I will start by saying that choosing games is not my favorite part of planning a kid’s service or event. Some kid’s ministry leaders can come up with ten games on the spot with no props needed. For the rest of us, games require planning in advance. Games may not be the most important element in a service or event, but they can make a huge difference in the impression we make on the kids during the brief time we have with them.
Why should we use games in KidMin?
1. Kids learn differently.
Some of the kids who come into our ministries may learn the Bible story or the point just fine while sitting still in their chair listening to the leader talk. Other kids will learn much better when they are out of their seat, playing an active game. Games can be used as an alternative teaching method, and the kids won’t even know they are learning something.
2. Games are fun.
This seems pretty obvious, but if kids have fun when they come to church, they are more likely to want to come back the following week. I think adults might enjoy church more if there were games during their services…just a thought.
3. They build friendships.
Most games require more than one person on each team. When kids are chosen for games, they are thrown together with other kids they may not be friends with. Games require kids to work together as a team, and to interact with each other. I have seen kids form friendships during a five minute game.
All games are not created equal. I have used kid’s ministry curriculum that has no games at all, and sometimes games just seem to be thrown into the curriculum for fun with absolutely no relevancy. It is a waste of everyone’s time to play a game that has no point. When choosing or creating games for my ministry, I always ask myself three questions:
1. Does it teach the point?
The point is whatever you want the kids to take away from the service when they leave. We call the point, “today’s takeaway”. For example, on Sunday we learned about patience. Our takeaway was: “God’s power gives us the strength to be patient.” When I created the game, I wanted it to reinforce the idea of being patient.
2. Does it fit the theme?
We always have a theme that goes along with the sermon series we are in. Currently, our series is called Life Apps. In the Life Apps series, we are learning about a different fruit of the Spirit each week. This series is unique in the fact that it has two themes you play off for games: fruit and apps. When I create or choose a game for this series, it will most likely fit into one or both of those themes.
3. Does it teach the verse?
My favorite way to teach the verse is by using a verse a song from JumpStart3, but my second favorite way to teach the verse to kids is through games. Verse games challenge the kids to memorize the verse so their team can win the game. You can fit a verse into almost any game, and you can write the verse on almost anything. My favorite item to use for verse games is balloons.
I don’t require every game I choose or create to fulfill all three of these questions, but the game has to fulfill at least one, but ideally two of the questions for me to use it in my kid’s ministry. I believe that when we are intentional about choosing the games we use, they can be great teaching tool, instead of just a time waster.
How do you choose the games you use in your KidMin? What are some of your favorite KidMin games?