Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
Another great idea for keeping kids engaged in the large group lesson is to break up your lesson with fun and relevant games. Games are great for getting kids involved and helping them to remember what you’re trying to teach. There are a ton of great books and websites out there that can help you find a game related to the lesson you are teaching that weekend. I posted several links to great game sites in my post titled Best of the Best – Children’s Ministry Internet Resources.
One option which I have found kids to be particularly receptive to is to incorporate a game show format in the middle of your lesson. Set up a stage (it doesn’t have to be anything fancy), cue up the sound effects and put on your best game show announcer voice. If you have a polyester jacket – even better! In teaching kids about wisdom, we played “Who’s the Wise Guy,” a jeopardy type game with just a twist of The Price Is Right mixed in. With the rise in reality TV and game shows that kids are exposed to, there are plenty of formats that you can modify for use in your classroom. I haven’t worked out the specifics yet, but one of these days, I’d liked to play “Wheel of Prayer” to teach the kids about salvation or “Deal or No Deal” to teach the kids about sin and grace. As a brief aside, I think “Win, Lose or Draw” has infinite possibilities in a large group teaching.
Board games can be a great idea as well. While most large group formats don’t allow the time for a full-on game of Monopoly, how about using Jenga to teach kids about cooperation or as part of an object lesson on Hezekiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. How about Hungry Hungry Hippo when teaching about the feeding of the 5,000. All you need is a board game and a good imagination.
Finally, don’t be afraid to invent your own games. Just because no one has ever thought of it doesn’t mean it won’t work! Modifying well known games like Duck-Duck-Goose, Red Light-Green Light or Rock, Paper, Scissors to fit with your lesson is a great idea. Let your creativity flow and make up games. For Awana this Christmas, I came up with a game where the kids were going to be divided into groups and come up with a short Christmas show based on the lyrics of a Christmas carol they selected. I was going to have the leaders judge each show based on set of predetermined criteria and name a winner. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and didn’t get to play the game, but I’m throwing it in my file for next year, or I may modify it to use nursery rhymes in the spring.
Which brings me to my final point – keep a file. Find good books, search the internet, check on-line forums, but when you find a good game, print it out and throw it in a file. You never know when you might need it.