20 Effortless Ways to Make Sunday School More Fun
After a title like that this article better have some seriously ideas for making Sunday School fun!
Below you'll find some simple ideas that will help you bring energy and excitement to your class...in really simple ways. You are going to LOVE THIS!!
Here's my list of 20 ways to make Sunday School more fun:
Click on any of them to learn more...
The biggest problem with Sunday School is that it is run by a bunch of adults.
So now that I’ve properly insulted you, we can continue our conversation!
The goal of any Sunday School class is to teach kids God’s Word. But when adults try to teach kids sometimes it can come off as very … ‘adult’.
Kids like variety and excitement and entertainment. Too often adults like…predictable monotony.
So here are 20 ideas to make Sunday School fun while still teaching kids all about Jesus!!
Here are 20 ideas for making Sunday School fun while still teaching kids about Jesus!
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Rearrange the furniture
Do you remember being a kid?
Sometimes, that right there is the hardest part...trying to remember being a kid!)
But do you remember - specifically when the furniture got rearranged in your house?
It was soooooo exciting, right? Like the best day ever!
I still remember when I would come home from school and find the living room rearranged. I felt like we had moved into a new house for a few moments.
Everything I was used to totally changed. My mind was forced to pay attention and “re-map” the room.
I loved every minute of it.
So why not do this with your Sunday School room?
Move the chairs to face the opposite direction. Heck, line them all up agains the wall!
Change the place you normally teach from. Even if it doesn’t ‘make sense’ in the room…go for it anyway!
See, as adults we have this idea that there is a way things ‘should be’ and once the room is set up a certain way that is the way it should stay.
A kid’s world is all about exploration, fun, excitement, and change.
They would LOVE for you to mix up the room, if for no other reason than it is something different.
I promise you, some kids will go home and tell their parents how different and fun the room was!
Plus, once you have your Sunday Schoolers minds all disoriented from the change in layout, you get their renewed attention on what you are saying as well!
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Lose yourself in a song (with incorrect motions!)
Lots of the songs we sing in kids church have motions. (At least all of mine do)
And the motions are wonderful. They help the kids sing along and provide something active for them to do so they don’t bonk each other on the head.
The problem is the motions can get either dull or complicated.
This past weekend at church, I realized how complicated some of the motions were and the kids were like….meeehhhh
They were more interested in sitting and watching other people sing than they were to actually participate themselves.
What a shame!
So I suggest making Sunday School fun by announcing one Sunday that there are no ‘official’ motions to your song.
Instead, all the kids should make up their own motions. Encourage them to go crazy!
Now, not every kid is going to love ‘freesytling’ the motions on their own. And that’s ok. You can lead the ones who don’t love the creative freedom, in motions you make up from the front!
Have yourself a bit of a dance party on a Sunday morning! Let the kids express their excitement and love for God however they choose to!
Sure, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it gives people like myself who struggle with complicated motions a bit of a break!
I have never tried this myself, but I think it would be SOOO much fun.
So every week, you talk in your ‘regular voice’, right? When you teach you use the voice and the ‘accent’ you have always had.
For the sake of mixing it up, why not become British one week! (or if you are British become…American!)
Teach the entire lesson with a British accent
Give yourself a new stage name and pretend the accent makes you a completely different person.
You are no longer Mrs. Johnson. You are now ‘Sylvia from Scotland!”
You may be asking yourself…”what does this have to do with teaching kids about Jesus?”
It has EVERYTHING to do with it!
Kids get lulled into not listening to what you are saying because everything sounds so predictable!
So stop being predictable!
Tell the story with a fake accent!
And for like 1.5 million bonus points, send me a clip of your fake teaching accent!
Who knows…I might have some free stuff for anyone who is brave enough!
Incorporate a fun song
True story time.
This past weekend we were teaching about The Holy Spirit. I was not teaching, but the person who was did a fantastic job! They were amazing!
As I sat backstage listening to the lesson, I was struck by the fact that God promised a helper to His disciples when He left earth.
