by Sheik Ally/ November 18, 2015
Your large group or kids church time gives you the opportunity to create a space for kids to learn God’s Word in a dynamic, age-appropriate environment.
The best way to maximize the time that you have with your kids is to craft an experience in which they want to participate.
Here are some techniques you can use to create a large-group experience that is engaging and educational.
Interactive Teachings: A 30-minute, multiple-point sermon may work for the adults sitting in the main sanctuary, but it’s not going to engage your hyperactive 3rd graders. Be intentional about allowing kids to interact with your teaching in the best way they know how—through play.
Give kids certain cue words that will trigger a sound effect that they have to yell. Get them out of their seats and running across the room as you tell an action-packed Bible story.
Object Lessons They Can Hold: Object lessons are a fun way to communicate abstract concepts with concrete examples. Here’s one plucked right out of the pages of Scripture: “Your word is a lamp for my feet…” The leader or teacher stands at the front of the stage with a lamp or flashlight. But what if each kid was able to hold a flashlight? The teacher could set up an obstacle course, shut off the lights, and each child could take a turn navigating the course with the flashlight.
Spontaneous Dramas and Stories: The most engaging, low-prep way to tell a Bible story is to have your kids act it out spontaneously. Kids love seeing their friends on stage or at the front of the class, and there is a lot of inherent hilarity in the way your actors and actresses interpret the instructions you give them. I often find that the kids who remember the Bible story the best are the ones that got to act it out.
Memory Verse Physical Challenges: Memorizing the Bible can be a fun, challenging, game-show style activity with a little bit of imagination and few props.
Select one child and bring him up to the front of the class or on stage. Give him a hula hoop. The rest of the class yells out the memory verse and, if that child can hula hoop through the entirety of the verse, he proceeds to the next round. In the next round he has to balance a funoodle on one hand as he hula hoops. Every time he succeeds, the challenge gets harder and harder.
Response Time Take Homes: I love including time in our kids’ church services for kids to reflect and respond to the message or story that they just heard. We normally dedicate 10-15 minutes near the end of our time together for these kids to engage with the Holy Spirit.Every few weeks we give them a token from the day’s message. My favorite one was when we told the story of Jacob’s deceit and sent kids home with 2” x 2” swatch of faux furry fabric. We told them that any time they saw that little rectangle of fur they could remember that God loves them even when they disobey.