Kindergarten Cop was Arnold Schwarzenegger toughest role. Even the mighty Barbarian couldn’t handle the smack down of a a group of small children.
He said he would rather do another Expendable Movie than lead a group of children in an organized activity. (I kid. Arnold didn’t say any of those things – OFFICIALLY. And, Kindergarten Cop is one of my favorites! “It’s not a toomah” Am I right? Classic!)
But, why do grown adults cower in fear at the idea of leading a group of kids through an activity?
Because it is hard!
Kids don’t readily mind, pay attention, or care that you are an adult. They don’t care if you have huge muscles and a badge.
They want to have FUN! And if you know how to have fun, then let’s PARTAAAAY!
So, today I come to you as a fellow adult. As a Dad, as a full grown man (with pretty awesome muscles) that has been thrown into the mix of Children Activities at my church LifeAustin.
I come hoping to bring aid to all the Men and Women that are asked to step into the danger zone, bare the bugers, and
Successfully Lead and Engage Children in a Group Activity
1. Connect with the Kids
This is important. Failing at this critical stage can result in absolute mayhem. So follow these easy bullet points.
- Do Not Fear. Kids can smell fear.
- Smile. Smiling will make you feel better.
- Look the children in the eye. Eye contact holds kids in place like Deer in Headlights.
- Welcome the group. Make the children think you are on their side.
- Ask the kids their names. (You may need to tell on one.)
- Ask the children to share something about themselves to the group. Take the focus off you. You don’t want a bunch of pre-schoolers ganging up against you.
This will establish you as a non-threat. Do not move until you have done these steps.
Now the threat is neutralized, we can move into the other steps without fear of the situation getting out of hand.
2. Express Fun
- Dress for the part. Business suits, dress shoes, ties, and fancy makeup are out. You’re just asking for trouble if you didn’t come dressed to play. Blend in.
- Tell the kids you are happy to be with them.
- Let the children know they are going to have fun.
3. Explain the Group Activity
- Be age appropriate.
- Explain in simple details. This will help you to become a better communicator with adults too.
- Incorporate a Challenge. Children don’t like activities that are not challenging. Make it fun. Add an appropriate amount of difficultness to the group activity. Don’t be mean, and don’t turn the kids into weaklings by making the game pointless
4. Include Transition Activities
You will need transition activities between game resets.
Let’s say you are playing “Hide the Christmas Star,” and you don’t want the kids to cheat by peaking. Then do the following:
- Have one of the Kids Help. Send one kid to hide the star, while the other children get to play a game with you. Such as:
- Make Your Favorite Funny Face
- Do The Freeze Dance
- Act Like Your Favorite Toy
5. Let the Kids End the Game
When the game is all over, make sure you bring the group activity to a successful close. Here are some ideas that really work.
- Ask the children what was their favorite part of the group activity.
- Ask what game they would like to play again.
- Ask the kids what they learned.
- Get the kids to say “bye” to you, and to their friends.
These are the tried and true tips from the field.
Give them a try, and let me know if this helps you lead a more successful group activity.