The first week of Backyard Bible Club 2016 was exciting, crazy, uplifting and exhausting. Just what you want for the opening week. When kids and parents arrive, they go to the registration table manned by my host (and friends). Then the kids are instructed to go to the playground area or the craft area. This year I am fortunate to have my daughters helping me for some of my clubs. Joy Girl was the playground supervisor and KatieLyn, the craft lady.
I had the gaga pit set up in the playground area. For those of you who have never heard of gaga ball, it is dodge ball in a fenced area. The kids love it. My gaga pit is portable - well if you have a truck or van and strong arms. I got my plans for the pit from this website: http://www.garyforster.com/documents/GaGa_Pit_Drawings_Rules.pdf I began with six sides, but soon had to increase to eight. This year, I learned that the ball must be a heavier playground ball. A light ball flies out of the pit too easily.
This week's craft was scented drawer sachets. Click here for the instructions http://anexerciseinfrugality.com/easy-sew-scented-sachets/
All winter, I had different people saving socks that had no mates. Ahead of time, I filled 1/3 cup of rice in snack bags. The kids then added 5-10 drops of liquid scent. (Some kids did not listen to directions and put 5-10 DROPPERS of scent! What a smell!!!) Also, I declared the next time I use liquid scent, I am using only one scent. By the end of club, my scents were intermixed. I chose this craft to remind the kids of Mary Magdalene perfume that she was going to put onto Jesus' dead body.
This week's memory verse was John 20:31. After explaining the verse, we played follow the leader. I choose a child to come up and draw a leader card. Whatever action was on the card, that child needed to lead the group in doing the action AND saying the verse. We did this about 5-7 times. I have decided NOT to put squats ever again on a card. I have been sore all week.
Then I moved into the Bible Lesson. I used Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc material. This summer I am using their "First Christian" series. We will be focusing Acts 1-12. But this week's lesson is a prequel to Acts. So our text is John 20. The "word of the day" was WITNESS. Jesus chose Mary Magdalen, then his disciples and now us to be His witness.
After tent time is snack time. The snacks are supplied by my host. I do ask that they serve only water. This is much easier to clean up than juice and there is ALWAYS spills. I purchased character cups for the kids to use. The kids seem to love choosing their cups each week. Between each club, I throw them in the dishwasher.
Next, we play some group games. This week we began with bean bag snowball fight. I divided the kids into two teams. I placed down the middle of the playing area. On this line, I dumped maybe 40 bean bags. For two minutes the kids could throw (underhand) the bean bags across the line, but they were not allowed to cross the line. At the end of two minutes, the teams counted how many bean bags were on their side of the playing area. The team with the least amount won. The next game we played was bean bag basket ball. It is played just like it sounds. This was a little difficult for the kindergarten-2nd graders.
Then we returned to the tent for our missionary story. Did you know that the Apostle Thomas was the first person to bring the Gospel message to India? Today, many Indian believers trace their heritage of faith to the man commonly referred to in Christendom as “Doubting Thomas.” However, Thomas’ real legacy was to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the known world. While doing so, he faced many who despised the message he so tirelessly brought them. Thankfully, his strong faith sustained him even when facing martyrdom. Although his life came to an abrupt end, the legacy of His faith continues on today in many lives. The kids heard all about this through the book "God's Missionary: the Faith of Thomas" by Voice of the Martyrs.
To finish up our time, we played a review game. Again the kids were divided into two teams. I asked a question about our lesson to a child. If he answered correctly, he could "fish"(with a magnet attached to a string on a pole) for points (that were on metal lids). If he did not answer correctly, the question went to the other team. I alternated questions between the two teams. The team with the highest score at the end won.
Each week, the kids will get a copy of the Jerusalem Journal. Click below for your copy.
This was an amazing start to the summer. I can't wait to see the kids again next week.