8 quick tips for an engaging Playful Worship experience

  1. Keep it fun—children learn best when they are having fun.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. When you are prepared, you can focus on what matters most – the people in your room.
  3. Parent involvement and interaction is essential—remove chairs and have everyone on the floor. Just try it and see what happens!
  4. Seat everyone in a circle on the floor (cushions help a lot). Circles are great because they create a sense of community, the keep the focus within the group and they provide a structure where there is no hierarchy—we are all equal!
  5. KISS principle—keep is simple sweetheart. Focus on one element at a time.
  6. Repetition is essential. Many songs can be used for an entire quarter. Some for a whole year. (The program suggestions with this resource will give you an idea).
  7. Positive musical experiences create emotional bonds. Include a “cuddle time” whenever possible.
  8. Remember, your enthusiasm is contagious!

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  • clean, uncluttered space
  • enough room for children and adults to move around comfortably
  • ample light (natural is great)
  • distractions put away in cupboards or covered
  • props and instruments in good repair and age-appropriate – keep bacterial wipes/spray handy
  • know how to use your technical equipment! Is the sound level appropriate?
  • sing songs in a loving and joyful way, no matter the level of vocal training
  • have music playing as people arrive, and as they depart.
  • create a positive, affirming and loving atmosphere with your words and music. Practice positive speech. Take to heart the words: Love. Today.
The goal is to create an uplifting positive experience for your families that attend, that will equip and inspire them for the week ahead. Four ingredients to keep in mind that will help you with this goal and maintain a good flow in your programs are:

  1. Preparation. When you are fully prepared mentally and physically, you are free to be responsive and fully present in the moment. You are able to personalize.
  2. Process. KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetheart). Before diving into a new activity, think through the entire process required to achieve the outcome at which you are aiming. Teach in steps, but make each step fun in itself.
  3. Transitions This is the ability to seamlessly guide your class through their Playful Worship journey Always give parents and child something to do while you’re transitioning. For example, “give mum a great big cuddle”, “let’s put our instruments in the box”, “Let’s wiggle those legs and get ready to stand”, sing a transition song or speak a “sound bite” (ie, not a lecture!) on the message, or, JUST DO IT!. Keep in mind that transitions may need as much thought as the main components of your program, and if neglected, will disrupt your teaching flow. Give them attention!
  4. Connection and Engagement.  Creating loving experiences and connections between children, parents and God, is your chief goal. Every song and activity is an opportunity to encourage connections. Playful Worship is NOT about you the teacher. Your job as a teacher is to engage the children and empower the parents, creating bonding and connection with each other, in worshipful God-filled experiences.
Variety and repetition are integral for creating a place where children experience growth and successful learning.

Variety is important in

  • providing a rich garden of learning opportunities and new activities
  • keep children, AND parents, engaged

With repetition, the child’s:

  • learning is strengthened
  • memory, skills and confidence grows
  • understanding of the world around them flourishes
  • anticipation of what is to come engages them
  • brain physically strengthens and grows. The connections (synapses) between brain cells are created and strengthened through each new activity and repetition of. Strong connections enable your child to process thoughts and actions quickly and efficiently.
  • motor development is fuelled
  • feeling of success builds their self-esteem because they are reminded of what they can do, and are able to practice it over and over again.
Imagine a dancer twirling a yellow ribbon – watch that ribbon move with beautifully energy to the music. You want to imagine that your music time is like a ribbon flowing seamlessly to the music… you want to keep the energy alive in your music time.

Ideas to keep your yellow ribbon flowing seamlessly:

• ALWAYS KNOW WHAT’S COMING NEXT! (Keep a program outline nearby where you can see it easily)

• use transition songs occasionally

• speak a short benefit statement reflecting on the benefit of the activity

• as you’re preparing for the next song, sing the words acapella (without accompaniment) to the next song – this helps to prepare people for what’s coming

• create spontaneous “piggybck” songs. Using a familiar tune, create words to suit the situation, for example, to the tune of “Here we go round the mulberry bush”, you could sing, “Come and put your rhythm sticks here….”

• have everyone give hugs, tickles or high fives

• have children put their instruments away in a bucket in the centre, or come to collect a new one

• have everyone focus on parts of their body ie wiggle legs, wobble arms, flick fingers, tap head

• simply start into the next activity without word or explanation. Let the music and message speak for itself.

So how do “playful” and “worship” mix together? Children learn through play! When children are having fun, this is the best environment for them to learn, worship and grow in.