Preparation: Get the following pictures and place in plastic sheet protectors. 1. Pre-earth Life (Picture 2-4 from Primary manual 2 or enlarge the picture on page 1 of Doctrine and Covenants Reader). 2. Earth (Gospel Art Kit picture 600). 3. Christ's birth (GAK 200). 4. Christ teaching (GAK 212). 5. Christ in Gethsemane (GAK 227). 6. Christ on cross (GAK 230). 7. Christ's resurrection (GAK 233). 8. Modern day child (GAK 605). Put a colored piece of paper with a large corresponding number (1 through 8) behind each picture so the number shows on one side and the picture on the other. Place them (number side out) around the room.
String a length of twine or clothesline across the front of the room (tie between two chairs). Attach a wordstrip "LONG AGO" on the left end of the string and "NOW" on the right end with paper clips or clothes pins.
Presentation: Explain to the children that a timeline is somewhat like a map, but instead of showing where something is, it shows when something happened. Tell them you are going to turn the string into a timeline.
Ask the children to look around the room and raise their hand if they can see a large #1. Choose a child to go get it and bring it to you. Have them clip the picture to the left end of the timeline. Discuss the council in heaven and the plan for us to come to earth and receive a body. Explain that Jesus Christ volunteered to come down and make it possible for us to return to live with Heavenly Father. (See Moses 4:14 and Abraham 3:2728.) Explain to the children that we "shouted for joy" when the plan was presented. (See Job 38:7.)
Have a child get and post picture #2 next to picture #1. Discuss how Heavenly Father and Jesus created the earth for us. (See Moses 2.) Sing "I Lived in Heaven" (CS, 4).
Point to the line and explain that a long time passed. Many people lived on the earth and all the prophets taught that Jesus Christ would one day be born.
Have a child get picture #3. Leave a space on the string and post the picture near the middle of it. Briefly tell the story of Christ's birth.
Remind the children that angels sang with great joy when he was born. (See Luke 2:1014.)
Have a child get picture #4 and post it next to picture #3. Explain that Jesus taught the gospel to many people. He wanted them to understand who he was and what they needed to do to return to live with Heavenly Father. (See Matthew 7:21 and Matthew 22:3640.) Sing "Love One Another" (CS, 136) or "I'm Trying to Be like Jesus" (CS, 78).
Have a child get picture #5 and post it next to picture #4. Discuss how Christ suffered for our sins . (See Luke 22:4144.)
Have two children get pictures #6 and #7. Post them next to picture #5. Discuss how Jesus died and was resurrected so we can live with Heavenly Father again. (See Luke 23:3346 and John 20:120.) Sing "He Sent His Son" (CS, 34).
Point to the string and tell the children that since Christ lived, a long time has again passed. Many people have lived on the earth since then.
Have a child get picture #8 and post it on the far right end of the string.
Explain that this child represents all of us. We have prophets and scriptures to teach us about those things that happened long ago. We are here because we chose Heavenly Father's plan while we were in heaven. We need to choose the right and to follow the teachings of Jesus so we can return to live with Heavenly Father, Jesus, and our families forever. Sing "I Want to Live the Gospel" (CS, 148).