“In Like Manner...” I Timothy 2:9
I can remember how hard it was for me to make new friends when I started back to school each new year. I was shy and found it hard to talk to people I did not know. Here is an Ice-Breaker People Bingo Game that could help provide tid-bits of information that may open the way for friendships. We have played the game In Like Manner with all ages, but I made some changes so that this one, In Like Manner For Students, could be played with school-aged children. If you have a large group, you may allow each person to sign each page only 1 time.
“...Remember The Works Of The Lord...” Psalm 77:11
Our party theme this month is, “Going Back To School.” A big part of going back to school is remembering the things you have already learned. That knowledge prepares you for the new things you will study. This activity will be like a review of the Bible stories many learn as children. Set up a large chalk board, or dry erase board in the front of the room. One by one, let each person illustrate a Bible story they remember, or have a list of Bible stories to use. Divide into two teams and see which team can be first to guess the most stories. We played this at youth meetings and let the younger children go first and draw the easier stories, “Jonah and the Whale”, “Noah’s Ark” or “Daniel in the Den of Lions”. For a list of stories go to Bible Stories To Illustrate.
“...Known By His Doings...” Proverbs 20:11
Part of going to school, especially going to college, is deciding what you want to be. Children often say, "I want to be a fireman when I grow up", or "I want to be a doctor when I grow up." There are jobs that seem glamorous or exciting to children. It is sometimes hard to decide what you want to be. The important thing is to pray and seek God's will in your life, and let Him lead you in the direction you need to go. No matter which path you take, and which job you choose, do all you do for the glory of God. There are several occupations in our Bible. Our youth enjoyed playing this game as you would play charades. Cut out the job titles and try to make your team mates guess what Biblical job you are doing. Bible Occupations
“...Give Ye Them To Eat...” Matthew 14:16
This verse comes from the story of the little boy who had his lunch of five loaves and two fishes. Jesus fed 5,000 with this small meal. When I read this story I think of how his mother probably packed this lunch for him, just as I packed lunch for my children as they headed off for school. Using this story for our devotional time, I put two toy fish and five rolls in a cloth bag to illustrate this story. Then we had fun with a simple game using paper lunch sacks and several lunch items. In preparation, number each bag and place one item in each one, taping it closed. Give everyone a piece of paper and pencil and tell them to number the paper, making sure that each knows to use the numbers on the bags to write down their guesses. Pass the sacks from person to person, and each writes down his guess of what is in each bag. Tell them not to squeeze the bags too tightly. A few ideas for the lunch bags might include: an apple, a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (use a different type of sandwich if one of your guests may be allergic to peanuts), a small bottle of water, a fruit roll-up, a small bag of chips, a pickle in a plastic bag, an oatmeal cookie, a can of soup, and a pack of nabs. (My boiled egg ended up in tiny pieces, and someone put her thumb through the lid of the applesauce cup, but all ages had lots of fun with this.)
“...Supply All Your Need...” Philippians 4:19
We had a great time with Back To School Bingo. Give everyone a bingo sheet and tell them to write down one item in each square that you might put in your book bag. This worked well with our group because we had all ages and the older children helped the younger ones with ideas and spelling. We had two identical sports/book bags full of school supplies, one on each end of the table. As we took an identical item from each bag, (keeping them separated in two piles for the relay race) the children and parents used dried beans to mark their bingo papers. We kept playing, awarding small prizes with each "bingo" and tried to see who could fill his or her card completely. After the bags were empty we divided into two teams and had a relay race. The first player carried the bag to his or her end of the table and put in one item and then carried the bag back to the next player. The kids had so much fun with this! When the bags got too full and heavy for the smaller children, I told them that two people could carry the bags, one for each handle. At the end of the race we emptied the bags back onto the table and let the winning team choose one item for a prize first, and then let the other team choose one item for a prize. My group was small enough that everyone got to choose three items to keep. Items could include: Pencil Box, Crayons, Pencil, Erasers, Pen, Pencil Sharpener, Glue Stick, Small Note Pad, Highlighters, Paperclip, Notebook, Folder, Dictionary, Bible, Paper, Money Pouch, Lunch Money, Lunch Bag, Water Bottle, Stapler, Rubber Band, Index Cards, Colored Pencils, Markers, Kleenex, Calculator, Blanket or Nap Towel, Hair Brush, Tape, Journal, Ruler, Stickers, Post-It Notes. (Do not use scissors or a compass for safety reasons.)
