I did it! I was able to capture the attention of the hyper and tired (&ADHD) kids with Hands On Learning. I guess I cannot take full credit. Obviously God was showing me a way this past Wednesday night. I taught our kindergarten through second graders the story of Nadab and Abihu. They learned that God always has a plan and His plans are perfect. We cannot simply change His plans. We learned that we must show God honor and respect or it leads to death. Thankfully, God sent His son to die for us giving us grace, life in Him.
Teaching this lesson is a lot of fun since kids enjoy the idea of fire consuming these men; however, leading up to this part can be a bit dry. When teaching a super ADHD child, and I mean really, really hyper, I had to have a plan of my own. (To give you an idea of my hyper student, she was early to class, running circles around the tables telling me she ate peanut butter and it made her nutty. I love it!). First task was to get her and the others in their seats. I put on a short animated bible video (I just used my iPad. Our classes are small.) and turned out the lights. This worked like a charm. After 10 minutes, it was time for a prayer and everyone participated. Now for the lesson. How do you get kids, especially tired and hyper ones to pay attention?
Mini dry erase boards. Amazing! I divided my talk into 12 drawing points. I gave them something applicable to the story to draw. They wanted guidance so I’d walk them through each drawing step by step. Then, I’d tell that part of the lesson while they added to their drawings. They’d erase and we’d do it again for the next part. And for kids, stick figures are great because they can draw those. You don’t need to be an artist. I have to say, I was so impressed with their rams. Every child did it! Most importantly, the kids all listened, participated and answered questions. (Take a look at the video to see how this can be done so easily.)
Make sure to change things up so kids don’t lose interest. Draw on mini dry erase boards one week, post it notes another and on mini clipboards another. They are always drawing and engaged, just using different supplies so they don’t realize it’s pretty much the same thing. I have also hung butcher paper around the room but they tend to get out of hand if standing; so, I’d put chairs around the room next time. If you try any of these ideas, please share your experience.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner everyone’s asking for some unique Valentine’s Day card or gift ideas for their children’s ministry. I have a couple of ideas for you that the kids are going to love. What kid doesn’t love a bouncy ball or a flashing light at their fingertip? Even better, these ideas are extremely inexpensive. Watch the video on DIY Valentine’s Day Cards for Children’s Ministry to see how it’s done. Then simply print the PDF version of the card you’d like to use. And to make things super easy for you, I included links to the products I used on Amazon.com. (I do receive a small commission if you use this affiliate link. These are the products I ordered and used for my kiddos.) It includes free two day shipping for Prime members which I absolutely love!! If you stick around you will notice I use Amazon for just about everything! If you use one of these, I would love to hear how it turns out for you in your ministry.
You can easily use this Valentine as a community outreach give away. Add information about your bible classes to the other side and hand out in area neighborhoods or host a community children’s valentine party with activities and refreshments. It would be memorable.
Every week I like to work with our K-5th graders teaching them the books of the bible. I believe having a general idea of where to find the books in the bible is a good idea! For the younger grades, we simply sing the books of the bible songs each week, then play a game where they tell me if a book is in the Old or New Testament. There are lots of ways to make this fun, but today we are focusing on a game for the older kids. For the older grades, we take things a step further and search for the books in our bibles. This weeks game is a version of “Go Fish” using books of the bible and call bells. The bells are optional, but make it more fun for the kids. If they get to make noise, it’s got to be fun, right?
First, I selected 20 books from the bible, a mix of Old and New Testament books. (I used cards I found at: https://ministry-to-children.com/books-of-the-bible-games-cards/). Just choose 20 books at a time, depending on how many kids you have. The original version of “Go Fish” has 52 cards, 13 sets of four. I have 20 sets of three giving me a total of 60 cards. As kids arrive, pass out five cards per person and a bell (some can share one bell between them). If they have a set of three already, have them pull that set out and collect three more cards. They get to go first!
Now, they choose a player to ask if they have a card that is in their own hand. So, if I have in my hand: (1) Ezra, (1) Matthew, (2) Psalms and (1) Acts, I’d ask, “Billy, do you have Psalms?” If Billy has Psalms, he has to give all the Psalms he has to me. If he does not, he says, “Go Fish” and I draw a card from the stack. If by either way I end up with another Psalms, that makes three, a complete set. I quickly ring the bell, lay out my Psalms on the table for everyone to see and we ALL race to find that book in our bibles. Whoever finds it first gets to go next. Yes, some players may miss their turn. This is part of the fun. Continue clockwise until time is up or until all cards are matched in sets of three.
What are some ways fun games you like to play? I am always looking for new ideas!
It’s a new year and with every new year we set goals with plans to be better people and accomplish more in our lives. As Christians, we plan to be better servants of Christ. This may mean studying more, putting more focus on our prayer lives, being more hospitable, attending worship more often… the list goes on. As Christian parents, we may set goals to help our children become more spiritual, to love God more deeply and to learn more so they are prepared for the struggles in life that lie ahead. We want them to be more involved with their Christian friends. As children’s ministry leaders, we set goals to more effectively reach the children in our church and community with the word of God, praying we will make a big enough impact that it becomes ingrained in their hearts. We want to prepare them for life as well. This means intentional parenting and teaching. I would like to take a moment to reflect on what God says about our children.
Matthew 18:1-6 (NASB): 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Probably was not the answer the disciples were looking for as they wondered which of them was greatest. A child is humble and innocent. In the first few verses, we see that Christ expects his servants to be humble like children. Look at how he sees children, as valuable and having the right nature of a Christian, humility.
In the second set of verses we see that Christ understands a child to be innocent and believing. They will continue to learn more and more about God, developing a deeper love for God… unless someone gets in the way. Anyone causing an innocent child to doubt and take the wrong path should be concerned. It is obvious from these verses that God seriously frowns upon this. Think about it. This is the time when our children are most open to God. This is the time when we need to consistently teach and reinforce our mighty, loving God to our children. In fact, studies show that by the time a child is 13, he or she has already decided who they believe in and what their values are. So, those of us who believe it’s not that important to attend bible class and talk about God daily at home while our kids are young may want to reprioritize.
Matthew 18:10-11 (NASB): 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.11 [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]
I love these verses. God really believes children are valuable, after all, they are the next generation of His church. He has angels watching over them, over their souls. But remember, God gave us free choice so as parents and ministry leaders, we choose whether or not to lead a child to God and we know too well what happens in most instances where parents did not choose to make it a priority to lead their children to God. Often times it’s not even that parents don’t believe in God, it is that they did not show their children that God is the most important part of life and nothing comes between us and God. Actions don’t line up with God being most important.
It takes raising children with intention. We can’t sit back and go with the flow. No! Our children’s spiritual welfare, their souls, are important. Think about how much effort is put into making our kids believe in Santa Claus. Now think about how much effort is put into making sure our kids believe in God and know who He is. This can be very convicting. It is a new year, a new start. Begin this year with your number one goal to be raising kids for Christ. Do it with intention and see how much it impacts your family.
Need a suggestion? Here’s a simple, 365-day devotional book you can read with your kids. They are short, but powerful devotionals and remind your kids daily that God is an important part of your lives.
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