By Julie Heath
This year your holiday events and activities (like everything else) are going to be different from past years. As some groups are meeting with children again and some aren’t, we have some tips and tools to help you get ready for Christmas 2020, regardless of how you’ll interact with your children and families.
Are you meeting in person?
If you can be with your children this year, you will have extra considerations for safety and health. Below is a list of things to consider and have handy for those in-person opportunities:
- Register your groups so that you can space accordingly. Utilize the options you have available, from direct email to sign-up web programs.
- Plan to do rotations so you can have smaller groups at the activities (games, devotion, and craft). Schedule transitions so that groups are not in hallways at the same time.
- Make sure volunteers and helpers get a review of the policies for spacing, gloves, masks, etc. that your community needs to follow.
- Do the event by ages (in shifts) or by different nights with an age split, instead of one large event.
- Have gloves if you are going to play any game where you pass an item (hand sanitizing stations for afterward) and plan for handwashing breaks.
- Place balls, toys, etc. in bins for sanitizing and pick new items for the next game (laundry baskets are our friends!).
- Use the preschool-teacher method of placing a piece of tape (or referencing a specific item) on the wall for spacing children apart, not just marking the floor.
- Make snacks and crafts the take-home item. Provide a goodie bag with a devotional note, craft, and prepackaged snack.
TOOLS for a socially distanced event
- Sports cones, Hula-Hoop game hoops, and sports rings
- Footprints (glow in the dark, vinyl, reusable)
- Pool noodles (as part of a relay activity or a way to keep space—pool noodles for the win!)
- Blue painter’s tape (mark a wall or floor without leaving residue or causing damage)
- Disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and disposable face masks
Are you virtual?
If you are not yet able to meet—or find that many families are still hesitant—video group events can still be fun. Look for great video-based online games or make your own! We know your kiddos may be a little bit over using their screens, so look for ways to make the video more exciting again.
- Scavenger Hunt: Hide scavenger hunt items in your room. While you tell a silly story and move around, allow kiddos to “find” the items. Extend the activity by hiding the pictures for a week on your Facebook or Instagram page. Children are challenged to look each day to find the items. Your video time can be a recap of the items and a chance to share a message with the group.
- Bible Drill: Traditionally, children begin with closed Bibles and work quickly to find the passage a leader calls out. Once the passage is found, the child reads it out loud. Try a fun video version among your group.
- Family Game Night: Play some traditional family board games where the goal is to get the most answers or quickest responses (think: Last Word or Pictionary board game). Each family competes together using a white board or piece of paper, then show their answers on screen.
- Creative Creation Challenges: Challenge kiddos to get creative artistically to make snowmen, race cars, Christmas nativities, etc., using only items at their house and in a limited time frame.
- Trivia Night: oldie but goodie, played by video!
- Goofy Games Night (where it’s more about the laughter than the correct answer): Make up your own silly word games like Mad Libs fill-in-the-blank word game or seek-and-find picture games.
However you choose to reach your families this holiday season, it’s still very possible to have fun while sharing a message of love in Christ!
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Editor’s note: However you choose to reach your families this holiday season, it's still very possible to have fun while sharing a message of love in Christ!