Most curriculums offer a large-group, small-group format for Sunday mornings, but as a mobile church with limited time, space, and resources for creating an exciting environment, I had to come up with a way to make our mornings more engaging for kids.
So I adapted the big-name curriculum we were using to fit a new format: large-group time, then stations. Kids LOVED it!
Stations allow more movement throughout the morning and mean that you need fewer supplies since only one small group will be doing the activity at a time. Since each station lasts 10 minutes, that one kid who HATES crafts knows that a new activity is coming soon, so it helps eliminate disengagement. Kids go through the stations in the same order each week, but start at a different station, leaving enough structure for stability but enough mystery for excitement. Stations also allow you to set up and prep the activities before the morning starts, making life easier for your volunteers and leaders. You can also create duplicates of each station to scale this format for larger churches.
Here’s how it works:
Rather than small groups completing all of the activities in one place, small groups rotate between the activities set up as stations. Each station is designed to cater to a different learning style and to allow children to use a different part of their brain to interact with the Bible story/main lesson. So when converting the big-name curriculum I used, I went through and picked out an activity I thought would fit each station (snack, experience, play, create) and adjusted the instructions a little. I also made a station rotation schedule so my volunteers knew what station to go to and in what order.
At Snack, children enjoy a snack while discussing response and review questions about the day’s Bible story or main lesson. A small group activity or Bible memory verse activity accompanies this station, and if your curriculum provides Bible story videos, this is the perfect place to use those!
At Experience, the children participate in a science experiment, object lesson, or prayer activity that makes our Bible lesson tangible while also inciting wonder and amazement. Experience is designed to give the “deep thinkers” the chance to connect the way things work in our world to the lessons God has for us in the Bible.
At Play, children have the chance to run around in a high-energy game or compete against each other in some type of relay race. Play is designed to give children the chance to expel some of their energy in an exciting way while also building friendships, promoting teamwork, and connecting real-life games to our Bible lesson.
At Create, children use their artistic, creative, or theatrical skills to make some type of craft, group project, or re-enactment of the Bible story, and it is a great place for all of the creative thinkers and artists to use some of the talents God has given them.