15 Takeaways from Kids' Choice Awards 2017

The 30th annual Kids' Choice Awards was held on March 11 in Los Angeles.  It is an annual awards show that airs on the kid-focused Nickelodeon channel.  It honors the year's biggest television, movie and music acts.  The winners are determined by the kids who are Nickelodeon viewers.

The Kids' Choice Awards provide great insight into kid culture and how to connect with today's kids.  Here are 15 takeaways that children's ministry can benefit from.

#1 - If you want to find out what kids like, then ask them.  The kids' choice awards lets kids vote for their favorite things.  The best way to find out what kids like is to ask them.   This can be done by surveys, focus groups, online voting, etc.

I have also let kids vote online for which worship songs they wanted to sing that coming weekend.  It was very popular among the kids in the ministry.  

#2 - Stay current with technology.  Voting started out by telephone and mailing in votes by snail mail.  But as technology advanced, voting moved to being exclusively online.  When texting arrived on the scene, that option to vote was added.  And in 2010, an app as added that gave kids the ability to vote with a smartphone.

While children's ministries can't always financially afford to be on the cutting edge of technology, they can stay as current as possible.  An example is moving to technology that allows parents to check-in their children with their smartphones.

#3 - Kids love slapstick comedy.  Kids have always loved seeing other kids and adults trip, wipe out or be involved in funny accidents or mishaps.  This is evident in the long list of celebrities who have been "slimed" on the show.  Think about how you can leverage slapstick humor in your skits, videos, games and teaching.

#4 - Kids care about social causes.  The Big Help Award was added in 2009 with the first recipient being Leonardo DiCaprio for his work in helping the environment.  Kids want to make a difference in the world and will partner with others to do so.  Show kids how God can use them to make a difference in the world now and as they grow up.  Give them opportunities to make a difference and they will readily respond.

Here, here, and here are a few examples of how you can do this.

#5 - Kids like sports.  In 2014, Nickelodeon presented the Kids' Choice Sports awards, honoring kids' favorite athletes, teams and sports moments from the year.  Michael Strahan produced and hosted the ceremony.  Think about how your ministry can leverage sports to minister to kids.  Many churches use Upward Sports to connect with new kids and families.  Another way churches use sports is through summer sports camps. 

#6 - Put talented people in front of kids.  Obviously Nickelodeon puts very talented people on stage as the hosts and faces of the award show.  When it comes to large group communicators, worship leaders and hosts, make sure you put your most energetic and talented people in front of the kids.

#7 - Kids are looking for role models.  Kids vote for actors, singers and sports heroes that they admire and look up to.  Show your volunteers what a great opportunity they have to be a godly role model and influence the kids they serve with.

#8 - Kids love to see their leaders pranked.  A huge part of the show is when the leaders get "slimed."  Incorporate your volunteers into messy games, skits and activities where they get pranked.  FYI - give them a heads up and provide them with the proper attire ahead of time.  

#9 - Music styles kids like.  You can learn a lot about kids' current tastes in music from the groups and artists they pick to receive an award.  Look for worship songs, game songs, background music, etc. that reflect these styles.  Here is a list of songs, artists and groups that won this year. 
  • The Chainsmokers 
  • Fifth Harmony
  • Maroon 5
  • OneRepublic
  • Pentatonix
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • Drake
  • Justn Bieber
  • Bruno Mars 
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Justin Timberlake
  • The Weeknd
  • Adele
  • Beyoncé
  • Ariana Grande 
  • Selena Gomez
  • Rihanna
  • Meghan Trainor 
  • "Can't Stop the Feeling!" — Justin Timberlake
  • "Heathens" — Twenty One Pilots
  • "Send My Love (To Your New Lover) — Adele
  • "Side to Side" — Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj 
  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Daya
  • Lukas Graham
  • Solange
  • Rae Sremmurd
  • Hailee Steinfeld
  • "Formation" — Beyoncé 
  • "Juju on That Beat" — Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall
  • "Me Too" — Meghan Trainor "Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots
  • Martin Garrix
  • Calvin Harris
  • Major Lazer
  • Skrillex
  • DJ Snake
  • Zedd
  • Hamilton
  • Me Before You
  • Moana
  • Sing
  • Tiffany Alvord
  • Matty B
  • Carson Lueders
  • Johnny Orlando
  • Jacob Sartorius
#10 - Kids love heroes.  Super hero movies often get chosen as kids' favorites.  Examples this year are winners Captain America, X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The Bible contains the stories of the greatest, real-life heroes ever.  As we tell their stories and share the part they played in God's big plan, kids will respond. 

#11 - Kids love animals.  Another category in the awards is "Most Wanted Pet."  Here were the winners this year.
  • Baloo from The Jungle Book
  • Dory from Finding Dory
  • Po from Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Red from The Angry Birds Movie
  • Rosita from Sing
  • Snowball from The Secret Life of Pets
Think about how you can incorporate animals into your lessons.  The Bible is full of stories of animals. 

#12 - Friendship is important to kids.  Another category is BFF's (Best Friends Forever).  It highlights the kids' favorite friendships they saw in film and television.  Here were this year's winners.
  • Ruby Barnhill & Mark Rylance (Sophie/BFG, The BFG)
  • Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson (Bob/Calvin, Central Intelligence)
  • Kevin Hart & Ice Cube (Ben/James, Ride Along 2)
  • Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto (Captain Kirk/Spock, Star Trek Beyond)
  • Neel Sethi & Bill Murray (Mowgli/ Baloo, Jungle Book)
  • Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson (Derek/Hansel, Zoolander 2)
Friendships is what keeps kids coming to church.  Give kids the opportunity to establish friendships by providing small groups, icebreakers during lessons, etc.

#13 - Kids love to play games.  This is evident as kids voted for their favorite video games.  The winners this year were...
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Lego Marvel's Avengers
  • Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Minecraft: Story Mode
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash
  • Pokémon Moon 
Use games before service as a connection point for kids and volunteers.  Use lots of games (and it doesn't have to be video games - they play those all week and are looking for something different) in your lessons to help kids learn Bible truths.  Give kids game ideas they can play at home with their parents to re-emphasize the lesson they learned at church. 

#14 - Use colors kids like.  The colors that are used in the graphics, stage design, trophy, videos and the other parts of the show are colors that kids love.  When choosing colors for graphics, theming and designing, look through the eyes of a child.

#15 - Kids are intrigued with the struggle of good vs. evil.  This is reflected in the villains that kids chose as their favorites. 
  • Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen, Alice Through the Looking Glass)
  • Idris Elba (Krall, Star Trek Beyond)
  • Will Ferrell (Mugatu, Zoolander 2)
  • WINNER: Kevin Hart (Snowball, The Secret Life of Pets) 
  • Charlize Theron (Ravenna, The Huntsman: Winter's War)
  • Spencer Wilding (Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
The Bible records the ultimate struggle of good vs. evil.  Show kids how the struggle has played out over the years and how it will eventually end.  Show them how they can be on the winning side when they give their lives to Christ and follow Him.