by Rhonda VanCleave
A few weeks ago I posted a blog with some “Back Pocket” Ideas for those moments when you unexpectedly need to “fill time” with a group of kids. Bible skills are my favorite things to use in a pinch and they are the “B” in my “Back Pocket Ideas.” But, I also have a few “A,” “C,” and “K” ideas – BACK Pocket!
A – Ask Review Questions. Repetition teaches! Ask questions about the Bible lesson you just had or maybe some you’ve had recently. One of my favorite “dollar type store” finds is a foam cube with dry erase dots on the side. You can print a question on each side. (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) A volunteer rolls the cube and you ask that type of question about the Bible study. Or, the volunteer rolls the cube and he must come up with the question to ask his friends. But what if you have no supplies? Turn a “Mother, May I” type game into a review game. Ask a volunteer a question. If they answer correctly, tell them what type of steps they may take (three baby steps, or two giant steps, etc.). Either way, asking the questions or involving the kids in creating their own questions helps drive the truth of the lesson home and redeems the time!
C – Create Conversations. Through the years I have been amazed at the return on investment I see when I just talk to the kids … about anything! I find out what they are interested in, what they like, or what is happening in their lives. If you’ve listened as they talked with each other, you can have some clues about topics to ask them about. I really believe kids are starving to have someone simply listen to them and take an interest. If you have a large group of kids, play a grouping game. Direct them to mill around until you call out a number, then they must get into groups of that number. Call out a topic and give them a designated time to share in their group. For example, thirty seconds for each person in the group to name his or her favorite movie or somewhere they would like to travel some day. These experiences can help kids learn about each other.
K – Kids Create. Never underestimate the ability of kids to make up their own fun games. Give some basic parameters or supplies and GO! They will often own the game and want to play again. I’ve seen kids do everything from design a putt putt golf hole made from (clean) trash to a Bible skills game using only craft sticks. Listen, guide, and most importantly, encourage while they work. A sense of accomplishment is a great thing.
Some things will work great the first time and you’ll use that idea again. Some may turn out to be “not so great,” but you never know until you try. Rest assured you accomplished more by trying than by letting chaos ensue. If nothing else, you’ve shown the kids that you value the time you have with them. So, challenge yourself to keep an idea or two in your “back pocket.”