FUN is a central element of any after-school program. Can you increase student engagement by adding more fun into your small group? In our online leader workshop this month, we shared practical ways to make Bible lessons more fun and interactive for kids. We also discussed some of the following points on why it is so crucial for kids to have fun at club:
Kids want to be where the fun is…
To grow your club and your impact, focus on how you can best create a fun, inviting environment. Kids have been in school all day, so you don’t want your club to feel like a continuation of the school day. You want kids to have fun and come back. One significant factor in considering your club environment is your club size and ratios of children to leaders in your small group. If your club is too large OR too small, it can greatly diminish the level of fun and learning for everyone. (We strongly recommend ratios of 1 small group leader per seven students for maximum relationship, learning and safety.) When club feels fun, the ratios are healthy, and there’s a positive energy, kids will spread the word that Crossroads is the place to be after school!
Leaders want to have fun too.
Your volunteer recruitment and retention will benefit if your leaders are having fun. If leaders are overwhelmed, feel stressed or burned out, they are unlikely to stick around. Then it can be hard to recruit new leaders if word gets around that club is a stressful place to volunteer. On the contrast, if leaders are underchallenged, they also may leave because they are not feeling their contribution is valuable. Keep connected with how your leaders are feeling and how you can help make their experience meaningful and enjoyable.
Kids actually learn best through play.
Brain research supports that memory is strongly linked to emotion, particularly laughter. We retain information better when have fun learning it. There’s also a very strong connection between laughter and memory, so bring the humor!
Fun is a universal love language for children.
Kids are wired for fun. It’s how they make friendships and how they learn; and that’s the purpose of a Crossroads club, to foster healthy relationships and spiritual growth. So to relate to them we have to meet them on their level. Jesus told his disciples to “let the little children come and not to hinder them” and he said “we must become like little children” to enter his kingdom. To reach kids, we have to speak their language. We have to meet them where they are, both physically (which is why we’re at school!) and developmentally through play, humor and fun. In doing so, you’ll enhance the relationship building process. A former Crossroads student, now a young adult, put it best when he said, “I came for the games. I stayed for the relationships.”
Join us next time!
Don’t miss next month’s workshop, “Games 101” where we will focus on even more practical ways to raise the fun factor in your club through enhancing the quality of your game time. Register now at crossroadskidsclub.com/events.