Want a fun way to reinforce a Bible lesson that requires little preparation and all kids love? Keep Yes/No sticks on hand for every Bible lesson. Either during the story or at the end of small group time, pass out sticks so that each child has a yes for one hand and a no for the other. Pose questions to the group that can be answered with either a yes or no response:
- “Did Eve eat a banana in the Garden of Eden?”
- “Did Jonah obey God the first time?”
- “Did Jesus come alive on the 3th day after the cross?”
Yes/No sticks give children the opportunity to stay engaged while incorporating movement and without noise. Because questions are posed to the entire group, every child has the opportunity to answer every question. The kids love seeing which peers answer each question correctly and nearly always a fun sense of competition emerges. More importantly, this activity is helpful for kids who prefer non-verbal communication.
For a child who has a communication disorder (oftentimes undiagnosed) such as a speech delay or apraxia, they may understand everything going on around them but struggle to respond verbally. This activity is also great for a participant with ADHD or just the active boy whose hands may otherwise find a less desirable activity. And because this exercise can be completed without a voice response, there is better chaos control, which is important for participants who are easily over-stimulated or have sensory issues associated with a loud environment.
Simple strategies like these may be the difference between failure and success for the child with special needs and the volunteers who serve them. (P.S. This activity is a great way to stretch a small group time when you’ve got more time on your hands then plans!)
Amy Fenton Lee blogs at www.TheInclusiveChurch.com to help churches successfully include children with special needs. For more tips like this one check out Amy’s new volunteer training DVD “Surviving to Thriving: Successfully Including the Child with Special Needs” available at www.whatisorange.org.