10 Ways to Spark Kids’ Interest in Missions and Supporting Missionaries
Published: September 9, 2014
The kids in your ministry may not have a clear picture of what life in another country is like—or what it is, exactly, that missionaries from your church do. Yet our world is more interconnected and the urgent needs of others even more visible than ever. So why not broaden your kids’ horizons and build their support and interest in missions with these easy and effective crafts, fundraisers, and experiences?
Don’t have missionaries from your church? Visit christianeye.net to learn how you can pray for and encourage missionaries from other churches. Or check out missions organizations such as World Harvest Mission (whm.org) or Wycliffe (wycliffe.org) to find missionaries who need extra, non-monetary support. Then use these ideas to begin supporting your missionaries!
10 Experiences to Spark Kids’ Interest in Missions and Supporting Missionaries
Here’s all you need to create crafts and experiences that’ll spark kids’ interest in missions and support for missionaries.
Sponsor a Well
Recommended for all ages
You’ll need: a budget and someone to build a display well
Children may be surprised to learn that millions of people worldwide don’t have access to clean drinking water. Your kids can do their part to change that. By raising funds for The Water Project (thewaterproject.org), kids can help build a well in Africa that provides access to clean water.
Enlist the help of some handy people in your church to build a small “wishing well” of your own. Place the well in a prominent place in your church, like the lobby or at the entrance to the children’s department. Kick off a month long fundraiser during which people can bring in money to put in a bucket inside the well. Set a monetary goal for your group (or set your goal according to the number of wells you’d like to provide). Videos and detailed information are available on The Water Project website and can help you spread the word about this very important project.
Bonus! Build your well so the bucket is attached to a pulley. Have the bucket go down to show how heavy the money you’re collecting is.
Recommended for all ages
You’ll need: 11×17 paper and markers
Vitamins are readily available in America, but for kids overseas this is often not the case. A simple way to impact the health and well-being of kids in another country is to host a vitamin drive. On 11×17-inch paper, print the poster
(There are 75 vitamins in the bottle on the poster.) Color in one vitamin per bottle collected. Challenge kids to fill the entire bottle in a month. At the end of the month, let kids pack up and send the vitamins to your missionaries along with notes of encouragement. The basic necessities are often the most needed, and this is an important, tangible way your kids can bless other children. For information about importing restrictions on vitamins, go
Bonus! Have kids wrap each bottle with a handwritten prayer or Bible verse on construction paper. (Tape these loosely so recipients can remove them to see the real label underneath.)
Hands and Feet
Recommended for ages 6 to 9
You’ll need: card stock, markers, a bulletin board, and thumbtacks
Before you do this activity, contact your church’s missionaries and compile a list of prayer requests.
Have kids look up Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15, 20. Tell children that missionaries are the hands and feet of Jesus to those who don’t know him. They are the hands when they help people, and the feet because they go to people who need Jesus.
Give each child a few sheets of card stock. Have kids trace a hand or foot onto each piece of card stock, then cut out their tracings. Then have kids write the prayer requests you compiled, one per hand or foot. Pin the hands and feet on a bulletin board or display them around your room. Each week, let kids select a hand or foot and then pray for the request written on it.
Bonus! Have kids make duplicates of each hand and foot, including the prayer request. Hole punch the tracings and use a brad to make them into a booklet. Encourage kids to take the booklet home to use as a prayer prompter with their families.
Gifts For Afar
Recommended for ages 4 to 12
You’ll need: 3-foot lengths of yarn or twine, craft beads with a wide hole, and 3-inch pieces of chenille wire
Tie a thick, sturdy knot at one end of each piece of yarn. Have kids thread beads onto the string to create a necklace. (For younger kids, attach a small piece of chenille wire to the end of the yarn to make threading easier.)
While your kids work, tell them details about your missionary’s country and the children who live there. If possible, show kids some pictures of the children or community. Tell kids they’ll send their necklaces to those kids as a gift. When each child is finished making a beaded necklace, tie the ends together securely. Let kids pack up and send the necklaces to your missionary to share with the local children.
Recommended for ages 4 to 6
You’ll need: 5×7 pieces of thin cardboard (two per child), construction paper, glue stick, markers, an Xacto knife, a hole punch, 4-foot pieces of yarn, scissors, glue dots, and craft buttons
Prepare a frame for each child by following the steps in the first two pictures. Then lead kids in making this fun craft by following the remaining steps.
Glue a piece of construction paper to one of the pieces of cardboard. Use an Xacto knife to cut out the center of the cardboard, making a ¾ -inch frame. This will be the front of the picture frame (see photo 1).
Line up the uncut piece of cardboard with the front of the picture frame. Punch holes about ½ inch apart around the sides and bottom of both pieces of the frame so that the children will be able to lace them together. Don’t hole punch the top; this will be the open end where kids can insert a picture (see photo 2). On the bottom of the front piece of the frame, write “Cute as a Button.”