He told them that they would receive power after He had left…in fact, they should WAIT until they received it!
And instantly my brain went into kid mode.
One of the most under appreciated, perhaps, benefits of the Holy Spirit is the POWER he gives us.
The power of the Holy Spirit is what allows the words of our mouth to have greater impact than just the sound of our voice hitting someone else’s eardrums.
The Holy Spirit’s power is why we can win people to Christ with our words!
So…that reminded me of a song!!
“I’ve got the power…”
At the end of the lesson I walked back out singing…”I’ve got the power…”
It was fun.
And if I had to do it over again, perhaps even play a few seconds of the song after lesson was finished….or at the appropriate time DURING the lesson.
Instead of being just a musical distraction, this would be an incredible way to remind kids that the Holy Spirit is a source of incredible power in the lives of every believer.
And how cool would it be to remind them of that than with a song!!???
Change the location
Fun fact, there weren’t nice modern, air-conditioned buildings in Bible times.
Oh...you knew that?
Then why are we all still telling every single story from God’s Word in an air-conditioned room?
(Can you tell I’m writing this when it’s warm outside…no mention of heating…only air conditioning)
Now for smaller classes this is probably more feasible, but why not take your classroom outside?
There are tons of Bible stories that happened in nature!
For instance, I’m going to guess that every single church has a tree on it’s property.
When you tell the story of Zaccheus, why not go visit that tree?
Heck…have a kid climb it if you can do it safely!
Making Sunday School fun isn’t always about being silly. Sunday school can be amazing by simply mixing up the routine and going outside for a change.
Fun doesn’t always have to be short for funny. Sometimes fun can be short for “go outside”!
Use every single adult in the room
I bet you could recruit every single adult in the room one Sunday to help you.
Or if you are a one-woman operation…I bet you could recruit a few adults to help you for one Sunday.
Then, assign them each a small part of the story.
If you get 3 or 4 adults the story can be broken into very small pieces so nobody has a huge responsibility.
Then, as the teacher, you can wrap up the story and give the application.
This actually does 2 things.
One, it keeps the energy in the room constantly moving, because the speaker keeps changing!
It’s hard for kids not to pay attention, when there is constantly something new happening up front!
Not only that, but this is a FANTASTIC way to spot any new potential volunteer teachers.
As you listen to each of them you will notice some are better than others. You might even have 1 or 2 that really stand out as excellent story tellers!
If you do, go back to them later and ask them if they’d be interested in helping out in your class again.
Teaching a group of kids is not something that comes naturally to everyone, so if you find someone who really shines, ask them if they’d be willing to help again!
My guess is, they’d be happy to!
(Now, don’t you dare ask them to commit to every Sunday after they helped you one time. That is a recipe for scaring off every single new volunteer you get!)
Remember when Peter denied Jesus three times?
Do you know where he was? By a fire, right?
And was it in the middle of the day? No! It was at night.
So when you tell the story of Peter denying Jesus, why not turn out the lights in the room and hold a flashlight under your face as you tell the story?
Having the lights off even as an adult is kinda fun, and kids love it much the same.
So be a little adventurous and change up your ‘lighting’ every once in a while. I mean, think of all the stories in the Bible that happened at night…
There’s quite a few flashlight opportunities!
Move around the room as the story moves
The room you teach Sunday School in has endless possibilities if you just look for them!
In this list we’ve talked about moving with music and getting the kids to march or act out the story…but what about moving with the characters in the story?
You know, like when they actually move locations?
Take the Apostle Paul for instance. He went on several missionary journeys each time traveling from his home to other places to plant churches and proclaim the message of Jesus.
So why not move with him?!
What I would suggest is before your lesson, label a few parts of the room with the different names of the places Paul is going to visit during your lesson.
Then, as you describe Paul traveling from city to city, have the kids move from one label to the next!
For additional fun you can also have them move in different ways. Walking, crawling, crab walking, skipping, etc.. are all acceptable!
Have fun with it!
