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6 Games to Help Kids Make Friends in Your Ministry

Kids’ relationships need tools, effort, and time to build. It can be challenging for your kids to make lasting friends, 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 six 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.

1. Speed Friends

This speedy experience lets kids quickly learn more about the kids in their class.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Supplies:

  • Chairs,
  • a whiteboard,
  • erasable markers

Blueprints: Form two circles with chairs—an inner circle facing out and an outer circle facing the center. The chairs should be facing each other in pairs. Have kids each choose a chair. On “go,” kids have three minutes to ask each other the following questions (write them on the board first):

  • What’s your best subject in school? your worst?
  • If you could be a professional athlete, what sport would you choose?
  • If you could choose anyone, who would you spend an entire day with this weekend? Why?

Every three minutes have the inner circle move clockwise and the outer circle move counterclockwise. Kids start over with a new partner and the same questions in this friendship-building game.

Gordon and Becki
West Mesa, Arizona

2. Silly Connections

This silly game will get kids working together.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Supplies: None

Blueprints: Gather kids in the middle of your room. Tell them you’ll call out directions on ways to connect with others in a group. Kids who miss connecting with a group sit until the next round. Call out the number of kids who must connect and a silly way for them to do so, such as a group of five touching elbows, or a group of eight with their ankles hooked. This game will generate lots of laughter and fun as kids work together and build relationships.

Carmen Kamrath
Loveland, Colorado

3. Specialty Shops

Kids love to showcase their interests and talents with this experience.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Supplies:

  • Pencils,
  • paper,
  • “shop” supplies

Blueprints: Ask kids to write their top three interests and hobbies. Then group kids together according to their interests, and have them work together to create a “shop” during class for a couple of weeks. Kids who love to do hair and nails could set up a beauty parlor, or if they enjoy a specific sport, they could have a pro shop. Give kids supplies and time to create their shops. Once the shops are complete, create play money and have each group form two mini-groups—shoppers and servers. Let the shoppers from each group go shopping one week while the servers serve them at their shops. Switch shoppers and servers the following week. Your kids will form connections working with others who have similar interests.

MariLee Parrish
Loveland, Colorado

4. Back to Back

This fun game will get kids talking behind each other’s back—in a good way!

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Supplies: None

Blueprints: Have kids each find a partner and stand back to back. Tell kids that on your signal, they must learn two things they never knew about their partners. Give each partner 30 seconds to get the information, and then switch partners. When you’ve played several rounds, have kids share surprising things they discovered about other kids in their class.

Adam Day
Lancaster, Ohio

 

5. Fast Food Frenzy

This event gives preteens time to build relationships with each other and leaders as they move and dine throughout the evening.

Best for: Ages 10 to 12

Supplies:

  • Vehicles,
  • qualified drivers to transport preteens,
  • and prepared “scavenger hunt” lists that lead them to local restaurants to eat a portion of the meal (for instance, they may need to snap a group photo in front of the bull statue at the local burger joint before dining on their main course, then collect a napkin with the ice cream shop’s logo on it before enjoying dessert). The lists also need to provide a clue to their next location.

Blueprints: Have preteens load into vehicles to venture out to various fast food restaurants, enjoying one course at each establishment. They might have side salads at Wendy’s, french fries at McDonald’s, cheeseburgers at Burger King, Slurpee drinks at 7-Eleven, and hot fudge sundaes at Dairy Queen. At each stop, give traveling groups a clue that’ll lead them to the next stop. Kids will have a great time eating together—and they’ll have lots to talk about over each meal course.

Gordon and Becki West
Mesa, Arizona

6. Two Truths and a False

Kids can try to stump each other as they learn interesting information about their friends.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Supplies: None

Blueprints: Have kids form a circle. Tell them they’ll need to share two things about themselves that are true and one thing that’s false —all at the same time. Tell kids all their statements should sound like the truth. Then have the rest of the group try to figure out which statement is false. Kids will learn all sorts of information about each other they may not find out during their normal class time together.

Lisa Leonard
New Providence, New Jersey

For more great ideas like this in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!


7 thoughts on “6 Games to Help Kids Make Friends in Your Ministry

  1. Avatar
    Susan Trumblay

    Great ideas – However Sadly they won’t work with my Sunday School Class. You assume there are a LOT of kids, when you post these ideas. But I live in a poor country town – less than 6,000. I have at most 4 kids in my class – that is if everyone is there! I have an 8 yr. old w/dyslexia and ADHD, one 10 yr. old with ADHD, and a 12 yr. old and a 13 y. old – both SUPER smart – one has Asberger’s. I need help in reaching all of them and I need HELP!!
    The the 13 yr. old girl w/Asberger’s, is my adopted child (her parent’s were homeless and had many mental issues); the other 3 (boys) started coming on their own w/no parents. They live behind the church. They are spiritually hungry and I am trying to keept hem connected to church, but I REALLY need help.
    I feed breakfast, which is a way to feed their tummies, so they can concentrate on the spiritual food. But I am begging for help in ways to keep them spiritually fed, and hungry for more! Any ideas?

    Susan in Marlin, Texas

    • Avatar

      Hi Susan we are a mininistry in South Africa helping to build capacity of Children’s mininstry Leaders. You are welcome to look at our site http://www.petra.co.za.

      The main thing is relationship with this presious children in you group. We have a online course teaching you how to start entering their world. You have each week an assigment with the kidz and then an online mentor who you can ask ? to. Our students witness that they are grounded now in CM because they understand the “Why” behind their ministries WITH children.

  2. Avatar

    I use freesundayschoolcurriculum.weebly.com for my class from ages 4-10 All of us do the same story and then there are things for all diff ages to color or make or puzzles….

  3. Avatar

    Hi, i’m a sunday school advisor in our church here at Philippines. I really find the ideas here very interesting and nice. May i ask if i can have the restaurant clue sheets for the game Fast Food Frenzy? The “click here to download the clue sheet” doesn’t work anymore. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Hooks
      Jennifer Hooks

      Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for your comment and for making us aware this link isn’t working. We’re working to find the clue sheet and will upload it and let you know as soon as we do. Thanks for reading!

      • Jennifer Hooks
        Jennifer Hooks

        Hi Hannah, Our team has searched and been unable to find the original clue list for restaurants. We’re correcting the article to reflect that and offering ideas for how to create your own list. However, you might find some fun, general “scavenger hunt” ideas for items to search for here: http://www.coolest-parties.com/scavenger-hunt-list-ideas/. Best of luck, and let us know how it turns out!

  4. Avatar
    Euan Brander

    Hi Susan in Marlin, Texas.
    I was touched by reading what you write about and let my wife read it. You are doing a “great job” right where you are because you are “with the kids”, and The Holy Spirit is with you. We just prayed for you.
    Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you. I know you’ll know that but we are to remind each other.
    In the fullness of time will you not look st the size of the wake the ship of your ministry fruit is creating and cry happy tears.
    I’m not currently working with kids at the mo, and miss them. They are so precious.
    Blessings
    Euan
    Scotland
    Bless your

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