This week we had an awesome kid’s ministry podcast with Kellen Moore from South Hills Church in CA, who recently has been a part of the Orange Conference Tours as well. We talked all about what’s next for kid’s ministry and one of the things we came to is that experiential events can really help make church fun.
events make kids excited
Special events give kids something to look forward to and can create a buzz so that kids are pumped about coming to church and bringing friends with them. Kellen explained that at South Hills Church they have a family event every six weeks. During my own time in children’s ministry, we often had a monthly event of sorts for families. For year’s, we had a monthly Family Experience and when we stopped hosting FX, we directed our attention to other fun family functions.
If your church isn’t currently hosting any family style events, consider hosting just one a quarter. You might already be doing something for Easter or “Halloween/Harvest” time; this means you only have to push yourself a little to keep expanding. Holidays are a convenient time to position your events around because kids are already buzzing with excitement about them, and your ministry gets to absorb some of that enthusiasm.
However, there are also significant benefits to not attaching your event to a holiday. If your event is spaced far enough out from a holiday, then all the excitement is focused on what you’re doing. There is no competition. It’s just your event saving kids and parents from the monotony of everyday life.
Kellen gave us some excellent inspiration for events when we spoke. So, I compiled a list of a few of his ideas and several more events that I’ve been a part of, to share with you. Every one of these events is cost efficient and so fun your kids will be begging for more!
nine kid’s ministry events you can host for under $100
#1 Superhero Day: Have kids dress up as their favorite Superhero or in Superhero related clothes. Have stations where kids can participate in a few “Boom, Pow, Crunch” type activities that they will love. In 2014, I put together a VBS style event that was Superhero themed. Consider using some of the games or content found here or email for more info.
Here are some easy purchases to get you started:
Party Backdrop, Cut Out Characters, Super Hero Masks, Hulk Hands
#2 Family Movie Night: Every kid loves to watch movies. I’ve been a part of so many fun movie nights, and they never disappoint. We’ve hosted them at local parks, drive-in style in our church parking lot, and even just in our kid’s space on our big screen. If you have a CVLI license, and you show it on your property, you do not incur an expense to show it. If you are using an outside venue, check with Swank or other licensing firms for details on the cost. You can sell popcorn and candy to cover expenses, or give it away for free. Either way, everyone will have a great time. A high quality portable, blow up movie screen makes having a regular movie night super convenient too!
#3 Puppy Petting Party: At this event, everyone who has a puppy brings it to church. *Remind everyone not to forget their leash.* This event would be best hosted outside for obvious reasons. Kids love their pets and what a way to get them pumped about coming to church. You could have the cutest dog contest and let the kids vote. You could even have dog treats available. Kids would love to have blue kool-aid labeled “toilet water”, or a hot “dog” bar. Allow kids to get their faces painted like puppies and so much more. Check Pinterest for more fun ideas.
#4 Pancakes & Pajama Party: This was one of the most fun events I’ve been a part of, because who doesn’t love wearing their pj’s out in public? We pre-made three types of pancakes, sprinkles, chocolate chip, and regular. The kids loved it. We had classic pajama party style activities such as pillow fights, pillow sack races, nail painting station for the girls, and truth or dare (the squeaky clean version with pre-made suggestions kids can pick from a jar). An electric griddle can be used, to even cook your pancakes on site!
Storing party banners in gallon sized bags on pant hangers with clips, makes them very easy to find and reuse!
#5 Slip-N-Slide Extravaganza: Every summer we hosted our own kid’s camp. The last several years we actually opted to use a huge piece of plastic sheeting at least 5mil thick instead of a traditional Slip-n-Slide. We got out the dish soap and water and went to town. The sheeting is thicker and larger than an actual Slip-N-Slide, without the worry of having to properly store it after each event. This allows you to have multiple slides going at the same time, since you can cut each piece to size. We also loved to include a good game of baby pool kickball, where kids slide into each base (baby pool). These are the ingredients for an epic summer event.
#6 Cereal and Milk Party: Who doesn’t love cereal and milk? For this party, you could provide the individual serving boxes that kids can pour milk into or have everyone pour into bowls. You could even have everyone bring cereal to share. We served the ever famous, strawberry and chocolate milks as an option. (Don’t forget to have at least one dairy-free milk for all the kids with allergies). There are tons of activities to be played with cereal as well. Such as catching cereal in your mouth, using cereal to make art like name spelling, making cereal necklaces, or even bird feeders. Another fun idea, is to see who can dig the most marshmallows out of a Lucky Charms box in one minute. The ideas are endless.
#7 Lego Party: The Lego party has become super popular in recent months, even making the shelves of Target’s mainstream party aisle. We themed this past year’s summer event around Legos and had so much fun. In addition to all the games that could easily be played with Legos, you could actually have kids come in a primary color to separate themselves easily into teams. Check out my Pinterest board for some of the ideas we used, the ideas are endless and we definitely had lego candy!
#8 Minecraft Day: The key to a Minecraft party is that everything looks pixelated, that all of real life looks like 8-bit. Kids can wear boxes on their head to be their version of “Steve” and the girls can be “Alex”. You could potentially have kids bring their devices to play against one another or have a few gaming systems set up on your big screens. You could play Minecraft Bingo, Minecraft pin the tail on the farm animal and so much more. Check out this Pinterest board for more great ideas.
#9 Old Fashioned Ice Cream Party: This party could push your $100 budget to the edge if you provide all the supplies, but one thing is true every kid loves ice cream! Which totally makes it worth it. If budget is as issue, you could have kids bring toppings to help offset some of the cost. At an old-fashioned ice cream party, I love to also have ice cream floats available with a selection of sodas like root beer, cola, orange crush, cream soda and the like, in addition to the classic ice cream ingredients. Bust out the whipped cream, maraschino cherries, sprinkles, syrup, old-fashioned straws, and kids will be on cloud nine. You could even make ice cream in a bag, do a few rounds of catch the balloon in the ice cream cone and every kid goes home happy.
If you want to go the extra mile, check out these amazing props for a photo booth: ice cream banner, ice cream truck cardboard graphic, and of course photo props.
Events are an amazing on-ramp to get new volunteers to be a part of what you’re doing because the commitment isn’t ongoing. In addition to that, events tap into completely different giftings than what might be necessary for someone to serve on the weekend. There are a lot of folks that would love to put together all the finishing touches on a Pinterest-style party; that wouldn’t even consider helping to teach the five-year-old class. So, utilize these fun opportunities to get more people involved with what you’re doing.
If you decide to throw one of these fun events at our suggestion, we’d love to hear how it goes. Tag us on Instagram at everything.church or email us with the highlights at [email protected]