How to Choose the Right Crafts and Activities to Make Your Lesson Exciting
Have you ever googled different activities you can play? A search for “Icebreakers” alone yeilds thousands of results, if not millions. How do you know which game is the right game to play for your lesson? How do you pick the best game in a sea of great games?
What about crafts? How do you pick a craft that best reminds these kids of the lesson they just learned? Are you stuck with yet another paper craft? How can you pick the best craft to remind your student of the exciting lesson they just finished learning?
How can we not only spice up these elements of our lesson, but also pick the game that best fits our child or our group?
Let’s talk about crafts first, how do you pick the best craft?
I think the first thing we need to consider is the purpose of the craft.
Here’s a couple questions to get you thinking:
Why are you doing the craft in the first place?
Do you even need to do a craft?
Are you planning to send home these craft each week?
Do you have an alternatively creative use for the crafts in your series?
If, after reading those questions and pondering your own lesson, you decide that you do want to do a craft. Then let’s talk about the craft you have in mind. One issue with weekly crafts is that most of our crafts end up in the garbage. Is there something we can do with our craft to make them valuable? Can we encourage the kids to gift it to someone else? Can we create something that the parents would want to keep? Can our craft be something that doesn’t look like clutter?
Here are a few creative alternatives to the weekly paper craft:
Use the weekly craft to decorate the room you’re in. If you’re doing a series on Creation, can you have everyone work together to create a mural? You could have the students work together to create a giant paper mache sun and a few realistic looking clouds out of pillow stuffing. Another wall in the room can display the birds in the sky. Yet another wall can display the fish and ocean creatures. Sometimes we think too small when we think of individual crafts, maybe it’s time to think bigger. Make something the kids (and you) are proud to show off to others!
What about doing a weekly craft that creates a small element, but creates a completed project by the end of your series? One brilliant idea I’ve seen was a super hero themed series on the fruits of the Spirit. Each week, kids would create patches for their own super hero cape. At the end of the series, the kids had something to show off that was made well. It isn’t a craft that would quickly make its way into a trash can, but it’s more likely that the cape would be added to a dress up box and played with until it wore out!
Ever hear of handicrafts? Google search that word: Handicrafts. There are lots of different ideas of things that we can make that are amazing gifts to receive (and give). My mom and grandma once taught a Sunday School class together. For a little while, they worked on creating large puppets (plush ventriliquist style). It was a craft that could be taken home, gifted to another children’s ministry, or kept for their own story time!
When you are deciding on the best craft for your group, consider what happens to that craft after it is completed. What do you want to be done with your efforts? Do you want them enjoyed, treasured, kept as a precious keepsake?
Secondly, consider the craft and the amount of time and students you have. If you have a group of 100 kids and only 3 teachers/helpers, doing an in-depth craft is pretty unrealistic. If it’s just you and a student or two, consider how much you’ll have to help each student. Do you have the time to completely the activity you have in mind? Do you have the resources to do it?
Third, consider what craft best represents your lesson and your student’s interests. After all, we want them to be really excited about doing the craft and continue learning the lesson you’re teaching. If you have a group of boys, is a princess-themed craft going to hold their attention? If you have a group of sports-obsessed girls, will they want to learn how to sew?
Now, Let’s talk about Choosing the Best Activity…
First off, when teaching kids it’s best to pick multiple games… just in case! You never know when one game will really capture their attention and when another (while exciting to you) is an absolute dud! Plus… what about extra activities in case you finish earlier than expected? Pick three games, at least, to get you started!
Second, consider the space you have, the amount of mess the game will make, the amount of players needed, and the time of year it is. A very active game may not necessarily be the best game for a room lacking air conditioning in the middle of summer. That sort of a game in that sort of setting would also require some thought towards refreshments. Another thing to consider is how the students will be dressed. A food eating contest may not be the best activity on Easter Sunday. Think though the logistics. Will this game require other considerations (like refreshments)?
Third, consider the life lessons that will stem from these games? Do you notice a few kids who seem to be bent towards hating each other’s guts? Maybe pair them up and encourage them to work together as a team. Do you notice a shy student? Pair them up with an outgoing student to help them feel comfortable? Maybe you need a game that creates unity with the whole group. Maybe you need a game that teaches patience. Games can teach kids lots of valuable lessons, how will your game be of value to them?
The best activity is the one that goes along best with your lesson’s objective. A game that reminds the students of what the lesson is about, plus one that fosters unity, is a fantastic game!
So there you have it! Two ways to spice up or liven up your lesson WHILE staying focused on the purpose of your lesson!