Ideas for "Plan C"
Try these no-prep supplemental activities that can be used any week you are really short on leaders, and kids need to stay in one large group.
BIBLE REVIEW –
Say it Again Sam: Before you teach your lesson, tell kids to pay super close attention; you’ll be asking one of them to reteach it after you. After you teach, ask if there’s anyone who can retell the story. They can only tell the parts you told, and can’t add anything extra. After the child tells the lesson, affirm how well they did, and then ask the remainder of the kids if there is anything that was left out. This repetition is great for retention. And when kids tell it, it’s extra fun too.
Going Deeper: Here are great questions you can ask after virtually any Bible lesson:
- What did you like best about the story, and why?
- Do you have any questions about the story?
- What do we learn about God in this story?
- What do we learn about people in this lesson?
- How are you like or unlike (each person in the story)?
- How does this story make a difference in your life?
- What do you think God wants you to do about this?
If needed, incentivize participation with a tiny treat (even one m&m or Skittle will work) for every answer given.
Charades: Pick out a few characters or situations from your lesson (or past few lessons). Ask for a child volunteer who can come up and act it out for the group. Whisper the character or situation to your volunteer. The first child to guess correctly gets to act next. This game works Pictionary-style on a white board or large paper.
Review: You can (naturally, automatically) prepare review questions in advance. Each week while prepping for the Bible lesson, you or your Bible teacher get in the habit of typing out a few questions pertaining to the heart of the lesson. (Tip: Send them to your phone each week so they are always with you.) It should be simple to search back a few weeks and ask questions. If you stash a bag of Starbursts somewhere in your venue, kids will be eager to answer questions in order to earn a piece.
Ask a Pastor: Tell kids they are free to ask you anything about the Bible and God’s kingdom. If kids are older, give them a few minutes to write their questions on index cards before you collect them and answer for the group (this way questions are anonymous and you can make sure they are appropriate for all ears). This is a great exercise to dispel myths and to hear where your kids are spiritually.
If everyone remains in one large room, taking individual prayer requests might take up more time than you have. Here are a couple options:
Prayer Circles: Separate kids into groups of around 12 or less. Have them get into a circle to pray. One person will start off by lifting up their requests, then tap the person next to them to signal that it is his/her turn to pray. That person prays, and then taps the next person. If a child does not want to pray out loud, they simply tap the next person. When the prayer makes its way back to the first person that prayed, he/she closes.
Prayer Cards: To handle prayer requests when you can’t splinter off into groups, hand each child an index card and pen, tell them to write down a prayer request and pass it to the child on their right. Take a few minutes to have kids pray for each other’s requests before you pray over everyone, and collect the cards to pray over during the week. (This will even work with little ones if you have enlisted the help of older kids to be their “buddies” for the morning.)
JUST FOR FUN:
Twinning: This is a fun mixer that will help kids get to know more about each other. Have all the kids stand up and the leader will pose a question. Kids are to mingle around, asking each other questions to see if they can find a twin (who has the same answer or same characteristic). When they find a twin, have them stand together and make a T with their hands (like a coach’s timeout sign). Leader, ask questions one at a time. When all, or most, kids have found their twin for one question, then ask the next question. (If a child can’t find a twin in a certain area, assure them it’s ok – being unique is just as awesome as having things in common.)
- What is your favorite food?
- What color are your eyes?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- How tall are you?
- How many brothers do you have?
- What kind of pet do you have?
- What is your favorite subject in school?
It’s amazing how God created each of us with differences and similarities. No two people (even twins) are exactly alike in every way! God crafted each of you to be uniquely you (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5).
Heads or Tails: Tell everyone to stand up. Kids choose heads or tails by either putting their hands on their own head or hands on their own, well, back side or hips. Then kids freeze while you flip a coin. Winners remain standing (if it lands on heads, the kids who chose tails sit down; if it lands on tails, the kids who chose heads sit down). Those who remain standing choose heads or tails for another round. Keep playing until you have one winner still standing. Reward him/her with a small prize. Then everybody gets up to try again.
Pick a Side: Divide the room in half with tape on the floor (or draw an imaginary line). All kids stand up and they will pick a side of the room to go to, determined by their favorite one of each pairing the leader calls out. Leader points to a side of the room as he/she calls out each of the two options. If a child has no preference, they are free to stand in the middle of the room.
- Cafeteria lunch/Lunchbox lunch
- Cake/Ice cream
- Video games/Playing outside
- Make music/Make art
- Read/Watch TV
Four Corners: This is an old standby. Number the corners in your room, 1-4. Label each corner by taping up a paper sign. Choose one child to be the caller. He stands with his back to the room, counting to 5 (the 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi method). While he counts, every other child quietly chooses a corner to stand in. After the counter, the caller calls out a number from 1 to 4. Everyone on the corner he chose must sit in the center of the room. This process continues until there is only one person left standing. That child becomes the next caller.