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A girl hitting a water balloon with a plastic bat. This is a summer outreach activity that can be used all year long.
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7 Summer Outreach Ideas That Can Be Used All Year Long

Keep the summer outreach fires burning this summer and beyond so you continue to reach children for Jesus in your community. Discover these ideas to keep reaching children in your community—all year long.

After a summer of fantastic outreach programs, don’t let the embers of your outreach die down. Keep the fires burning with Wacky Wednesdays (or Marvelous Mondays or Terrific Tuesdays or Fabulous Fridays or Slamming Saturdays—you get the point). Try any of these themes to excite kids and bring them back to your church for more each week!

7 Summer Outreach Ideas That Can Be Used All Year Long

1. Patriotic Craft Night

This theme works well around Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.

Set up tables for different crafts; you’ll rotate children to each craft table. Staff each table with an adult or teen volunteer to help out. Try these crafts.

Sparkly Shakers

Children pour red, white, and blue small aquarium-type rocks and glitter pieces into washed 8- or 10-ounce water bottles. Fill bottles less than half full. Remove the labels on the bottles.

Flag Magnets

Children trace the flag pattern on thin, 2×4-inch pieces of craft wood. Kids then paint the red and white stripes and the blue corner of the flag. They also paint one small white wooden craft star and glue it in the blue square. When dry, they glue a magnet to the back.

Bead Jewelry

Children string red, white, and blue beads (round- and star-shaped) on elastic cord and tie the ends of the cord together. Lengths can vary from wristband to necklace length.

Snack Attack

Each child helps make red, white, and blue cupcakes. Mix a white cake mix according to package instructions and divide the batter equally into three separate bowls. Add several drops of red food coloring to one bowl and blue to another bowl. The third bowl will remain white. Fill cupcake papers in tins, bake, and allow cupcakes to cool completely. Finish with chocolate or white frosting for snack time. Add red, white, and blue sprinkles on top.

Children can also help make Fruit Flags for a snack option!

2. Movie Night

Here’s a cool idea for a hot night! Children line up outside your “theater” — a room arranged for the movie. Each child is given a designated amount of play money. Part of the money is used for admission and the other is used for candy at the snack bar. Popcorn and soft drinks are free and all-you-can-eat.

3. Wacky Water Games Night

For this evening, tell kids ahead of time to wear clothes that can get wet. Children rotate through water game stations set up outside. Give each child a chilled bottle of drinking water to have during the games and, of course, end the evening with watermelon.

Water Balloon Toss

Form two teams, and have teams stand 10 feet apart. Have team members toss a water balloon back and forth to the person standing across from them. When balloons are dropped or otherwise break, pairs can get another. Keep tossing until you run out of water balloons.

Sponge Relay

Two teams each have a bucket of water and a big sponge. Players on each team soak their team’s sponge and run to the other end to squeeze water into an empty bucket until the bucket is filled to a level you designate.

Hot Sponge

Have children sit in a circle. Play music and start passing a soaked sponge around the circle Hot Potato-style. When the music stops, the person left holding the sponge gets the sponge squeezed on him or her by the person who just handed off the sponge.

Cup of Water Relay

Two teams line up with the first person holding a full cup of water overhead. On “go,” the first person races to the other end around an orange cone and back. The next person refills the cup and repeats.

Hoops Game

Each child gets a chance to throw three water balloons, aiming to land inside a hula hoop that’s lying on the ground.

Through the Sprinkler

The first person on each team runs through a sprinkler to a bucket on the other side of a play area, dips three cups of water from one bucket into another, runs back, and tags the next person.

4. Park Night

Invite kids to a field trip to a nearby park with good play equipment. Grill hot dogs and make s’mores. Require signed permission slips before taking kids off your church property and have a proper kid-to-adult volunteer ratio to safely keep track of everyone.

5. Goofy Games Night

Set up nontraditional game stations outside. Good resources for games are your public school’s physical education teacher and the internet. Do a search for “kids’ outside games,” and explore the many options. Don’t forget about your local Christian bookstore and Christian publishers for great game books and ideas!

6. Pastor’s House Night

Check with your pastor first! The kids file inside for tacos and back out again for a lawn picnic. If your pastor’s home doesn’t have play equipment outside, bring lawn games or plan team games. Again, don’t forget permission slips and enough background-checked volunteers.

7. Mystery Night Summer Outreach

Don’t reveal the theme of this night to kids until one week before. You could even keep the theme a secret until that night if you wish. The mystery is a Christmas celebration in August. Decorate the room for Christmas, play several Christmas games, serve Christmas snacks and, of course, give gifts. You could wrap school supplies for the kids and get their school year off to a great start!

Looking for more outreach ideas? Start here! You can also check out Team Family: Your Year-Round Guide for Intentional Family Ministry. This book is perfect for effectively reaching and engaging families with various experiences, event ideas, and downloadable resources for each season of the year!

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7 Summer Outreach Ideas That Can Be U...

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