Get Creative with 8 KidMin Learning/Activity Stations

Learning & Activity Stations

A few months ago, I wanted to create a different kind of Sunday morning learning experience for our elementary students. This was because our weekly curriculum’s lesson for a that particular week missed the mark in several areas, prompting this change:

1. All of the activities relied primarily on question and answer-style responses.

2. The curriculum assumed that all of the children who attended were familiar with navigating the Bible (which, on that particular Sunday, just wasn’t the case).  In my opinion, this would make our non-churched or less Bible-literate children feel very uncomfortable (or gasp – even bored).

So…I brainstormed how to solve this issue and landed on having the children rotate through activity stations after our large group worship and Bible story time.  We offered 3 stations for our Sunday morning experience:

Arrival Time

  • Coloring & Activity Pages (I printed off coloring and activity pages from our curriculum as well as word searches that I found online)
  • Active Games

Post-Large Group Time

  • Active Games
  • Snack (we don’t usually serve snacks in our elementary area, so this was a special treat)
  • Object Lesson & Worship Response

Every time we’ve changed up the format in this way, it’s been a big hit.  Sometimes, we have our leaders stationed at one area for the entire morning (so they only have to really focus on preparing for one thing).  Other times, we have them rotate through with their group.  Either way, it works and the kids love it.

If you’re looking for ways to get the kids learning in a different way, don’t be afraid to give learning/activity stations a try.  Here are some suggestions to get you started:


I suggest doing a mix of high-energy and low-energy options that correspond to the day’s lesson.  Use a high-energy option if your other stations are more reflective or slower paced; use a low-energy option if your morning will include a lot of stimulating elements.  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired games here.

Arts and Crafts

Kids love being creative!  Set out a variety of art supplies and let the children express their individuality.  Items such as paints, modeling clay, construction paper, beads, pipe cleaners, craft sticks and markers are things you should keep on hand for this.  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired crafts here.

Worship Response/Quiet Reflection

Sometimes kids just need a place to sit and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them.  Create this atmosphere by having soft lighting, gentle music and flameless candles.  Provide journals or index cards for the kids to jot down prayer requests or provide another prayer station option.  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired prayer ideas here.


What child doesn’t love a snack?  What child wouldn’t love a snack that went along with a Bible story?  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired snack ideas here.


How can you offer kids a chance to think outside of the church walls?  Can you invite a missionary in to share?  Is there a local mission you can partner with?  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired outreach ideas here.

Coloring/Activity Pages

Our younger children (2nd grade and younger) love to color, while our older children (3rd-5th grade) enjoy crossword puzzles, word searches, word scrambles and brain teasers.  When we use these, they always correspond to the day’s lesson.  What I love about this station is that it provides a quieter spot for children who need that.

Drama (Skits, Puppets, Pantomime)

I love the chance for children to express themselves in a creative way!  Provide puppets, props and skits and let children act out the bible story or a real-life situation.  Or – provide supplies for the children to create their own puppets, props and skits.  You’ll not only see their creative side but you’ll also see their personalities shine!

Object Lessons

Sometimes, there is no better way to bring home a point than doing an object lesson.  On the Sunday referenced above, we used one of my favorite object lessons.  The children were mesmerized.  There are great options available that would complement many Bible stories.  Check out my favorite Pinterest-inspired object lessons here.

Keep the conversation going!  What learning/activity stations would you add to the list?

Inside Dispatch: Volume 2

Every time my Dispatch box arrives at my front door, I get so excited to dig in and discover all of the goodies inside!  If you’ve never heard of Dispatch, allow me to fill you in.

Dispatch - Volume 2 -pic2

Launched in Spring 2015 by my friend Matt Guevara, Dispatch is a box of hand-picked resources for busy kidmin leaders.  Its contents puts the latest and greatest resources into the hands of kidmin leaders without the painstaking task of searching online.  Dispatch is a subscription service that ships out a new box quarterly for only $39/quarter.

One of the best aspects of Dispatch is that many of the resources are currently being used by fellow kidmin leaders who give insight into the products they love.  I have had the privilege of contributing to both volumes of Dispatch and have shared why I love one of the products in the box.

