Monday, August 19, 2013

Splash Night 2013

I get asked a lot what I do with my kids during those long summer months.  Our Wednesday night AWANA program runs side by side with our county school calendar.  When the schools are out for the summer we suspend our Wednesday night programs.  Why?  One reason we do this is to give our volunteers time for rest and family.  Our volunteers faithfully serve every Wednesday night and I like to give them some time off.  Another reason that we do this is because so many families are travelling over the summer which makes it hard to have a consistent schedule.

However, this doesn't mean that we shut down during the summer.  On the contrary, this summer was my busiest summer since I began working here.  I pulled together two events here at the church, two outreach events in a neighboring community, a week long VBS, and launched my new pre-teen ministry Transit for Grades 5 & 6.  That's what I'd call a busy summer and a full plate...

My most recent post on AWANA theme nights was so popular (1100 views and counting) that I thought I would spend the next 4 Mondays breaking down each of my events for those long summer months.  Why?  Because it's never too early to plan ahead in ministry!

Today, we'll be talking about SPLASH NIGHT!

Splash night is one of my personal favorites of the entire year!  What can possibly be more fun than running around with 60+ kids and water everywhere!  This year we did a super-sized Splash Night and ran our event for two hours.  All of my events are always free and are always open to the entire community!  The more kids who come the better!

Splash night is set up to be a rotation of pure fun!  Kids move around to 3 different areas according to their age groups: games, free splash and snack/story-time.  Splash Night was two hours this year enabling us to let the kids spend 30 minutes at each station and it was the perfect amount of time.  When it was time for kids to rotate they had spent enough time that everyone had gotten to play all they wanted and they were ready to move to their next area.

Free Splash:

Our free splash area is always our most popular and this is how I set up.
2 baby pools in the grass filled with water (These you can buy at any local store for approximately $10/piece)
A bubble station- My kids absolutely love to blow bubbles and it's a great space for your littlest kids and those who don't want to get wet.
A 50 foot slip & slide- I know this seems overwhelming to set up but it's actually really simple.  All you need is some thick tarps from your local hardware store (I use 2 (25 foot tarps) and some garden stakes.  I load my slip & slide down with tear-free baby shampoo to make it extra slippery, set a sprinkler up in the middle and give my main volunteers a water hose to spray down both the kids and the water slide.

And that's my free splash area and it works exactly as it sounds... Kids do whatever they want to do for 30 minutes and they always have a blast.  Just remember to be safety conscious... Only 1 kid on the slip & slide at a time, etc...  Make sure to put some great volunteers in this spot who can keep the kids safe.

Here's a look at our slip & slide:

Games:

Every game is better with water... It's just a fact of working in #KidsMin.
These are the games that I play with my little one's during splash night.

1) Sponge Relay- Divide your kids into teams, put a large bucket of water at one end and smaller buckets at the other end.  One at a time have kids run down with a sponge (I bought mine at the Dollar Store- the big car wash sponges work best) and dunk it in the large bucket (I like to use storage containers).  After they have dunked their sponge they should then run back to their team bucket and squeeze their sponge full of water into their team bucket.  The first team to fill their bucket wins.

2) Sand Castle Contests-  Sand is such a cheap and easy play experience.  I like to set up two tarps and put 4 bags of play sand on each.  Then you give the kids 5-8 minutes to build the best sand castle they can.  The team with the best castle wins.

3) Water Balloon Toss- Fill approximately 5 balloons for every 2 kids (60/2= 30*5=150 water balloons for me... I really filled about 250 because it's always good to have extras!).  Have kids pair up and toss their water balloons.  After a completed catch both partners (or only 1... however you want to play) take a step back.  The pair that makes it the farthest wins.

4) Bucket Brigade- For this games you need 4 (or however many teams you have) large buckets and 4 small buckets.  One at a time a member from each time runs down and fills their smaller buckets and places them on their heads.  (That's right, on their heads... This one is fun to demonstrate!)  They run back to their team and dump what little water they have remaining into their buckets!  The team who fills their bucket the fastest wins!  This game can be played so many different ways by just switching up how kids carry the small bucket!

5) Water Dodge ball- I always like to end my game time with water dodge ball.  All I have to do is set my sprinkler up in the middle of the game field and let my kids have at it!  It's a great way to get in those last splashes in the sprinkler and let the kids burn off some energy before going to their next station.

Snack/Story-Time:

I love to host fun events for my community, but I always make sure that everyone has heard about Jesus by the end of the night!  During their rotations kids will spend time eating a fun snack and hearing about Jesus.  Any Bible stories about water would work great for this... Jesus calming the storm, Peter walking on water, etc...  Make sure that your night doesn't end without you getting to tell your little one's about Jesus!

Presenting the Gospel
Splash night is also a great time to pull out those wacky shorts, t-shirts, and hair bows. 
Why?  Because #KidsMin is FUN!  


And that is just a quick splash about splash night!

Come back next week for a break down of our Summer Olympics!  An event you won't want to miss!

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