Don’t Panic! 8 Activity Ideas When Adult Services Go Too Long

Okay, so we all know that this happens sometimes.  The pastor has a critical message to share, and the adult service goes extra long.  The last thing you want to do is panic, but you can’t help but feel the pressure to figure out how to fill the time!  But what if you had some to-go ideas in your back pocket, just waiting for situations like this to arise?  Today, we are providing you with 8 activity ideas to keep for times like these.

We all know that bored kids often lead to some interesting scenarios… marker drawings start to transfer to their arms, kids start to chase one another, and before you know it, someone bumps into someone else and gets hurt.  Let’s avoid these situations by preparing to fill the extra time with some great activities!


Stationary Activities

If you are looking for filler ideas that involve the students staying seated, try either one of these options:

1. Interactive Guessing Game


Gather kids and have them sit in a circle.  Play the game 20 Questions.  Call on kids one at a time, keeping track of how many questions they have asked.  Remind the kids that they only have 20 questions, and if they want to narrow things down, start by asking questions in categories such as “Is it a person?”, “Is it someone in the room” etc.  You can use the theme of your lesson plan that day to develop some items that tie into your lesson, such as a lion if you learned about David in the Lion's Den that week.  If kids guess it right, give them a point.  If they don’t guess it right, tell them the answer after they have asked 20 questions, and then try a new round.  Encourage kids to talk together as a group before they ask you questions to help them work together as a team.  20 Questions is an awesome way to kill time, keep kids thinking, and have fun together!



2. Go-to Craft


Dot art is a really cool go-to craft.  It requires art supplies that you already have on hand and fills up a lot of time.  Gather pencils, paper, and markers.  Show kids how to draw a large cross on their paper in pencil.  Then, tell them to take their time and fill in the cross with dot art.  Encourage kids to use the whole rainbow of colors and to switch markers every once in a while to have a very pretty cross.  As they fill in their cross with dot art, tie your lesson from the day into the gospel story and share how Jesus has come to save us from our sins and invite us into a relationship with Him.  Once kids have finished filling in their cross, have them erase the pencil so they are left with the dot art.  Then ask the children to add a background with dot art.  Examples could be a starry sky, a sunset, a sunrise, or trees.  We can use this opportunity of extra time to share the gospel with the children and invite them into a relationship with Jesus!


3. Creative Writing


Kids are creative and have many wonderful ideas just waiting to be written down on paper.  Once your lesson is over and you’re wondering what to do next, get out some paper and pencils and ask the kids to write a story, song, or poem.  Instruct the children to reflect on the lesson and write about it.  Share a few ideas to help them get started.  For example, if the lesson was about the parting of the seas you could say, “Since today’s lesson was about God parting the seas through Moses, what do you think it was like for the Hebrews to walk across the sand covered in shells, seaweed, and sea creatures and to be chased by Pharo’s army?  Share that detail in a story from a Hebrew perspective or a song, or poem describing what they saw, smelled, and heard.”  


This will help the kids experience the lesson in a whole new way by exploring what it must have been like to be there.  Using their imaginations, the kids might surprise you with some wonderful writing.  Allow students to read their work out loud and ask them to listen to one another’s creative writing as they wait to be picked up.  Some kids might even take their story home to continue writing!



4. Quizzing!


While you are waiting, why not play a quizzing game?  Looking at your notes from the lesson, ask the kids questions to see what they can remember.  Have kids raise their hands and call on them one at a time.  If they get the answer right, they will be given the chance to win a prize.  If they get it wrong, call on someone else to try.  Before you begin the game, crinkle a piece of paper up into a ball.  Find an empty trash can, bucket, or box and use this as a place for kids to try to throw the ball into.  Each time a kid gets a question right, allow them a chance to win a prize.  Hand them the paper ball and have them stand behind a masking tape line on the floor.  If they make the shot and get the ball in, let them choose an item from a prize box, a sticker, a new pencil, etc.  


5. Class Project


A class project is a perfect way to fill any extra time for a few weeks in a row.  Kids will have this to look forward to as something to do as they wait to be picked up.  Cover one wall of the classroom in bulletin board paper, or simply cover a bulletin board with paper and keep it blank.  Pick a theme that goes along with the current curriculum you are teaching and allow kids to draw on the paper with washable markers.  Not only is it fun to get to “draw on the wall” but it gives kids a certain amount of freedom to be creative.  An example is if you teach The Life of Jesus 12-week curriculum from Children’s Ministry Deals. At the end of the first lesson, kids can draw something that stood out to them from the manger scene where Jesus was born such as a cow, an sheep, or an angel.  This ongoing project will be turned into a beautiful display by the end of your unit!


Get Moving!


If your kids are getting restless, it’s time to get moving.  Here are 3 superb games that will keep kids occupied until their parents arrive.


1. Crab Soccer

Using a soccer ball, bouncy ball, or beach ball, play a game of crab soccer.  Split kids into two teams and instruct them to walk on their hands and feet with their bodies facing up like a crab.  If the ball comes their way, they must kick it as they try to move sideways like a crab.  There is no grabbing the ball with their hands, just like in soccer, unless it goes out of bounce and they need to throw it back into the game.  Set up two goals with masking tape so kids can see if they get the ball in.  


2. Balloon Challenge

Have two or three hand pumps and a few bags of balloons on hand.  A balloon challenge is a sure winner if you need an extra activity.  Give each kid a balloon and challenge them to hit their balloon up into the air and not let it fall to the ground.  Have kids spread out and remind them to watch out not to bump into one another.  A larger room is ideal for this activity.  Play some background music and switch the challenge up every once in a while.  For instance, ask kids to partner up and using both balloons, try to pass them back and forth without either balloon hitting the ground!


3.  Land or Sea

Split the room down the middle with a line of masking tape.  Tell the kids which side of the line is the land and which side of the line is the sea.  Ask kids to pick one side of the line to stand on, land or sea.  Then call out either “land” or “sea”.  Kids must quickly jump to the other side or stay where they are.  If it matches what you called out, they are safe.  If they jump to the wrong side or stay in the wrong place, they must go outside the room and sit down.  Continue playing until you have just a few winners; then, you can begin again.  It is a tricky game, and it can be easy to accidentally go to the wrong side in the heat of the moment.  This is a very simple game but a lot of fun!  Your kids will love it!

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