During the winter, I plan my church’s summer ministry for our children. You can see a few of the past years here and here. Coming up with a theme and matching content takes a couple weeks. Once I have the idea, I start fleshing out the program. Since the time frame is only an hour and 15 minutes, I have to divide up into quick activities between Bible lessons and Christian stories.
The Question Club …. Because Jesus Is the Answer
I love exciting, biblically-based themes. This year hits the mark. The most important part—the Bible lessons, jump into Jesus’ parables. They fit perfectly. The disciples asked a lot of questions about them, and Jesus gave the answers. We’re using the Abeka flashcard lesson set. The teachers split up the summer and cover vacations for each other.
The second story we’re presenting is I Dare: The Amy Carmichael Story by Child Evangelism Fellowship. The children watch it while they eat a snack.
The theme verse is Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Each month we have a verse, as well. Matthew 7:7-8, I Peter 3:15, and I John 5:20. When the children arrive, they get a puzzle of the verse to work on and a chance to say the verse.
Song time includes music that goes with the theme, and some songs like the VBS theme song for the children to learn before VBS week. A few of the pieces the children will sing for Sunday morning church. Often, the volunteer music leader writes a chorus just to fit, which is always fun.
Crafts, Games and Food
Kids love crafts, games and food. We don’t do as much of these during the winter program, so they’re well-loved all summer. We started with a blank puzzle the children colored with quick-dry markers and then they tried to assemble them. I’d found enough for the whole group for sale for .25 each at a Kroger Marketplace clearance. They were a perfect kick off.
The second week I made plaster of Paris question marks in a candy question mark mold. These were simple and inexpensive. The children loved painting them.
After two weeks off for Revival services and DVBS, we’re ready for a game—Guess the Food.
Does the cup hold Pepsi or Coke? Are the chips Doritos or a store knock off brand? WonderBread or Pepperidge Farm? And so on. This will double as a snack!
We’ll be doing memory games, frosting puzzle-shaped cookies, making a card that can be cut in such a way that it can be walked through, making puzzle-piece art, and puzzle bean bags, having scavenger hunts, full-sized mazes, obstacle courses and coded messages in bottles.
We had puzzle-shaped grilled cheese (much harder to make than it looked!) along with meatloaf that looked like dessert and dessert that looked like meatloaf.
During the rest of the summer we have plans for cookies that look like ice cream, ice cream tacos, mice eggs and edible frogs, wormy apples and pizza that looks like cake with cupcakes that look like pizza.
Summer vacation doesn’t mean shutting down ministries. With a little work and a lot of love, we’re reaching out. I hope you will, too!