Feed the Brain and the Heart
Even though kids can't wait to take a break from school
and homework, their minds still long for stimulation and a good
workout. Day camps can be a great outreach tool by providing a fun
learning environment in areas of interest such as art, science, or
sports. Offer day camps that not only educate kids in a particular
subject but also show how God is present in everything we do. Have
daily devotions that complement what the kids are learning, pray
before snack time, and invite kids back for church on the weekend.
Here are a few day camp themes to get you started.
• Weird Science -- Kids love to do science
experiments and learn about how things work. Design your day camp
around nature and lessons from Genesis and the Creation.
• Performing Arts Extravaganza -- For kids who
love to pretend or are dramatic, spend a week teaching them how to
become a character, build sets, and have good stage presence. Teach
kids about how God has given us each gifts and talents to share
with others. This camp is also a great building block for getting
kids involved in ministries such as puppetry, worship, or
• Extreme Sports -- Many of the sports camps
offered over the summer are overnight camps that are pricey and
geared for older kids. So offer a day camp that focuses on one
sport such as soccer or basketball, or offer a fun fitness program
to spark kids' interest in a variety of sports. Have students from
a local Christian college or members of your local high school's
Fellowship of Christian Athletes program provide the expertise you
need to teach sports fundamentals. Lead devotions each day that
share the faith of Christian athletes such as Olympic soccer player
Michelle Akers or St. Louis Rams' football player Aeneas Williams.
This day camp program may even spark a church team roster for local
Get Kids Together
These brief events are also great for connecting kids inside and
outside your church.
• Flip for Fun Fridays. Pick a day of the week to
provide a weekly opportunity for kids to attend a field trip with
your church. Venture to places such as the zoo, beach, or museum.
Place kids in small groups for the day led by an adult or
These fun days provide a great opportunity for kids to hang out
together and build relationships with each other over the summer in
a different environment. These events also provide an easy and
convenient way for kids who are already plugged into your ministry
to invite their friends who may not attend church. Challenge kids
in your ministry to reach out to their friends by providing fliers
with all the necessary information.
• Start Summer Clubs. Book or movie clubs provide
another window for kids to peer into your church over the summer.
Before school dismisses, distribute fliers that advertise your club
-- when and where it'll meet and what'll be provided. Public
schools are typically very open to churches advertising a program
that enhances what the school is trying to achieve during the
For book clubs, team with your church library or a Christian
bookstore to provide good books for a variety of reading levels.
Have weekly club meetings to discuss a book, and provide activities
during your meeting that complement what the kids are reading.
Choose books that teach good values and life lessons to enhance
good discussions for your leaders.
A wholesome movie in an air-conditioned room is always a treat
on a hot summer day. Provide popcorn and drinks for participants,
and allow for time following the movie to discuss the film. For
preteens, try a "dive-in" movie and show the movie at a pool after
dark. Kids can float in the pool to keep cool as they watch the
movie projected on a big screen. Use resources such as Children's
Ministry Magazine's "Reel Time" found in "Keeping Current" to spark
discussions about current movies.