Create a whale of a tale
The hardest Bible stories to tell are the familiar ones…can I get a witness?
As soon as you say “Jonah” all the kids turn to their neighbors and start talking. Well, it might not be THAT fast, but it doesn’t take long for a familiar story get incredibly boring and uninteresting for kids.
So these types of Sunday School lessons are the perfect time to tell a WHALE of a tale!
You see the story of Jonah involves some really fun elements if you stop and think about it. Water, a fish, puke, and more. Coming from me, the dad of a 6-year old, puke is fascinating!
But with elementary age kids how are you going to win them over?
Take the elements of the story and create a whole new experience for them. Instead of blabbing on about it here, let me just take you inside one of my lessons and you can see for yourself.
Here’s how I suggest telling the story of Jonah:
In one corner of the room, roll out plastic sheeting. Tape the edges and ends of the sheeting to the floor, leaving one edge open for an entrance. Place a fan upward-facing in the back of the sheeting and plug into the outlet. When powered up, the fan will make the black plastic sheeting stand up. Place the opened sardines by the fan. Tape the streamers to the opening of the black plastic sheeting to make the “teeth“. (You may have to play with how much plastic sheeting to put down and where to tape it in order for the whale to stay up.
In a different section of the room, take masking tape and create a boat on the floor. It should be just large enough to fit all of your students.
Begin the lesson by having students sit in a different part of the room. They will transfer to the boat and “whale“ later.
You get the idea?
Spend a little time coming up with some fun props or really funky setup for an old Bible familiar story and BAM you got yourself a fantastically interesting Sunday morning!
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Spend 20 minutes learning Minecraft
This idea deserves an entire post all to itself. But for now a few sentences will have to do.
If you want to make Sunday School fun take a few minutes during your week to understand their world!
Go find a video on Youtube on some of the basics of Minecraft. Watch the latest kid’s movie that’s out in theaters.
Because one of the best ways to engage with kids is to be interested in what they like.
If you can talk Minecraft with a boy who likes it…you are so much more fun!
If you know the famous song from the latest movie all the girls will be like, yeah…she knows what she’s talking about.
All of us are wired to trust and engage with people whom we can relate to. And the more we can relate to each other the better and more interesting the interaction will be.
So take your knowledge of a kid’s world to the next level so the next time you need to reference a situation you have the latest movie or video game as the perfect example of the situation you are trying to explain.
Every story of the Bible has a theme.
And I’m not talking in the spiritual sense.
I’m talking about room decor and mixing up class time.
Let’s look at some quick examples:
Genesis (first part of it) – a garden
Exodus – the great outdoors / desert / fire / rivers
Esther – a royal palace
Nehemiah – a huge wall
Psalms – shepherds / pasture land
Acts – church
You get the picture?
So with these themes in mind why not decorate your room a little?
I mean, how hard is it to run to the dollar store and pick up some really (awful) fake plants and create a little garden scene?
Use some fake plants to create a location for The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Get a plastic snake and stick him in there as well.
I doubt I need to go through each scenario for you to get the picture here. There are really simple and inexpensive props and decorative items that don’t require set decoration skills to use. You don’t need lights or a stage or an amazing presentation.
A little effort in the theme category will go a LONG way to “fun” up your Sunday morning.
Also…when summer rolls around you can turn nearly any set of lessons into a summer camp style series. Play some campground type games and decorate the room to be a little “campy”.
Don’t overthink it. If you give it a shot and you’ll be more successful than you think.
YouTube is the forgotten teacher’s assistant and can really help make Sunday School fun again!
I think there are still many many people who believe the videos on YouTube are either some form of a cat video or some viral ‘nonsense’ that get’s passed around the web.
That is NOT what YouTube is. Believe it or not, this video platform can be a HUGE resource for your Sunday School class.
Did you know there are teaching videos and materials that would work perfectly in your Sunday School class on YouTube right now? Here’s a great place to start.
Publishers and producers are putting great teaching material on YouTube all the time. The hope is, that by seeing some of their work you will buy more the materials they offer.
