Summer is quite possibly the most difficult time of year to navigate in Bible classes for kids and teens. Once school ends for the summer, it seems everyone travels until right before school begins again. You never know how many students you will have. On vacation peak weekends, you may have only a couple of students. On other weekends, you may have extra kids because your students bring their friends or people are visiting relatives in your congregation.
What can you do to keep the momentum going over the summer months? How can you keep students who are traveling studying their Bibles and learning more about what God wants from them and for them? How can you encourage the parents of your students to spend extra time with their kids strengthening their faith foundations and helping them reach their godly potential?
You will have to be creative. Not every idea will work – it depends a lot on the personalities of your students and their families. It’s worth the effort though. Otherwise, some of your students may go for weeks with little or any exposure to God and His Words.
Here are some ideas you can use to engage students through the summer months:
- Take class outside. Have Bible dramas, where your students are the actors. Being outside makes walking through the wilderness more realistic. Or have someone bring a donkey for students to ride as they experience what Mary or Jesus felt like in the stories where they rode on a donkey. You get the idea. Do all of those messy, big activities that are difficult to do in the confines of a classroom.
- Invite special guests to class. Is someone in your church a potter? Have them bring their wheel and some clay. Teach your students about God as a potter and us as His clay as they learn what that really means. Or have someone come let them grind grain into flour and make unleavened bread. Have a doctor come and talk about how she uses her faith in her job. Summer is a great time to use the gifts of members in your congregation to teach your students unique things they may not learn otherwise.
- Have special theme days. Let families know ahead of time so they can schedule vacations around things like “Gift Discovery Day” or “Bible Comes Alive Sunday”. Make the experience different and interesting, involving members of all ages.
- Take field trips. Summer is a great time to take your students to see the Bible times artifacts at a local museum or to take a photo hike to find all the ways they can see God in His creation. If you are up for a road trip, why not take family field trips to the Bible Museum in Washington, DC or the Ark Experience/Creation Museum in KY?
- Give students summer challenges. Think of ways they can be in scriptures and practice applying them even as they travel throughout the summer. Maybe a service challenge, a faith sharing challenge or a ways they saw God working during the summer challenge.
Don’t let summer give you the Bible class teacher blues. This is the time to be your most creative and really engage your students in a very disrupted time of the year. Not only will they get extra exposure to God’s Words, but they will have unique opportunities to put the pieces of their faith together so they know how to live an active, productive Christian life.