Make a splash this summer with these sizzling new games, crafts, and ideas that’ll make kids come back for more.
School’s out for summer! You can almost hear the kids kicking off their shoes, splashing into pools, and crying that ever-familiar lament, “I’m bored!”
Not with these great ideas for a hot, sizzling summer! Use these activities with your kids, and we guarantee that instead of hearing “I’m bored!” this summer, you’ll hear kids screaming, “I want more!”
SUMMER SUNDAY SCHOOL
To solve summer staff recruiting problems, we created the “20-20-20” program.
Our kids, ages 3 through sixth grade begin with 20 minutes of singing and worship each Sunday. Then we form two groups (you could have more if needed). Our little guys go to their classroom for 20 minutes for their lesson on the day’s Scripture, while the older kids come to the children’s library for a craft or activity related to the day’s theme. After 20 minutes, the younger kids come in for their activity time and the older ones move to their classroom for their lesson.
The teachers love this because they only have to prepare what they enjoy doing. They also only have to prepare 20 minutes worth of material each week. The teachers are happy, the children love it because they’re moving and more active during church school, and I’m able to be more involved in the entire program.
Many churches put a lot of time and effort into vacation Bible school and then lose the children for the remainder of the summer. Our church begins the summer with a vacation Bible school program. Then for the next eight Tuesdays, we offer a morning camp program from 9 to noon. Our Kids Kamp is an outreach event that brings in children from the community for summer fun and learning.
We recruit church members who have a special skill or hobby to teach. Junior and senior high students volunteer as junior counselors.
Weekly topics include puppets, cooking, creepy creatures, French, bike rodeo, and art. Each morning focuses on one topic. We charge a small registration fee for each week to cover the cost of supplies. Children in first- through fifth-grade attend and are placed in small groups according to age.
Kids Kamp has been a wonderful opportunity for our church to build bridges to the community. Many of our families’ first experience with the church came through their children attending Kids Kamp.
CHILDREN’S SUMMER READING PROGRAM
When kids have time to do nothing this summer, give them good books to fill their minds. Our church library was blessed with a donation of hundreds of new Christian books, mostly for children. We cataloged them and set up a 12-week summer reading challenge for kindergarten through sixth grades.
We kept a 3X5 card on file for each child to complete, noting the child’s name, the week number, the book title, space to write what the child learned from the book, and a line for a parent’s signature. We gave a small prize such as a balloon or a piece of bubble gum each week when a child read a book. At the end of 12 weeks, children who participated every week went to an ice cream shop together. We allowed kids to make up weeks if sickness or vacation interrupted their efforts.
If you don’t have a church library, ask a Christian school to use its library, or find books by scouting garage sales, used bookstores, or your own book collection for books to exchange during Sunday school or children’s church.
Kids can create all or part of this fun project.
•Pots-Have each child paint a 4-inch clay pot. When the paint is dry, fill the pot with floral foam. You may need to help children use a hot glue gun to tack the sides of the foam to the pot.
•Ladybugs-Give each child one half of a Styrofoam plastic ball. Have each child cover the Styrofoam with red paint. When the paint is dry, paint black dots using a cotton swab. Glue on two movable craft eyes. Push black pipe cleaners into the Styrofoam for the legs and antennae. Push a wooden dowel into the flat side of the ladybug and insert the dowel into the foam in the pot.
•Sunflowers-Have each child cover half of a Styrofoam plastic ball with black paint. While the paint dries, each child can paint 10 craft sticks bright yellow. When the paint is dry, push the craft sticks into the Styrofoam around the outer edge of the ball to create the petals of the sunflower. Push a wooden dowel into the base of the rounded side of the sunflower (behind the petals) and insert the stick into the foam in the pot.
•Butterflies-Have each child make a butterfly wing by bending a gold pipe cleaner and twisting the ends together. Make four wings. Using a hot glue gun, help children glue the wings and a wooden dowel to a 12X12-inch piece of muslin cloth. (See illustration.) Have each child use fabric paint to paint inside the wings of the butterfly. When the paint is dry, cut around the outer edges of the pipe cleaners, leaving the butterfly intact. Then glue on the antennae and insert the dowel into the foam in the pot.
•Tissue paper flowers-Give each child two 12X8-inch pieces of tissue paper. (You can vary the sizes of flowers by using different sizes of paper.) Lay one sheet on top of the other. Fold both sheets in half lengthwise. Then fold in half crosswise. Cut the open edges of the tissue paper to create the petal shapes. Open both pieces of tissue paper, then bunch the pieces together in the center and twist with a green pipe cleaner. Fan out the petals and insert the pipe cleaner into the foam in the pot.
SUPPLIES: 4-inch clay pots green floral foam 4-inch Styrofoam plastic balls, cut in half gold, black, and green pipe cleaners Q-Tips cotton swabs 18 mm movable craft eyes extra wide, extra long, jumbo craft sticks 3/16-inch wooden dowels in 12-inch lengths red, black, and yellow nontoxic acrylic paint assorted colors of nontoxic fabric paint in squeeze bottles muslin cloth cut in 12X12-inch pieces assorted bright colors of tissue paper hot glue gun.
Tie-dyeing is always a favorite summer activity. With cold water dyes and tie-dyeing kits, it’s easier than ever. You supply the T-shirts, cotton socks, hair scrunchies, or handkerchiefs, and the Jacquard Tie Dye Kit supplies the rest. This kit dyes up to 15 adult T-shirts. It’s available for $18.25 from Triarco Arts & Crafts Inc.