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5 Volunteer-Free Family Events to Try This Summer

Hosting family events at your church is a blast! But let’s face it—they’re also a lot of work. Especially these days, it’s not so easy to recruit a team of volunteers to lead, set up, run tech, and tear down family fun at your church.

But having fewer volunteers doesn’t force you to plan fewer family events this summer. You can still bring families from your church together for fellowship AND reach out to families in your community. It’s simple!

Here’s the catch: Instead of bringing families in to your church building, try taking families out for fun in your community! Consider if one (or more) of these five easy ideas will work for you!

But first! Consider these registration tips for all family events:

Communication is key! No matter what you’re planning, clearly communicate dates, times, costs, and meeting locations, and ask families to register ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.


  • Set up online registration through your church’s online database or use a free program like VBS Pro (it’s not just for VBS!).
  • Or have families RSVP by email to let you know they’re coming.
  • Or provide a sign-up sheet for several weeks at your church building.

Be sure to communicate that these events aren’t just for kids. Clearly set the expectation that parents/guardians attend these family events with their children.

Perhaps you’ll float the bill with your family event budget, or maybe it’s more feasible to ask families to chip in. Whatever you decide, be sure to communicate costs and make it as easy as possible for families to participate.

1. Picnic in the Park Family Event

It’s simple! Enjoy the great outdoors with families at a local park. At this family event, have families pack a picnic lunch and gather with other families for a play date!

Planning tips:

  • Some parks allow you to rent a pavilion or picnic area.
  • Clearly communicate where to meet—the closer to the playground, the better!
  • Provide water or juice for families.
  • Pack some extra sandwiches and snacks just in case some families miss the memo to bring lunch along.
  • Bring tablecloths and trash bags for easy prep and clean up.

2. Church-Wide Pool Party Family Event

Make a splash with a church family outing at your community swimming pool. You could just invite families with kids, but it may be even more fun to invite the whole church family to this family event! Kids will love seeing Sunday school teachers, teen helpers, and even pastors have fun in the sun.

Planning tips:

  • Call the community pool office to find out how much it costs to rent the facility for an afternoon or evening.
  • Determine the best date, time, and any costs you’ll ask attendees to contribute.
  • Consider offering pizza, drinks…and sunscreen!
  • Share this fun worship song with families as you advertise your event!

3. Matinee Movie Meet Up

Summer days are super fun…but they can also get a little long. By the time midafternoon rolls around, parents and kids may be getting a little stir crazy at home. Why not meet up at the movies?

  • Check to see which kid-friendly movies are playing in a theater near you.
  • Determine the best date and time, and any costs you’ll ask attendees to contribute.
  • Pre-purchase tickets together, or announce the movie, theater, date, and time and invite families to purchase their own tickets.
  • Some theaters may even allow you to rent a theater for a private family event!

4. Take Families Out to the Ballgame

Many cities and towns have major or minor league professional baseball teams who’d love to provide a fun family event for your church. Group tickets can often be purchased at a discount. Some ball parks have designated seats for families. Many teams even host a “Faith Night” featuring Christian music and an opportunity for players to talk about their friendship with Jesus.

Planning tips:

  1. Find a team near you.
  2. Review the team schedule and determine the best date and time for your outing.
  3. Call the team’s box office to inquire about group rates. You can even ask for your church to be highlighted on the big screen!
  4. Determine what costs you’ll ask attendees to contribute.
  5. Get a head count before purchasing tickets, or guestimate how many you’ll need. You can always reach back out to the group sales office to buy more if needed.

5. Amusement Park Family Event

An amusement park has a little something for everyone, so many families love spending the day there. And the rides and games are even more fun when other families are there, too! So, consider coordinating a day for families from your church to go together.

  • Find an amusement or water park near you. If you don’t have one nearby, consider a trampoline park, mini golf course, or children’s museum.
  • Call the ticket office to inquire about group rates.
  • Determine what costs you’ll ask attendees to contribute.
  • Get a head count before purchasing tickets, or guestimate how many you’ll need. You can always reach back out to the ticket office to purchase more if needed.
  • Determine a “home base” for this family event where families can connect, take a break, and snack together.

Even though these family events don’t feature a program, Bible study, or memory verse, they do provide an opportunity for fellowship and community—which are so important! Plus, you never know how going out into your community will help people in your town meet your church family members—and ultimately Jesus!

Hmmm…looking for fresh VBS ideas, too? Check out these Creative Ways to Run VBS!


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