A few weeks ago, I planned a children’s event, thinking that my target audience would be kindergarten through fifth grade or so. One parent specifically asked me to stop putting age limits on my activities, I thought one unrestricted activity every now and then wouldn’t be a bad idea Instead, I got two toddlers and a bunch of middle school students. I thought things were going to go badly, instead, it went really well. The older youth LOVED caring for the little ones, and having the freedom to act like kids themselves.
We spent our time together learning about pretzels. The legend of the Pretzel is a really easy Google search. They were “invented” by a monk. The shape of the dough he was baking with suddenly reminded him of the traditional prayer pose for children. The pretzel was born. Before we baked, we read the story of the pretzel, talked about what we do with our hands while we pray, and what we could do with our bodies to help us remember that we are having a conversation with God. Then we made pretzels from scratch. The middle school girls were quickly off with there own bowl making their own top of the line pretzels. The boys were so interested in helping the little girls, it was amazing. Their pretzels definitely looked less “perfect”, but they were made with a lot more patience and understanding than the other batch.
While the pretzels baked, we read the Gospel for the following Sunday out of the Spark Story Bible and talked about what Jesus did, and what he asked us to do. Simple is better with a huge age range of kids. When the pretzel were done baking we ate them and cleaned up!
I truly stressed about the age range for this particular event, but it gave us all the freedom to keep things simple and fun.