here.  For the original format, check out Tiff’s board.
First off, I put an arrow on a thumb tac thingy so James can spin it to whichever session we are watching.  Tiff uses a cute picture of her family on the couch, velcroed to whichever session they are watching.  Love this, but didn’t have time to get a quality picture of the fam on our couch.  Plus, we don’t have a couch….
Next, I decided I wanted to keep the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles on the chairs the whole time.  It saved space not having three more pockets on the side panel, plus I think it will help James get to know them better by seeing their faces in the whole quorum.  Lastly, the Brethren sit in the chairs like this during conference anyway, so I thought it fit better for us.  When one of the Apostles speaks, James will find him on the board and stick him up at the pulpit, then James will put him (and anyone else who speaks) down in one of the empty chairs at the bottom of the bottom of the board so he can see everyone who has spoken at that session.
Next, I added a little pocket to put the temples in, and I put a few clear velcro dots on each continent on the map so that when a new temple is announced, James can stick a temple in the general vicinity of where the new temple will be.
I also added a few arrows on another thumb tac thingy so that James can spin them to reflect what choir is performing and who in the choir is singing.
I used some scrap book paper I had to make the pockets, and I made my own labels to put my own personality into it.
The topic pictures that I printed off to glue to the side panel were black and white instead of identical to the topic pictures that velcro to them.  This doesn’t make sense unless you head over to Tiff’s blog and read how to assemble the board…  I just thought it would save colored printer ink and would make it easier to see which topics were being used.
So, I’m sure you can tell that I have such high hopes for Conference this year.  Maybe all my effort won’t pay off this time around, but these are ideas I’ll be able to use for years to come.  Plus, since I’m using a lot of the goodies for potty training treats, too, nothing is going to waste if James doesn’t like it all.  He’s having a hard time keeping the Conference Center board in the cupboard, though, so I think it’ll pay off this time—at least for one session:).
I have some other ideas for Conference (just in general, not necessarily for the kids) that I’ll try to get around posting here.  I’m sure it’ll be on my Instagram, if nothing else, so make sure to follow along there so you don’t miss out on anything!