Five Ways To Create a Fun Kidmin Environment

15 Jan

Recently I had the opportunity to tour the children’s area at Wooddale Church located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. One of our former employees, Zach, is now the Elementary Program Associate in the Wooddale Kids ministry.

I love to get inspiration from how other churches create a welcoming space for children. One of the things I learned from serving in small churches is how to create a fun environment similar to what a larger ministry would be able to financially afford. Many of the elements found at Wooddale could be recreated inexpensively. Large pillows can be sewn- recovered old pillows. Chairs similar to those pictured could be purchased from IKEA. A little paint on the walls can go a long way- especially when creating a themed area.

Five things I’ve learned about creating a fun, safe kidmin area:

  1. Find someone in your church who is talented at building things. Almost every church has someone who gets excited as the prospect of using his/her power tools on the weekend.
  2. Use materials that are cheap. Cardboard, PVC pipe and foam core are some examples.
  3. Go to garage sales with an eye on what could be repurposed in your kid’s ministry.
  4. Build a creative team. These people do not have to be good with kids- they just need to be able to build or sew or paint or decorate. It’s a great way to get people involved that wouldn’t normally think of kid’s ministry as a place to serve.
  5. Many larger churches retire their sets after a few years. Be on the lookout for opportunities to reuse these sets. Also, many churches give away their VBS decorations.

 

We’d love to hear your ideas.

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Apple of His Eye Object Lesson

2 Oct

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Apple Object Lesson

Supplies: apple

Did you know that the Bible talks about apples? (Show the apple.) In Psalms 17:8, it says, “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.” David was praying because he had enemies that were attacking him. He knew that God was watching over him.

What does it mean to be the apple of someone’s eye? (Give kids a chance to answer.)

Let’s look at each other’s eyes. Turn to the person next to you and look in their eye. The eyeball is also called the globe of the eye. It has the iris that is the colored part, the white and the black pupil. Together the eyeball is round or apple shaped. If you look closely in each other’s eyes you can see a picture of yourself.

When we are the apple of someone’s eye, that means that we are seen by them. Not only are we seen but also the eye is known to have great value so it also means that we are precious to them, important to them and they are watching over us.

We are the apple of God’s eye. Each one of us is important to him. Precious to him. And he is watching over us.

Excerpt from Apple Of His Eye lesson from River’s Edge. Download it today to get apple trivia, bible story, application, craft, game, take home paper, snack, small group discussion, memory verse activity and creative options.

Creating an Environment the Pixar Way

16 Aug

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Right now the Minneapolis Science Museum is sponsoring a special exhibit called The Science Behind Pixar

The exhibit runs through Labor Day and is worth a visit. Not only do you learn about all the cool math and science behind the movies, there are lots of photo opportunities with characters from the films. My favorite part, however, was the short video clips of people who work at Pixar explaining what they do and why they do it.

A Set Supervisor told how he put things in the set that will evoke a memory in those watching. In the film, Ratatouille, you find him looking out over Paris with the Eiffel tower in the background. In A Bug’s Life the grass is made to resemble a forest. In creating these places or in placing a prop strategically, the viewer enters into the experience by past memories.

In kid’s ministry, the way we approach designing a room or decorating an area should start with asking ourselves “what kind of experience do we want the kids to have?” When we incorporate props from their everyday life, it helps them to feel comfortable and at home. Creating an area that is imaginative will lead to curiosity and open their minds to learn. Having areas with large pillows to sit on and lean against will instill a sense of calm.

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I’ve found that there are a wide range of areas that can help children experience God. Finding one that is right for your ministry is the key. For some a large stage with fun lighting and high energy props works. For others rolling a special carpet out each week with hands on type props passed around a circle while the story is told in an engaging way works. Others love to create an environment that transforms a room into an Egyptian marketplace, a movie studio or a bubbling science lab.

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Test Tube Fun with CSI Camp.

The key is whatever we do, let’s make sure that we are thinking about the experience we want the children to have and work towards preparing that experience long before they arrive.

 

What type of experience are you creating in your ministry?