Five tips on planning a children’s session
When you’re a children’s worker – volunteer or paid – time is often short, and so planning your session can sometimes get left to the last minute.
If we’re being honest, all of us have ended up planning a Sunday session at 10 o’clock on Saturday night (or even on the way to church on Sunday morning).
Life takes over and suddenly you realise that you’ve got nothing prepared for the session you’re going to lead in the next 24 hours (or 12 hours or 30 minutes…)
And this is fine, we’ve all done it. Don’t beat yourself up about it, as long as it’s not your default position!
However, here are a few tips for planning a session when you’ve got a bit more time to think about things.
1 Start with the Bible
You may get to choose your own Bible passage or your Bible story might have been decided in advance (either by your children’s coordinator or through using a resource such as Light or Energize).
Either way, it’s tempting to dive straight in with games and craft, but it’s important to pause for a while and explore the Bible passage for yourself.
Read the story and mull on it for a while.
If you can read it a few days before your session, you can ponder it while you do other things.
Try reading the story in different Bible translations or see how writers of children’s Bible story books have interpreted the story.
2 What is God saying?
Reflect on what God is saying to you through this story.
If it’s a story that you have encountered many times before, ask God to reveal something new to you.
Then consider what God might be saying to the children in your group.
And think big!
Children can often go much deeper than we expect, especially if they are given free rein to explore the Bible and listen to God.
So what might God be saying to them?
3 What’s your aim?
Think carefully about where you’d like your session to end up.
Although you might not reach that point for whatever reason – perhaps the Spirit will lead you and the children in a different direction or practically something might happen to divert the session – it’s good to tailor the activities so that you can help children discover something about God and their relationship with him.
4 What is your group like?
Who is in your group? How do the children who might come to your session learn?
Choose activities that meet a variety of learning styles – visual, auditory or kinaesthetic – and give space for children to express their spirituality.
5 What resources do you have?
You might have the biggest space and the best-stocked craft cupboard, or you might only have pens and paper.
Choose activities that match the resources available.
And remember, just because you have lots of resources, it doesn’t mean you have to use them.
Some of the best conversations you have might be facilitated by the simplest of activities!