Plan More Than You Think You'll Need

How do you avoid facing the "Uh-oh! Now what?" situation? Plan ahead, come prepared, and have backup activities. This question applies to family Bible study leaders, Children's Ministers, homeschool moms and dads, Sunday school teachers, AWANA leaders, church volunteers, childcare workers, and nursery workers. I led a breakout during a children's ministry leader training at my church the last Saturday in February. This is a little of what I shared. I hope it blesses you and your church.

Uh-oh! Now what?

Picture this. You've completed everything you have planned. The twenty minute craft took five minutes and the kids tired of the fifteen minute game after ten. You still have twenty minutes before the parents come. Now what? While you try to figure it out, Jack and Johnny start chasing each other around the room. It's not long before one of them (CRASH!) slams into the chairs. Kelly starts drawing a picture... on the wall... while Ruthie throws Bibles against the wall. What happened? It's only been three minutes! The next seventeen minutes (yes, you're counting) are going to last forever and you're already trying to remember where you put your headache medicine.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Kids without boundaries make “fun” without boundaries. Their kind of “fun” may not be safe, loving toward others, or appropriate. The best way to combat this is to plan ahead, come prepared, and have extra activities (just in case). Keep in mind that free play could be an "extra activity," provided you explain the rules first. Free play works even better if it is focused on one or two activities (like a pile of Legos in the middle of the room and coloring paper at the table).

Ideas for Filler Activities

  • Bible skill games (See for great ideas.)
  • Bible timeline games
  • Get to know you games
  • Sing a song
  • Help clean up
  • Make cards to give away
  • Do an extra craft (Foam craft kits work great for shorter crafts.)
  • Practice telling someone about Jesus
  • Review games
  • Memory verse games
  • Map skill games (i.e. “Pin Jerusalem on the map,” played much like pin the tail on the donkey. Supplies needed: paper map of Israel, push pins, blindfold.)
  • Snack
  • Free play (within set limits)
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