So while the videos you’ll find on there aren’t a complete series necessarily, for an occasional ‘video teacher’ in your class it is the perfect solution!
Draw your sword!
This is a fantastic way to start a lesson.
Remember the sword drills from when we were in Sunday School? I was always the one bound and determined to win. I tried to sneak every little advantage I could.
The rules were clear. You had to hold your Bible in the air by the spine with your other hand at your side.
Then after the reference was repeated twice there was a countdown from 3 and the race was on. The first person to stand up and begin reading the correct verse was the winner.
For me, there was no such thing as second place. I either won or I lost.
This whole idea is still really brilliant for Sunday School fun today. Kids still love competition (especially the boys) and there is incredible value in giving kids practice in finding passages in the actual physical Bible.
In the age of screens giving kids a little practice finding verses with a real life Bible might be even MORE valuable.
There’s also an incredible dynamic that takes place when you don’t start a story with just words.
When a story starts with a game, or a random question. or a multiple choice, or a magic trick, etc…. the kids pay so much MORE attention.
What you say first matters A LOT MORE than what you say next. Plan how you begin (and end) your lesson. In other words if you are immediately boring the kids will check out faster than a millennial in the self-checkout line!
14. Invite a man to speak
Think about all the volunteer teachers you serve with in Sunday School.
They are like….99.99% female I bet.
I go to what you might call a mega-church and the volunteer staff there is overwhelmingly made up of women.
Which is amazing.
I'm not here to bemoan this fact.
My point here is to leverage this as an opportunity!
When the makeup of a group of people is largely the same do you know what creates interest?
So why not invite one of the men you trust to teach your class one week?
Heck…for many of you, it could be as simple as promising your husband a delicious steak dinner if he’d be willing to teach one weekend!
By the mere fact that a mean is teaching - you completely change the dynamics of the class.
All the kids pay a little more attention because it’s someone they’ve never heard or seen before.
It’s kinda like the missionary who comes to visit your class. Part of the reason the kids pay attention that week is simply because they are someone different.
This really isn’t about men or women.
The idea here is to mix up the person who is doing the teaching.
Perhaps in your class, it’s always a college age kid.
Ask a grandparent to teach one Sunday. (talk about a different perspective!!)
You get an extra 10million bonus points if the story correlates with the person teaching.
For instance, ask a pregnant lady to teach the week you talk about a woman being pregnant.
Invite someone who likes hunting...
Invite someone in who likes hunting the week you talk about Esau giving his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of porridge.
There are a huge number of possibilities here.
Start asking around and see who you might get to volunteer. I can’t even imagine how much fun class might be the week they teach!
Tell your story with a soundtrack
You need a little more Hollywood in your life!
For every great movie (and and most of the lame ones) there is almost always a unique soundtrack
Which, by the way – The Hans Zimmer special on Netflix is amazing.
Anyway…for nearly every movie soundtrack there are dramatic fast paced ballads as well as more slow melancholy medleys.
Which means there is a wealth of ‘mood music’ available for you on YouTube.
The next time you tell the story of a great battle in the Bible, why not play one of the tracks from a movie in the background?
How much better would your lesson sound with a crazy amazing score under it? The sky is the limit!!
One time I was teaching a story from the minor prophets and found a soundtrack that synced perfectly with the reading of the story from the Bible. So I practiced and practiced to get the timing just right.
Then…I read the story in class, with the soundtrack playing all the while. And it worked perfectly!
Did MOST of the class get saved that day as a result? No.
Did it make Sunday School fun and way more interesting for the kids. Did more kids pay attention than usual? Definitely!
And THAT is what I was trying to achieve.
16. Incorporate mind control!
Some of the best ways to make Sunday School fun aren’t complicated ideas or difficult to do.
This idea is a great example of that.
Let’s say you are talking about David and Goliath. David is obviously the “good guy” and Goliath is obviously the “bad guy”.
I'm assuming no one reading this is going to argue that fact with me!
