Holding a 1 to 2-hour main event each week in kids’ church can build excitement but it’s not much of a vehicle for building relationships. I admit I love the high-energy, atmosphere of heart-pumping praise music and the sounds of happy children more than anything in the world. However, maintaining that upbeat experience every week can wear you down (especially if you’re my age). I haven’t renounced the high-energy side of ministry but I have made some changes recently by adding small group activities. I may be the last children’s pastor on the planet to discover the beauty of this teaching method, but just in case I’m not, I had to share.
The small group activities I am talking about come towards the end of the service. Surprisingly, I currently have a plethora of volunteers so this really helped me provide everyone with a chance to lead and teach. So far so good! I pair different leaders to different groups and I often move kids around so they have a chance to work with kids they don’t normally hang with. I love these three small group activities for kidsmin.
Create-a-game: Before the kids arrive, I gather three or four posterboards. (You need one for each small group.) I draw a game board with connecting boxes, circles and ladders. Sometimes I draw the same one, others times they are all different. I provide the kids with crayons and dice. I tell the kids that they get to think of a new Bible board game. They could invent, “Get Jonah Out of the Whale” or “Following Jesus Around Jerusalem” or whatever they imagined. They have to number and fill in the boxes with instructions like, “Go back 3 spaces.” After the activity, we shared the games with other groups.
Blanket and ball balance: I brought several flat sheets and beachballs from home for this activity. I blew up the beachballs and gave each group one ball and one sheet. The goal of this game is to keep the ball on the blanket longer than the other teams. Silly but fun! It really got the kids working together to keep the ball moving.
Separate the _____: You need a bunch of buttons, blocks or different kinds of dried beans for this activity. The items should be tossed together in a bowl or bucket. Instruct the teacher or volunteer to talk about how God sometimes separates us for a special work or how God made everyone different but remarkable. Kids should spend time separating the items into jars or cups.
Small group activities encourage a spirit of unity. When kids work together in the classroom, they are more likely to work together in life. I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did!