Many churches and ministries have playgrounds and play spaces in their facilities. What if by making a few changes, the children served by your ministry could still have fun, but these spaces also gave them more opportunities to learn? I recently toured a museum with a children’s education area that had ideas which could easily be adapted and used in a ministry setting.
This particular museum was focused on the history of their particular area. Instead of play spaces using modern plastic kitchens and the like, they used materials to replicate those same spaces in an earlier era. Notice caution was taken to sand rough edges and make other adjustments to keep the area safe. Why not make your ”home” type play areas reflect what those spaces looked liked in Bible times? Not only will it take children back in time, but it gives adults opportunities to explain what the unfamiliar objects are and how to use them.
The other area was a display case. It showed children what archaeologists find as they conduct a dig. Since archaeology is responsible for finding many artifacts from Bible times and places, it can help students to have a better understanding of how archaeology is done and what it can and cannot tell us about the Bible. If you use replicas in your display, it also gives you opportunities to show children common objects and explain how they were used. If you want to get really creative, switch up your display periodically. Have one be filled with objects from ancient Egypt, another from Israel, a third from ancient Rome, etc.
Instead of outdoor playground equipment, look into using natural elements found in nature to soothe children and point them to God. You can often find examples of these types of play spaces at many botanical gardens. The Lady Bird Wildflower Center in Austin, TX has several great ones.
Making a few changes to your play environments and shared spaces can make your facility more interesting in appearance, ignite the curiosity of little ones and give you additional opportunities to teach them. It’s a great way to extend learning for young Bible students.