Have you ever suddenly realized that even though you thought you prepared enough material, you find you have at least 15 more minutes with your class?!?! Working in Children's Ministry, we must always have a "tool box" filled with items that can be pulled out and utilized at a moment's notice!
...Simple to set up...
...Simple to use...
...and of course...FUN!!
Here are 10 items that I have found help us out of those "surprise minutes" that we need to fill.
1) BEACH BALLS!
Beach balls are a great way to use up extra energy, get all kids involved, and just simply have some fun. We like to play upbeat kid's music, or use puppets for a fun song, while we tap balls across the auditorium. Of course, you must make sure that any breakable light fixtures, etc. are well out of the way of your area.
Don't be afraid to set some rules! We require our children to stay in their chairs (relatively), instead of running all over. We also have the staff lining the sides, to keep the balls towards the seats, instead of on the stage, etc. This is always a fun go-to for our services!
2) HULA HOOPS
There are lots of games that can be played with Hula Hoops. Ring toss, hoop jump, Thread the Hula, and more! Just search Hula Hoop games and you'll find many relays and team building activities, as well as single player games.
Make sure to always have a few extras, because they do get bent up over time. :D
3) PLASTIC DRINKING CUPS
There are oodles of games that can be played with plastic cups. One, of course, is the ever famous "Cup Stacking"! If you don't know what that is, it is high time you learn! LOL So much fun as individuals or even teams.
But besides games using just the cups, these are ideal for Minute-To-Win-It Games. I'll discuss this further in #4.
So, just make sure to have plenty of plastic cups on hand at all times!
4) PING PONG BALLS
As mentioned above, Ping Pong Balls are great for all different kinds of games, but we search out Minute-To-Win-It games...and have a blast! You'll find many, many ideas online, but also make sure to use your imagination to come up with some of your own.
If possible, choose 2 different colors of balls, so you always have a ready option for team play. Otherwise, you can use a permanent marker to write a "1" or a "2" on all of the balls, to divide the teams.
Balloons can be used for all kinds of games. From having the kids inflate them as part of the game, to having them already inflated and stored in garbage bags for quick access. Again, "Mr. Google" has many ideas if you take time to search them out beforehand.
Just make sure to have different colors and sizes on hand.
6) COSTUMES & PROPS
Costumes are so much fun! They can be used for the Leaders to act out the Bible stories, the children to take part in the action, or even just to hold the kids attention. Silly hats, flashy props, crowns, robes, and more. Simply put on a costume, and watch the atmosphere change!
Blacklight puppetry is amazing, but NOT the only way to utilize blacklights!
Use them for games, activities, object lesson, relay races, during worship, and more! They come in all different sizes....we use 18" and 48". Blacklights can be temporary or permanent. They can be set on the floor, hung overhead, or set on a shelf. We use our 18" as temporary lights, and hang our 48" lights overhead.
NOTE: When first trying out blacklights, make sure to have a "practice" run to check leader's clothing, doors and windows that let in too much light, white background walls that ruin the effect, and more.
Music sets the stage for kid's activities; whether it's a service or class time. Using upbeat music when the children enter, gets them excited for what is to come...and even sets the level of energy within the room.
Also, have music ready for games, to keep the excitement going.
Here are a few of our favorite groups to use for our kid's meetings:
* Go Fish Guys
* Hillsong Kids
* Listener Kids
Rewards don't always need to be candy! Yes, there's a place for that, and we do use candy and treats; but it's also a good idea to have other kinds of rewards on hand. Especially with all the new diets and special eating plans that so many have adopted.
Also, we don't give out rewards for every game or even every kid's meeting. We use our rewards for special times, so it continues to stay "special". The same with snack time...this is only done once in a while.
10) ENERGETIC LEADERS
Yep...that's you!!!! :D
No matter how old or how young you are, if you want your kid's church or Sunday School to be exciting...it all starts with you! Remember, whatever level of worship we exemplify, they will stay right under that level. Whatever level of excitement we show them, they will be slightly less excited. Whatever level of energy we put into the object lessons, activities, Bible Story...our kids will be just slightly less energetic. Yes, there are times when they come in with so much energy and excitement that it's hard to keep control. But for the most part, even younger children are shy and feel intimidated, when being a part of a group. So, keep your energy level up, even when you don't feel like it!
And on that note, we as adults, are always going through something...whether it's relationships, finances, health...whatever it is, we MUST leave it outside the door! Don't even bring those things into the room. Focus on your kids, and let Jesus minister to you, while you do so.
So there you have it! The Top 10 Items that we utilize in our Children's Department. I hope this has been helpful to you. I'd love to hear what items you are sure to have on hand in your own department. Feel free to share below.
Before I close, I just wanted to let you know that I've added a new webinar to my shop. This webinar runs about 2 hours long, and teaches you how to build a Moving Mouth Heart Prop. It is perfect for Valentine's Day!
Here is a picture of the ones that were made on Friday night, during the LIVE Webinar....
You can find the completed webinar by clicking HERE.
Also, if you missed this one, don't worry, there will be more to come! :D If you have a desire to learn something specific, let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you all!
Sara Vojtasek & Joel's Vision Ministries