On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church in Atlanta, I studied what they use for Small Groups. These bins can be found at IKEA, but at the time of this post, they are also available at Michaels.
On a recent visit to Woodstock City Church, I noticed their signs. There were 2 things that I noticed. I noticed what signs they had displayed, and what signs they didn’t have displayed.
I was so impressed to see what Woodstock City Church does to celebrate birthdays for kids. The kids look forward to their Birthday all year long so that they can visit the Birthday Cart. The Birthday Cart is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t compare to the PERSON who is at the Birthday Cart. I did not find out this person’s name, but he was amazing as he celebrated each child and their birthday.
We are just getting ready to launch a new campus. We have a smaller space available for our kids ministry rooms, but we still wanted to make it fun and kid friendly. So, we decided to make a photo wall down our kids hallway. The idea can from a photo I saw on worshipfacilities.com . Here’s what we did to make it.
When people sign up to volunteer in our Kids Rooms, we want to equip them with all the info they need to get started, and do their job well. It can be a little overwhelming for a new volunteer to try to remember everything, so we created some booklets for each room that give them the basics to get started.
I finally finished a project that I have been working on for a few weeks. I wanted to create a way for kids and parents to say thank you to the volunteers who help on Sunday mornings. I created a DIY Mailbox, where kids can mail a thank you card. We set up tables in an open area where parents and kids could work on making a card together. Then, once they finished making their card, they could mail it in the mailbox. At the end of the month, we will distribute all the thank you cards to the volunteers. I printed off a list of all the volunteers for each room, so parents could find the names of the volunteers if they need them. If you want to create your own DIY Mailbox, this is how you can do it:
Recently we hosted a Princess Party at our church. We had over 800 people attend the event. 60% of people were not regular church attenders. We received a lot of positive feedback after the event about how much people enjoyed coming to the event. Here are some of the things we included at the Princess Party:
Sometimes the number of things that need to be done in Kids Ministry can be overwhelming. How do you balance the urgent things with things that should be a priority? So many times the urgent can take a lot of our time, but they are not necessarily things that are a priority. A Kids Ministry To Do List might be just the thing you are looking for. It’s not just any to do list. It’s specifically designed with things in mind that are important for a Kids Ministry Leader.
When I was visiting The Grove Community Church in Riverside, California, I saw a kids church reward system that they used to help motivate kids to listen & participate. They also used this system to encourage families to work on the family activity page together, and to return it the following week.
Babies need to be well cared for if you are going to have an AWESOME nursery. You need to find out information that is important to know while the baby is in your care. Can they sit unsupported? Do they have a bottle or sippy cup? It’s important to get this information from parents before they leave their child in your care. A nursery checklist can be an easy way to collect the information you need from parents.
Have you been to Disney World in the last few years? If you are celebrating a special occasion you can get a button that displays what you are celebrating for FREE! Then as you walk around the parks and hotel all the staff congratulate you on your special occasion. I’m sure any child in your church would love it if all the volunteers said, “Happy Birthday” to them on their birthday, or “welcome” on their first Sunday. A button maker allows you to make buttons for any occasion or event. You could even promote upcoming events by making buttons for volunteers or kids to wear. Put your logo on them and give them out as prizes. If kids can say their Bible verse, then they can get a special Bible Verse Button. Here are some ways you could use buttons:
Does your church have a clear plan for emergencies? Crossroads Church does. In fact, it’s so clear, that they have a Safety Manual displayed in each Kids Room. Each Manual is custom made with instructions for that specific room. The staff was kind enough to give me permission to share their Safety Manual on my blog with pictures for everyone to see. Hopefully it will inspire you to make a plan for emergencies that is clear for your volunteers.
Keeping vision in front of volunteers is one of the most important things you will do as a Kids Ministry Leader. Reminding people over and over of why they do what they do. On my most recent trip to Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, I was reminded of something that they do to keep the vision in front of their volunteers. Many of their kids ministry rooms have a picture wall. The pictures are specific to the ministry that happens in that room.
Crossroads has a room for kids with special needs. This room is available for children who would benefit from a quieter space. Displayed on the wall in this room was a Sign Language Poster. Many children are able to communicate through sign language, and this poster was a great tool for volunteers who many not use sign language on a regular basis.
Every time I go to Walt Disney World I notice how welcome they make you feel. Everything from greeting you when you arrive at Magical Express at the airport, to the coach bus, to arriving at the resort, to arriving at the parks. They do a great job of making you feel welcome. But one thing I didn’t expect was for them to be just as intentional to say Thank you when we left. Not only do they do a great job of welcoming you when you arrive, they are intentional about saying goodbye.
