Why You Should Use Games and Puzzles in Your Children's Ministry

Do you use games and puzzles in your children's ministry?  If not, you should consider it.  Recent research shows that games and puzzles is the fastest growing toy category.  Last year, the games and puzzles category recorded its highest global growth - up 8% to $9.5 billion dollars.  Specifically in the United States, the category grew 18%.  This is being fueled by every type of game and puzzle, including family strategy and board games to preschool games.

This affirms again that kids love games and puzzles.  Perhaps we would see kids better remember what we are trying to teach them if we did less lecturing and provided more ways for kids to learn through games and puzzles.  Games and puzzles are great ways for kids to memorize scripture, explore Biblical truth and review the key points of the lesson.  Bottom line - kids love to play - it's their natural bent.  Instead of forcing them to "sit still and be quiet" why not unleash the power of play to help them learn God's Word?

Here's another interesting note.  Research shows that the rise in the popularity of games and puzzles is also being fueled by parents.  Parents love to play games and puzzles with their kids.  This is why family board games are so popular.  As we look for ways to engage parents in discipling their kids at home during the week, we should consider puzzles and games.  What if, this week instead of handing the parents in your ministry a take home paper with 3 questions to ask their child, instead you handed them a puzzle or simple board game they could play with their child that was a tool to review what was taught?  If we did this, I believe we would see parents actually using what we send home with them.

Most of us have fond memories of the time we spent growing up playing games like Monopoly, Trouble, Clue, Pictionary and Scrabble with our parents.  We also remember working with our parents to put together a puzzle spread out on a table.  What if the kids in our ministries grew up playing games and puzzles with their parents that re-emphasized what they had learned at church?  The impact could be phenomenal.

Another option if you don't have the time or resources to create puzzles or board games, is to incorporate the lesson into some of the popular family board games mentioned above.  Some examples would be giving parents some key words or phrases or parts of the lesson to use while playing Pictionary with their kids.  Or perhaps you get to go 3 extra spaces in Trouble when answering a discussion question from the weekend lesson.  The possibilities are endless.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  How do you use games and puzzles in your children's ministry to engage kids with God's Word?  What ideas do you have for using games and puzzles to encourage parents to talk about the lesson at home during the week?  Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section below.