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Built to Last

Children's Ministry Magazine

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.


I See a Friend
Use this activity to help little ones reflect on themselves and each other.
Best for: Ages 0 to 2
Tools: A full-length mirror
Blueprints: Securely fasten a full-length mirror horizontally to a classroom wall, six inches from the floor. Have babies and toddlers sit in front of the mirror to see a reflection of themselves and their nursery friends.
Say: I see Charlie -- do you see Charlie? Or point and say, Here's Alexis! Little ones will enjoy seeing themselves and learn to recognize and attach names to other children in the nursery.

Mary Davis
Montrose, Iowa

Pop-Up Friends
This bubbly experience will get your toddlers working together to make noise.
Best for: Ages 1 to 3
Tools: Large bubble wrap and duct tape
Blueprints: Cover a 5x10-foot area with large bubble wrap and tape the edges to the floor with duct tape. Have toddlers wear shoes as they walk, stomp, and jump on the bubble wrap to pop the bubbles. The surprise noise brings smiles and helps toddlers connect cause and effect. Encourage your toddlers to work together to pop bubbles, and delight with them as they accomplish their mission.

Christy Olson
North Branch, Minnesota

Share Bear
Little ones learn kindness to others as they share this soft bear with others.
Best for: Ages 1 to 3
Tools: A stuffed bear and a kitchen timer
Blueprints: Introduce a soft stuffed bear and tell children they'll each have a chance to hold the bear during class. Give the bear to one child and set the timer for three minutes. Explain that when the timer sounds, the child with the bear can choose someone else to hold the bear. As children pass the bear, talk about the importance of sharing with and caring for our friends. The "share bear" helps toddlers build friendships and encourages them to care for others.

Kate Wicker
Scottsdale, Georgia

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