Today is “Give a Kid a Smile Day.” It is also Thank a Mailman Day, Stuffed Mushrooms Day, and Gumby’s birthday, so celebrate those appropriately. Good thing those are pretty self-explanatory! However, observing Give a Kid a Smile Day has about a trillion possibilities. Here are my favorite five to try out on church this Sunday (Disclaimer: I know it’s Friday… and I know that Sunday is not the official Give a Kid a Smile Day. Today is. Give me a break, ok? Let’s celebrate kids everyday!).
Favorite Five ways to Give a Kid a Smile:
1. 10 second parties.
This is exactly what it sounds like…and it works like a charm to get tons of energy out of their little, antsy bodies while you are teaching them. Basically, at any interlude during a lesson, tell kids they have 10 seconds to throw a party and go crazy. They can scream, dance, laugh, jump… anything they want for 10 seconds. Ask them to sit down as soon as you count to 10.
2. Silly photo shoots.
As kids come in to church, have them go to the “photo booth,” an area that you have decorated with a fun background or where you have stashed lots of silly props. Have a volunteer take their picture with a Polaroid camera and use these pictures to decorate your bulletin boards…and when new kids come, snap their picture and add it, too!
3. Food. Any kid loves food.
Try some fun snacks like cupcakes that look like penguins or the Cookie Monster or go with healthier alternatives like ants on a log (celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins) or “artic oranges” It should be okay to play with your food every once in a while!
4. Figure out what they love to do and incorporate it into your time together.
Do a craft, play a few games, and sing some songs. What do they really connect with? Also, a really great way to figure this out is to ask, “What’s your favorite thing to do?” It’s amazing how kids don’t come with the filters that youth and adults have, and will answer any question you ask honestly and without fail. What a great opportunity to have a real, meaningful conversation that makes a kid feel like a million dollars!
5. Help kids make refrigerator magnets for their parents.
This won’t only be a ton of fun for the kids, but the parents will leave with huge smiles as well. Every kid wants their work on the refrigerator. Now that work can serve the purpose of holding their other artwork!
So tell us, what have you done with the kids at your church that gave them a smile?