Its amazing how incentives can really drive kids to reach their full potential. I remember in elementary school our teacher would give us gold stars to place on our name tags on our desks and once you reached a certain number you were able to visit the prize bucket! That was a highlight for me, any small trinket or toy to display on my desk was worth digging deep for every ounce of self control I had in my 7 year old little body. (sitting still, listening and paying attention were some of the hardest tasks for little Becks) Throughout the years teachers have used methods like this simply because it works! When kids know that there is something they are working toward they are more likely to follow through on the tasks you challenge them with.
And now for how this applies to Kids Church! Here is a simply “how to” on creating a store in your kid’s church that has them excited to go deeper with God.
1) PICK A NAME
- Time to get creative! We had our kids submit ideas on what they would like the money to be called. There were some really funny ones and some good options and by having them cast their votes they feel like they are a part of the whole process which really gives them ownership of their store. We chose to name ours Kids Kash…simple and exactly what it is. You don’t want your name to be too long so that no one ever calls it by its name 🙂
2) DETERMINE HOW CASH IS EARNED
- For any incentive system you must determine how they can collect the prize. It must be clear to the kids what they have to do to get the prize otherwise they will get discouraged and not care to earn the cash anymore. In our ministry this is how our kids earn their bucks: 1 for bringing their Bible, 1 for a water bottle, 1 for completing daily Bible reading. We also give them out when they are “Caught doing good” which means helping out in service, obeying rules, or just standing out by helping.
- You can also add on little by little new ways to earn cash. Over the Summer months we plan to add a category for bringing friends to church. Whatever you desire to see in your ministry just add it to ways they can get cash and you will be amazed with their follow through.
3) PRIZE SELECTION
- When stocking the store make sure you get stuff the kids will actually want. Again, if there is nothing in the store they care to take home with them they will not care to earn the cash and your store idea could easily backfire. What are your kids talking about? What is their favorite toys at home? Ask these questions and the kids will tell you what they want to see in the store.
- If lots of your kids are coming to church with arms full of Rainbow Looms—- put it in the store, Girls with tons of Littlest Pet Shop—-put it in the store, Superhero Stuff?—- put it in the store! You get my drift 🙂
- http://www.orientaltrading.com is a GREAT resource for store stock! If it seems kinda cheap or cheesy, don’t worry, the kids will love it. Just picture what you might find at a Chuck E. Cheese and you are good!
4) TALK IT UP, KEEP IT STOCKED, AND KEEP IT SEEN
- Talk about it…OFTEN! Make sure the kids know about it and are excited!
- Keep it stocked! The worst thing you can do is open a store and let it dwindle down to bare shelves so that the kids have totally lost interest. Make sure to put new things in from time to time to keep them visiting and saving.
- Lastly, keep it in their view! We made that mistake of keeping our store in a back room of our kids area. The store was often out of sight out of mind. This meant the shelves were often bare, the kids forgot about it, and it just really wasn’t quality. We actually closed our store, took a year to revamp, then reopened bigger and better
Hope this little post helps you get something started in your kids church! I’ll just tell you, our kids are sooooo excited about our Store and even better they are bringing Bibles, Studying the word, and getting closer to Jesus!