Monday, June 20, 2011

Adaptation is my primary survival skill.

After having the prior week off, I was so happy to get to spend time with my children's church preschoolers again this Sunday.  I was especially excited when I saw the lesson plan:  Daniel in the lions' den.

When trying to keep the attentions of multiple 2 to 5-year-olds, stories involving animals are a big help.  Especially fun and/or scary animals like lions.  (Little kids love roaring and growling.  Of course, so do I.)

I asked one of the other volunteers if she would be comfortable reading the part of Daniel for me.  She admitted she hadn't read the lesson, but reluctantly agreed.  So far, so good.

Waiting for class to start, I was very excited to see some kids who hadn't come in a while, some real sweethearts I'd been missing.  We even had extra volunteers, including two older-kid assistants.  Still so far, so good.

We played with toys for a while, then it was time to clean-up and listen to our Bible story.  That was when I realized the problem.

No lesson materials.  No props, no game materials, no stickers.

And no coloring sheets.

It may sound like I'm being overdramatic, but coloring is a very important part of our day for the kids.  We color at the end and it's a good time to wind down, discuss the Bible story with the kids one-on-one some, and have a fun souvenir for when their parents arrive to pick them up.  Coloring is how we keep everyone still and quiet while they wait for their Mommies and Daddies to come out of "big church".

Needless to say, a bit of improvisation was in order.  First, I had to wing it with the lesson a little, cutting out all references to props and costumes.  Easy enough.

Then, for our game, since I didn't have the list of questions, I just made some up.  Also, we didn't have a beanbag or music with which to play "hot potato" (as the lesson required), so we passed around a plastic cauliflower from the toy food box.

While the kids were distracted with their snack, I asked the other two adult volunteers to take over for a minute while I frantically searched for coloring materials, even if it was just plain paper.  We had nada but crayons.

Then, watching the kids enjoy their snack, I thought to myself, "Well, paper cups are...paper."

So we colored on some of the extra paper cups with crayons.  And it was a big hit.

Just goes to show you can't overestimate the flexibility of kids.  It's we adults who struggle with going with the flow.

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