Games are an important tool to teach preschoolers about the love of God. Here are three reasons to incorporate more games in your ministry.
As you plan your time with preschoolers, remember that games are a valuable part of your ministry toolbox. Do you need something to keep kids busy because your welcome time spans 10 minutes? Play a game! Are you looking for a way to build excitement for the day’s Bible lesson? Play a game! Do you have wiggly, giggly kids who need to move? Play a game! Have you ever looked at your watch and wondered why the final 10 minutes of lesson time seem to last forever? Play a game!
Why incorporate games into your ministry? Because games for preschoolers are fun and functional. When kids play games, their smiles, laughter, and goofiness create a positive place for faith to grow. But games also serve important functions for young kids (and those who lead them). The next time you’re planning your time with preschoolers, try to include a game or two.
3 Reasons Games are an Important of Your Preschool Ministry
Games teach important social and emotional skills.
Preschool is a time children begin playing games with other kids, not only their patient adults (who often let rules slide). Duck, Duck, Goose is more fun when everyone’s playing by the same rules. Many games for preschoolers include built-in exciting and emotional parts. Think about the underlying anticipation and suspense during Musical Chairs as kids wait for the scramble after the music stops. Playing games helps kids practice dealing with these big feelings of both delight and disappointment.
Games develop fine and large motor skills.
Part of creating a developmentally appropriate setting for little ones is giving them opportunities to try to use new skills with their bodies. You can choose games that require hands and fingers to move and manipulate things (think simple board or card games) or games that get their bodies moving, like the way arms, legs, and heads are on the move when kids play Parachute. When you play a game with kids and let their parents know you played a fun, active game, you’re showing that you’re caring for the whole child.
Games reinforce important concepts and ideas.
After you’ve explored a Bible passage or faith concept together, a game is a great way to revisit the people, places, and things kids have heard about and seen. Search “preschool game” and the name of the story you’ve just read, and you’ll turn up many ideas on childrensministry.com or Pinterest to explore and customize.
Have fun nurturing a spirit of playfulness in little ones as you decide what game to try next!
Dawn Rundman is the director of congregational development at Sparkhouse. She holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Oregon. Dawn lives in Minnesota with her husband/prom date, Jonathan, and their two children, Paavo and Svea.