4 Tips for Teaching Children’s Ministry Classes with Wide Age Range

Every church is different.  Some have grown in size, allowing a plentiful number of kids and volunteers.  In these cases, splitting children by age into different Sunday school classes is often easier.  Others, smaller in size, are grouped together with a mixed age range.  Still, some big churches keep a mixed-aged group to do a large group lesson, games, skits, and more, breaking kids up into small groups for question-and-answer times according to age.  Whichever way your children’s ministry is designed, we all need the right tools, resources, and knowledge in order to have a successful program.  Today, we want to share 4 tips for teaching children’s ministry classes with a wide age range.  By implementing some of these ideas, we hope it helps you achieve a well-functioning KidMin!

Whether you are a big church, combining kids for large group time, or a small church in a “one-room school house style” classroom, you have come to the right place.  Across the board, these 4 tips can be helpful for either scenario.  (And if you’re new to mixing ages together, we think you’ll find that there are way more benefits that outweigh the cons!)

Tip #1 –Use the Wide Age Range to Your Advantage!

We may feel hesitant to put the older kids with the younger ones for fear that the little ones might get picked on or be unable to keep up with the older ones.  When we are proactive in our approach to mixing ages together, we can help steer things in the right direction and find a good result.  Begin by looking at your lesson plan and finding opportunities for the older kids to help the younger ones.  A large group scenario may ask a few older kids to put on a skit for the little ones to enjoy.  In a smaller classroom scenario, partnering an older kid with each younger one during craft time so the littles have help and the big kids can serve.  

Create opportunities for the older kids to be leaders to the younger ones.  In service projects, they can show them how a project is done before they begin.  In a Bible lesson, they can read the passage to the group of little kids.  They can volunteer to pray and be an example to the other children during prayer time.  When we present this mixed-aged situation as a positive way for kids to help one another, learn from one another, and care for one another, it becomes more of an opportunity and less of a barrier.

Tip # 2 – Be Smart about How You Approach Mix-Aged!

If we aren’t careful, there can be negative consequences to having a mixed-aged group together.  One important resource to have is the correct number of teachers and helpers.  A small classroom might be suitable for just one teacher, but for a large group, having adult volunteers spread out around the room will help prevent problems from occurring.  They can give friendly reminders about being a helper and a friend.  They can also split kids up if problems do occur before things escalate.  

Depending on your activity, there are different ways to create a positive environment.  During game times when there are two teams, split kids evenly to be sure there aren’t too many older kids against the younger ones.  During worship or large group lessons, oftentimes, letting kids sit where they want is a great way to give them a chance to be with friends their own age.  At small group time, it can be beneficial to split kids up so activities can be adjusted based on maturity levels.  When your church has a small class with a wide age range, being sure to ask some challenging and easier questions during discussion time will allow everyone to engage. 

Looking for activities, games, and crafts that are exciting and fun for all ages will be key for your program!  Using curriculums that teach kids God’s word but keep them engaged and having fun will create an environment conducive to all ages.  We provide curriculums that are designed for mixed-aged classrooms and large groups and encourage you to check them out here!  https://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/curriculum

Tip #3 – Give Kids a Good Balance!

While being a helper is a wonderful way for older kids to bond with younger ones, remember to allow children time to be a kid.  It is important to have a good balance between times when kids help one another and times when kids get to have fun themselves.  If you ask the older children to help the younger ones during one activity, choose the next activity to be something everyone can do easily on their own, such as a game of freeze dance.  This allows younger kids to feel like they aren’t being “babysat” all of the time and older kids to feel like they don’t have to be the “babysitter” all the time.  It is all about having a good balance.  

Be creative with how you do crafts, games, and activities by giving kids different difficulty levels.  For instance, if you make a fish craft out of tissue paper scales, kids can make as few or as many as they want to glue onto their fish.  Challenge kids with cool experiments or memory verse activities while giving an easier alternative.  Ask some kids to read from the Bible and ask others to repeat what is read.  There are many creative ways to involve all the children while being considerate of age differences.

Tip #4 – Be the Church!

Part of “being the church” is having multiple generations all together serving and worshiping God.  On a smaller scale, you have multiple ages within your children’s ministry.  When we are the church, we are all different people of different ages coming together in unity.  Here are some examples of wonderful ways a wide age range of kids being together in one room can be a good thing.  When a new kid walks into the room, it can be intimidating.  Sometimes, being in a mixed-aged group makes the transition smoother.  An older kid might see a new little kid come in and invite them to join them and show them around.  A younger kid who sees a new older kid might do the same for them.  It can be less intimidating hanging out with kids that aren’t the same age as you because it can feel like less pressure to fit in.  

Another great example is when your children’s ministry does a service project or puts on a play or event.  When kids of all ages work together, so much can be accomplished!  Children can use their talents and skills while working alongside and learning from one another.  This tip might seem less of a tip and more of a “benefit” of having mixed ages together.  But the tip here is to embrace the church for what it was designed to be, take a step back, and watch how God works!

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