3 Ways You Can Get Families Talking About Your Lesson at Home

If you are like most children's ministry directors, you are always looking for ways to extend your lesson into the home. 

And that's a great undertaking. We all know how important it is to get parents involved in their child's spiritual growth and well being.  

But it's not always an easy assignment.  We try take home papers, but in many cases they are left in the church parking lot or in the backseat of the car never to be used. 

We try apps.  We try texting.  We try emails.  But in the back of our mind, we are usually thinking "Are they using the resources I am providing?"  Maybe or maybe not.  We know parents are extremely busy and have hundreds of messages coming at them each day.  No wonder our attempts at seeing parents actually using what we send home or to their phone are a challenge.

That being said, I want to share with you 3 ways you can get kids and parents talking about your lesson at home.  These are tools that I believe will be used in the home.  Especially right now with the pandemic.  Families are looking for ways to pass the time while they home for longer periods of time.  

Here they are.

#1 - Puzzles.

According to market research, the sale of puzzles has posted 42% growth year-to-date in the U.S.  Sales for puzzles has jumped 228%. One of the big puzzlemaker companies is called Ravensburger.  They have reached a new milestone of 500 million sales in 2020.

Families are spending time together by putting puzzles together. 

Here's a simple way you can make a puzzle for kids to take home and put together with their parents.  Print out a picture or verse from your lesson on white paper (preferably card stock).  Turn the paper into a puzzle by drawing connecting lines throughout your paper.  For younger kids you can use fewer lines.  For older kids you can use smaller lines to make smaller puzzle pieces.  

If the puzzle image is a picture, you can also print it in black and white and have the kids color the puzzle before cutting it into pieces.  

Kids and parents can then cut the picture up into puzzle pieces.

Give parents a few lesson questions that go along with the puzzle or you can integrate the questions into the puzzle and they can discuss it after they put it together.

#2 - Board Games.

Just like puzzles, board games have become a popular activity for families during lock-down.  The data shows that board games are expected to grow by $5.81 billion by 2024.  A company called Spin Master makes games for families.  They have grown by 13.2% in the U.S this year.  What is contributing to the growth?  Once again a big part of this is due to the pandemic.  Parents are looking for family games to play.

You can create a board game for families.  The questions for the board game can be from your lesson.  A google search for "make your own board game" will bring up lots of free ideas.  Once you have created the game, give it to families on Sunday as they are checking out their kids. 

p.s. I have found that giving the take home page / activity has a better chance of making it home if you give it to the parents during pick-up.  

Another option is to email it to parents and let them print out the game at home.  

#3 Outdoor Toys and Games for the Backyard.  

When the weather is nice, families will look for ways to spend time with their kids in the backyard. Data has shown that outdoor toys posted 31% growth year-to-date in September.  Nationwide sales for outdoor toys have topped over $3.5 billion dollars. 

Parents are looking for ways to get their kids out of the house and involved in outdoor play in the backyard.  Sales for "Slip N' Slides" climbed by more than 180% this year.

Create or adapt outdoor games and use them to get parents and kids talking at home about the lesson.  With the right game, you can play it at church and then encourage kids to play the game at home with their parents.  

Minute-To-Win-It games are a great example.  These are usually simple games that don't take a whole lot of prep time.  Give parents key questions they can incorporate into the game while it is being played.  A quick Google search can provide you with lots of examples for games to play outside.  

The bottom line is this.  Covid-19 has forced families to spend more time at home together.  They are looking for ways to engage their kids and keep them busy.  Puzzles, board games and backyard play are great opportunities to engage kids and parents at home. 

Encourage parents to turn off the TV more often and spend the time using puzzles, board games and backyard play to disciple their children.

Your turn.  I'm sure many of you have created games and puzzles and have ideas for backyard play.  Share them with everyone in the comment section below.