“...Supply All Your Need...” Philippians 4:19
It is always fun to get new school supplies to start the new year. There are various school supplies that could be used as door prizes.
Examples: Crayons, Pencils, Paper, Folders, Glue, Markers, Rulers, An Apple, Box of Kleenex, Small Calculator, and Pocket Calendar.
Right Left Game: Wrap the prizes and let everyone sit in a large circle and give the prizes randamly to the guests. Read the story from Genesis 1 on the Right Left Game page and explain that each person passes his or her prize to the right or left every time "right" or "left" is mentioned in the story. (When we played this game we had a prize for every guest."
Math Prize: Count the number of guests and put the corresponding numbers in a hat or lunch box. Let each person pick a number out of the hat, or lunch box. Call out a simple math problem for the winning number. For example: Our winning number is the sum of 10 + 7. The equations could be very simple (2+2), or harder (7x4-3), depending on the age of your guest. Make sure your problem answers are all within number of guests. The prizes could be wrapped, or unwrapped. You could have several small prizes, or a single prize.
Guess this prize: Wrap several ‘back to school’ items and put a number on each item. Pass the prizes around the room and let each person make a list of what he/she thinks is in each package. The person who guesses the most items gets to choose a prize first. Or put the name of each guest in a hat and draw out a name for each prize.
Back to School Exchange: Instead of “exchange students”, we have “exchange gifts”. Instruct your guests to bring a wrapped item that someone could take back to school. Let everyone draw a number and the person with number “1” gets to choose a prize first. The person with number “2” chooses the next prize, and so on. You may want to have a few packages stashed away in case someone brings a guest or forgets their package. You may also want to establish a price range.
“Marvelous Things Without Number”... Job 5:9
We have often put holiday candies in a small jar and let everyone guess the number for a door prize. Our group enjoys this game so much that I have started using two identical jars so that two people could win the candy. For a Back to School party we wanted to use colorful paperclips and rubber bands. And for a different variation we strung them together in a long string to weave around the room. (Count the number of pieces before anyone arrives and seal the answer in an envelope.) Write "Name" and "Guess" on the top of a sheet of paper. Everyone should put his/her name and the number he/she guesses on the paper. Explain that no one can use a number someone else has guessed. The person nearest the actual number wins the string of clips and bands. Explain beforehand that "the closest number without going over is the winner."
“As The Cold Of Snow...” Proverbs 25:13
An ice cream party would be fun. You can ask volunteers to make a freezer of home-made ice cream or buy it from the store. Ask anyone who could to bring an ice cream topping. Let each person have a bowl of ice cream and add the toppings of their choice. Topping ideas could include fruit, candy, cookies, and nuts.
...Teach Us To Number Our Days...” Psalm 90:12
For devotional ideas which look at schools and teachers in Bible days, please look at Back To School.
“...Teachers Of Good Things...” Titus 2:3
If we stop and think about those following in our footsteps, we realize that we are all teachers, either in our words or actions. Here are devotional ideas on Things To Learn And Teach.
“This Is The Day...” Psalm 118:24
"This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." These devotions give helpful ideas to students to make the most of every day as they begin a new school year. This Is The Day
“...The Labourer Is Worthy Of His Hire...” Luke 10:7
Talk about the importance of putting God first in the present and also in planning the future. Laborers For Christ We need to live for God at home, school, and work. For a puzzle using occupations found in Bible days, go to Worthy Laborer.
“He That Hath An Ear, Let Him Hear...” Revelation 2:7
God wants us to hear His Word. Talk about the importance of listening to our parents, our teachers and preachers, and most importantly, listening to God. For a game using Bible Verses which contain the word "EAR" go to An Ear To Hear.
“Wisdom Is The Principal Thing...” Proverbs 4:7
“...He Brought Him To Jesus...” John 1:42
Make plans and invitations for a “Back to School” party. Let each person give out three invitations to their school friends. Plan to serve simple refreshments and have a game or two. Make sure you have a time of devotions and invite the guests to come back and visit your church.
“... Things Ye Have Need Of...” Matthew 6:8
Many times we take up clothes and toys for an orphanage or Children’s Home at Christmas. I’m sure those children would appreciate getting something new at other times as well. Instead of the games and door prizes above, you could ask everyone who is financially able to bring in school supplies and donate them to a local need. You may be able to place the box in a good place at your church for everyone to participate.