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When the Clock's Still Running

Deb Vos and Todd Hair


Got time on your hands and a room full of kids-but you've used up all your lesson? Here's your indispensable guide for turning unexpected time into unexpected joy.

You've just finished a terrific morning in your ministry. The lesson went well and the kids' crafts are drying in the corner of the room. You expect parents any minute--when one of the ushers pops his head in the door with news that the guest speaker isn't finished with his message and the service will be 15 minutes longer today. Oh boy...You sweep your hair behind your ears as your mind races. What am I going to do for the next 15 minutes? Do I reteach the lesson? Our craft is done! Now what?

You've been there! That place where you have both time and kids on your hands. What do you do? How can you make the most of those moments? How can you take those unexpected extra moments and turn them into great, relational memories for the kids entrusted to your care?

Start by thinking of your values. Does your ministry value creativity? How about worship? Relationships? Serving others? What about…fun? Take all those important values and turn them into activities and ideas you can pull out of your hat (or creative head) when you have an unexpected few minutes with kids. Brainstorming extra-time ideas based on your ministry values before you need them will help you dodge the kid-dreaded busywork, which often isn't relevant or ministry-enhancing.

Brainstorming is always best when more minds get involved, so we've put our heads together to start a list of ideas for you. Read them, spice them up (or down), and add your own--and presto! You're well on your way to turning unexpected time into unexpected joy.

Here are 14 values-based ideas that'll help you transform extra time into extraordinary time with your children.

5 Minutes

Have a Ball!

Have kids sit in a circle and pass around a ball (or any object). Whoever has the ball is the one who gets to talk. Ask kids to pass the ball around the circle and share one thing they learned from the Bible that day. If everyone has a chance to share, go around the circle again and have kids share something they'll do about what they learned. Value: relationships, Bible application

Who Am I?

Have kids each find a separate place in your room; then let them draw a self-portrait on one side of paper. On the other side, have them write things about themselves, such as their characteristics or favorite things…but not their names. Gather the papers, and form a circle.

Take turns holding up each self-portrait and reading the characteristics on the back. After you read the characteristics, ask, "Who am I?" Let kids try to guess the person. For added fun, include a "self-portrait" of the main person from that day's lesson. Value: creativity

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