Here’s what you’ll find in Volume 2 (shipped July 15, 2015):

Dispatch - Volume 2 - pic1


HomeFront Magazine

HomeFront Magazine’s tagline is “a spiritual parenting resource”.  Each issue is loaded with practical ways parents can provide spiritual leadership for their children.  The magazine is now offered in print and digital formats for individual subscriptions as well as bulk orders.

Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony

Michelle Anthony calls parents to depend upon God for their child’s spiritual and moral development, urging parents toward a heart posture of surrender and faithfulness.  The end goal is a vibrant faith that is passed on from generation to generation.  I haven’t read this book, but I’m definitely looking forward to it!

Move: Nine Conversations to Build Your Kids Ministry by Brannon Marshall

This book will help you take steps toward that potential by focusing on three key areas of children’s and youth ministry foundational principles, essential relationships, and transformational skills.  It includes discussion guides and helpful next steps as you have conversations that will move your ministry forward. I haven’t read this book either, but I will soon!

I Can Learn the Bible by Holly Hawkins Shivers

This resource adapts O.S. Hawkins’ The Joshua Code for kids, guiding parents in helping their children understand and memorize fifty-two Bible verses.  Each engaging weekly devotion prompts discussion and explains the accompanying verse in a way that kids can understand.

I love that the book is designed for parents and children to read together.  It also has a suggested weekly schedule for families to work through.  It looks like a great resource for preschoolers and younger elementary-aged children.

Worship Resources

The box includes three worship resources that will enhance your kids’ worship time.  A promo video from Crosskid Nation shows just how fun kids’ worship can be!  If your kids love The Lads, they’ll enjoy Cool Worship for Kids DVD, which has on-screen lyrics and video movements.  Looking for music to play as kids arrive, leave or move about during your programming?  Then you’ll enjoy “Undefeated”, the new kids’ worship CD from Elevation Church.  (Side note: I received an advance copy of the entire album before it was released and LOVED it – I play it regularly in our ministry).  Dispatch includes a sampler with 2 songs that are fantastic.  I even wrote up a little devotional to accompany the sampler. 🙂

Dispatch - Volume 2 - pic3

Just for Fun!

Two fun kidmin favorites were included in the box.  A beach ball (which I used last week for a game) and a package of water balloons (which I’ll use as a giveaway item next month).

If you like being on the cutting edge of new (and timeless) kidmin resources, Dispatch is for you!  Check it out!

Keep the conversation going!  Have you read or used any of these resources?  I’d love to hear what you think about them – share your thoughts below!

Our Everest VBS Experience



It’s hard to believe that our church’s VBS wrapped up a little more than 2 weeks ago.  After months and months of planning and a week of top-notch implementation, it’s a wrap.  After much-need rest and reflection, I am so thankful that we continue to run our VBS each year.  There are a few reasons why I love what we do.

  • Many of our children come to Christ during VBS.  Every year, parents share stories about conversations they’ve had with their child and how THEY led their child to Christ as a result.
  • Children invite their friends, neighbors and family members.  Our children are excited about the week and want everyone they know to be there!
  • It truly is an all-church event.  Our entire church – from staff to the congregation – rally around our VBS efforts.  There are only a handful of events that garner all-church buy-in and participation like our VBS does.

This year, our church chose Group Publishing’s Everest VBS curriculum.  In years past, we have chosen Group’s Holy Land VBS, which we have enjoyed for various reasons.  The format of the Holy Land curriculum became familiar to us, our planning team members found their niche, and not many other local churches offered this style of VBS.  It set us apart, so to speak.

This is the first time we’ve done Group’s ‘easy’ VBS since I’ve been at my church, so leading the charge of change was a challenge I was dreading.  I tried to accentuate the positive (which is my usual tendency) and highlighted elements that were not part of our typical offering.  It worked – we had a great week!

