DIY Kids Photo Wall

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We are just getting ready to launch a new campus.  We have a smaller space available for our kids ministry rooms, but we still wanted to make it fun and kid friendly.  So, we decided to make a photo wall down our kids hallway.  The idea can from a photo I saw on worshipfacilities.com .  Here’s what we did to make it.

Step 1.  We took pics of some kids in our kids ministry.  We tried to get close up shots of kids faces and them in action.  I contacted the parents of each child to get permission to print and display their child’s photo.  Then I ordered photos to be printed on canvas.  These pics are 30″ x 30″ and were aprox. $75 each.  Bestcanvas.ca was where we ordered them from.  They had the best prices I could find online, and the quality was great!  No taxes, duty or shipping cost (on orders over $150).  I searched for a coupon code so that saved us extra money as well.  They shipped within 24 hours and arrived in just a few days. Talk about fast turn around!

Step 2.  I asked some handymen to cut me some rectangles from 1/2 inch 4×8 MDF board.  I took a piece of paper 4inchs by 8 inches and drew out how many rectangles could fit on one board in various sizes.

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This is what they looked like when they were all cut out. We used 4 sheets of MDF board, but we probably only needed 2 or 3.  We had a lot left over.

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Step 3.  I took the pieces of wood and set them out on the floor as I ‘freestyled’ the design.  I left spaces that were 32 x 32 inches (or the dimensions of the photos with a little space around) so that the pics would fit in the design.

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Step 4.  I took a panoramic photo of the design so I would remember how to put it together later.  We used 6 colours of paint. (They were the same colours used in our kids rooms.) I dabbed my finger in a bit of paint and smeared it on each board so I would know what colour to paint each board.  We only painted the boards needed for the design and not the extras. Each board got 2 coats of paint.  I printed the panoramic photo on 11×17 paper, and took a q-tip and dabbed the colours on the printed version so that I would remember what colours went where. We let the paint dry and transported everything to the location where it was to be installed.

Step 5.  I set out the pieces on the floor in the hall where we were putting the photo wall.  I used the 11×17 panoramic map to help me figure out where the pieces went.

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Step 6.  My handymen helped me put the pieces up on the wall.  We found the center of the wall and hung the center photo up first.  Then we placed the coloured rectangles around the photo according to the panoramic map that I printed on 11×17 paper.  The rectangles were hung by using a nail gun & nails. We worked our way out from the center doing one side then the other.

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Step 7.  The final touch is to fill in the tiny holes left from the nails & paint over them.

We love that the pictures are of kids from our church and they are creatively displayed!

 

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Booklet For New Volunteers

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When people sign up to volunteer in our Kids Rooms, we want to equip them with all the info they need to get started, and do their job well.  It can be a little overwhelming for a new volunteer to try to remember everything, so we created some booklets for each room that give them the basics to get started.  This one page (double sided) document gives them some basic info that they can take home with them, and they can refer to.  We also have another volunteer training booklet that we give to all volunteers that covers our vision & our goals as well as our safety training, but these room booklets are specific to each room and outline things that volunteers will need to know while serving in that room.  You can download a copy of each of these booklets:

Nursery Booklet
Preschool Booklet
JK/SK Small Group Leader Booklet
Grades 1-2 Small Group Leader Booklet

Hopefully you will find these helpful!

New Volunteer Gift

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When people sign up to volunteer in Kids Ministry, we have a lot of stuff and info that we give them to get started.  To help simplify the process, we put together a gift bag for them.  Here’s what’s in the bag:

  1.  A Booklet that is specific to their ministry area.  It gives them basic ‘need to know’ info so that they can get started.
  2. Our Kids Ministry Orientation Training Booklet.  This is general info about our Kids Ministry that is relevant to all kids rooms.  You can download the PDF version here or the Adobe InDesign file here.
  3. A Creekside Kids t-shirt.  We want all of our Kids Volunteers to wear a Creekside Kids t-shirt when they are serving.
  4. A Name Tag.  They wear this name tag when they are serving, and leave it in the kids room when they are done for the day.
  5. Extras.  We include a few little gifts so that new volunteers know that we are excited to have them join our team.  A travel mug or plastic cup, a Creekside pen & some candies usually do the trick.

