Everyone loves a party and everyone in your church and community is going to love Family Nights a Go-Go! It’s the perfect opportunity for connecting families at your church. It’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate that church can be fun for everyone, not just the kids. Use these four themed family nights as a way to bring kids and parents together for fun and faith-growing together in relationships with each other and with Jesus.
LIFESIZE CANDY LAND
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Create an experience for parents and kids to leap into a sweet family adventure. Families will engage in the environments of the popular Candy Land board game as they learn about the Prodigal Son. This event will remind families of the sweet blessings in their lives and offer families a take-away challenge to embrace people who need mercy.
Before You Go-Go
Instead of helping the Kandy King get home, families see the lost son from Luke 15 get home. Don’t roll those dice until you do the following things, though!
Invitations-Create invitations using an email campaign with a candy-theme. Here’s a downloadable invitation template! For print invitations, use the same template with the information and a piece of candy attached to it. Encourage each family to come dressed in the same color to represent their family’s “playing pieces” for the board game.
Decorations-Create life-size candy decorations to hang from the ceiling in various areas: For lollipops, attach round Mylar balloons to gift-wrap tubes. Create “hard candy” by wrapping round pieces of flat Styrofoam with colorful cellophane and tying ribbons on each end. Use large candy cane Christmas yard ornaments to create a candy cane forest and purple balloons to create plums. Put brown butcher paper across the floor as a chocolate swamp. Then use colored poster-board squares to create a colorful path of board game squares.
On the Go-GO
There’s nothing sweeter than playing a board game together as a family-especially when it’s life-size and ends with learning like this!
Welcome to a Sweet Celebration-As families arrive, explain that they’ll move through the game board to get a lost son home. At each station along the way, families will experience something together.
- Grandma Nut’s House-Have someone dressed up as Grandma Nut sitting in a rocking chair. Grandma Nut retells the story of the Prodigal Son in a creative way. Form small groups with two families and have families stand and face each other. In each small group, have one family be the actor and the other family be the mirror. As Grandma Nut reads from Luke 15:11-19, the actor family acts out the Scripture while the mirror family mirrors the actions. Then have families change roles as Grandma Nut reads Luke 15:20-32. Afterward have small groups discuss: Why do you think the father acted the way he did in the first part of this story? in the second part of the story? Explain who you are most like in this story: the father, the son who returns, or the older brother. How can our family show mercy or compassion to one another?
- The Lollipop Woods-Set lollipops into a foam block-but first color some ends of the lollipop sticks with a marker (about one-third of them). Have each person take a lollipop. Whoever chooses one with a colored stick receives a full bag of lollipops. Have families discuss the following questions around the theme of the inheritance given to the Prodigal Son: What’s it like when somebody gets what you really want-like the bag of lollipops? What are some things in your family that no one can ever take away, such as love or patience? Think about these things as inheritances. What’s something you hope to inherit from your parents? something you hope to pass on to your children?
- Chocolate Swamp-Have families create beaded bracelets as they discuss the things or people that make their lives “sweet.” Before they leave this station, have family members write or draw the thing that makes their lives sweet on the butcher paper that represents the chocolate swamp.
- Gingerbread Orchard-At this station, families brainstorm how to show mercy to people after the event, just as the father did when his son returned home. Have families decorate construction paper circles to look like their favorite candy. Then have families each create a reminder to show mercy in the upcoming week by writing what they’ll do on the back of their candy. Invite families to pray together, committing to encourage and support one other as they show mercy to the person they chose.
- The Ice Cream Sea-Conclude your evening by having families create a huge banana split sundae! Line up plastic bowls along a counter or row of tables. Let each person have three scoops of ice cream, a banana, and a variety of toppings such as graham cracker crumbles, crushed fruit, cherries, and chocolate. Take a photo of the entire group in front of the “Ice Cream Sea” before everyone digs into their sweet snack.
As families leave, give each one a chocolate bar with a wrapper that reminds them to show mercy to others and each other during the week. Here’s a downloadable candy wrapper. Also give them a card they can turn in later to redeem a copy of the photo from the banana split event.