For most of our Sunday School classes, snack is something kids look forward to over anything else. You may only use snacks in preschool or extend them up through preteen ministry. No matter the age, snack time can be the hardest to plan, costly, and even chaotic. It doesn’t have to be that way. Check out these suggestions so you can ensure that your kids will eat all that you have prepared, and have a ton of fun, too!
In our current day and age, it’s extremely likely that you will encounter some food allergies within your Sunday School class. First, as the kids ministry leader, make sure you have policies in place and ways to communicate allergies with parents. It’s always best to make sure you have a peanut-free facility.
If your kids are dropped off at the door, this could mean a sign on the outside with “Today we are serving…” with allergy stickers to place on their security stickers so you have that touchpoint with parents to determine which child may need an alternative.
If there are snacks planned by the month, you can communicate that with the families in your ministry age group. As teachers, always be sure you are aware of any allergies in your class ahead of time.
A few well-known allergy-friendly brands to consider:
Follow your Heart (DF)
Staying away from the top 8 allergens is a great overarching way to accommodate allergies in the class. You also want to find allergy-friendly snacks that are similar to what you are serving the rest of the class so there is no isolation (except for extreme circumstances, of course).
Dried fruit, allergen-free crackers, cereal or pretzels, GF & DF cookies are all great options that can be extremely similar to what you might offer others. It may take a bit more work, but so worth it for kids experiencing food allergies!
Easy & Cheap
Don’t we all want these two words in everything? The first trick to making sure snack time is easy and cheap is to buy bulk. Check out your local Sams or Costco for the best deals on staple snacks.
Some easy options for your class a wide range of kids would enjoy are goldfish crackers, pretzels, toddler puffs, animal crackers, and Cheerios or cereal. These can be rotated through each week so kids can have a variety of snacks. For the ministries working on a tight budget, choosing a snack that comes in a bulk size that can be passed out to all the kids will be a win!
Those widely loved snacks are also great for picky eaters. Some other great options are to offer a variety of flavors or, if it’s feasible, allow your class to pick from a few options each week. Individually wrapped snacks are great for this option so no food is going to waste.
Most Sunday School classes will be early enough that some kids may not have had a chance for breakfast. Donut holes, cereal, fruit cups, pop tarts, blueberry muffins, bananas, or other fruit are great options for breakfast-themed snacks!
The holidays are a great time to get creative for Sunday School snacks. This may be your only time to serve a snack in a particular age group, or it can be a chance to change things up even in the smallest aged room.
For Valentine’s Day, make everything into a heart. Use a heart cookie cutter to make heart-shaped cookies, cheese, or pepperoni. Use heart-shaped bowls to add even more fun.
Easter is all about the empty tomb, so make your snacks match that exciting day. Empty Tomb rolls require a lot of prep but have a great meaning. (recipe HERE)
Resurrection cookies are another prep option that uses egg whites and can be filled with chocolate chips instead of nuts. (recipe HERE)
Another option is making a tomb out of graham crackers and icing and a marshmallow as the stone, which most ages could do themselves.
Thanksgiving can be a great time for fun, fall-themed snacks like pumpkin cookies or mini muffins. You can also offer an array of fruits on a tray similar to a cornucopia.
Finally, Christmas is a perfect time for milk and cookies and gingerbread houses/cookies. You can make a manger scene with pretzel sticks, marshmallows, and ELF fudge cookies or twizzlers for Mary & Joseph.
Make the holidays even more fun with these themed snacks!
Lesson Oriented and Interactive
One way for all kids to love snack time is to tie it into the lesson and invite them to participate in putting it together. Thinking of snacks in this way allows for the teaching to continue even through snack time.
A great option for interactive snacks is a make-your-own trail mix bar. You can change it up each week, use spoons to distribute, and set boundaries about the amount kids can put in their cups or bags. Trail Mix is a great way to incorporate lesson ideas (i.e. goldfish if teaching about Peter, gold chocolate coins if teaching about the parable of the lost coin, pretzel sticks if teaching on the wise/foolish builder). The ideas are endless when it comes to creating a trail mix bar for your Sunday School teachers.
When you are examining the lessons for the quarter or month, identify some snacks to bring the main theme or point home. Using things like grapes (for Jesus’ first miracle or any lesson involving eating), blue Jell-O cups (for any lesson involving water), or numbered M&Ms (for any lesson on the 12 disciples) helps the conversations continue around the snack tables. Inviting kids to help distribute, count, or pass out the items makes snack time fun and exciting.
Other interactive snacks kids will love to include: building an item using pretzels or crackers and icing, creating a shape using twizzlers, making an ark scene with animal crackers, or mini cookies and twizzlers to form flowers.
Offering a variety of snacks with a certain color theme (i.e. red for God’s love, yellow for streets of gold, purple for abiding in the vine) provides another fun way to drive home the lesson in an interactive way. If you have a lot of Sunday School rooms, capitalizing on bulk crackers (for bricks), or dividing out tubs of icing can help lower the cost.
If you are choosing a snack that is a bit more involved than just goldfish on a plate, cover the tables with plastic dollar store table cloths so any mess can be scooped up with the table cloth and thrown away.
Finding space in the Sunday School lesson for a specified snack time makes it fun and inviting for all the kids you will encounter. Starting with making sure snack items are communicated well with parents provides opportunities to be creative and get everyone involved in loving this time together. Use snack time to drive home the main point of the lesson or have intentional conversations with the kids around the table. Get creative with a variety of snacks and themes for all to enjoy. Sunday School snacks do not have to be boring, but a great way to engage in all the fun your class brings each week!