Creating Effective Sunday school lessons for kids
Whether you call it Sunday School, Children’s Church, Kids Ministry, or a term that’s unique to you and your church, we’re pretty sure this is true of everyone — we’re all looking for effective and engaging Bible lessons for kids.
Why is children’s Sunday School important? In order to make sure our lessons have an impact, we need to focus on why we have Sunday School and what the benefits are for kids.
THE BENEFITS OF SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR KIDS
Sunday School for kids is not only a time-filler or just an activity to keep kids busy, right? It’s a time to present the truth of the gospel in a way that children can understand, to tackle age-appropriate life issues and how to apply the Scriptures to those issues, and to have spiritual conversations that may end up transforming the lives of kids. And yes, it should include fun activities to help children learn what’s being presented and taught!
You probably already know that some of the key benefits of Sunday School class are:
- Additional Bible teaching, supplementing what is being taught at home
- Practicing the habits of listening to God’s word, studying, and prayer
- Teachers becoming trusted Christian mentors
- Children developing healthy friendships with other Christian children
- Teachers nurturing children’s creativity through singing, crafts, and activities
Understanding the focus of Sunday School for kids and how it benefits them can help you when choosing what kinds of lessons to use and teach.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON IDEAS FOR KIDS
Maybe you write your own Sunday School lessons for kids or maybe you purchase them from a children’s ministry curriculum. There are a lot of choices and resources out there, so how do you decide what’s right for your Sunday School lesson plans?
There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to kids’ ministry curriculum, so it can be challenging to know which resources are best. Here are some ideas for effective Sunday School lessons.
Key Bible Stories
- Kids learn best through stories with characters and images, not abstract principles they struggle to visualize.
- This is the age when they need to hear the big picture of God’s story.
- Every lesson for kids should be based on a Bible story.
- The Bible story shouldn’t be an afterthought to a moral principle you want to teach. It should be the foundation of the entire lesson.
- It should give kids age-appropriate context, history, explanations, and connections to the rest of Scripture.
Memorable Big Ideas
- While Bible stories are essential for teaching kids about God, not every story in Scripture can be distilled into one simple takeaway or truth. But if a story teaches ten truths about God, remember kids won’t be able to retain them all. So pick one and focus on it, knowing you can come back to the story again another time and teach them another truth. (That’s why a recurring scope and sequence for your teaching is so important.)
- Every week of teaching Sunday School class should be distilled into an easy-to-remember sentence that communicates one of the key truths from the story. For example:
- God is eternal.
- Jesus hears our prayers.
- The Bible is God’s truth.
A Variety of Engaging Teaching Methods
- Children have different learning styles so teaching Sunday School lessons using multiple methods is best. The four main learning styles are:
- Visual (children learn better through seeing)
- Auditory (children learn better through hearing)
- Tactile (children learn better through touching)
- Kinesthetic (children learn better through doing)
- Consider using the following teaching methods that Grow Kids includes:
- Activities, crafts, and games
- Object lessons
- Questions and polls
- Images and videos
- Reflection and responses
- In the same spirit, these varied methods should also take into account different stages of development as well as kids with disabilities or other special needs. (Grow Kids provides weekly Special Needs, Preteen, and Toddler Hacks.)
Clear Application Steps
- It’s important to teach Bible stories and biblical truth, but like the book of James says, we weren’t meant to just be “hearers” of God’s words, but “doers”.
- Every Sunday School lesson needs to point kids to age-appropriate action steps they can take to respond to the truth they learned from Scripture.
Weekly Discussion Times
- Kids learn best when they’re involved and engaged in the process. They need opportunities to talk about what they’re learning, ask questions, share stories, and think about what the truths they’re learning mean to them.
- Decide whether to have this discussion time throughout the Sunday School class or during the last few minutes as a recap.
- A great Sunday School lesson will layer a fun, kid-friendly theme on top of the Bible stories and truths it’s trying to communicate. Consider including the following:
- On-theme decor
- Graphics and videos
- Sound effects
- Costumes and props
- Special characters or skits
- Themes shouldn’t be random. If there’s not a clear connection between your topic and your theme (like the Old Testament kings and mermaids), the idea still needs some work.
- The purpose of having a theme isn’t just to be cute or relevant. It should have a purpose beyond that.
- Fun themes that change (usually every month) help kids stay engaged by making everything feel new and fresh. It reengages their senses and their (fairly short-lived) attention.
- These themes help tie together stories and truths that kids might struggle to otherwise understand.
- The themes create opportunities for memorable moments, object lessons, stories, or props that can help solidify tough concepts or make ideas stick.
Relevant Memory Verses
- Kids are great at memorizing things, and childhood is a wonderful time to begin instilling truths from Scripture into their minds and hearts.
- A memory verse a month is a good pace for kids to memorize — especially for kids who can’t attend church every week (which is most kids).
- An effective Sunday School plan will connect monthly memory verses to the truths kids are learning that month.
A Comprehensive Strategy
- There are a lot of Sunday School or kids ministry curriculums that tick lots of these boxes. But the mistake some people make is sampling a lot of different lessons and resources without committing to a bigger strategy.
- A strategy should include things like:
- A defined scope and sequence for the teaching that is clear, easy to understand, age-appropriate, and repeatable
- A clear discipleship strategy that informs the teaching
- The resources you need for leading volunteers
- The resources you need for investing in families holistically and the parents or guardians of kids
- Connection to a bigger teaching and discipleship strategy that spans childhood through adulthood
Whew! That’s a lot to consider for your Sunday School lessons for kids! But having all these ideas and ways to make these lessons effective and valuable for children’s Sunday School can help you focus your efforts and provide an exceptional Sunday School program. Want it to be a little simpler? Grow Kids Curriculum provides everything for you, with all of the above ideas worked in. Consider streamlining your time spent on Sunday School prep by choosing Grow Curriculum.
Not only do you get all the annual planning you need, tutorial videos, activities, and many more resources, but the Teaching portion alone includes:
- 52 weeks of teaching
- Preschool and Elementary curriculum
- Hacks for toddlers, preteens, and special needs
- Memory Verse videos
- Coloring book pages
- Parent and Volunteer emails
- Shopping and prep lists
Plus it’s all easy to prep and customizable. Save yourself some time and get our done-for-you curriculum so you can focus on what you’re called to do – teach Sunday School!
The Grow Team
A team packed with pastors, ministry leaders, writers, editors, designers, project managers, app developers, and more! The Grow Team works to bring curriculum and ministry strategy to church leaders everywhere.