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Built to Last Ages 3 to 5

If you've ever visited a construction site, you know it's a busy and active place. Each day brings new developments and progressive changes as builders work toward the finished product. Some essential elements of construction go unseen, such as soil treatments or the hidden energy source that's buried underground. But excitement grows as builders pour concrete, place beams, and hang drywall -- all visual reminders of a solid, lasting structure that's held together with countless nuts and bolts.

Construction takes tools, effort, and time -- a building doesn't spring up overnight. Kids' relationships also need tools, effort, and time to build. It can be challenging for your kids to build lasting friendships, though, when they may only see each other for one hour a week. But it's relationships, especially the well-constructed ones, that draw kids to your ministry and ultimately help them experience the most important relationship of all -- their relationship with Jesus.

So why not make kids' relationships the foundation in the solid, lasting structure of your ministry? Friendships are the true nuts and bolts of what shores up your ministry. These 12 great ideas -- all from children's ministers just like you -- give kids a blueprint to build lasting, solid relationships with other kids at your church.

Hoolahoop

Friends in Common

This experience helps kids form friendships with others who have common interests.

Best for: Ages 3 to 5

Tools: Hula hoops and a variety of play items, such as blocks, dolls, books, or art supplies

Blueprints: Place common items, such as blocks or dolls, inside a hula hoop ring. As children arrive, let them choose a circle area to play in until you begin the lesson. Having a specific space for kids to play together will encourage them to form relationships with others who have similar play interests.

Mary Davis
Montrose, Iowa

PJ Party

Delight preschoolers with this pajama party specifically designed for kids their age.

Best for: Ages 3 to 5

Tools: Tub, salt, funnels, clay, stuffed toy sheep, dress-up clothes, and pizza

Blueprints: Invite preschoolers to the church on a Friday evening between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for a pajama party. Kids can wear their favorite pj's and bring a favorite stuffed sleep friend. Set up four stations with the following activities: a tub full of salt with funnels, clay to create pottery, stuffed sheep (or real sheep if you have access to them!), and dress-up clothes. Form four small groups and rotate the groups to the different stations that represent how God created us to be salt, clay, sheep, and made in his image. After the stations, have kids gather for pizza before they go home to their own beds.

Leslie Roach
Lubbock, Texas

Beach Ball

Have a Ball

This simple experience lets preschoolers put faces with the names of the kids in their class.

Best for: Ages 3 to 5

Tools: A beach ball

Blueprints: Form a circle and pass around the beach ball. When kids have the ball, they say their name before passing it to the person next to them. Go around the circle twice so kids can hear others' names. Then challenge kids to throw the ball to someone not sitting next to them and say that child's name. Preschoolers will love the ball play as they learn others' names.

Christy Olson
North Branch, Minnesota

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