me 267x300 About UsDo you teach a Sunday School class or some other kids small group bible class?

If so, KidGroups is for you.

Do you manage the small groups or Sunday School classes for your church or organization?

If so, KidGroups is for you.

Are you a kid who loves to have fun while learning about the Bible? 

Then, KidGroups for you, too.

KidGroups offers lessons and ideas for those who teach the bible to small groups of kids.  We also offer ideas and tips for getting, training and keeping volunteers to lead and help with small kid groups.

We will also provide some examples of the ideas and lessons, which will appeal to kids of all ages.  Even if your church or organization doesn’t provide small group activities for kids, you can still join in the fun and learning with us.

One of the best parts is that you can let us know if you need something that we aren’t providing.  If you need a lesson on a certain topic, send us a comment or an email.  We’ll see what we can do.  If you just need ideas, let us know that as well.

We exist to help you.  Let us know how we can help!

Balaam’s Donkey Craft: Making a Donkey Sock Puppet

 

Puppets are a great way to tell a story.  Depending on the age of the kids in your class, you can either create a puppet for you to use when you tell the story, or you can have the kids create their own donkey sock puppet to use for retelling the story they heard in Sunday School.

Kids of all ages will benefit from the use of this craft.  However, donkey puppets for preschoolers can help reinforce the lesson of Balaam and his donkey.  Let the preschoolers use the donkey puppets to retell the story to each other.  They will remember this story and the related concepts much easier.

This donkey sock puppet project is not all that hard, but it does require the use of a hot glue gun.  So, it would depend on the age and maturity of your kids.

 

If you try this project, let us know how it comes out.  Did you have your kids create the sock puppets and retell the story?  Or, did you just use it for your own puppet?  Do you have additional ideas for the puppet?

Balaam and the Talking Donkey

 

How To Use Childrens Memory Verses Effectively

Christian verses have been used as a source of inspiration for many years by old and young alike.  Most of us probably have memories of memorizing the bible for Sunday School contests.  In recent years, with the focus on kinesthetic and hands-on education, many have begun to question whether it is beneficial for kids to memorize bible verses at all.  One school of thought says that when kids learn by rote memory Bible verses, they don’t necessarily comprehend the idea behind the verses, they are just regurgitating words.  So, the biggest question is how to use childrens memory verses effectively.

 

Effective Use of Childrens Memory Verses

 

We have to be careful about just having kids recite the words in a verse over and over until they can say them.  Sure, they might be able to say that verse when they leave the classroom; but will they really understand what it means?  Will they even be able to remember that verse when a situation calls for it?  Will they even understand how that verse could even help them if they don’t understand the verse at all?

Perhaps the first thing we should explore is why we want kids to memorize bible verses in the first place.  Do we just want them to be able to impress people by their ability to quote verses without looking at the words?  Why would we want that?  What purpose does that serve?

The very reason we encourage kids in memorizing the Bible is the exact same reason adults should be doing the same thing.  Christian verses from the Bible are intended to be a source of inspiration, a source of strength, a source of guidance when we are going through situations in our lives.  So, it is not good enough to teach the words of childrens memory verses to kids, unless we also teach them how that verse is relevant to their life.

Do not isolate memory Bible verses

When working with kids, do not teach them memory verses in isolation.  This might be fine for adults, who are able to think about and comprehend the verse for themselves.  With kids, we should always be including a relevant bible story that explains why they should be memorizing the Bible.

Make sure they understand the concept of the story.  Recently, I discovered that the kids I was teaching  could not grasp the objective in my Sunday School book (“Children are a gift from the Lord”) because they story that was used was about Hannah praying for a child.  At the end of the lesson, when asking questions, I discovered that my students never got past the point where Hannah took Samuel to the church and left him there.  In their minds, this mother got a baby from God and took him and abandoned him.  In their mind, Hannah didn’t treat Samual like a gift from God, at all.  I quickly changed gears and talked about apprenticeships at that time and how Samuel would have been taken somewhere to learn a trade anyway — Hannah just chose to  have him learn the priest career instead of something like blacksmithing.

Those kids could not grasp the memory verse until they understood all the aspects of the story.  So, ask open-ended questions that require answers besides “God” or “Jesus”.  Don’t ask the common “Sunday School questions”.  Ask questions that let you know if there is a point in the story that has your kids unable to concentrate on the important part of the story.

