Keep the summer outreach fires burning this summer and beyond so you continue to reach children for Jesus in your community. Discover these all-new, hot 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!
8 Summer Outreach Ideas That Can Be Used All Year Long
1. Patriotic Craft Night
This theme works well around Labor Day or Veterans’ Day.
Set up six tables for six 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.
Children decorate a paper frame with markers and patriotic stickers. Each child then has his or her picture taken with the American flag. We used a black backdrop that looked nice. It’s best to use an instant-print camera for this craft.
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 ? full. Remove the labels on the bottles.
Kids decoupage small slips of paper with the Pledge of Allegiance printed on them onto a 4×6-inch block of wood. Then kids add red, white, and blue sticker stars around the edges.
Children trace the flag pattern on thin, 2×4-inch pieces of craft wood. The children 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.
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 bracelet to choker to necklace length.
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 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 also help make a Red, White & Blue Fruit Pizza.
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 children ahead of time to wear clothes that can get wet. Children rotate to 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. Keep tossing until you run out of water balloons.
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 certain level.
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.
Each child gets a chance to throw three water balloons 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, 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 children off your church property.
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 for game books also. For more great games, click here.
6. Pastor’s House Night
Check with your pastor first! The children file inside for tacos and back out again to have a picnic outside. If your pastor’s home doesn’t have play equipment outside, bring lawn games or plan team games. Again, don’t forget permission slips.
7. Mystery Night
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 desire. 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. We wrapped school supplies for our children.
For more great outreach ideas for summer and beyond, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine.