Kids stand a better chance of retaining information if they're having fun while learning. This is just as true at church as it is at school. Lessons learned in church and at Sunday school teach children values they'll carry throughout their lives. Activities based on respect can be tailored to suit any age group and include coloring sheets, board games and trivia games.
Choose a simple activity where everyone can participate. Coloring sheets keep preschool-aged kids entertained. Talk with the children about good and bad things to do in church, then hand out a coloring sheet that shows pictures of people at church. Some of the pictures show kids behaving themselves, while at least one illustrates a child behaving disrespectfully in church. Ask children to color only those pictures that show people behaving respectfully.
Start a charades-style board game that encourages kids to get up and act out respectful and disrespectful actions. Create your own board or find one online. Be as inventive as you want in designing the path the game pieces will follow. The squares can follow the outline of a church, cross or even the simple straight lines of a regular board game. Using dice and markers of your choice, instruct players to follow the path and act out different scenarios. The squares on the game give instructions such as "Show what to do when everyone is praying" or "Show what not to do when everyone is singing." Include both positive and negative actions so children can engage in some silliness while still learning valuable lessons.
Keep a set of question cards on hand so you can play all sorts of games at a moment's notice. The cards ask children to describe respectful and disrespect actions for different church activities and functions. For an even larger collection of cards, include true-and-false questions to test the children's knowledge. Use the cards for random contests at the beginning of a lesson or as a more competitive game pitting teams or individuals against one other. Even after one team has been awarded a point, further the lesson by asking other children what they would have answered so that everyone gets a chance to participate. To keep everyone on their best behavior, remind players that they can just as easily lose points if they begin to behave disrespectfully during the game.
- saint nicolai church, a medieval church in central image by donkey IA from Fotolia.com