Select Effective Children Bible Verses to Memorize

One mistake that some people make is in their choice of verses.  Some verses are more relevant to kids than others.  Some are more relevant to adults.  Make sure that the verses you select fit the needs of today’s kids.

Also, be careful about translations. The majority of today’s kids have trouble reading and comprehending above a third grade level, no matter what their grade in school.  If you are stubborn about using KJV as the version for your verses, your kids may not be understanding their meaning at all.

 

 

Win $10 Starbucks Card For Your Best Idea: Engaging Kids In Worship

Hurry and enter as many times as you can (up to 20)! This contest will only run through this weekend. How do YOU engage kids in worship in your Kids Ministry? Or, how WOULD you if you had one? The best entry will win a $10 Starbucks gift card. The winner is determined by votes. Get your friends to come vote for your idea. Hurry, it only lasts for this weekend!

 

How NOT To Engage Kids In Worship

As I continued to think about my previous topic — how to engage kids in worship — it occurred to me that it might be helpful to talk about the wrong ways to do it.  Sometimes we gain more insight from wrong examples than we do from good ones.

So, here are the top five ways to NOT engage kids in worship.

  1. Offer rewards.  Yes, I know, we all do it — myself included.  How many times have we used an area of worship as part of a reward.  “Say your memory verse next Sunday to win a prize.”  “The one who participates the most today will win a prize.”  But, in reality, does this work?  Does this make kids desire to pray, read the bible and worship on their own?  Most likely it does not.  There has to be a better way.
  2. Use it as a punishment.  Hopefully I don’t have to say this one.  But, if you have been using types of worship as a punishment, all I have to say is, “Stop it”.  If a kid has done something wrong, do not sit them alone with a bible and tell them to just sit there and read the bible while the rest of the kids get to participate.  All this does is teach the kid that reading the bible is something you do NOT want to do.  You only have to do it if you get in trouble, and it’s not fun.
  3. Punish those who do not participate.  Have you ever sent a kid out to “big church” to sit with their mom and dad because they won’t participate.  Don’t get me wrong.  If a kid is being distracting, there may be a time when you do have to remove them from your class so that the other kids can learn.  But, I’m talking about sending a kid out because they won’t stand up or they won’t do motions to the song.  Heaven forbid that we send them out because they won’t say a one sentence prayer like everyone else is doing.  If they were not participating, they were probably looking for a way to get out of the room, anyway.  So, they have learned nothing about worship except that if you don’t do it, you get to leave.
  4. Force them to do things they really don’t want to do.  Again, don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with prodding and encouraging them.  If you want everyone to say a one sentence prayer, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging them a few times even if they resist.  But, in the end, if they are adament that they don’t want to talk in front of the rest of the group, then don’t force it.  That teaches them that prayer is uncomfortable.  Instead, we should be creating an environment that does make them feel comfortable about praying and worshiping.
  5. Don’t participate yourself.  This is probably the biggest mistake we can make.  If you want to engage kids in worship then you need to be the most passionate worshiper in the room.  Model what worship looks like.  They will begin to follow your example.

If this list has made you feel bad, don’t beat yourself up about it.  I’ve actually preached to myself with a few of these.  Instead of feeling bad, this list should encourage us to rethink how we do things and begin to create an atmosphere that encourages kids to worship naturally from their own hearts because they love God.

 

3 Posts About Engaging Kids In Worship

On Sunday, I discovered a Twitter post that really made me stop and think, especially since I had already had a similar idea in my head a day or so before I found the Twitter update.  The post is referring to how we can’t force kids to worship.  So, I started wondering what other people have already had to say about this.

  1. Kendra at Inside North Point reminds us that kids are pre-programmed for spontaneous worship.  One recurring point of this article is that we must model worship if we expect kids to engage in worship.
  2. Christ Music Kids has some good thoughts about worship.  They encourage us to play on the energy that all kids have.  Keep the songs upbeat and loud enough to “fill the room”.
  3. Dale Hudson at Relevant Children’s Ministry dives into a topic that we might not think about.  Sometimes it seems you cannot get the boys to participate no matter what you do.  He suggests that we gear our activities towards older kids and incorporate males into the worship team so that boys see this is not something just for girls.

What do you think?  Do you have your own comments or can you post links to the opinions of others?

