“The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls PLAYING in its streets.”
(Zechariah 8:5 NKJV)
Games are the best teaching tools for any group of kids in a learning situation, however we are talking today about how to use them in your children’s church environment. There are lots of effective teaching tools you can use to reach kids and there are good reasons to use all of them at one time or another. However, one stands out above the rest…GAMES.
Here are 7 reasons why Games are the best teaching tools:
Games turn spectators into participants.
When kids are playing a game they are completely engaged in what they are doing.
There is no SG (screen glaze) effect that happens when a kid zones out.
Kids become active instead of passive. Games engage kids like NOTHING else can. Test my bold statement and you will see that I am right.
2. Games are the best teaching tools to illustrate Bible principles.
If you are playing a game where kids jump rope while wearing flippers, kids are likely to fall down. That’s good.
It allows you to illustrate the point that we often fall down (make mistakes or have troubles) in life, but the key is to trust God to help us get back up and keep going.
This game, for instance, is a lot like life. When you fall down you get back up and keeping going.
The game focuses on one of life’s most important principles while creating a memory that kids will understand.
We say it like this… Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I will understand.
3. Games are the best teaching tools for showing kids how to win…and how to lose.
In the real world sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
If you want to prepare kids for life on this planet as we know it, then you have to let them experience winning and losing. Trophies for participation is another topic for another day, because I can ramble on that subject forever.
Kids need to learn to be gracious in victory and how to keep from being devastated when they lose. It’s a critical life lesson and how better to illustrate that lesson than a game that will end with a winner and a loser?
4. Games are the best tools to promote teamwork.
This one is the most obvious but it is still true. Games teach kids how to work together for a common purpose.
5. Games are the best way for kids to interact and connect with adult leaders.
Leaders explain games to the group of kids.
Kids listen because they instinctively know they need to understand the game in order to play it.
Being the leader who offers a kid a game to participate in automatically scores that leader big points. It also starts a rapport between the kids and the leader. I am always the leader who starts and ends my “story-telling” portion of kids church with a game. And I can’t tell you how many times a kid has come up and told me I’m their favorite “story teller.” Its the games, I’m certain.
When the leader is liked the line of communication with the child is open.
Sometimes, I will go this far to say, the connection that happens during the explanation of the game is sometimes more meaningful than the game itself. Read this last sentence again.
Boys are wired for competition. One of the reasons we are losing the boys in our culture is because we have traded the motivation that comes from competition in our education systems.
Boys Adrift by Dr. Leonard Sax talks about this destructive trend. The boys who are not athletic enough to compete in sports still need an outlet for their competitive side.
Parents with boys will tell you their boys turn everything into competition. Example: “Who can get into the car first!” If your children’s church has boys, you can’t afford to exclude competition.
7. Games allow a kid to be a kid.
Our coarse world forces kids to grow up too quickly. It is healthy for a kid to be able to have fun playing.
They need a few minutes to forget pressures from home and school.
Play is like oxygen in a kid’s world.
Scripture indicates that kids who die and go to heaven get to grow up there…playing. Wow!
How cool to grow up in a place where you can play in the streets without getting into trouble, where a kid can be a kid.
Some adults probably go into shock when they first get to Heaven and see what the kids are doing.