Hurry, scurry, flurry
I’m a bit behind and I don’t see any way of catching up for a good long while. We’ve been hit by some pretty bad illnesses above and beyond the flu. For some hints about battling the germs, you can look here. In the meantime, even my Christmas letter hasn’t been written for the first time ever. I’m just trying to keep up with the stuff that has to be done like laundry and cooking, and one or two extras whenever I can squeeze them in. This week’s extra was my Sunday School class contest.
Out with the old
Motivating my 8 to 11 year-old crowd takes effort. The boys especially need an extra invitation to participate. I work at inviting them. This past year I used a checkers game. If they fulfilled four requirements (be in class, bring your Bible, learn the memory verse, bring a friend), each item gave them a move in the team game against me. If they beat me, they won a penny candy. We had a few interesting rules. I took the first move and one move between each player. Each player took all their moves consecutively. Jumping your own men was encouraged. The winning team took the most opponents from the opposite team, although obtaining a king also counted. I know there was little spiritual meat here, but it brought the boys back over and over for the rest of class. I’ve never had a class with so many boys! I’m praying they grow up to be preachers.
After a year, a change up was desperately needed. I put it off for over a month and the students didn’t mind. Finally I moved it off the back burner and mentally laid out my requirements. I needed something simple, colorful, quick to put together, and durable. Since checkers had kept their attention so long, I concentrated on board game ideas. They would have loved Battleship, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work as a contest for my once a week class. I didn’t want it to take over the whole hour. Chutes and Ladders was too young. Trivial Pursuit too complicated.
Working through the requirements
I laid out board games in my mind again. Most relied on a path of squares. Bingo! Squares fit the simple qualification. I have lots of bright colored paper which also became a sore spot. I can almost not bare to look at the final product because the colors clash so badly. The kids love them. They draw the children right to the bulletin board.
I printed out several pages of squares on the different color papers. Two of the pages had instructions in the squares. A quick run through the paper cutter produced the final product. I rolled a piece of background paper onto the bulletin board, ran off a bright border and taped it into place. If I hadn’t had help with it, it might have come out straighter! Don’t look too closely there.
I placed the squares in a random zigzag course from bottom to top. After getting the visual effect and balance I wanted, I exchanged many of the squares to make the game flow better. A glue stick helped me make them semi permanent. If they don’t work well, I can pull some up and rearrange them again.
The playing pieces came from stick man clip art. A few of the children let me take pictures of their faces to use as the head of their piece. They thought that was pretty funny and a bit cool. They each cut out and decorated their own playing piece on both sides so that they can turn them as they reach the next level heading in the opposite direction.
Overall I spent about two and a half to three hours entering the squares, text, photos and clip art, cutting the squares and completing the entire bulletin board. The children’s response was overwhelmingly positive. The nickname “I Love Sunday School Game” has stuck and I’m fine with that!