A family game night at church effectively brings people together for fun and fellowship. Game night could have a theme that determines the types of games played. Consider asking families to bring a dish and a favorite game to share. Some games are appropriate for all ages, and others will be appropriate for a specific age group, so include games for every age. Church game nights can attract those without a church home, so be friendly.
Skills games are popular with kids of all ages and can use variations that take the age and abilities of a child or adult into consideration. Game night participants of any age could participate in bowling with empty pop bottles and plastic balls, fishing with a magnet on a string and paper-clipped paper fish, and tossing beanbags through a hole in a box. To make games easier for young children, use bumpers for the bowling lanes and have the kids stand close to the box when tossing beanbags. Remove the bumpers for older kids and adults, and move the toss line back to match the throwing skills of game participants. Other skill games could include relay races with an egg or water in a spoon, three-legged races and scavenger hunts.
Many churches have sports teams that compete with other churches or have members that play on secular soccer, T-ball, softball, basketball and football teams. Open your church game night to team sports and in. Young children could play T-ball or soccer. You could also include wacky Olympics teams with a church theme, such as using a hymn book in a relay race instead of a stick, running from one station to another to recite or read a selected Bible verse or playing hopscotch or jumping rope while reciting a Bible verse.
Families with kids of all ages could enjoy games such as charades, and blanket toss. Preschoolers can play games that don't require reading, such as musical chairs, hot potato, guessing games and tossing a rubber or foam ball into paper bags or low hoops. Elementary aged kids could play card games, Bible charades and relay races. Tweens to adults could play Bible trivia, Bible charades, “Name That Hymn,” “Sword Drills” where participants race to find a scripture called out by the game host. Consider a conversation starter game that asks questions that help participants learn about each other, such as "what Bible character do you admire most?" or "What's the most fun you ever had a church event?" “Who Am I?” gives clues that identify Bible characters for older kids and adults.
The Littlest Ones
You want to open the nursery with activities for babies and toddlers. Young kids can choose their favorite toys that they will use for play, or they can sing Bible songs or listen to Bible stories while they color pictures related to the story. Preschoolers can make crafts relevant to the season or game night theme, compete to see who can build the highest Tower of Babel with cardboard boxes or participate in a game that asks them to move or sound like a Bible animal, such as a sheep, snake or lion. Young children can participate in a Noah's Ark game that moves animals from around the room to an area designated as the ark or act like fishers of men by collecting paper fish and putting them in a small box decorated like a church.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.