By Gail Marsh
There’s still time to host a Thanksgiving event for kids. CTA has everything you need!
Start by choosing the best time to hold your hour-long event. Would the Friday or Saturday morning after Thanksgiving work? Maybe follow up your Thanksgiving event with a Christmas movie marathon. Encourage parents to take advantage of the kids’ extended event to go Christmas shopping. Or, plan to host your event on Sunday morning during the regular Sunday school hour. Once you’ve decided on the day and time, download and personalize CTA’s themed invitations.
Your next step is recruiting team leaders. These are responsible adults or high school teens willing to lead a small group of children from one activity to the next. Make sure volunteer leaders know that everything will be provided. All they need to do is show up!
This Thanksgiving event will include four different activity stations - with fifteen minutes allowed for each. Divide the children into small groups and have one group start at each station. Use a whistle or hand clapping pattern to signal team leaders when it’s time to move to the next activity. Print activity-station directions on the inside of CTA’s downloadable Count Your Blessings bulletin covers. Leaders will use these directions to help guide the children through each station. The back of the bulletin can be used to list blessings for which each small group is thankful. (Listing blessings can happen as the team awaits the signal to move to the next activity station.)
Plan for these stations:
- Snack Station: Serve fruit, crackers, and water. Also give each child one CTA Count Your Blessings Jumbo Bookmark with Candy Corn. Team leaders will read the bookmark aloud. Students can use the candy corn to name their blessings as they enjoy the snack. Also, plan to give each participant a CTA Imprintable Jumbo Bookmark, customized with information about your church and Sunday school. Encourage children to use this bookmark and candy to invite a friend to church.
- Bible Message: You’ll need an adult to lead this station - perhaps your youth pastor or a Sunday school teacher. The leader can use CTA’s Count Your Blessings Ministry Message.
- Games: choose one or two of the following ideas.
- In “Loaded with Blessings,” participants line up at one end of the play area, from youngest to oldest. At the opposite end of the area, place a box filled with unbreakable “blessings”: sports balls, clothing, plastic food, and toys. The youngest player goes first. This player runs to get something from the “blessings box,” carries it back to the next player in line, gives it to that person, and takes a place at the end of the line. The second (and remaining) players, in turn, continue in the same manner, retrieving an item from the “blessings box,” while still carrying all of the other items. Play continues until it’s impossible to carry everything or everyone has had several turns. Leaders emphasize that God gives us so many, many blessings! Pray, thanking him for these gifts.
- In “Mixed Message,” participants race the clock to see how quickly they can put together a Bible verse. Choose a simple verse like Psalm 107:1. Or choose a more challenging verse like Philippians 4:19. Print each word of the Bible verse on a separate piece of cardstock. Also print the verse on a poster, for younger children to reference. Let participants try this challenge several times. Then, see if they can correctly say the Bible words aloud without referring to the poster.
- “Guess What Blessing” is a pantomime game. One player at a time will choose a slip of paper from a bucket and act out the item. Remaining team members guess what that person might be. You’ll need a bucket and slips of paper, each naming a blessing from God. Consider these blessings, among others: sunshine, grapes, sandwich, bicycle, backpack, Bible.
At the end of your event, give each child a CTA Count Your Blessings Activity Book. Encourage students to share the book with family members at home.
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving with the children in your church?
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2018 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.