I Don’t Play by The Rules
By Jillian Warmboe, KidZone director at The Rock Church of Fort Myers
This past Sunday KidZone played games… just for fun! There was no rhyme, reason or objective other than just fun. Afterwards the teacher in me kicked back in and I realized all the powerful lessons I could have conveyed through these fun games! My purpose in writing this article today is to share how a game can be taken, adjusted, the rules changed and it be used to convey almost any lesson. To start, all we need is a fun game!
One of the games I used Sunday was just a classic holiday party game. The game is played by dividing into groups, each group is given gift wrapping supplies (rolls of wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, bows and tape) and the groups are instructed to wrap up one of the team members. Usually this is ended as a contest for the best wrapped person. I told the kids that I felt neglected because they hadn’t given me any gifts… hadn’t even called me (sniff, sniff, tear…) I was so sad and what I needed from them was one kid from each group to be given to me as a gift! Instead of the customary contest at the end I instead excitedly unwrapped each of my gifts, exclaiming how delightful, adorable, cute and precious they were. I shouted over and over again “I love it I love it I LOVE it!!!” They were absolutely in stitches over both their wrapping jobs and my reactions, it was a blast!
Later in the afternoon as I reflected I realized that I could have done this activity, just the same… but ended with how excited God gets when we give ourselves fully to him. I thought about several verses that could have been applied:
- Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
- Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
- Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
This game could also be changed by having a box brought in, wrapped to look very yucky, inside containing a lovely gift… something all the kids would want, maybe candy… the teacher would excitedly unwrap this gift as well. The lesson objective being God does not look on the outward appearance, He sees what is contained in our hearts.
The second game played was pulled from a youth game site (link provided at end of article), the game was called Steal the Keys. With this game not only did I afterwards think of lesson applications, but I also revamped the game to fit my group. I will start with the game being revamped and then discuss lesson applications. This is the game play as listed on the site:
- Put the keys in the metal bowl, and place it under the chair.
- Everyone makes a wide circle around the chair
- A person is blindfolded, and sits in the chair, armed with a nerf sword.
- The blind man must defend the keys, if he connects with someone that person is either out, or sent back to start again.
- The objective is to sneak up and get the keys from the bowl, back to the starting area, without being hit.
- The successful sneaker gets to be the next blind man
- It can be played in turns, or all at once, which makes for fast competitive sneaking
- A leader can also direct, selecting one or more child to attempt at the same time
The game was taken only for the keys and pool noodles (I read nerf sword and translated that into pool noodles)… I didn’t really care about the rest of the rules presented. Here are the changes I made:
- Keys are noisy enough, and I didn’t have a metal bowl anyhow
- I forgot my blindfolds! Wrapping paper crowns were made on the spot (bows and all)
- My kids are wild (I love them, but this is the truth), I only allowed one child to attempt to get the keys at a time.
- We started with 2 pool noodles and quickly realized that only one of the kids was truly ninja enough to overcome dual pool noodles = game change, one noodle it is!
- Some kids were kinda scared of the fast flying pool noodle being swung around (I guess this is understandable…) a countdown was implemented; they only had 10 seconds to attempt to capture the keys.
Again, this game was played just for fun, no lesson or objective was intended. A few hours after posting some videos another children’s ministry worker replied to one of the posts asking what the lesson objective was? I didn’t want the game to go to waste, and upon reflecting on the game thought of several lessons that this game could be applied in:
- Spiritual warfare: Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The person in the chair is us in our flesh, we cannot see the spiritual forces that we are facing on a daily basis, we must develop our spiritual ‘senses’ through prayer and study, being sensitive in the Holy Ghost to spiritual battles we are facing.
- Guarding our hearts: Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. The keys (OR!!! You could make a heart covered with little jingle bells!!!) represent your heart, the person in the center is using the noodle to protect their heart.
- Carefulness in approaching the lost: Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. In this variation the person in the middle would represent a lost soul, the keys are that persons soul, the other kids approaching trying to capture the keys are being careful of their steps, their words, their actions.
As demonstrated, a game can be taken and used for many different object lessons. Even the website presented a twist to the game play: turn off the lights! I’m sure there are even more applications this game could take on with that alteration. As teachers we need to think outside the box to see the full spectrum of how different activities can be applied in reaching our children. I hope this post has been helpful, please feel free to steal my ideas!
Steal the keys: http://youthgroupgames.com.au/games/550/steal-the-keys/
KidZone’s Facebook page to see videos of these games: https://www.facebook.com/kidzonetrc/
A version of the gift wrapping game: http://womensministrytoolbox.com/christmas-wrap-it-up-game/