This is the third post in our series about how and why we do Small Groups. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.

Did you know that we provide six different Small Group activities each week for three separate age groups (K/1, 2/3, 4/5)? Now, we don’t expect you to use them all in one ministry hour. In fact, we encourage you to pick and choose carefully, based on the kids who are coming and the space you’re in.
There are other things to consider like your budget and time constraints—but I’d really encourage you to think about the kids first. It’s amazing how that helps to clarify which activities will work best in the limited time you have together. And sometimes, it’s worth asking others to help pitch in for special supplies or to help you pull off something that at first seems like too much.
We know that kids don’t usually all arrive at the same time. In fact, you usually have the really early crew (whose parents are also on staff or volunteering), the get-there-just-in-time kids and then the stragglers. So, we recommend starting your day with what we call Plug In activities. These would start as kids come in and serve as a teaser to get them excited about Large Group (which we call Power Up.)
There are two different things that regularly happen during the Plug In time.
1. Early Arriver Discussion Questions: The main thing is that you start the day relationally connecting with a kid. You notice they’ve arrived and greet them by name. You ask about their week and then we provide specific discussion questions to break the ice and lead into topics you’ll be digging into deeper later on. You can also collect any offering or tithe.
*Some examples include: Besides conversation starters, we’ll also be checking out a biblical map and tracing a character’s journey, comparing good and bad examples on a chart and giving each kid specific praise that shows we are paying attention to them individually.
2. Teaser Activity: This usually ties into the theme of the month (the big idea or look), the Bible story or the Bottom Line. It’s to get their energy and excitement up and transition them into the Large Group time.
*Some examples include: We’re going to play charades, build with blocks, make our name by punching little holes, measuring our heartbeat, voting, coming up with animals for every letter in the alphabet and making a packing list for our dream vacation.
NOTE: These discussion questions and activities can be plugged in later if your kids come in and start out by playing games or go straight to Large Group. But we’d really suggest that you add in a personal touch—greeters that know their names and volunteers that circulate talking and building relationship. For some kids, it’s very hard to walk into a more unstructured time and feel like they’re welcome. They might find a corner to just sit, watch quietly or wander aimlessly. Try to help them get “plugged in” to an activity or group so they feel intentionally included.