We have all been there, the Saturday night when you are just about to drift to sleep and you realise with a jolt you are doing the kids work in the morning and you don’t even know what bible passage is!
you have 2 choices…wing it, or hope the just add water style material gives you all the answers.
Planning is important, it makes a huge difference to the lesson both for those leading and those participating. Just because someone had prepared your material doesn’t mean you are off the hook. So this this the first of a series to help you plan effectively and simply.
The first thing you need to do is be realistic in your planning. Sort out the practical things and your automatically start to see what activities and teaching methods need to be used. If you don’t know rough answers to these questions you are planning in the dark.
The reason we concentrate on these practicalities primarily is because when you know them it makes selecting activities really easy.
Most activities rely on either group work or adult supervision. your ratio of children to adults and the size of your group will make it clear if the material you have is suitable. Acting out the fall of the walls of Jericho with 3 children is very different to doing the same with 30. The same comes for crafts that have an ‘adult to do’ part, if you have a large group and few helpers. The material also needs to be age appropriate, giving children free time to play is good for the younger groups but boring for older kids.
If you have 2 hours to fill with the children then simple giving them colouring sheets after the story is just not going to be enough, similarly if you only have 20 minutes total then making a hanging depicting a host of angels singing may be just too much to achieve. To balance that, you need to be realistic with the time you have to prepare. Some methods take a lot of preparation and, while we would all love to do this full time, our lives are busy. I find that it’s a good idea to see your preparation time in terms of each child, if this lesson take 10 minutes per child to prepare is that too much?
Probably the biggest mistake made by people planning is to neglect the teaching space. Try and envision an activity, be that storytelling game or craft, in the space you use, don’t forget to factor in the weather. It’s amazing how easily you can see the things that will fail due to location.