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DIY Mailbox – Volunteer Appreciation Idea

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I finally finished a project that I have been working on for a few weeks.  I wanted to create a way for kids and parents to say thank you to the volunteers who help on Sunday mornings.  I created a mailbox, where kids can mail a thank you card.  We set up tables in an open area where parents and kids could work on making a card together.  Then, once they finished making their card, they could mail it in the mailbox.  At the end of the month, we will distribute all the thank you cards to the volunteers.  I printed off a list of all the volunteers for each room, so parents could find the names of the volunteers if they need them.  If you want to create your own mailbox, this is how you can do it:

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I went to my local used clothing/furniture store, and picked up this set of shelves.  Once I looked it over, I thought I could make a front part that would hold the “opening” where letters could be mailed.

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I own a jig saw & a sander, but that’s all.  I made a template out of poster board so that I could make any adjustments before I cut the actual wood.

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I assembled the template to make sure it would all fit together.  I took measurements, purchased the wood that I would need, and got the straight pieces of wood cut (for free) at Home Depot.  I just cut the curved pieces with my jig saw, and sanded everything down.

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Once the ‘drawer’ piece was cut and assembled using wood glue & finishing nails, I cut an opening in the front piece for the drawer to fit into.  I used 4 tiny hinges to attach the drawer to the front panel.

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I tested it out to make sure it would fit.  I sanded down the sides a little more so the drawer would open & close easily.  Before I attached the front panel to the shelves, I painted everything with 2 coats of paint.  I decided it would be easier to paint it before it was assembled.

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Once the paint was dry, I attached the front panel with screws.  I also attached the handle, and a sign holder from Staples.  I decided a to use a sign holder so I could change out the sign to use the mailbox for different projects.  I attached a larger piece of wood with hinges for the back, and used sticky velcro to keep it closed.

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I set up tables with cards, markers & instructions.  I found printable thank you cards from My Sister’s Suitcase blog.  You can download them for free HERE.

We will leave the supplies on the tables for all the Sundays in May, so families can have plenty of opportunity to participate.

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Once they finish making a card, they can put it in an envelope that is provided, write the volunteer’s name on the front, and mail it in the mailbox.

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So far, the mailbox has been very popular.  It’s a way for families to show their appreciation to the volunteers who serve their kids so faithfully.  At the end of May, we will collect all the cards, and distribute them to all the volunteers, making sure that each volunteer gets at least one.

 

Princess Party

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Recently we hosted a Princess Party at our church. We had over 800 people attend the event.  60% of people were not regular church attenders.  We received a lot of positive feedback after the event about how much people enjoyed coming to the event.  Here are some of the things we included at the Princess Party:

Decorations.  Keeping with a low budget, we used rolls of table cloth material to decorate the room to give it the princess look.  We used tree stumps with a dowel drilled & glued in the center to help hold the draped material.  We purchased the frame from IKEA.

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Food.  Yummy treats are always a great thing to include in any party!

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Activities. We had nail painting, crafts, coloring sheets, cupcake decorating, bouncy castle, & our indoor playground.

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Photobooth.  Families could get their photo taken at the photobooth.  Pinterest has all kinds of ideas on ways to dress up a backdrop for a Princess Party.  We had princess dresses in various sizes for kids to put on for a picture, as well as other royal props that they could choose from.  Photos are uploaded to a website where families can download full size images a few days later.

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Princesses.  Adults in princess costumes freely roamed around the party.  Parents could take pics of their kids with each of the princesses.  We purchased princess dresses, a knight costume & a king costume online from Amazon & Ebay.

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Other details:

Families pre-registered for the event online through our church website.  This helped us know how many people to expect at the party so we could plan accordingly.  We charged $5 per family to help cover the cost of the event.

Volunteers helped run each activity center.  We replenished supplies as they got low, and changed garbage bags as they filled up.

We played music in each room.  Songs from Disney movies made up our playlist.

We showed a video on the TV’s and screens in each room to give people a glimpse into what Sunday mornings are like at our church.  The video was 7 minutes long, and looped for the entire length of the party.

We handed out a flyer as each family arrived at the registration table.  One side was information about the party and each of the activities.  The other side had details about our Sunday morning services for kids & adults.

