Summer Fellowship Ideas for Younger Children
Virtual Field Trip
When is a field trip not a field trip? When you go to lots of places…but never leave the church! Tap into the wonderful imaginations of first and second graders with this self-contained field trip fellowship. The trick to making this fellowship fun and easy is to divide and conquer! Make several small assignments to different people. You end up with lots of help, and no one is overwhelmed.
One or two people can be responsible for each “stop,” a couple for designing the buses, a couple for “on-board” activities, but everyone helps with cleanup! Each stop lasts about 20 minutes with 10 minutes between to board the buses, sing a travel song, and unload at the next stop. If you schedule the fellowship around lunchtime (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), the lunch stop can occur in any of the time slots.
Set up the bus in the fellowship hall or any large area. This can be as simple or as elaborate as your time and resources allow. Arrange rows of chairs, two on either side of the “bus aisle.” If you anticipate a large crowd, you may want to designate more than one “bus,” with about 15 to 20 passengers per bus. (Note: If you have multiple buses, rotate the schedule so that different groups go to different destinations at each “stop.”)
- You can designate a bus area by putting tape on the floor around the chairs, by using a large cardboard box to create the front “grill” of the bus, or go all out and construct cardboard sides for the bus.
Load the bus at the beginning of the fellowship, between stops, and at the end.
Sing “bus” songs or use this time to learn a new choir song.
The Field Trip
The following are suggestions for stops, but don’t hesitate to use some of your own creation. It might be fun to provide a “souvenir” at each stop. Kids can bring their own backpacks from home to collect the souvenirs, or you can provide a “goody” bag with each child’s name printed on the front.
Actually go to the church library if you have one. Enlist someone to read a book or to tell a story. Souvenir ideas: bookmarks, books, pencils.
Set up a room with an “exhibit.” For example, if your exhibit is about bugs, display books or posters about bugs. Arrange plastic bugs in a display. Use this stop as a craft opportunity. Kids can make their own bughouses.
- Provide empty oatmeal boxes or similar containers with lids.
- Precut four or five windows in each container.
- Leave the opening flaps for “shutters.”
- Cut a piece of fiberglass screening to fit around the container with a one-inch overlap.
- Roll the screening so it fits snugly inside the container around the sides. Kids can paint or use markers to decorate the outsides of their bughouses. The craft will be the souvenir from this stop.
Set up a game area. Depending on the weather, this might be inside or outside. Several books offer suggestions for games, including the recreation and snack guides from previous vacation Bible school materials. Consider several relays or other team activities. Souvenir ideas: a helium balloon, a small ball or other toy, prizes from the games (as long as each child eventually receives a prize).
The Picnic Pavilion
Provide lunch. Whether you eat inside or outside, you can provide your own “happy” lunches. Decorate plain lunch sacks with stickers or draw smiley faces. (This makes a perfect opportunity to enlist help from a youth or an adult Sunday school class.) Include a sandwich, a bag of chips, an individually wrapped cookie, a juice box, and (of course) a prize! The souvenir is the prize from the lunch sack.