“He Maketh Me To Lie Down In Green Pastures...”
Our church has a Sunday School Picnic each year about this time. Everyone seems to enjoy the food and fellowship. We reserve the picnic tables and softball field in a park near the church and provide hot dogs, drinks and the paper products. Members of the church bring the chili, slaw, chips, and desserts. After the meal, we have a softball game. Depending on what's available, you could have mini-tournaments and let each person sign up for different games. Tennis, horse-shoes, basketball, and different types of races are some of the possibilities. You might want to try Frisbee golf, whiffleball, or volleyball played with a large beach ball. If you are planning this for the first time, visit the park in advance so you will know what types of games can be planned for the space available. It might be helpful to provide name tags so that everyone will have an easier time putting names with faces, especially if you think there will be new members and visitors present.
This year we had many younger children so we played whiffleball with plastic bats and balls. This was much safer for the age group that wanted to play, although it still took my constant attention to keep the pre-schoolers from running on the field during play. (It is a good policy not to let them pick up the bat until it is their turn to hit.) The small children lined up to hit, and run the bases, while some of the parents played the field. We did not keep count of outs and runs, and let the smallest run even on foul balls. The parents tried to make it challenging to the ones who play little league ball by trying to keep them from scoring. The children enjoyed it and it was so much fun to watch the little girls clap and dance on the bases, and hear them scream when someone came near them with the ball. The boys enjoyed sliding into base and trying to steal home.
An Indoor Picnic:
I was recently asked to decorate for a 75th birthday party for my father-in-law. For his gift, we bought a picnic bench, and placed it in the corner of the fellowship hall. The back side of a scrap of vinal flooring was painted to look like a stone path leading up to the bench. We placed a standing bird feeder on one side of the bench and a plant stand on the other. We surrounded the area with large potted plants. We placed picnic items in a large picnic basket on the floor. My sister made large ants using toothpicks, styrofoam balls painted black, squiggly eyes, and black pipe cleaners. We placed them in a row marching towards the picnic basket. A red and white checked piece of cloth (about 22 inches square) was placed diagonally in the center of each table, and in the basket. Red, white, & blue flowers were placed in pint canning jars and ribbons of smaller red and white checks were tied around each jar. Blue decorative marble/stones held the flowers in place. We filled clear plastic candy dishes with Hershey's Kisses wrapped in silver, red, and blue foil (found in stores after July 4th celebrations.) Watermelon chunks and sandwich halves became part of the refreshments. We also used red, white, and blue helium balloons to help carry the theme of a "picnic in the park". We had a great time and everyone seemed to enjoy the indoor picnic.
“Surely Goodness And Mercy...” Psalm 23:6
The door prizes could be placed in a large picnic basket and covered with a red and white checked cloth. You could have things that are associated with a picnic. Some ideas could include: a jar of pickles, a Frisbee, an insulated water bottle, and a can of tennis balls.
“Thou Preparest A Table Before Me...” Psalm 23:5
As I mentioned above, we have hot dogs at our Sunday School Picnic. Picnic tables can often be dirty, so we take a roll of paper to cover the tables. We always tape it down and sometimes we have to put bottles of cola on the tables if the wind is strong. We take a large container of ice water and cups to the softball field and make sure we clean them all up before we leave.
“The Lord Is My Shepherd; I Shall Not Want” Psalm 23:1
The 23rd Psalm would be a good source of devotions for a picnic. I often think of David, the shepherd boy, leading the sheep on the green hills when I read this Psalm. Make sure you take the time to ask God's blessing on your food. Also make sure the visitors feel welcome among your group and invite them to Sunday School. You may want to use Psalm 23 Crossword.
“...I Will Dwell In The House Of The Lord Forever”
Our Sunday School Picnic is a way to reach out to the extended families of our church members. Grandparents often bring their grandchildren. It is a good way to fellowship and learn more about each other.
“The Ants Are A People Not Strong, Yet They Prepare Their Meat In The Summer” Proverbs 30:25
I guess no picnic is complete without ants. The ants described in the Indoor Picnic above are quite simple. Paint the styrofoam balls black and place a toothpick through a small one. Add larger balls to each end to complete the head and body of the ant. Glue on squiggly eyes. Cut black pipe cleaners into short lengths and stick three on each side of the ant for legs. With several furniture plants closing in our area, many people are out of work and the homeless shelters and soup kitchens are running low on food. Your group may want to be like the ants and collect food in the summer to help them into the winter.
“The Lord Is My Shepherd...” Psalm 23:1
The 23rd Psalm is a great chapter to teach to young children. Print the verses and let each child decorate a mini-poster on pieces of green poster board. Let them glue the scripture in the center and decorate the surrounding area with small artificial flowers. Glue on cotton ball sheep and use a dark marker to add legs and heads.