 

The Day The Sun Stood Still

Monday Momentum

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From now on, I will be making a post on Monday, called Monday Momentum.  It’s designed to give you a great lesson for kids ministry early in the week, so you have time to think, plan and gather materials.   On the other hand, if you are having a bad week, this weekly lesson should be almost ready to pick up and go.  The idea is to go ahead and keep that momentum going from Sunday.

Lesson Title:  The Day The Sun Stood Still

Big Idea:

God hears me when I pray. I call this the Big Idea, based on High Voltage Kids Ministry’s idea.  They have some excellent curriculum packs and most of those packs contain a sound byte that says, “HEY, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA??”  The kids know that everytime they hear that sound, they are supposed to jump up as quickly as they can and yell the big idea along with motions that we teach them at the beginning of the lesson.  You can see some of High Voltage’s curriculum packs here.  You can also just yell or have someone yell that phrase periodically throughout the lesson.  The more you do it, the better it works.  The idea is that even if they don’t lean anything else, they will know the “big idea” when they leave you for the day.

Memory Verse:  The Lord hears the prayer of His people.  Proverbs 15:29

Bible Background:  Joshua 9:15-21 and Joshua 10:1-15

     This lesson uses the story of the day the Israelites were winning their battle; yet they were running out of time.  The sun was setting and the enemies would escape.  Joshua knew that this would leave the bad people to keep doing bad things.  He also knew that the Israelites would just have to fight them again later.  So, Joshua did what we are always supposed to do when we have a problem.  He prayed.  The difference is that Joshua believed for the impossible.  He believed that God could stop the sun and the moon in their tracks long enough for the Israelites to finish their battle.  The thing is– when Joshua prayed and believed — God worked a miracle.  This lesson is designed to teach kids that God hears every single prayer we pray.  Joshua had a good reason for his prayer.  The Israelites needed more time to do what God wanted them to do.  So, God responded with the answer Joshua prayed for.  Sometimes God may not respond the way we want, but we can rest assured that he always hears us. 

 

 

Preliminary Activities

I don’t know about you.  But, I have kids who arrive early.  What are we going to do with them?  What about if we start teaching them, but in fun ways?  Here are some ideas for some games for preliminary activities.

He Always Hears

- For this game, you will need three balloons and a timer that can time one minute.  It’s always better to have some lively game music, as well.  Before you begin, tell the kids, Today, we are going to talk about how God always hears every single prayer we pray.  He never misses a single one.  We are going to pretend that these three balloons are prayers and do something to make us remember that even though we miss some things, God never misses even one of our prayers.  Explain that one volunteer will be chosen to keep all three balloons in the air for one whole minute.  If a balloon touches the ground or if they hold on to it, they are out.  Be sure to have some very small prizes to select from for those who try.  Continue to remind them throughout the game of how God never misses one of our prayers, even if we sometimes miss one of the balloons.

 

Never Stop Praying

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For this game, you will need two balloons (or one for each kid that plays the game) and some cups (an even number — 8 or 10 will do).  For this game, you will need two volunteers.  Stand the volunteers on each end of a table so that they are facing the long side of a table and also facing the other kids.  On the far side of the table, place half the cups in front of each kid.  Give each kid a balloon.  Explain that once the game music starts, they will blow up the balloon and release the air to knock their cups off the far side of the table.  They cannot touch the cups with the balloon or their hands, they can only use the air in the balloon.  They can blow air into the balloon as many times as they need to.  The first kid to blow all the cups off the table wins the game.  Before you begin explain, When we pray, we should pray about all our problems or all of the things we need to ask God to forgive us for.  We should never leave anything out because God wants to hear about everything we have to say to Him.  In this game, you will not leave any cups on the table, just like you should never leave anything out when you pray to God.  And, when you do pray, He always hears every prayer you pray.

 

Pray About Every Problem

-  For this game, you will need two feathers and a timer that can time one minute.  This works much the same as the first game.  In this case, you will need one volunteer who will use their breath to blow the two feathers up in the air.  To win, they must keep both feathers from touching the ground for the entire minute.  Again, it is much better to have game music playing during the minute.  Before you begin, tell the kids, “God wants us to pray about every problem we have.  Of course he also wants to hear us pray when we don’t have problems.  But, he cares about every problem we have.  We should never forget to bring all our problems to him because he is the only one who has all the answers.  As you make sure to keep ALL the feathers in the air, remember that you need to bring ALL your problems to God.

