Children adore routine and so beginning each session in a similar style each time you meet often leads to a sense of security, identity and belonging.
1. Football/cheerleaders style chant
Give everyone some form of percussion instrument or start with a heavy drum beat. It could be just four drum beats, based on the hit kids' film High School Musical, but make your own phrase like:
Together; together; together we come to you;
Together; together; for ever we worship you.
2 .Guessing game
You will need: scrap paper, pens, a bowl or hat.
Give everyone a piece of paper and a pen. Ask them to write three things on the paper, without letting anyone else see what they are writing:
- a favourite animal;
- an animal about which they have a phobia or dislike;
- the name of a memorable place of natural beauty they have visited.
Collect the slips of paper, scrunch them up, put them in a bowl and shake them up. Pass the bowl around and ask each person to take a piece. Go around the group, reading the things written down, and together try to guess who wrote them.
Taken from Dave Maclure, Multi-Sensory Message, Scripture Union, 2008, p. 7.
3. Pass the parcel
You will need: a prize, newspaper, sticky tape, pre-printed stickers, CD player.
Create a multi-layered 'parcel' with a nice prize in the centre that the children will enjoy together, eg, a large pack of Maltesers or some gel pens. Instead of forfeits for each layer, include a sheet of five stickers that you've pre-printed with something like 'God really does love me' (or any other short, welcoming and inclusive phrase). When the music stops, the person removes the next wrapper and finds a small sheet of the pre-printed labels which they then distribute to their immediate neighbours. Eventually everyone in the room should have a sticker – and a nice prize at the end too!
Music: Don't forget to have some good uptempo music, preferably from the charts, that's suitable, uplifting and appropriate. If nothing is suitable, a good example would be 'Celebration' by Kool & the Gang - and make sure everyone gets 'a turn'.