This past week we hosted my girls’ favorite week of the summer, Club 345, our church’s backyard Bible club for preschoolers. Hope loved this event so much she wanted to do her birthday to be a “backyard Bible club” theme. Both the girls loves doing all the activities and having friends over to our house. This was our second year to host Club 345 and we had a fun camping theme (remember by Camp Parks KSB post?). We had about 10-12 kids and several adult and teen leaders.
Shelly, who’s on our church children’s team with me, runs our preschool and did a great job leading Club 345. She laid out stories, activities and provided each house (we had four) with supplies. Last year, Shelly and I realized we needed to turn our backyards into preschool classrooms. Kid’s didn’t need 30 minutes for each activity, but an option for free play and centers. If we wanted to kids to learn the most, their play had to be done in the most age appropriate way. This my house’s schedule this year and how we broke down our mornings:
9:30-10:00 Free play: In my backyard we offered a water table, play-do station, easel art, sensory bin, magnet fishing, camping play, and sidewalk chalk as well as our playhouse and bubbles.
10:00-10:15 Art Rotation: We had a couple art activities that Shelly planned for each house, but my team ended up adding a third each day to make a full rotation and keep that kept the kids busy. (example: Camping vests, binocular craft and campfire craft).
10:15-10:30 Music: Our worship pastor came and led our music each day. We used this time to transition inside and have a water/potty break. The kids loved this time each day!
10:30-10:45 Snack & Share Time: After music we passed out snacks and had the kids sit on picnic blankets in the living room. While they ate, I read our story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Club 345 is three days and we covered three different Bible stories:
- God Made You (Creation Story)
- God Chose You (Jesus Chose His Disciples)
- God Loves You (Jesus is Alive)
With each story we did a hand motion to help the kids remember what they learned. Even my two year old could remember the motions!
10:45-11:00 Rec Games: Each day I had one of our student helpers lead the rec games after Bible story. This was a good transition after being in the cool and sitting for a bit. These were fairly simple games like eye spy, duck duck goose and a water bucket relay.
11:00-11:30 Free Play: This last window of free play was really a filler. We never ended on time, usually the kids had about fifteen minutes left to play, which was perfect. We were able to clean up while the kids played and waited on their parents for pickup.
This year our schedule ran so smooth and the kids really loved all the art and activities. We kept things pretty structured which made it easier on us and them. Club 345 is only three days, which is perfect for little ones. We ended our last day by inviting everyone to the park for a picnic lunch. The only trouble we ran into was the heat. The heat index was like 107 that day! We all made it about 30 minutes and were done.
I will say there are a few challenges to this event. I live in a larger neighborhood and I don’t know who all the families with preschoolers. Inviting families and having them be comfortable dropping off their preschooler at a stranger’s house is the biggest hurdle for this event. Our team also struggled with getting families to be host homes. I think people were intimidated by having an event in their home, I wish they knew how easy it was! You just have to be comfortable with a little mess 😉
Our kiddos were really good and I do look forward to this week each summer. If your church doesn’t have a summer event for preschoolers, this is a great way to do one AND get to know your community. Let me know if you have any questions! I’ll be happy to help you plan your own Club 345 (I’m sure Shelly would love to help too!).
Thanks for letting me share,