I was recently sitting with some friends and family, and we talked about back-to-school shopping experiences over the years and how to meet new children at school. If your children’s and/or youth ministry is looking for some back-to-school ideas and games for children for the month of September, give these a go to break the ice, build interaction, and foster connection.
Back-to-school ideas for church youth groups best work when participation is 100%. Over the summer, your junior high and high schoolers may have gone to camps where they had “daily themes.” And they had a blast with that! Home high school football games are theme-driven, as well. Set the tone that “admission” to the event is theme participation. Peer pressure is alive and well! So knowing everyone will be dressing up will ease their minds and make it all the more fun!
Themed Bible studies could include:
- Sports Jersey- represent your favorite team by wearing a hat or shirt for a Bible study on Isaiah 40:29-3. There are points in our lives when we grow weary. We feel like our talent is not enough. Our strength is fading. And when we feel like we are trying our hardest, but the grades, baskets, or goals just aren’t happening the way we want them to. This is when we have to choose to dig deep and turn to the Lord. He is the lifter of our faces and will see us through the difficulties, slumps, and tough times.
- Tie Dye- a burst of color sets the tone for fun! Which is the main word on the list of back-to-school events ideas (SEO keywords)! Wear the tie-dyed item of choice and settle in for a study on Matthew 5:16. It’s important that what we do (as Christians who are uniquely set apart from the world) points to Christ. There are practical ways for that to happen daily at school: smiling at and talking with people, being friendly and polite, volunteering, and looking for new people to engage with.
Note: Of course, you don’t want to leave out anyone from joining the Bible study. So have a few themed items on hand to distribute if needed.
Interactive games are some of the best back-to-school church event ideas for children, youth, and families alike. Sunday School classes and Youth Group meetings will thrive with some of the following “icebreaker” types of games:
- Salad Bowl- Each player writes three to five (depending on how big your teams are and for how long you’d like to play) clues on individual slips of paper. Folds them up, and tosses them in a salad bowl. The clues should be easily describable and even able to be acted out. Two teams are formed. With 60 seconds on the clock, one player attempts to get their team to guess as many clues as possible. Only by speaking without using any words on the slip of paper. For example, the slip reads “red light.” The player could describe it as follows to get her team to correctly guess it so she can retrieve another clue, “a car must stop at a blank blank.” Or “you may see the blank blank on a fire engine.” The clue must be guessed and cannot be passed. Teams go back and forth, using 60 seconds each until all clues are spent.
The scores are tallied with 1 point for each correct clue.
- Clothespin Game- Hand a pin to each player and have them attach it to a noticeable place on their clothing. Tell them your pre-selected “forbidden” word- like “summer” or “teacher.” Or a word that might be more commonly spoken than not. If another player catches them using the forbidden word, they must turn over their pin to that player. Whoever has the most clothespins wins! This encourages interaction, strategy, and communication with almost everyone in the room while keeping it casual.
Back-to-school bash ideas for church calendars are some of the most enjoyable to plan. Keeping them fresh each year is key. Being organized with the right amount of space (don’t forget to account for rain!), time frame, food and beverages, message/content delivery, and volunteers will alleviate a lot of pressure during the event. Keep it simple, and the environment will be friendly and relaxed. It will prove to be the safe haven that the youth want and need the church to be.
Cal joined the ACST team in 2004 and is currently the Market Strategy Manager serving denominational ministry partners. He received a degree in Secondary Education at Southeastern Bible College before pursuing graduate work at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has served on various local nonprofit organizations, including The King’s Academy, a Christian school in Florence, SC., and R.E.A.C.H., an educational resource group based in Florence.