Over the years I’ve always tried to look for great activities for elementary age kids to do before and after the service. Many years ago I simple had the room set up with theater seating and I’d play cool music videos for the kids to watch while they came in. Although some kids may like this, don’t do it unless you have to. The best way to engage kids is with hands-on fun. So, I create activity/play centers/stations where kids can have fun. Not only will they have fun, they can get to know their small group and their leader better while they’re at it.
In my lower elementary rooms, I usually use boardgames and things like that. In the older elementary rooms we have foosball tables as well as video game stations (something the younger kids look forward to). I thought I’d share some of the resources I use at Gateway as well as some games and activities I’ve been looking at getting.
DDR Dance Pads: I got two of these for a little over $400. I picked up a PS2 off of Craigslist for $50 or so. Great deal and the girls love it!
Professional Foosball Table: I bought two of these last year. They’re not cheap ($875) but they’re beautiful and incredibly sturdy. They’re not going to fall apart on you.
Giant Connect Four Game: The younger kids enjoy this game, why not make it a little larger than life.
Giant Jenga Game: This game is a lot of fun for kids of all ages, but what if the tower is almost as tall as some of your kids? That’s fun!
Giant Game of Spoons: Spoons is one of the best games ever invented. Your kids will love it!
Giant Tic-Tac-Toe: It’s not as huge as some of the other games, but the younger kids will enjoy this one.
Giant Pick Up Sticks: A lot of your kids probably haven’t ever heard of this game. Be the first to teach them this classic from the times before video games.
Lego Base Plates: Although I tend to pick up legos off of Craigslist or Amazon, these giant base plates are hard to find. Stick them on a table or even a wall and watch your boys create.
HalfPenny Board: I’ve never heard of this game, but played games like this in school all the time on my desk with a friend. It’s simple and elegant, but I have a feeling that the boys will get hours and hours of fun out of this game.