COVID has created a lot of rapid changes in ministry. Many activities are still being cancelled and with the new related disease appearing in children, many ministries have already cancelled all of their normal summer activities.
Many children and teens are vulnerable when left at home all summer with nothing to engage them in meaningful ways. There are a lot of ways young people can be hurt – or hurt themselves – when they have too much undirected free time.
You can help provide some structure and meaning to their summer, while also encouraging them to grow to their godly potential. We have structured a summer program you can easily use and adapt to the needs of the kids or teens to whom you minister.
We are sending each young person an initial reusable tote with a letter introducing the program, a list of suggested activities, a daily calendar and the materials to complete them. If your Bible students have resources at home, they may not need much in the bag. For young people living in homes with financial challenges, you will probably need to include even basic supplies like crayons, scissors and glue sticks.
The theme is Growing God’s Way. Students are encouraged to do an activity in each of five categories every day: my soul, my mind, my body, my family and my world. On the calendar, there is a place for them to check each category every day as they complete an activity in that area.
The key is to provide a list of possible activities in each area that will appeal to young people with a variety of interests, resources and adult assistance. We have decided to provide two sheets of activity ideas – one delivered in June and one in July to keep things fresh and interesting. We will also divide the materials between the two months, with the resources for the second month being delivered in a regular grocery sack. This will give the adults in the ministry we are serving two opportunities to make meaningful contact with the families of the children during the summer.
The young people we are serving have limited resources, so depending upon the age of the young person we are including some of the following items: books, jigsaw puzzles, board games (these first three items can be gently used), tic tac toe sets (made with small burlap bags and tiddly wink tokens), flash cards, blank books (Target dollar spot often carries these), crayons/markers, pencils/pens, colored chalk, deck of cards (for math games), safety scissors, glue sticks/glue, small white board or chalk board, play doh, plain paper, colored paper, reusable Bible sticker books (dollar stores and Melissa and Doug carry these at various price points), jump rope, jacks, bubbles, painters tape, word searches, logic puzzles, sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, items to make sock puppets, paper bag puppets or other craft projects (bagged together with instructions), items for STEM challenges (bagged together with instructions), ideas for solo and multi- player games and activities requiring no materials, ideas and materials for family and personal Bible study (and a NIrV Bible if they don’t own one), etc.
As you can see, this is not an easy project. It could make a life changing difference, however, in the lives of some of your Bible students. If it can keep even one of them from starting down a bad path this summer, it will be more than worth the time and money you invested in all of them.