Give kids each a 4-foot piece of yarn. They can thread the yarn through each hole, looping it around the outside edge of the frame as they go and leaving at least 6 inches at the top (see photo 3).
Have kids create a hanger by tying the 6-inch excess at the top of each side together (trim it if it’s way too long). Kids can adorn their frames using glue dots and craft buttons (see photo 4).
Once completed, have kids display their frames in a high-traffic area of your church. They can sell the frames as a fundraiser and use the proceeds to support missionaries.
Praying Hands Cards for Missionaries
Recommended for ages 3 to 6
You’ll need: construction paper, crayons or markers, washable inkpads or washable fingerpaint, and wet wipes
Fold a piece of construction paper in half for each child. Inside the folded cards, write “We’re Praying for You!” Give children these prepared cards and instruct them to draw on the inside of their card and write their name if they’re able to. When they’re finished coloring, open the card and place it face down so that the front and back of the card are showing.
Assist kids in pressing their hands into the inkpads or paint and making a handprint on each side of the card with their pinkie fingers placed near the outer edge of the paper. When folded, it’ll look like the child’s praying hands are holding the card.
Clean kids’ hands and set aside the cards to dry. Then pray for your church’s missionaries with the kids. Mail the cards to your missionaries to encourage them.
Create a Craft
Recommended for ages 10 to 12
You’ll need: various craft supplies
Expand kids’ artistic horizons with a craft or art project in the tradition of another country. Ask a missionary from your church to send you a sample of simple handiwork made by the people in his or her region. If possible, ask for instructions on how that style of artwork is made.
Then find a talented artist in your church who can teach kids how to replicate the craft item. While they work, educate kids about the culture of the country. Have kids take their crafts home and display them in a prominent place. Encourage them to pray for the people of that nation every time they see their craft.
Missionary Pen Pal Program
Recommended for ages 7 to 12
You’ll need: missionary contacts
Help the kids in your ministry connect with kids in another culture by creating a pen pal program with children overseas.
First, contact the missionaries your church supports. Ask them to provide you with a list of kids in their area (including the missionary’s kids), and pair your kids with those kids. If possible, match kids by age and gender.
Have the kids in your ministry write letters to their pen pals. Mail the entire batch of letters to the missionary, who can distribute them to the children and collect responses to mail back.
Kids will be thrilled when you have response letters to hand out. Encourage kids to continue sending letters back and forth (and provide time occasionally for them to write) so they continue to learn about another culture and the work of the missionaries in other countries.
Safety Tip! If your missionaries are in sensitive areas, ensure kids avoid using words in their letters that may be a red flag to the government. Words such as God, Jesus, Bible, or Christian are definite no-nos. Screen the letters before sending them.
Jesus Loves You!
Recommended for ages 3 to 5
You’ll need: a world map and 5 star-shaped stickers
Display a world map on the wall. Talk with kids about how missionaries are people who go to different countries and tell people that Jesus loves them. In many countries, people don’t speak English, so missionaries must learn a new language so they can talk to the people.
Then teach kids five different ways to say “Jesus loves you”—and put a star on the map on a country where people speak that language. (If your missionaries are in countries not represented by the languages listed as examples, you can go to translate.reference.com to make your own list.)
Spanish (Latin America, most of South America, Spain): Cristo te ama (KREES-tow tay AH-ma)
French (France, parts of Canada, many countries in Africa, Haiti): Jésus t’aime (ZHEH-zoo tem)
Swahili (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo): Yesu anakupenda (YAY-soo ah-nah-koo-PEN-dah)
Chinese (China, Taiwan): Ye Su ai ni (yea soo eye knee)
German (Germany, Austria): Jesus liebt dich (YAY-soos leebt deesh)
Bearing Fruit in the Mission Field
Recommended for ages 8 to 12
You’ll need: dried fruit, resealable bags, tape, 3×5 cards, ribbon, and a shipping box
Ahead of time, ask your church’s missionaries to send you a few stories of how they’ve seen God working in the mission field. Read their stories to your kids.
Then have kids assemble dried fruit in resealable bags, and use ribbon and tape to attach a card that says, “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace” (Colossians 1:5-6). Have your kids add other personalized notes and pictures to the package. Send one package o each of your church’s missionaries.
Safety Tip! If your missionaries are in sensitive areas, ensure kids avoid using words in their letters that may
be a red flag to the government. Rather than writing a Bible verse, write something such as, “Keep being sweet fruit!”
The combined creative talents of Courtney Walsh, Kristen Kansiewicz, Kristy Coughlin, and Marietta Taylor made this article possible.
© Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use or duplication permitted.