A very easy way of providing a fun and lively activity and at the same time connecting it to a bible story. We try and use races as described below as ways of introducing a theme or story. The children I have worked with have always loved taking part in fun races. We are very fortunate at our church to have lots of sport equipment, however if this is not something you have access to, consider using every day items instead, or even better, ask the parents if they can let you borrow some of the sport equipment that is no doubt taking up lots of space in their garage!
I usually split the children into two or three teams and make sure we have plenty of space (either inside or outside) to do some races. As a very ‘non-sporty’ person, all the races I organise are about fun! No particular sporting talent is required, just the willingness to take part. I find that the ‘sillier’ the activity is that the children are asked to do, the more they enjoy it. Just make sure you do all the risk assessments to ensure the races are fun but safe. The children should start by sitting in two lines, one behind each other, facing the course in front of them. You should have two of everything you need for the course, ie so there is enough for two teams. Have an adult at the top of the course and one with the children. Explain and demonstrate the course first, ensuring you have thought of every eventuality! The winning team is the one which completes the course first and sits back down in their line – and quietly!
Here are a few examples of what our very simple relay races tend to involve:
- Balance a ball on a racket and walk in and out of the cones (or chairs) right to the top of the course and then back again, without dropping the ball.
- Walk like a penguin whilst balancing a small hoop or bean bag on your head, again in and out of the cones to the top of the course and then back again.
- Make the noise of a chicken whilst hopping your way around the course.
- Dribble a football in and out of the cones
- Dribble a hockey ball with a hockey stick in and out of the cones.
- Throw a foam arrow as far as you can once you get to the top of the course.
- And a few other ideas: Do 5 skips with a skipping rope, go in and out of hula hoop, throw a small beanbag into another hoop, crawl under a play parachute, walk along a piece of tape on the floor, hop, skip, run, jump, score a goal with a football, bounce a ball into a bucket, etc. The list is endless!
The way to link the race to the bible story is to try and include something from the story in the race! Here are a few examples:
- Animal noises or walks – Noah, Daniel in the Lion’s Den or Creation
- Pick up a brightly coloured piece of material (could even be the size of a hanky) and attach it to you throughout the course. – Joseph and his multicoloured coat.
- Carry a brightly decorated shoebox with four handles on it (made out of the inside of a roll of kitchen towel) over an obstacle course – the moving of the Arc of God (2 Samuel 6)
- Pick up a letter of the alphabet at the end of the course and bring it back to the rest of your team. Once all the letters have been collected, work out what the word spells (can be anything to do with the theme or story for that day). You could also do this with a bible story picture which you have cut up to make a jigsaw.
- Push a cuddly toy sheep (or little plastic one) around the course with a walking stick or hockey stick – the parable of the lost sheep.
- Make each child dress up as a shepherd or king as they go around the course – Christmas
- Throw a small ball or bean bag at a large teddy or doll – David and Goliath
- Give each child a cup of water to carry around the course, without spilling it! – The parting of the red sea, Jesus turning water into wine, the woman at the well, in fact any story in the bible that mentions water! (water games are always popular with our children – but be prepared for lots of wet clothes!)
- Give each team a doll to carry around the course and various baby equipment to pick up on their way, eg bottles, nappies, spoons, blankets, etc. – Christmas, Moses (as a baby)
- Have a tray of sand at the end of the course and the children have to build a Lego house on the sand, one brick at a time which they have picked up along the way. – the wise and foolish men.
- Tell the children a bible story before the game begins. Have about 10 items at the top of the course, some of which were mentioned in the story, some of which were not. The children have to do the course and then choose which item they should bring back to their team that is related to the story. Eg Easter or Moses would be good.
- Include a dice in the course (you can buy giant foam dice) where the children have to throw a six or one before they can continue the course – link with the time the soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothes when he was being crucified.
- Hopping, using just one hand for something or having to crawl instead of walk – any story about healing in the bible.
Some of these ideas I have tried out and some I have just thought of off the top of my head! The point is that relay races can be adapted so very easily to fit in with your theme for the day (however vague/weak that link might be!) I am sure the list is endless and if I think of any more ideas will be sure to add them to this list! Have fun!