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:
- 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.
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!
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?