Sunday, February 10, 2013

4 Inexpensive Ideas to Jazz Up Your Space

Image: 'Green Paint
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Relevant Children's Ministries look and feel like a place kids want to go.  Think Disney. Think Build-a-Bear.  Think Great Wolf Lodge.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that these places are built for kids, and every kids who walks in the door knows it.  

These awesome environments tell kids, "This is a place just for you!"

And yet when kids come to church, they often get stuck in dingy Sunday School rooms and leaky basements.  Or at the very least we give them plain, institutional classrooms that look like school.  If we're serious about communicating the  Bible to kids by speaking into their world, this can't be good enough.  A kid's world is fun!   

We have to create environments that speak a kid's language.  We have to do everything we can create space with tons of kid-appeal.   

The biggest reason we don't?  Money!  

The great news is, though, that you don’t have to have a million dollar building or a million dollar budget to create a place kids love to go.  You just have to be smart with what you have.

Here's a place to start.  Try these four inexpensive ideas to create a cool vibe in your kids' space that will tell kids, "Church is a place just for you!"

1. Play cool music as kids are arriving the room.  This creates a sense of anticipation and fun and makes it feel more like a party than a library.  Before the kids even get to the room, they can tell that something fun is going on inside.   Choose music that sounds upbeat and current.

Here are a couple of CDs from Amber Sky Records our church is using right now for walk-in music.  Put these on next weekend and see what a difference it makes for the fun factor in the room.

Buy Zapped! here  

Buy Turn it Up here

2. Declutter the room.  Let's face it.  Children's Ministry often gets left-over space and left-over junk.  So clean out all that extra stuff, tear down the outdated posters and make intentional use of your space.  Just organizing your rooms can make a huge difference.  For a great example of clutter-free space, check out this post.

3. Slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls.  If you can’t afford to paint the whole room, just paint the wall kids see when they walk into the room.  It will make your room more inviting and draw them in.  

There's a reason Disney stuck a big castle in the middle of the Magic Kingdom.  It's designed to draw people down Main Street to get them into the heart of the park.   So, do the same thing by making the first things kids see as awesome as possible.  

When choosing a color, you don't have to go primary.  Go for something funky and fresh.  Here's a great idea from Aaron Reynolds: pick cool colors by going to stores like Old Navy or Aeropostale and look at their current gift cards.  They’re usually designed with trendy colors that kids love.

4. Finally, use a key prop from the story to build a sense of anticipation.  For example, one week I told the story of Peter walking on water, and I borrowed a kayak from a guy in our church.  It was huge!  The kids walked into what was ordinarily a pretty boring room and freaked out.  Everybody wanted to know why it was there.  Not only did it raise curiosity about the lesson, it told kids that church is a place where anything can happen.

Put these ideas into action over the next couple of months and watch how they transform even the simplest of rooms into a place every kid wants to go. 

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