I’ve talked before about how I use games in my children’s church. Almost without exception they work double duty as fun and an object lesson. This means that I create the games right along with the rest of my service and then share that information with the volunteer leading the game.
I wanted to share the format that I write up the games. The format really seems to help me to explain the game properly and keeps the typical barrage of questions and explanations to a minimum. It also helps the volunteer to remember that the game is more than just a game… it’s a teaching tool.
I divide each game into four simple segments:
Most games need props. Basketballs, hula-hoops, chapsticks, cotton balls and plastic forks. I always start my list with the props because without them the game isn’t possible. It helps me to remember to pick up any items I need during the week. It also tells my game leader the first things they need to look for when they head backstage where their props are already sitting out.
This is where I layout the setup of the game. Two baskets on one side. Two lines of 3 kids (six total) with balls of paper on the other. If there are props that need to be opened, unwrapped, sorted or put into containers this is where I write it up. Ninety percent of frustration alleviation is preparation.
Here is where I punch out exactly how the game is played. The children have sixty seconds to see how high they can stack Lego blocks without them falling over. Is it a timed game or a relay race? If something falls out or over, can they start from there or do they go back to the beginning? Be sure to describe the goal that the children are going for. Include how many points should be given for 1st or 2nd place.
This is the part that ties the game into the lesson. Often I’ll have my leaders give a small intro that helps kids make the link in advance. “Today we’re talking about God loving the world… so we’re going to play a quick game using Hershey Kisses!” Then after the game I’ll have them follow up with a bit more explanation… similar to a teacher explaining an object lesson. “In our game we tried to get as many Hershey Kisses in the box as possible. We worked hard! God wants us to make sure to share as much of His love as possible with the world too!” You get the idea.
I write up each game in my service notes the same way. Here’s an example:
- Props: 2 scooters, 2 rolled newspapers
- Prep: The newspapers are going to serve as “batons” for the players to pass off in the relay. Choose six kids (one from each team) to form two teams. Line them up relay-style.
- Play: Kids will roll their scooter around the congregation holding the newspaper. The first team to have all of their participants down and back wins!
- Say: “Just like the paperboy has to deliver the news to everyone on his route, we as Christians are to share our faith with everyone we meet. It’s not someone elses job. It’s OUR job to start spreading the news! We must SOW wherever we GO!
(Game taken from Brian Dollar’s “High Voltage” children’s church curriculum.)
How do you do games? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.