What happens when the service goes long? Or how about that Sunday that you make it through everything you had planned much quicker than you expected? That can be a stressful time for many teachers. And if the kids (at least certain kids) figure out that you are out of stuff to do, well, they get pretty creative at how to fill that time. You don’t want that to happen!
It’s good to have a plan in place for what you would do should your time exceed your lesson plan. I can guarantee that it will happen at some point if it hasn’t already happened to you.
Here are eight thoughts on the subject:
1. Watch your words. When you find out that the adult service is not dismissing yet, do not say “Oh, dear.” Or any other such phrase. Say, instead, “Oh good! Now we have time for some more fun stuff!” Or something along those lines. How you word it makes a difference. It sets a tone. Be careful! You can’t get those words back!
2. Have a stocked cabinet with a couple of object lessons at the ready. You can check out our object lesson books here.
3. There are many game activities available that you can have in your cabinet ready to pull out on a moment’s notice. You probably know one or two that your class really likes and you don’t often have time for. This is the time! Like a beach ball that you toss around and they have to do something for whichever color their hand lands on. For example, if your right hand lands on the red stripe you have to come to the front and act like an elephant. If your right hand lands on the yellow stripe you have to sing Jesus Loves Me at the top of your voice. Make up whatever you want to use for the colors. Our 102 Fun Things book is chock full of things to add to your resource cabinet. Some are just the ticket for when service goes long.
4. Review the memory verse again. If the activity you used during class was well-received, do it again. Make it a little more challenging with a time limit or sillier or whatever you can think of. Kids love re-runs! If they loved it the first time, do it again!
5. Add a second review activity. It doesn’t have to be something pre-planned. Ask them questions, have them DO something if they get it right: jump up and down 3 times, run to the back and high five the helper, run around the class yelling “I got it right!”
6. Have a Bible drill.
7. How about a simple craft? You probably have pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc. hanging around. A quick bookmark or something crazy to hang from their backpack can be whipped up with a little glue and doo-dads.
8. Have a snack – I’m not one to have snack time in class on a weekly basis, so this is always a big treat for my kids. Have everyone wash their hands while your helper grabs whatever they can find (most of the time from the cabinets of the younger kids’ classrooms) and some plastic cups. Let the kids make a snack mix from the fish crackers, pretzel sticks, gummy bears, animal crackers, etc. that you find hiding in the other cabinets.
Those are just a few of the ideas you can have in your mind that you can jump into when needed. If you don’t have a plan, they will plan something less than enjoyable for you. And if you don’t have a plan, they will get out of control in a big hurry; which makes parent pick up time rather unruly and embarrassing for you. And, should you have visitors that day, it will not leave them with the correct impression of your classroom.
Take a few minutes before service next week and check out what is in your cabinet. What craft supplies are lurking in the baskets? Are there object lesson books hanging around that you can go through and prepare three or four to have ready and waiting? Where are the snacks kept? And the cups and napkins? Any toys laying around that you could make into a crazy game?
Who knows what you will find if you take a few minutes and hunt. It will be fun!
And you won’t get caught again without a way to fill those extra minutes.