Is “having fun” a good strategy? Yes! “When it’s fun, they learn.” Kids’ feedback: “Hey, that was fun.” Wanting more Developing positive feelings about your church: a place to belong. Jesus never bored people!
Can we force people to have fun? Probably not. But we can set up a likely environment for it.
How can we set things up for fun? Boundaries and expectations. Feeling secure is a big thing. E.g. “Rev Marian said it was OK for us to play with messy stuff in the church today. She trusts us to clean up afterwards.” Leaders always set the tone.
Understand where kids are coming from Know them / their families / their lives Design your ministry around the kids you have Encourage kids and families to become co- leaders Start small and build up
Stages of Child’s Development Physical - developing motor skills / need for movement Emotional - from adult-referring to self-understanding Psycho-social - from adult-dependent to independent [Fun activities which assist in the development of these are not a waste of time!]
What do YOU find fun? Hobbies / recreational activities / etc. Compile a list.
Different Learning Styles Fun means different things to different people! VARK: Visual (Owls) Audio (Bats) Reading/Writing (Bookworms) Kinaesthetic (Monkeys) Can’t cover all these every time – but should cover each regularly So: See/hear; do; think; review what’s been learnt.
What do you think? Do you need to have lots of expensive resources to have fun?
Some ingredients to create Fun Dress ups Dramatise a story – kids can hear the story and be left to it, or you can write a script with older ones Take on a personality and express things that kids might be too shy to say otherwise Costumes for you / narrator
Sand pits “I wonder what Bethlehem looked like” – see what happens Use for drawing – easy way to do animations – photograph each drawing and then wipe clear and start again.
Water play Problem solving... shifting water from one place to another, team work Very relaxing, involving activity
Play dough To occupy hands while listening to a talk/story Cheap and easy to make
Seeing adults play During a sermon, distribute play dough and ask adults to make something from the talk. Giving adults the materials we give children can be a revelation! Kids love to see what adults make of it all. [Sending adults out etc – swapping roles]
Building On small scale with lego, or large outdoor activity with hay bales, wheelbarrows, bricks etc E.g. Replica church for Pentecost / stewardship campaign / etc.
Moving stuff around Tyres, hay bales etc – create an obstacle course – can be a team building activity in itself. Then kids can do the course! Loading stuff on and off wheelbarrows and moving those barrows around. Sense of empowerment, actually builds upper body strength
Puppets Children of all ages can use puppets, the sophistication depends on the child/young person, not the puppet. Tell stories using puppets, or give puppets to children to re-tell or make up a story. Concentrating on a puppet takes the pressure off the storyteller Using puppets to express themselves is a non-threatening way to have children participate
Movement Kids wake up with movement – learning happens more effectively when the body gets involved. E.g. Memory verses – repeat while tossing a ball from one to another in pairs Walking to the shops for an icecream is a great time to discuss tricky subjects Set up a series of activity stations – walk between them, sense of pilgrimage
Fun through Music Simple songs / instruments Pre-recorded music e.g. Colin Buchanan Aim for interaction (kids not just audience) Could kids help lead singing? (or lead actions?) What if kids are too young to read lyrics? Call and response: Lord’s Prayer.
Other ‘specialities’: Science experiments (related to Scripture) Excursions / walks e.g. Cemetery to discuss death and resurrection; garden for Gethsemane Cooking (eat and share) Family-based activities
Service & Justice Social service activities to meet community needs (physical and emotional) Wash cars or do some gardening while adults are in church Contribute to garage sales Operation Christmas Child Handing out free cold water/drinks at events
Kids’ Games www.kidssundayschool.com www.kidssundayschool.com www.jubed.com www.jubed.com Look for iPhone apps (or create one!) Books from your local Christian bookshop.
When it’s Fun, they learn. We will depend, finally, on the Holy Spirit, not techniques. We will develop whatever skills that will make us better communicators. But we know that we will need to subordinate skills and techniques to the work of the Holy Spirit, if anything truly lasting is going to happen.
Pursue excellence! We will pursue excellence in our ministry with children. There is a big difference between perfection and excellence. We will face moments of deep satisfaction; we will also have moments of frustration and disappointment. The test of the direction of our ministry comes at such times. If we are pursuing perfection, we will keep failing. If we pursue excellence, we can absorb failure, allow God to train us in it, then continue the pursuit.
“Off-line resources” Join the Roscoe Library here at St Francis’ College, Milton Free membership for Brisbane Anglicans Thousands of books, DVDs and materials Picture books, Messy Church books, “young- people friendly” worship instruction books. NOOMA DVDs and study resources Catalogue is open on-line at www.mecmoodle.net www.mecmoodle.net
Where will Growth come from, if not from Youth, Children and Families?