Mid-Week Adventures Tips and Tricks
Thinking about hosting a Mid-Week Adventures event this Summer?
Down on the Farm, Slime Zone Summer, Splish Splash Summer Blast, Scream and Shout School is Out, Rootin Tootin Roundup...or any of the other great Summer themes?
On this page...I will share some of my best tips and tricks for hosting an event.
For the past several summers; while our AWANA program takes a break, I have hosted fun Wednesday night activities for our children.
Why? Because it's summer...because they're kids...because it increases attendance...because it is an outreach to the community...because kids need a break too...because it teaches children to play together...because it teaches children to follow rules...because it helps children make new friends...because it is a time of fellowship with other church kiddo's.
You pick....there are TONS of reasons!
Does the learning stop? No!
It's just done in a different way.
This will be one of the best summers you have ever had
"IF" you remember a couple of things.
Let the children be your guide! If the children are having fun... don't even THINK about switching to another activity!
"If" the children start getting bored with an activity...that's the time to toss in a little competition...and then go right back to the originally planned activity. A short break will usually be all it takes before the children are recharged and ready to go again.
Not all "extra" activities that you plan will be used...and that's ok. In fact, if you don't use them, it means that the kids were having a GREAT time!
Plan a few "emergency" activities but don't plan on using them unless you have to. Normally dividing into teams, dividing into boys vs girls, dividing into girls vs girls, and boys vs boys is all it takes to keep the activities going.
Have several items that you bring with you each week. Items that would make good "gap" filler if needed. For instance, I have several pool noodles that I have cut in half and stuck into 5-gallon buckets. I grab up the buckets and take the noodles with me each week. If the kids get bored with an activity, I just pull out the pool noodles and let them have a pool noodle battle (boys vs boys and girls vs girls normally). After a little pool noodle battle, we go back to the scheduled activity.
Most of the activities that I have planned (there are exceptions such as the Water Olympics) are just good old-fashioned free for all fun events. There are rules of course...which you will review with the children before each activity begin. Aside from that...let them go! Let them be kids!
- You do not need to plan 10 different games to be played in a one-hour...or two-hour time slot. This will stress you out AND the whole idea of structured chaos is thrown right out of the door.
Plan an event but let the kids lead the way.
Many times, we plan an event and we have every single second accounted for...STOP! Let the kids lead the way.
Plan...Yes! Prepare...Yes! Lead...No!
This Summer...let the kids lead you.
This will be one of the most memorable summers you have ever had...and what the children look forward to each year!
I have done these events for YEARS and I have tons of tips and tricks that will make this summer much easier than you could ever imagine!
So, let's jump right in!
First of all, these events ARE messy!
When you promote these events, make sure that parents know their children will be getting messy...but will be rinsed off before going home!
Encourage parents to:
Send their kids in old clothing (and shoes) that WILL get stained. I normally ask them to select one set of old clothing and send their child in that same set of clothing each week. Sometimes we even have a contest on the last day to see who's clothing is the most colorful. :)
Bring a towel for their child each week. Again, it can be the same old towel.
Cover their car seat with a trash bag or an old towel...just in case.
Swimming Pool/Water Tank/Water Hose
Before the children go home, it is a good idea to rinse them off with a water hose or have them jump into a kiddy pool or a water tank to rinse off.
This will not be needed for all of the activities but is a "must" with all events involving paint!
TIPS AND IDEAS
Many of the items that you purchase will be used over and over again this summer...or year after year.
Many of the activities listed have very minimal cost and once you have purchased a few (inexpensive) essential items that you can re-use each year, you are all set!
These items will be used many. many times in your children's ministry.
Essential items to locate or purchase!
In my opinion, you can never have too many 5-gallon buckets!
5-gallon buckets can be purchased for around $3.00 each. If your budget is tight, you may want to check with local sandwich shops to see if they will give you some...or sell some to you at a minimal cost.
Sandwich shops purchase 5-gallon buckets filled with pickles and often sell or give away the buckets!
I use the buckets for the games as well as storing things in...such as the water shooters, goggles, glasses, etc.
Just grab the bucket and you're ready to go!
After an event, line up several of the buckets...one for goggles, one for water shooters, one for trash, etc. etc. etc.
Kids will drop their items into the buckets and you're ready to go!
A Good Garden Hose
You will definitely need a good garden hose...one of the lightweight, expandable ones.
Not a cheap one...a good one!
If you can't afford a good one...just make sure it is lightweight and expandable. You may have to replace it annually.
I purchased my own hose ($60) that I use on my flowers at home so I just take it back and forth.
The reason for a lightweight; expandable hose is that you can gather it up, toss it into one of those amazing 5-gallon buckets that I mentioned above and head out with it.
No rolling up hoses, no trying to get kinks out, no water running down your shirt, etc. They are so light that you can hand the bucket off to a 1st grader and they are able to carry it with no problem.
You will need a minimum of one water shooter per child.
