Built to Last Ages 6 to 12


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.

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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.

Speed Friends

This speedy experience lets kids quickly learn more about the
kids in their class.

Kids love our Sunday School resources!

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Tools: Chairs, a white board, erasable

Blueprints: Form two circles with chairs — an
inner circle facing out and an outer circle facing the center. The
chairs should be facing each other in pairs. Have kids each choose
a chair. On “go,” kids have three minutes to ask each other the
following questions (write them on the board first):
• What’s your best subject in school? your worst?

• If you could be a professional athlete, what sport would you

• If you could choose anyone, who would you spend an entire day
with this weekend? Why?

Every three minutes have the inner circle move clockwise and the
outer circle move counterclockwise. Kids start over with a new
partner and the same questions in this friendship-

Gordon and Becki West

Mesa, Arizona

Silly Connections

This silly game will get kids working together.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Tools: None

Blueprints: Gather kids in the middle of your room. Tell them
you’ll call out directions on ways to connect with others in a
group. Kids who miss connecting with a group sit until the next
round. Call out the number of kids who must connect and a silly way
for them to do so, such as a group of five touching elbows, or a
group of eight with their ankles hooked. This game will generate
lots of laughter and fun as kids work together and build

Carmen Kamrath

Loveland, Colorado


Specialty Shops

Kids love to showcase their interests and talents with this

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Tools: Pencils, paper, “shop” supplies

Blueprints: Ask kids to write their top three interests and
hobbies. Then group kids together according to their interests, and
have them work together to create a “shop” during class for a
couple of weeks. Kids who love to do hair and nails could set up a
beauty parlor, or if they enjoy a specific sport, they could have a
pro shop. Give kids supplies and time to create their shops. Once
the shops are complete, create play money and have each group form
two mini-groups — shoppers and servers. Let the shoppers from each
group go shopping one week while the servers serve them at their
shops. Switch shoppers and servers the following week. Your kids
will form connections working with others who have similar

MariLee Parrish 

Loveland, Colorado

Back to Back

This fun game will get kids talking behind each other’s back —
in a good way!

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Tools: None

Blueprints: Have kids each find a partner and
stand back to back. Tell kids that on your signal, they must learn
two things they never knew about their partners. Give each partner
30 seconds to get the information, and then switch partners. When
you’ve played several rounds, have kids share surprising things
they discovered about other kids in their class.

Adam Day
Lancaster, Ohio

Fast Food Frenzy

This event gives preteens time to build relationships with each
other and leaders as they move and dine throughout the evening.

Best for: Ages 10 to 12

Tools: Vehicles, qualified drivers to transport
preteens, and restaurant clue sheets (click here to download a clue

Blueprints: Have preteens load into vehicles to
venture out to various fast food restaurants, enjoying one course
at each establishment. For example, they might have side salads at
Wendy’s, french fries at McDonald’s, cheeseburgers at Burger King,
Slurpee drinks at 7-Eleven, and hot fudge sundaes at Dairy Queen.
At each stop, give traveling groups a clue sheet that’ll lead them
to the next stop. Kids will have a great time eating together —
and they’ll have lots to talk about over each meal course.

Gordon and Becki West
Mesa, Arizona

Two Truths and a False

Kids can try to stump each other as they learn interesting
information about their friends.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Tools: None

Blueprints: Have kids form a circle. Tell them they’ll need to
share two things about themselves that are true and one thing
that’s false — all at the same time. Tell kids all their
statements should sound like the truth. Then have the rest of the
group try to figure out which statement is false. Kids will learn
all sorts of information about each other they may not find out
during their normal class time together.

Lisa Leonard
New Providence, New Jersey



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Children's Ministry Magazine

Children's Ministry Magazine is the most read magazine for people who minister to children from birth through sixth grade. We're partnering with you to make Jesus irresistible to kids.


  1. Susan Trumblay on

    Great ideas – However Sadly they won’t work with my Sunday School Class. You assume there are a LOT of kids, when you post these ideas. But I live in a poor country town – less than 6,000. I have at most 4 kids in my class – that is if everyone is there! I have an 8 yr. old w/dyslexia and ADHD, one 10 yr. old with ADHD, and a 12 yr. old and a 13 y. old – both SUPER smart – one has Asberger’s. I need help in reaching all of them and I need HELP!!
    The the 13 yr. old girl w/Asberger’s, is my adopted child (her parent’s were homeless and had many mental issues); the other 3 (boys) started coming on their own w/no parents. They live behind the church. They are spiritually hungry and I am trying to keept hem connected to church, but I REALLY need help.
    I feed breakfast, which is a way to feed their tummies, so they can concentrate on the spiritual food. But I am begging for help in ways to keep them spiritually fed, and hungry for more! Any ideas?

    Susan in Marlin, Texas

  2. I use freesundayschoolcurriculum.weebly.com for my class from ages 4-10 All of us do the same story and then there are things for all diff ages to color or make or puzzles….

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