1. Play gives kids the opportunity to connect with each other. In a recent post, I shared 8 games you can use to help kids connect with each other before service starts.
2. Play gives kids the opportunity to connect with leaders. It's important for kids to have some "hang time" with leaders so they can interact and build relationships. When a leader spends time simply "hanging out" with a child at church, it opens the child's heart to listen to what the leader has to say later.
3. Play is one of the primary ways kids learn. When it comes to learning, time playing may be more important than time sitting in a classroom. Countries that offer more recess time tend to have higher academic performance. Play truly is a child's learning lab.
“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” George Dorsey
“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” O. Fred Donaldson
4. Play can be used to illustrate Biblical truth. Bring play into your lesson to illustrate what you're teaching. Using guided play is one of the most effective ways you can teach kids God's Word.
“Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” Gottfried Benn
5. Play makes church a fun experience for kids. Want kids dragging their parents to your church? When kids know they'll have the opportunity to play at church, they look forward to coming (even when it's guided play with a purpose).
“The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.”
6. Play allows kids to do what they are wired to do...move, move, move! You can read more about this in this article.
7. Play lets kids use their creativity and imagination. When you allow kids to play, you have a front-row seat to some of the most imaginative theater ever produced.
“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.” Roger Von Oech
“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
8. Play allows kids to engage on their age level. Instead of placing kids in an adult environment, place them in an environment that is geared for their age level...which includes playing.
9. Play can be used to practice living out the truth. Through play, you can give kids opportunities to live out what you just taught them. An example would be a lesson about honesty. You can have kids practice this by playing like they are in a situation where they are being tempted to be dishonest.
“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” Mr. Rogers
10. Play builds kids' self-esteem. Play contributes to a child's emotional well-being. It gives kids confidence and helps them learn how to make friends. Studies show that kids who play have higher levels of social success as adults as it helps them learn to cooperate, be flexible and resolve conflict.
The floor is yours. Do you use play as part of your children's ministry strategy? Do you incorporate play into your curriculum? Share your ideas and thoughts with us in the comment section below.