So before you tell your story, ask the kids to listen carefully for the word “Goliath”. Then every time they hear it, they should all make this sound:
dun, dun duuuun
(like the sound effect)
All of the boys will be very excited about this idea. They have permission to make noises DURING the lesson. They will be stoked!
You have also subtly asked the class the pay EXTRA CLOSE attention to the story. By asking them to listen for a particular word (which gives them permission to do something fun!) they are hanging on every syllable you speak in hopes that the word “Goliath” is next!
I suppose you could call this mind control! At this point you have basically manipulated their minds to pay close attention to the lesson…and it’s all done with a simple sound effect!
Have the kids act out the story as you tell it
You probably aren’t shocked that this made the list.
Kids love motion and movement and oftentimes, pretending.
So this idea works perfectly.
I mean, my 6-year old can’t seem to go ANYWHERE without destroying the bad guys or being some sort of robot.
(Who are his parents anyway??!!!) 🙂
More than a few stories in the Bible have quite a bit of action to them. So why not have the kids help you act out the story?
Remember when Saul is chasing David all over the place? In my lesson I have the kids marching and walking and sleeping and marching, and on and on.
Do I think the kids need the exercise?
No, not really. I know that a child’s mind is MUCH more engaged when their hands and feet are active.
As my old drama teacher would say, "don’t sit there like bumps on a log!"
Kids that sit like bumps on a log week after week aren’t soaking up God’s Word the same way as if they were moving around the entire time.
It doesn’t have to happen every week, but involving a little motion (and probably commotion as a result) isn’t a bad thing.
We as adults are incentivized all the time.
If you buy a new car you get a free upgrade package.
If you buy $50 worth of merchandise you get an extra 10% off.
You get the idea…there are incentives all over the place for us as adults to take certain actions.
So every once in a while, why not incentivize your class to listen to the lesson!!??
Announce before you start that there is a prize at the end for the person who is able to answer a super tricky question.
Then, during your story add in a little tidbit of information or mention something off hand that you will later quiz the kids on.
At the end of your story see if anyone is able to remember what you said.
How you award the winner(s) is up to you.
Give a prize to everyone who tries to answer, or only give a prize to the one who gets it right.
Either way, giving the kids an incentive is a marvelous way to get some extra ‘listening ears’ during your lesson time!
Play a review game
This one is so dead simple if you don’t try it…well, you really should.
Let’s say you complete a 6-week series on the life of Paul. You’ve talked about the stoning of Stephen, his conversion on the road to Damascus, his missionary journeys and much more.
Instead of moving immediately on to a brand new subject the week following the final lesson, why not spend a week reviewing what you’ve learned!??
Play a game where 2 kids at a time try to be the first to ‘buzz’ in with the correct answer to your question.
You could play boys agains girls, split the room in half, or otherwise.
Find a way to make teams and see which team comes out on top.
And whose to say that every question has to be worth the same number of points. If one team is falling way behind, make a question worth enough points to keep the game interesting.
Not only will this game style lesson keep the kids interested but it will reinforce all the valuable lessons and ideas you have taught over the past few weeks.
What would happen if instead of thinking outside the box … you instead, brought a box into class?
Just imagine this with me for a second…
You walk into class one morning with a box wrapped up in brown paper like a present.
It’s obvious from a gentle shake of the box that there are several items inside.
You place the box over where you normally tell the story and remind the kids not to touch it until it’s time!
Your class would LOSE their MINDS over that. They would be dying to know what’s inside!!
So then, during the lesson, you could either pull one item out at a time, as it relates to your story…or you could use the objects as reinforcement of the main point of the lesson.
For instance, if you are teaching on David, you could wrap up a stone, a plastic shield, some lunch, etc… and pull each item out as you tell your story.
Or…as reinforcement of the main idea you could put items like video games, toys, and food in the box as a way to help kids remember to put God, and not anything else first in their lives.
The ways you could use this idea are nearly endless. And in the time you’ve read this you have probably already thought of like 1 bajillion better ideas.
So go give them a try!!
I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!