Just thought I would describe what we are doing this summer (2010). For the 8 or 9 weeks of summer we give all of our workers a break. As I am also a volunteer, I don’t want to knock myself out trying to come up with packages of materials for the summer either (the idea is to take a break and be refreshed for the Fall).
So here is what we are doing. Keep in mind, we are a fairly small church and our building is a multi-purpose, almost warehouse-style building with chairs instead of pews in our sanctuary.
About noise: we are comfortable with it 🙂 You can’t have children in the service and not have noise, so while we encourage parents to monitor their children, there is just going to be more activity in the room.
Here is a PDF of the handout we have for parents starting the first Sunday in July: Summer For Kids
- We have set up a row of long rectangular tables along the back covered in “newsprint” paper (roll paper) with a bucket of crayons/felts on each table. Chairs around the table. A sign on each table that says “For the children: art/poetry/inspiration.” We have encouraged each table to have at least one parent, or to have parents sit nearby to keep the noise level at an appropriate level.
- Also, we have a book table. I have age appropriate books on the book table, all with Bible Stories and Bible activities. For the older kids I found some good Bible Story “Graphic Novels” and some Bible game books (crosswords, word searches, etc).
- We also have some listening stations. We have some CD players and put dual headphone jacks on them (so two children can listen at once) and we are running Focus On The Family’s Truth Project for kids CD’s on them.
- This is something we haven’t had before, but will probably be continuing for the Fall.
- We have cabled our service into a classroom nearby and have a large screen TV so the first half of our service can be viewed on the TV. We have written guidelines for how the parent room should be used (respecting a quiet time for the first half of the morning so parents can hear and see the message). When the worship begins following the message, parents can visit or return to the main room to participate (people are unlikely to sing/worship to a TV set)
- The room is set up with a lot of toys for younger children (about age 0 to 3ish)
- We have a second “nursery” parent room set up where parents can view the service; this is more for parents of children age 0-crawlers who want their little ones to be able to roam without getting stepped on by toddlers who are already walking.
- We have also chosen a good Bible-lesson DVD series to show in a room that is accessible from our sanctuary.
- It is not officially supervised, but we have a young teen in the room to make sure kids don’t get into anything they shouldn’t.
- Parents bring their children with the understanding that it is not supervised.
- Children return to the sanctuary when the movie is over to participate in the worship/singing part of the service.
- The series we are using this summer is based on the 10 commandments: “The Kids Ten Commandments”. Here is a link to the series on Amazon (if you use our link to purchase, we get a small kick-back. Thanks :))