 

 

Music

   Supernatural

This song was done by Hillsong Kids.  It talks about how God is Supernatural and all things are possible.  Be sure to explain to the kids that God can do all things when we pray.  Sometimes the things we want aren’t the best things and he always does what is best for us.  But, he is supernatural and can do all things.  You can find this song on YouTube by clicking the name above or simply watch below.

 

Memory Verse

Teach The Memory Verse

I created a PowerPoint presentation to teach this memory verse to the kids. As you advance through each slide another word is covered up. Continue doing this and having the kids say the memory verse aloud until you get to the slide where there are no words. At this point, they should be able to say the complete memory verse by themselves. Below you will find the presentation on SlideShare. Before you begin to say the memory verse, be sure to talk about it with your kids. Make sure they understand that God hears the prayers of the righteous. That is actually what the verse says, but I believe kids will be better able to understand the concept of God’s people instead of the righteousness. Make sure they understand that our very first prayer should be a prayer to dedicate our lives to God.

 

Memory Verse Game

For this lesson, I chose to do a simple memory verse scramble. I wrote one word of the memory verse on seprate post it notes. Then I placed all the post it notes on the wall — but all scrambled up. I played some lively game music and allowed the kids to race as they unscrambled the verse. Of course this was after it had been explained and they were confident in saying it alone.

Power Point Game

Day or Night

I created a PowerPoint game for the kids to play. Since the bible story will deal with night and day, the kids can have a little fun yelling out the correct answer to the situation. Does each situation happen in the day or the night? Either grab two volunteers and have them take turns to win or just let the kids yell out the answers. They will enjoy it either way. Here is the game on slideshare.

 

Bible Story

You might prefer to tell the story in your own words. If you would rather not do that, here is an example of a story you can find on YouTube.

 

Altar

The message for today has focused on how God hears every prayer we pray.  Of course our first prayer to Him should be one of repentance.  As such, you should first offer to the kids an opportunity to ask Jesus into their lives for the first time or to rededicate their lives to him if they had done so in the past but had fallen away.

As part of the altar service, I talked with the kids about how God hears every single prayer we pray.  He cares about all our problems.  I played some altar music and gave them an opportunity to talk to God, themselves.  I asked them to think about the thing that was bothering them the most right now.  What was the thing that they most needed to pray about.  I invited them to come to me once they had determined what they most needed to pray about.

When they came to me, I had the Smart Voice Recorder app loaded on my Galaxy Tab.  This app allows you to record your voice and save it as separate files.  I asked the kids to pray their own prayer about their need into the voice recorder.  Once they prayed, I played back the recording to them to let them hear themselves.  Then, we talked about how just like they just heard themselves, God always hears them every single time we pray.

As a group, I reminded them to pray about that need throughout the week this week because God hears every single prayer they pray.

So what do you think? Do you have anything you could add? Let me know if you use the lesson and like it (or even if you found things that you didn’t like).

 

You Can’t Force Kids to Worship

I was browsing through Twitter and something caught my eye.  Lindsay Thompson tweeted something on the #KidMin hashtag that had already been on my mind.  This is what she said.

Lindsay Thompson ‏@lindsay_marie21
“Worship is not forced upon, but brought of, a child.” #kidmin

It seems like such a simple statement, but at the same time, it is so profound.  I had already been thinking of this exact thing, just from a different point of view.

I also go in the youth service in our church.  Lately, the youth have been going through a bible study program.  One week the study was talking about reading the bible.  Each of the youth had their own reasons why they didn’t read the bible.  For some, there was just absolutely no time to read the bible.  Others didn’t like to read — at all.  Even if they tried to read, they couldn’t stick with it long because they couldn’t stand reading, no matter what the content might be.

This made me start thinking about the kids that I teach on Sunday Mornings.  I want them to learn Bible stories and concepts.  I drill into their heads that they should be memorizing the memory verse for the week because they will find that verse so helpful at some point in their lives, but they just aren’t interested.  They don’t see the reason at this point.  It’s just more work.  They’d rather be playing outside or on PlayStation.  The thing I want them to do sounds like just more school.  They get enough of that during the week.

Am I saying that we should stop trying to get them to do these things?  Absolutely not.  It IS important.  They WILL need these things in their lives.  The question is in how we get them to do these things.  Do we want them to do these things during our kids ministry time just because we tell them to?  Or, do we want them to learn to love and even crave these things so that they start praying, reading their bible, and worshiping on their own at home?

