When your class starts spending more time gazing out the window than at the blackboard, it is time to hold some classes outside. Games and activities outside can help reinforce your lesson plans and make learning about faith a little more fun. It also means that you won't be competing for their attention against one of God's beautiful sunny days.
Faith can be summed as believing without seeing. There are many parts of the Bible that you can read with your class to prompt a discussion on faith. Since you're planning on playing with water, focus on the story of Noah. Noah had never seen rain and had no idea what was to come. Since he believed God, he built the ark and saved his family. He took a risk based on his faith in God and God's word about things that Noah couldn't understand. This version of the game Duck, Duck, Goose ties into the theme of having faith in things you can't see. You can also use this game to reinforce lesson plans related to rain or water. All you need is a new sponge and a bucket of water to dip it into when it starts to dry. Ask your class to sit in a circle so their knees are touching. Choose the youngest or that week's star student to hold the sponge. He walks around the outside of the circle, letting a drop of water fall on each student's head. As the water hits, he says "Drip.” When he reaches the person he wants to tag, he drops the sponge on the other player's head and says, "Drop.” The person who was "It" and the tagged player race around the circle until they return to the tagged player's spot. The person who doesn't get the spot is then “It” and runs around the circle with the sponge.
Water Balloon Bucket Race
Teach your class about teamwork and the value of working together to discover God's love. Read Acts 2: 42 to 27 about the early Church and how they worked together as a team. Point out that those who built the church wanted to learn about God and spent their time working, praying, eating and sharing together. Now it is time to divide the kids into two teams for this fun game that reinforces the value of working together as a team. You will need water balloons and two buckets. Divide each team into pairs; the game works best when each pair is about the same height. Line each team up so one pair from each will be participating at a time. Have the pair stand back-to-back, linking arms. The objective is to carry the water balloon between their backs without breaking the balloon. They have to carry it to the bucket and drop it in. As soon as the team drops the balloon in the bucket -- or breaks it -- the next pair can go. The team with the most balloons in their bucket at the end of the game wins. Try to have enough balloons for multiple turns so players have more than one chance to drop a balloon in the bucket.
Water Relay Race
The passage from Ephesians 4:16 is about working together to support something bigger. Study the passage with your class and ask each person what the passage means to her. This game is chance to work together to accomplish a goal. As they play, remind them that working together toward a goal helps an individual achieve more and that, no matter what their differences are, working side by side toward a common goal helps increase their success. You will need two empty jars, two buckets and two sponges (the larger, the better). Put a line in the same place on each of the jars. This is the line that the players must reach to win the game. At the starting line, have a bucket full of water for each of the two teams. To play, the child must wet the sponge with water, put it on her head, race to the jar, and then squeeze out the water from the sponge into the jar. If the sponge falls of her head, she must return to the back of the line and let the next person try. Some players may race while others will discover they have to move more slowly as they test speed against technique. The first team to reach the fill line wins. After the game, encourage the kids to take their lesson out into the community. By working together, they can help to fulfill God's plan for each of them and for their neighbors and the community around them.
There are two ways to play this game -- an active version and a lazier version for hot days. If there is a heat wave coming, prepare by sending your class home with a little research project. Have them look for fun facts about the bible. Give them examples like a man walking around naked for three years (Isaiah 20:2-3) or Methuselah is the oldest person in the Bible at 969 years old. Have each child bring in at least five facts, each written on a slip of paper. Divide the facts into two piles and put each pile in a bucket or jar. Mix a number of fake but amusing facts with each pile. Now it is time to play Water Balloon Smash. Divide the kids into two teams and give them water balloons. One person at a time, each team must race over to a wall or another designated target, pick a fact from their team's bucket and read it out loud. Next, they must declare whether the fact is true or false. If the person is right, she gets to smash the water balloon against the target. If she is wrong, she has to run back to the back of her team's line and let the next person have a turn. The first team to finish wins. Wet Sponge Hot Potato is fun on days when it is just too hot to run around. Have the group sit in a circle and pass around a wet sponge. Play a song and when the song stops, read a fact from the pile of true and fake facts. Whoever is holding the sponge has to guess whether the statement is real or fake. If his answer is wrong, he has to squeeze the sponge over his head. Wet the sponge again and start over.