This is a HUGE activity. You may want to combine with another ward or two if you have a small youth group. It is a carnival setting with two types of games: the usual carnival type, where kids win candy and little prizes, and church games. In a nutshell, you allow the kids to play the games for about half an hour. As they collect candy and prizes, they will put them in a brown paper lunch sack (with their names on it). After awhile, a leader will start quietly pulling kids out of the carnival and taking them to the R.S. room. They have to leave their bags of candy outside. After all the kids are gathered, talk about the games, and how this "game of life" is like real life.
Here's how it goes: set up a carnival in the gym with things like hoop shoot, bean bag throw, ring toss, you know... fun carnival games- and lots of them. The kids will win candy and silly prizes for playing the games. Make sure that the adults who man these booths are loud, outrageous, and will literally pull the kids to their game. They can even make wagers with the kids for candies or prizes they have won. They need to be over the top! They also should be luring the kids to their carnival games, even taking them away from the "church" games, making fun of them for being at the "church" games, etc.
Around the carnival games, set up the "church" games. These need to be basic- a table and chair with someone quiet attending the game. The person manning the table will not ask the kids to come play. They will wait for the kids to come to them. Games will be things like Seek, name that prophet, name that hymn, Celestial Pursuit, scripture chase, etc. They might even have to wait a minute for another person to come play the game with them. Do not let the kids try to coerce others to come play these games. Just wait patiently. The kids will get nothing for playing these games. Just a smile from the attendant.
When the kids are all in the R.S. room, and their candy has been taken away (they'll get it back later, which is why their names need to be on the bags), have someone give a talk about how life is like a carnival: all loud, full of fun and games, with people willing to grab them and try to get them to play - leading them away from the "church," getting them to give away what they have for more and more of what they think they want. Tell the kids that they will collect a lot of things in life (money, cars, homes, "toys") but in the end, they can't take it with them. The church is always there, waiting for them to be part of it. The church won't force you, coerce you, or give you things to make you come to it. The church is always "in the world, but not of the world," and you'll find it amidst the crazy carnival of life, quietly waiting for you to take advantage of what it offers. In the end, it's the blessings we get from our membership in the church, our testimonies, our families, and our relationship with the Savior that we take with us.
Monday, May 16
Posted by Leslie :~D at 8:00 AM