A water shooter costs approx $1.00 each...or you can purchase packages of them cheaper (sometimes).
You will LOVE these shooters! I use them for LOTS of things!
Tip: Buy them as soon as they come out in the Spring. They will disappear quickly and you may not be able to find them later in the Summer.
Purchase extras if possible. The water shooters are very durable but they do break from time to time.
I purchase them every year...even if I have enough.
You never know when they will break, when extra children will attend or when you will come up with new ideas!
You will be using the shooters for the Kool-Aid Wars, Super Soaker Night
and the Paint Wars event.
Tip: On the Paint Wars event, Fill 2 or 3 of the amazing 5-gallon buckets with warm, soapy water and 2-3 of them with warm
water (no soap)
When finished with all the fun, have the children rinse out their shooters. They will load and discharge their shooters (3-4 times) using warm soapy water and then load and discharge them (once or twice) using the clear water.
This will save you a lot of cleaning later.
Always check to make sure they are clean before storing them away.
I always use one of the handy dandy 5-gallon buckets to store them in. Just put the water end down into the bucket.
You will need eye protection for the children.
I have both the glasses and the swim goggles. I use glasses for our Nerf wars event so I make them available to the kids as well.
If you can only afford one set of eye protection per child, it would be best to purchase swim goggles.
If you can't afford the goggles have the children bring their own.
FYI - You can purchase construction goggles or glasses at the $$$ store for $1.00 per pair. Both would work fine!
Purchase your tempera paint by the gallon. It is much, much, much cheaper to do it this way.
Hint: I have a Staples reward account where I recycle ink cartridges (printer). I earn rewards ($2.00 per cartridge) that I use towards purchasing paint.
I have a collection box where everyone drops off their used cartridges.
I purchase paint each time I earn enough rewards. So far, I have spent $0.00 to purchase paint.
Check out a Staples Rewards account at your local Staples. It is FREE to apply.
When you host the Kool-Aid event, you will need 3 envelopes of Kool-Aid per 5-gallon bucket of water.
You WILL NOT use Sugar in your Kool-Aid
This event is almost Free to host!
If you are going to do a bubble pool during the Super Duper Bubble night...purchase 3-4 gallons of bubbles now! Once they are gone...they are gone. In fact, if you are going to do a bubble pool during your Fallfest...purchase them during the summer. They are a seasonal item.
Bubble Wands and Bubble Powder
I purchased my bubble wands and bubble powder from
I am sure there are other places to purchase as well.
If You have a WISH list...put this on it!
May as well wish big!
Vehicle. Cart or Trailer
I know that most of you will not have an extra vehicle around the church...or an extra vehicle around your house. However, I have a little PT Cruiser that is my extra car. I use it when hauling plants or potting soil or sometimes groceries. In the summertime, my little PT becomes my summer activity vehicle.
I load many of the items that I will use over and over and over again during my Wednesday night events...and I leave them there!
No loading and unloading and reloading again!
On Wednesday evenings, I simply drive onto the playing area, open the back hatch and work straight from the back of my car.
The kid's goggles and eye protection, the water shooters (in a 5-gallon bucket), paper towels, my water hose (in a handy dandy 5-gallon bucket), extra trash bags, a container or two of cheese puffs, paper cups, etc. etc. etc are kept in my car. This saves me TONS of work each week. I just take my checklist and make sure I have everything and I am off and ready.
The kids call it my party wagon!
If you can find an extra vehicle...find it!
If you can find a trailer that can be moved to the play area...find it!
Maybe the church has a vehicle that is not being used.
Maybe someone in your church has one that they will allow
you to use (on church property).
It doesn't matter what it looks like... it doesn't matter if it can barely make it from one side of the church to the other...use it!
If you can have all of your supplies in one place...it will save you a TON of time and energy.
It is not a requirement...but something that will definitely make your life easier!
After each activity, have the children pick up any trash that was created during the activity (such as cans from the shave cream wars).
After each activity (when they are finished using them) have the children bring all items and put them in a designated spot before you go on to the next activity.
I purchase different colors of 5-gallon buckets so that I can say "Bring your goggles and put in the red bucket" or "Bring your water shooters and put in the blue bucket.
At the end of the evening, you can easily hose down the items in the bucket, pour off the excess water, and tote them inside using the buckets.
You will thank me for these tips later! :)
ONE LAST TIP!
LOCK YOUR SUPPLIES UP!
I know that everything belongs to the church...I get that!
But if you are entrusted with the Children's budget then you are responsible for how it is spent...how it is used...what happens to the supplies.
Not everyone...even within the walls of the church...get it!
That doesn't mean that you won't share...it just means that they come to you to get it...they come to you to return it...they replace it if they break it!
Don't hate me!
Work to build up your supplies each year...and soon, your children's summer events will cost almost nothing. Then your budget can be spent on reaching even more children!
Did I mention a whistle and some small safety cones to mark off designated areas? I've rambled on for so long, I can't remember :) Anyhow, they are both great things to have!