Here’s our VBS by the numbers:

253 children

175 volunteers

18 leadership (planning) teams

26 leadership (planning) team members

1 child led a family member to Christ

7 children received their very first bible

Here are just a few snippets of what I heard during the week:

{From a parent, who served as a crew leader} “…as happens almost every year, listening to the children sing gets to me.  Today I was in tears and had to step out.  The “Faith” song.  The music is always so powerful.  I shared with [name of child] why I stepped out. The next time we sang that song [child] was also touched by the Spirit.  The Spirit was strong today.  One child in our group shared that she had lost her mother to cancer.  Then another child…..shared about a grandmother who had to be in a wheelchair that they had prayed for.  We had lots of prayer requests and loved praying under our blanket.  My [child] enjoyed hearing her friends pray with and for her.  It’s exhausting thinking about trying to top today…..tomorrow.  NOT sure we can.”

{From a parent, who served as a crew leader} “I have a [younger] crew so many of the concepts are hard for them to grasp just starting to sink in. After camp today, the lady who picked up [child in group] came back in on the verge of tears to tell me that she was a friend of [child]’s mom and [child]’s family does not attend church. Today on the way out [child] was explaining to her what the cross was and what it meant. Your hard work and planning is paying off in touching the lives of even the youngest kids.”

{From a station leader} “This year, it seemed like the kids ‘got it’ more.  Awesome!”

As a VBS Director, it’s sometimes hard for me to remember the big picture when I’m in the thick of planning, but I tell ya…these kinds of stories and being part of such an impactful week for campers and volunteers alike makes it all worth it.

To all of our hardworking, creative, innovative, passionate, all-around-awesome leadership team members – THANK YOU!  I couldn’t have done it without you!

To all of our supportive church staff who used your gifts, talents and resources with us – THANK YOU!

To all of our volunteers – crew leaders, crew assistants, station leaders, security team members, prayer warriors, supporters (item donations and/or financial) – THANK YOU!

To all of our Celebration Picnic volunteers – THANK YOU!  Because of you, hundreds of people were served a delicious meal and enjoyed a wonderful evening of fellowship!

To my husband and children who supported me by listening, praying, driving me around, lifting boxes and boxes of stuff, brainstorming, eating take-out, overlooking piles of laundry and unopened mail – THANK YOU!  I love you so much!

To God be the glory!

{Product Review}: FamilyLife’s Passport2Purity Getaway Kit

I was so excited to take a look at FamilyLife’s Passport2Purity Getaway Kit.  While I no longer have preteens living at my house, I do work with preteens at church and am always on the lookout for resources for them, their parents and their leaders.
Your child begins the journey into adolescence in a world of sexting, bullying, online stalking and moral defiance.  Innocence is under attack, and you cannot win the battle with a single awkward talk or a strict set of rules.  The primary defense for your child is a strong relationship with you and with God.  FamilyLife developed Passport2Purity (P2P) to assist you in building heart-to-heart communication with your preteen while laying a foundation of purity that will prepare him or her for the turbulent years ahead.  Through the shared listening experience, object lessons and guided conversations of a P2P weekend getaway, you can set your son or daughter on a journey of moral integrity – and strengthen the bond between you.
It is designed to be used by a mother and daughter or a father and son when the child is a preteen.  It is suggested that the materials be completed over a weekend away from home, as the child may be more open to discussing the topics away from his or her normal environment.  If this isn’t possible, the material can be completed over a period of four or five weeks.
About the getaway kit:
(1) Tour Guide for the parent, (1) Travel Journal for the preteen including 25 follow-up devotions, and (8) CDs containing 5 sessions, scripture memory songs and downloadable MP3s:  Session 1: Beginning the Journey – Challenges, Traps, and Choices; Session 2: Running With The Herd – Friendships and Peer Pressure; Session 3: Ready For An Upgrade? – Changes in Him, Changes in Her; Session 4: Destination: Lé Pure – Setting Boundaries; Session 5: Crossing The Date Line – Seeing Dating Differently
Receive 25% off the getaway kit by using the promo code PASSPORT on their website.  
This promo code is good through 8/31/15.  
S O C I A L • C O R N E R
Twitter: @FamilyLifeToday @DennisRainey @BarbaraRainey