Although Backyard Bible Club 2017 is SIX months away, I began to prepare for Backyard Bible Clubs this October. First, I had to decided on what lesson group, I wanted to teach. Because I like to teach chronologically, this is an easy decision. Last year, I used CEF, Inc.'s Early Church material, which covered the first part of Acts. So this year, I will focus on Paul: God's Witness. Typically, I need 6-9 lessons for BBC. Because CEF material usually is only 6 lessons, I need to create the other 1-3 lessons. Fortunately, CEF Europe had material on the Life of Paul that covered 10 lessons!
Next, I create a yearly overview schedule in Excel. This helps me to plan each items that makes up a weekly club meeting (ie. crafts, memory verses & game, bible lessons, gospel activity, missionary story, review game, group games, songs, and newspaper contest/coupons. It also ensures that I don't repeat an activity, craft, etc. I love having variety in my lessons. By the time everything is plan, this schedule will have cross outs, additions, arrows, etc.
Then, I create a checklist of each item I need to create or gather for club. Even though I use CEF material as my basis for the Bible lessons, I create most of the memory and review game supplies, gospel activity visuals, newspapers, etc. This checklist helps me see what I need to create and gather yet.
One of the first things I work on is the Memory Verses. Because I like to sing each memory verse, I spend hours looking for songs or seeing if a Bible verse can be sung to a Nursery Rhyme. My family gets tired of hearing me say, "Listen to this. Will kids like the tune? Is it easy to sing?" Once a songs are determined, then I use Publisher to make the visuals. Then it is time to make the IPEAR teaching sheets. IPEAR stands for Introduce, Present, Explain, Apply, and Review. If I use the memory verse given in the CEF material, then the IPEARs are given. But for 2017, I have decided to use the Roman Road Verses, so I needed to create the IPEARs. Also, if any Memory verse Review game has supplies (ie. die, action cards), then I need to gather/create them. I tend to go all the Memory Verses for the year at once, before I do all the Lesson Outlines, before I do all the Gospel Activities, etc. As you can see in the above picture, my dinning room table often has rows of lesson supplies on it.
To help me organize each lesson, I put all the (flat) supplies I need for that lesson in a pocket folder. To the left you can see all the supplies I need for the first lesson in Paul (ie Newspaper, Outline, Gospel Activity & Visual, Memory Verse, Review Game, 5W cards, word wall cards and location cards. Then I put all the folders and visuals in a box labeled Paul (in this case). I am rejoicing because I have everything ready for 2017 except the crafts and group games.
To the right is a picture of the game bins. I have about ten different game categories that I use in a summer (ie. water, relay, pool noodles, ball, board games, etc.). Each week, I just pull a bin with the category I will be using. All the supplies will be in that bin.
Each year, my goal is to have everything completely planned, gathered and made by the end of January. Because I work in a tax office February - April, I don't have time those months to work on BBC stuff.