The party was on a Saturday, from 1-5pm.  It was drop in style.  People could arrive when it was convenient for them, and stay as long or as little as they liked.  They rotated to the activities at their own pace.

If you have any questions about the event, feel free to post them in the comments below.

How to Focus on Kids Ministry Priorities

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Sometimes the number of things that need to be done in Kids Ministry can be overwhelming.  How do you balance the urgent things with things that should be a priority?  So many times the urgent can take a lot of our time, but they are not necessarily things that are a priority.

Start by making a list of things that you would consider priorities in your kids ministry.  What will it take to accomplish those things?  Make a list of things that take a lot of your time.  Then evaluate.  Do you need to make some adjustments so that you have more time to focus on your priorities?

Try using a 3, 6 and 12 month goals list.  Take time to write down 3 things that you would like to accomplish in the next 3 months.  Then write down 3 things to accomplish in the next 6 months, and do the same for 12 months.  Having goals written down on paper helps you to focus on priorities that need to be done.

Thanking volunteers is one of those things that is important, but we never seem to get around to doing that on a regular basis.  If you make a goal of writing one thank you note for each day that you are in the office, then you could make a big difference in a short amount of time, on a regular basis.

I created a “To Do” list and customized it for Kids Ministry to help keep me on track.  Some things are pre-printed on the list to remind me to do them on a regular basis.  The spaces for “this week” and “this month” are the same size as a standard post-it note.  Just write the items that you need to accomplish this week or this month on a post-it note, and transfer the post-it notes to each new page instead of re-writing your list for longer range items.

You can download the Kidmin To Do list for free.  Hopefully it will help you stay organized and focused on what you need to do.

 

3 Weeks of Recruiting Ideas

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Sometimes when it comes to recruiting volunteers, you need to think outside the box.  Bulletin announcements & mass emails are just not working.

That’s when you do a BIG Recruiting Event.  Here are some things that we did to make our Recruiting Event Successful:

1.  Make your events BIG!  You need to do things that will catch people’s attention and get them to notice you.

2.  Be visual!  Make a display & use media, posters or stuff to show people what you need.

3.  Show people that Kids Ministry is FUN!  Give them a taste of what you do in your program.

4.  Do more than one Sunday.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Families do not necessarily come to church every week so you need to have your BIG recruiting event take place over multiple Sundays.

5.  Be prepared with sign up sheets, applications & police check forms.  Get people’s contact info (email) so that you can connect with them.  Don’t leave it up to them to connect with you.  They probably won’t.

We did 3 Sundays and this is what we did:

Week 1: (yes, all of this happened during the Sunday morning)

  • Video Announcement on the big screens in the main auditorium during the service.
  • Bulletin announcement – casting vision about what a difference volunteers make in the lives of kids
  • Flyer in the bulletin
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)
  • TV with power point presentation running.  These slides included volunteers in action & titles of positions where we needed help
  • Music.  It’s gotta be upbeat & fun.  We played the instrumental version of the LEGO movie.  Everything was awesome!
  • BUBBLE MACHINE (see picture below) – this definitely caught people’s attention and created an element of fun.  It attracted a crowd of kids who wanted to catch the bubbles & the adults had to walk through the tornado of bubbles on their way out after the service.

Week 2:

  • Kids wearing posterboards with signs.  (see picture below) 5 kids walked around places that were populated with people with sandwich board signs on their front & back.  Many people commented on how effective these were.
  • Power Puppet (we purchased this from Little Mountain Productions).  We only bring this out for special occasions and this was one of them.  The puppet basically said things like, “we need your help”  “sign up today to help with the kids”.  You can see a video of this in action here:  http://www.powerpuppets.com/
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Week 3:

  • Kids wearing sandwich signs again.  Once again, very effective.
  • Dance Party – we had flashing colourful lights & a projector with Kids Worship DVDs.  I will admit this wasn’t as big of a WOW factor as we were hoping, as our atrium has a lot of windows and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Dance party lights & projectors work much better in a darker room.  FYI.  However, we played the DVD on a large screen TV, cranked the volume, and people noticed the great music so that helped to catch their attention.
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Here are some pictures that we took of our Big Recruiting Event over 3 weeks

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