I went to my local library this past week and saw this Lego Wall when I was there. Of course I took a pic & studied it to see how they made it.
Base Plates – 16 Gray 15×15. You can find these on Ebay for about $15 each.
Shelf – the narrow shelf allows kids to get up close to the wall to do their creative artwork
Wallpaper Tray – x2. These trays were the perfect size to fit on the shelf.
Lego – Ask for donations or purchase from Ebay.
Oh, and by the way, Congrats Germany!
Preschoolers love to make crafts, color & do sticker art. However, sometimes when it is time for them to go home, the artwork often gets left on the classroom table and doesn’t make it home to be displayed on the family fridge.
At our church we have a “clothesline” outside of the room. When kids finish their artwork or craft, one of the volunteers hangs it on the clothesline outside the room. When parents come to pick up their child, they check the line to find their child’s paper & it’s one less thing that the volunteers need to remember to do at pick up time. We also hang the “parent page” on the same clothespin so parents grab that at the same time too.
Our ‘clothesline’ is made of lightweight rope and hung with 3M hooks that have a tab to remove them if necessary without damaging the walls.
2 and 3 year olds are just learning about sitting in a group setting and staying in their spot.
If you give them a visual place to sit or stand, it helps them stay in that space.
We found these little mats at Target. They are about $3 each and are just the perfect size for preschoolers. When it’s time to start Large Group, we play the clean up song. Preschoolers help to clean up all the toys, and then they go get a mat. They put their mat on the floor and during Large Group time we get them to sing songs & stay on their mat. During story time, they sit on their mat. They often need to be reminded to “stay on their mat” but at least it gives them a defined space where they need to stay.
Children in Kindergarten – Grade 6 are placed in small groups for Sunday Mornings. We use a color system to help kids remember what group they are in.
When they arrive on Sunday morning, we give them a colored dot to put on their name tag. That is the color of their small group. Our sign-in sheet is also by color group. We add their name to the section on our sheet that matches their color group.
Then when it is time for kids to go to their small group, it is easily identifiable for both kids and volunteers. Red dot kids go with the red small group leader and sit on the red blanket. We even have kids sit together as a small group during large group time, on the blanket that matches their group’s color.
We ordered our dots from Brodart, but dots can also be found from inventory supply stores found online.
I am starting to plan for the fall & the events that we will do for this next ministry year.
To kick off the Christmas Season, we have a Gingerbread Party on the last Saturday in November. It is for families to build a Gingerbread House together. We have several stations that families can go to:
Gingerbread Station – all the ingredients needed to build a Gingerbread House. The house pieces are ready to be assembled. The icing is ready to go in a piping bag & there are 6-8 kinds of candies on each table for them to decorate their house with.
Craft Station – a fun foam gingerbread man ready to decorate. Glue & decorations ready to go.
Coloring Station – several options of Gingerbread people & houses ready for coloring.
Bounce House – to burn off some of that sugar.
Photo Booth – a professional photographer takes photos of families. They are emailed a link where they can download their pics.
Snack Station – home made sweet treats to have a little snack so they don’t eat all the candy before it gets on the Gingerbread House.
Take Home Bag – info about our upcoming Christmas Events at our church, Christmas stickers & coloring sheets.
This event is for church families & for families from the community. It’s a great opportunity for church families to invite non-church friends.
Do you have people in your church who tell you that they don’t like to work with kids? They can still be part of your kids ministry team!
Here are some of the roles we have in Kids Ministry that do not require people to be with the kids:
Bin Prep – For each age group we have a volunteer who does all the photocopying, chopping, cutting & prep for the Small Group Leaders. They come in when it is convenient for them and get everything ready for Sunday Mornings.
Reference Checks – We check references for every person who volunteers in our Kids Ministry. We have a volunteer who does all the emails/phone calls for all the new volunteers.
Birthday Cards – We send a hand made birthday card to every child. We happen to have a retired person who loves to make cards do them for us. She makes the cards, writes a message in each one & puts the address & stamp on the envelope.
We Miss You Cards – We track attendance for our kids. If they are away for 3 Sundays, we send them a card.
Check-In – Volunteers help families with Electronic Check In & Sign-In at each room.
Decor Team – These people help with sets & props and work behind the scenes. We also have a volunteer who decorates our Kids Space with the change of each season.
Resource Room Organizer – Although I do not have a regular person in this role, it is on my wish list. Someone to keep the resource room organized & inventoried.
Sometimes people in these roles don’t mind being with kids, but they prefer to do these roles. They are just as valued on our team as those who spend time with the kids. Each person depends on the other, and that’s how they work together.
What roles do you have in your church that people could do if they don’t like to be with the kids?