Keep kids coming back
with these 9 hot-and-happening ideas!
School's back in session! And that means the
pressure is on to grab kids' attention -- and keep it -- for your
ministry. Whether you're planning an all-out fall kick-off party or
you're simply looking for meaningful ways to connect your kids for
the coming year, we've got you covered.
Summer is all about the sizzle -- hot
weather, sunny skies, and fun. Don't let all that excitement fizzle
when kids return to school and your ministry. Bring all the
delicious warmth of summer right back into your ministry this fall
with warm friendships, sunny smiles, and fun that revolves around
SIZZLIN' HOT CRAFTS
HANDS TO WORK
To start off the new school year with a bang, consider
letting kids make their mark on your ministry environment.
Get This: You need a wall kids can paint
(cinderblock classroom walls work great), or if you don't have an
available wall, use a large piece of fabric you can hang up for the
entire year. You'll also need paint appropriate for the surface you
choose that washes off kids (try Handy Art Washable Paint from dickblick.com)
and paper plates.
Talk About: Form pairs or trios, and then read
aloud Psalm 19:1-3. Ask kids to discuss these
questions in their groups:
• Why do you think God went to the trouble of creating us
and our world?
• What's one way you could use your hands to honor God
Do This: Let groups share their answers. Then
have kids make a handprint by dipping their palm in a paper plate
of paint and pressing it on the wall or fabric. Near the
handprints, have kids write their first name, age, and a prayer
about one way they want to put their hands to work for God or in
your ministry this year. Pray together, thanking God for the kids
in your ministry and asking his blessings on all the prayers
Check in periodically throughout the year to see what God has
done. As God answers their prayers, let kids put a paint thumbprint
next to their handprint.
Cindy Willits Hawley,
Your older elementary and preteen kids will get a thrill out of
expressing themselves in stone...and your ministry gets a super
cool "living" stone to remind kids that they're a work of
Get This: You'll need quick-set cement, a
5-gallon bucket, water, a measuring cup, wooden paint stirrers, an
11X17 gift box, sticks, and a variety of decorations such as
rhinestones, trinkets, plastic crosses, small toys, and more. (You
can invite kids to bring something to put in the stone, too.)
You'll also need an outdoor, grassy area that can get messy, smocks
for kids to wear, hand soap, and access to water.
Talk About: Form pairs and read aloud 1 Peter 2:4-5. Ask:
• What does it mean to be "built into a spiritual
• How does coming to church help build you up?
• What ways can you help build up a friend this week?
Do This: Then help kids create a living stone to
place in a garden or walkway at your church.
Read the cement package instructions. Mix the cement and enough
water to the consistency of oatmeal in the 5-gallon bucket. Use the
paint stirrer to mix the cement and water. Set the gift boxes on
the ground and then pour the mixture into the box. Use a paint
stirrer to smooth the surface. After about five minutes, have kids
press their hands into the cement to make handprints. (If you have
more than six kids, have them write their name and a saying in the
cement instead.) Kids can decorate their stone by pressing the
decorations into the cement next to their handprints or
Have kids wash their hands with soap and water as soon as they're
done. Let the cement dry for 48 hours before tearing off the gift
box cardboard. The following week, have a small stone-setting
ceremony as you place the stone on your church grounds.
SIZZLIN' HOT GAMES
HOLD 'EM HIGH!
Challenge your kids with this muscle-busting contest that'll also
get them thinking about what it means to be a team.
Get This: You'll need a timer, a Bible, candy
bars, and an activity area.
Talk About: Read aloud Exodus 17:11-16. Ask:
• What do you think it would be like to hold your hands up
all day like Moses did?
• What do you think this Scripture tells us about Moses?
Do This: Say: It doesn't seem so hard to
hold up your hands. Let's try it! Challenge kids to hold
their hands above their head for as long as they can. Let them know
that the child who holds his hands up the longest will win a candy
Time kids until only one child is left with his or her hands in
the air. Award the candy bar. Then say: That was a lot
harder than we thought, wasn't it? Now let's try it again, but this
time we'll do it a little differently. Choose one child to
hold his or her arms up, and then have the other kids take turns
helping hold up the child's arms. Time kids for the same amount of
time, and when time's up, award everyone a candy bar.
Say: It was a lot easier to hold up your arms when you had
support from others, wasn't it? That's a lot like our group-we're
all more successful and happy when we have support from our
Close in prayer, thanking God for all the kids in your class. Ask
God to hold each other up with prayer and support this year.
This fun and crazy game will produce lots of laughs -- and totally
unique artwork to spruce up your ministry!
Get This: An old white sheet, tennis balls,
plenty of washable paint, and old t-shirts.
Do This: Ask kids to wear something they can get
messy in or provide old T-shirts for them to wear over their
clothes. Have kids surround the perimeter of the sheet and grab an
edge. Soak three to five tennis balls in different colors of paint
and, on the count of three, drop the balls in the center of the
sheet. The kids' goal is to maneuver their edge of the sheet to
roll the balls toward someone else. They don't want the balls to
fall off or touch them. After two minutes, have kids place the
sheet on the ground. Compare who has the most paint marks on their
hands and clothes.
Talk About: Ask:
• What did you do to keep the balls away from you? How
well did your strategy work?
• What was easy about this game? Difficult? How is this
game like or unlike your life with school starting?
Read aloud Psalm 16:5-8.
• What does this Scripture tell us about how to approach
the challenges and trials we'll face in school this
Ask kids to place one hand on a line in the sheet. Close in
prayer, asking God to be present in kids' lives as they intersect
-- just like the lines made by the balls -- and remind us of the
wonderful things and new friends God has placed in our lives.