Hopefully we are all in agreement that we want them to choose to do these things.  So, how do we do that?

I admit.  I’m famous for telling kids to “stand up..stand up…do the motions with us…” while we are singing our Praise and Worship songs.  But, do we really want them participating in worship because they are made to do so?

Instead of almost forcing them to memorize memory verses, there must be a way that we can get them so interested in what the Bible has to say that they are excited about reading it.  Instead of forcing them to participate during worship, there must be a way to get them hungry for God on their own.  Instead of making them each say a sentence prayer, there must be a way to instill in their hearts that prayer is simply talking to their best friend in the whole world.

Over the next month, Twitter citizen, Lindsay Thompson has inspired me to embark on a journey.  For a month, I will be exploring ideas of how we can inspire kids to willingly and eagerly engage in worship, prayer, and bible reading — for the sake of spending time with God, not for the sake of winning a prize.

What ideas do you already have about how to do this?  Leave your comments below and follow this blog to find out what I discover over the course of this month.

 

The Story of Rahab: Video For Sunday School Lesson

Rahab and the Israelite Spies Video

I found a cute video that demonstrates the story of Rahab and the Israelite spies.

This video is like someone is playing with their toys to tell the story.  It reminds me of toyboxtales.com.

You have to decide for yourself whether the story is realistic enough for your group.  The one thing we do not want to do is make the kids think these Bible stories are fiction.

For my group, it worked great.  They loved the story.  It includes just enough humor to make it interesting.  I love the part where one toy falls and the other toy questions him about why he is tripping.

I used my Galaxy Tab to show this video to the kids.  If you the YouTube app, it works great.  If you don’t have Wifi or other Internet connection in your Sunday School room, you can go ahead and load the video onto your tablet or phone while you are at home.  Then, don’t leave the video when you leave home, just darken your screen.  When you get to your Sunday School class and turn the screen back on, the video will still be there for you to share it with your students.

Watch the video below and let me know what you think!

 

Rahab and the spies

 

Building Rahab’s House

Building Rahab’s House

Sunday School Decoration Ideas

8550531001 f94991d2ff Rahab and the SpiesFor this Sunday School lesson, I decided to work on a project.  I am about to begin an entire unit that deals with having faith.  The first lesson in that unit is about Rahab.   The lesson emphasizes that the red cord was the way Rahab openly demonstrates her faith in God.

Part of the reason for this project is simply decoration in the Sunday School room.  Although I am doing it gradually, my plan is to have my room look like an entire “Bible-time” village.  I have the stable that was left from the Christmas project.  It is large enough to go in and will be converted into just a normal building in the village.

I decided that I can build other buildings that simply look like store fronts against the wall without having to make them large enough to go inside.  That’s what I decided to do with Rahab’s house.

I just created a cardboard foundation that only sticks out from the wall a very small amount.  I got this cardboard simply by calling Lowe’s early in the morning before they crush their boxes and asking them to save boxes for me to come pick up.  I think this came from a chest-type freezer box.

I made a trip to  Office Depot to buy some grey paper.  They didn’t have just grey colored paper, so I had to buy cardstock, which might have actually worked better anyway.

I printed a border on the pages one inch from the edge of the paper.  This is very easy to do in Microsoft Word.  Then I folded the paper to resemble a 3-dimensional brick (or at least a portion of it).

From there, I simply hot-glued the bricks onto the cardboard foundation, leaving a space for the “wooden” door.  At the end, I used the same grey cardstock to create a nice round doorknob to glue onto the door, making it look even more like a door.

Here is the finished product.
8550533033 17c8a7f6ec n Rahab and the Spies

Yes, this looks like a lone building against a white wall. However, remember that the purpose is to gradually create a village.

Also, I had an idea for attendance during this unit.  I added one small string to be the red cord that Rahab put in the window.  But, I also told the kids that each Sunday they come, they get to add another thin red cord to the window and remember how Rahab openly showed her faith in God by displaying the red cord.  Each Sunday the cord will get thicker.

 

8550534561 de9b6db77e n Rahab and the Spies

 

You can barely see the thin red cord in this picture, but it will grow thicker each Sunday as each child remembers to display their faith in God openly.

So, what do you think?  Let me know if you have ideas on how to improve this project.

Rahab and the spies