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Outreach That Works

Don't Forget the Small Fries
Preschoolers often get left out of summer plans even though parents look diligently for something worthwhile and structured for kids this age.
Include preschoolers in vacation Bible school and day camp programs, but provide separate and age-appropriate programming for them. If you plan field trips for this age group, require parent participation since car seats are an issue. Use these ideas to reach out to preschoolers and their families over the summer.

Organize Parent-Child Play Groups. Help parents and kids get together by planning play groups at local parks. Organize the play groups by neighborhood so kids will get to know other kids who'll attend their elementary school. Distribute fliers in the neighborhood and provide information about what your church offers kids.

Offer Swimming Lessons. If you have people in your church who are lifeguard certified, ask them to help you provide swimming lessons at a local pool, free of charge. Have your church sponsor the lessons by renting the pool for one or two hours for several weeks over the summer. This is a great way to reach out to families who may not be able to afford to send their children to a swim class, and it shows that your church cares about children's safety.

Throw a Kindergarten Round-Up. Before school begins in the fall, have a party for all your preschoolers who are entering kindergarten. Set up stations for kids to visit and meet others who'll be going to their school. Give away pencils or backpack ID tags printed with your church's name and phone number, and provide parents with highlights about your upcoming programs for kids during the school year.

So the bell is about to ring; are you ready for summer?

Carmen Kamrath is the children's pastor at a church in Loveland, Colorado.

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