Filling the Class Time:
As children’s ministry workers, it’s important to manage class time. It can be hard to find great activities and ideas for class and fit them together to make a great lesson for a class full of small children. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough time to do all that you want to do in class. Then a teacher is forced to sort through and choose the most important parts of the lesson for his or her class.
Some curriculums offer a wide variety of activities with each lesson. This can be a good thing, but teachers must choose these activities wisely. Be sure to read my page of challenges with curriculum and class activities which are called ‘Time Fillers, Time Killers and Time Redeemers to help you choose activities for your class. But having a wide variety of activities can give the teacher more choices and help them find something they can easily work with.
Because time is valuable in a short class period, it’s important that teachers read through the lessons and determine the most vital parts that need to be taught first and then design a lesson plan. Then the teacher can prioritize and plan her class time. The main parts of the lesson should be covered first (such as the Bible story) and the fun activities afterwards.
Sometimes curriculums have so many activities that teachers struggle to pick out the ones they want to use in class. At other times, the curriculums do not include enough activities to fill the allotted time. This leaves the teacher scrambling to find something to do to fill her class time. Searching for additional activities to go along with a Bible lesson can be a huge challenge. Many times I just made up my craft activity because either the curriculum activities didn’t fit the lesson or they didn’t have enough activities to fill the time.
Over the years I learned to keep activity and coloring books on hand just in case I got through the lesson earlier than planned and needed to find something else for the students to do. These books came in handy on several occasions when our lesson was too short or class time was extended because the Pastor’s message went longer than planned.
There are many activity books with arts and crafts, coloring pages, puzzles and various worksheets available. The Internet can be a valuable resource for these as well. The most important and most difficult part of filling class time constructively is planning ahead so you can come up with exciting activities that relate to the lesson theme and fit the age level of the students in class. Sometimes you can spend a lot of hours and still not find what you are looking for. At this point, I made up my own activities.
These activity books can also provide great lesson material for home-schooling families that can’t afford fancy curriculum packages. For this reason, I wish these activity books would include basic lesson plan outlines and scripture references to go along with each separate activity. I know that some of these lesson plans wouldn’t be used, but some of them would. Perhaps a mother, who uses coloring or puzzles books to help her children fill their time, would slow down long enough to answer a child’s questions or tell the story behind the activity page. Perhaps the mother could even teach her child how to look up the scripture passages in the Bible. By creating brief lesson outlines for these activities, publishing companies would provide more Bible-teaching materials for poor families. These children could also learn about the Bible in spite of a tight family budget.
Activity books are also good because they give parents ideas for activities they can do with their children at home. Working on activity books and reading Bible stories could offer a more productive alternative to having the children spend hours in front of the television watching worldly advertisements and TV shows or spending hours playing computer or video games that teach them bad behaviors.
So why not take a good thing and make it better? It wouldn’t take much more time or money but it could reap a vast eternal reward. Perhaps God would bring more family members to the Lord through the fun pages of a Bible-based activity book. What a great reward!