8 ways to get your creative juices
If, as the author of Ecclesiastes says, there's nothing new under
the sun, why do other people seem to come up with so many new and
creative ideas for their children's programs?
In truth, there really are very few new ideas. Often the trick
is to borrow someone else's idea and redesign it with a creative
twist. Here are eight ways to be a savvy borrower so you can
develop the best programming for kids in your ministry.
1. Skim magazines. Browse through magazines for
women, children, crafters, and cooks. Photocopy interesting
articles and try them out right away in your ministry.
2. File ideas you might use in the future.
Collect ideas for crafts, games, recipes, activities, and so on.
Even if you're not sure how you'll use an idea, save it for later
3. Visit other groups. Observe several classes
at local schools. Visit a children's club such as 4-H Club or scout
troops. Check out what other churches are doing. Many teachers and
group leaders will be glad to brag about their best ideas.
4. Look for new uses for ordinary objects. Open
your kitchen drawers and take out any utensil. How many ways can
this object be used besides its intended use? It could be a small
rake or an art tool for making designs with finger paint. Aluminum
pie plates might become cymbals, hats, or flying saucers.
Practice looking for new uses for ordinary objects wherever you
go. What can you do with a length of weatherstripping? Or what can
a bag of shredded paper from the office trash become? Jot down your
ideas and add them to your files.
5. Brainstorm with others. Get together with
one or two people and open up your files. Say, "I've got a great
article on using balloons in science projects here. How can we
relate this to any of our upcoming lessons or activities?" Don't
frown on any idea. Instead, try to add to it or modify it until you
come up with a great new idea that everyone says "yes!" to.
6. Watch kids play. Stop by a park and see what
games kids invent as they play. A new way to play Red Light, Green
Light may've just been created in your neighborhood and you're the
first one to know the rules! Then consider how you can use these
fresh thoughts in your programming.
7. Talk to kids. This may seem obvious-you work
with kids all the time. But kids are creative without even trying
to be. Include a few kids on a "looking at things a new way"
adventure. Make a game out of discovering the most outrageous uses
for simple items. Ask kids what they think about your current
programming. How could it be better? What do they like and dislike?
If they were in charge, what would they do differently (besides
having ice cream each week)? Take their input seriously. These kids
are your best critics and most creative allies.
8. Make lessons multisensory. You might not be
able to get your kids into the belly of a big fish but cramming
together under a draped table during the story might add to the
effect. Hearing about Jesus lying on a bed of hay takes on a
different meaning when kids sit in a pile of itchy, poky, straw.
Visualizing the 5,000 people Jesus fed is a lot easier if your
lesson takes place in the center of a stadium.
Just a final word of encouragement: The more you practice being
creative, the easier it gets. There are no limits!
Amy Nappa is the creative co-author of 52 Fun Family Devotions
(Augsburg Fortress Publishing).
Copyright© 1995 Group Publishing, Inc./Children's Ministry