Church leaders continually tell us that their fourth and especially fifth graders are simply checking out of church. Even if they’re physically present in the environment, they are mentally checking out of the group.
If that isn’t bad enough, these kids seem to have a target on their back. Companies and marketers alike know that the buying power of this demographic is in the billions. Advertising agencies are setting the pulse for what these kids “need.” Kids have the pressure of being told they need to be a certain person and look a certain way.
The “tween” years are a crucial time of cognitive, social, and emotional development for kids, yet there is no consistency to how kids experience this time of their life. The official age group for the demographic is from 9 to 12 years old, yet a 9-year-old is completely different from an 11-year-old.
In order to reach tweens, we need to know tweens, not make assumptions based on Disney television shows.
At Orange, we are constantly evaluating what we do and listening to our partner churches to make sure that we are meeting needs and reaching kids in the most exciting, relevant and engaging way possible.
That’s why THIS fall, we’re introducing some new elements specifically for 4th and 5th grade.
If you’ve already looked at 252 Basics for August, you might have already noticed some changes with our fourth- and fifth-grade Large Group and Small Group scripts. But just in case you haven’t, we wanted to call your attention to a couple things.

45 Large Group Scripts
We are going back to having two distinct scripts for our K3 and 45 environments.
As always, the Bible stories and the big ideas of the lessons are the same across both age groups; however, these scripts are each written specifically with the age groups in mind. Sometimes the way we tell the Bible story will be the same, but the approach will be unique to each age group.
The Expanded version of fourth- and fifth-grade Small Group activities will be based on these scripts. But if you use our Compact Large Group script with the fourth- and fifth-grade Expanded Small Groups, don’t worry. Since both Large Group scripts start with the same big ideas and main points, the Bible story review activities will still work.
Compact Large Group will use the K3 script but will be tweaked a bit knowing that there may be older kids in the room. The Small Group activities will all work with that Large Group script.

The 56 Challenge
This is a new feature in the Expanded version of fourth- and fifth-grade Small Group Activities.
Each week, some of the activities will include an optional “56 Challenge.” We know that many of you have environments that include sixth graders as well as many of you who are trying “tween” environments that combine fourth through sixth grade.
These challenges take the activity to the next level and really make the kids part of the action!
We hope these changes help you serve your tweens and meet their learning needs. These features will morph over time as we hear feedback from you. We welcome your input as to how they are working and your ideas for helping take 252 Basics to the next level.