Celebrate fall, honor vets, and get ready for Thanksgiving!
By Gail Marsh
- If you need an easy, last-minute idea for your Fall Festival, try a new booth: “Guess the Pumpkin’s Weight.” Which guess can come the closest? Provide slips of paper and instruct participants to record the estimated weight, along with their contact information. Award a prize to the person with the most accurate guess. Be sure to check out CTA’s wide variety of fall-themed gifts for prize ideas! (Note: This can be an ongoing contest - have participants guess for 15 minutes, announce a winner, and then, begin the game again with another pumpkin!)
- Another easy children’s game is called “Don’t Touch the Pumpkin.” Instruct participants to hold hands, forming a circle. Place a pumpkin in the middle of the circle. Have the players pull and push against each other to force other players to touch the pumpkin. They are “out” if they touch the pumpkin or break their handhold with others. Play until only one person remains - the winner. (Hint: kids who have been eliminated can play with CTA’s GLOW: God Lights Our Way flying discs.)
- If you took pictures at last year’s fall event, post them in a booth titled “Guess Who?” Challenge this year’s festival goers to identify the adults or children from last year - especially those who wore masks and costumes.
Veterans Day (Saturday, November 11)
- On November 12, consider using a video prayer for veterans during your closing prayers. Check out this video from the Skit Guys.
- Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service provides special boxes for military care packages? And they’re free?! The “America Supports You” flat-rate boxes are a great size for packing snacks, toiletries, books, or sentimental items. Plan a packing party for your church or community this November.
- Encourage children in your church school or Sunday school to make cards for veterans or active military service members. Before you seal the envelope, put in one of CTA’s Praying for our Nation bookmarks and flag pins. Make sure to mail the cards early enough so that they’ll arrive on Veterans Day!
- Invite veterans from your church to bring in their service memorabilia. Provide patriotic-themed tables for these items and keep the tables up throughout November. Post a banner above the display that reads, “Thank You for Your Service!”
- At the close of your worship service on November 12, hand out CTA’s patriotic car magnets. Encourage individuals to display the magnets on their cars during the month of November - and beyond!
Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 23)
- Plan a special Thanksgiving Eve worship service this year. Sing as many Thanksgiving songs and hymns as you can. Provide a brief message focused on Psalm 30:11–12. Afterward, give each family one of CTA’s Blessings Overflow Thanksgiving books. Children are sure to enjoy the Thanksgiving activity kit, Count Your Blessings, too!
- Beginning in October, challenge the kids in your youth group to memorize Scripture verses about thanksgiving, praise, and blessings. Begin the challenge with a contest - form groups of four students each and see which group can find the most Bible verses with a thanksgiving theme. Then, together as a whole group, choose the verses you’ll memorize. Set a memorization goal for Thanksgiving Day. Students may find it helpful to make memory verse cards or check out this website for tech-savvy memorization tools.
- Do you have special worship opportunities planned for November and December? The mini movie 46 Characters Church Invite might be the motivation your church members need to invite friends, co-workers, and family members to attend. Check it out! Before all of those guests arrive at your church’s doorstep, get prepared with CTA’s collection of imprintables. You can put your church’s information or an inspirational message on coffee mugs, worship folders, magnets, and more!
Christmas (Monday, December 25)
- Show your appreciation for church workers and volunteers in a unique way this Christmas! Invite church and school staff members to make Christmas wish lists. Then, ask Bible study groups or other committees within your church to consider purchasing a few things from these lists.
- Order a few Christmas photo backdrops like these and, during the holiday season, offer to take family photos. Make prints and deliver the pictures to participating families with a cheery “Merry Christmas!”
- Did you know CTA offers a FREE Christmas program for children in elementary school and another FREE program for children in preschool? Take advantage of these themed Christmas services and hand out CTA’s God’s Promise Came True value packs to reward the children for all their hard work!
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