Fun in the Summer: 5 Creative Ways for Preschoolers to Enjoy Outdoor Mission Friends
It’s summer! Let’s go beyond the church walls for Mission Friends outdoor fun. Here are some creative ways for preschoolers to enjoy missions learning outside this summer.
Host a Mission Friends session at a nearby playground. Choose activities that easily transfer to an outdoor setting, sign up extra adult help, and invite families to bring their preschoolers for summer fun missions activities.
Tip: Encourage enrolled families to invite neighbors and friends who have preschoolers to join the playground fun. Include extra supplies to make sure you have enough for all preschoolers. This is a great time to hand out informational flyers about Mission Friends and your church to new families.
Many communities are blessed with city, state, or national parks that offer trails, picnic areas, splash pads, and campgrounds. Take your preschoolers on an adventure to a new place, just like the missionaries they learn about. Select activities suitable for the park you choose. Water exploration on a splash pad, a short hike and magnifying glasses to study nature, or an art project created with nature items like sticks, pinecones, and leaves would provide your preschoolers the opportunity to learn about a new location, just like the missionaries!
Tip: Fill a bag, such as the Mission Friends Sports Bag, with activity supplies, a water bottle, and a snack for each child. Besides allowing preschoolers to carry what they need, the bright lime green color will help identify group members.
The Parking Lot
Invite your Mission Friends to bring their ride-on toys to the church parking lot: tricycles, wagons, and so on. Before they arrive, use traffic cones and caution tape to section off the area where preschoolers can play. Provide sidewalk chalk so preschoolers can add their own roads, houses, and churches.
Tip: Station blankets around the area and include one activity on each, such as snacks, blocks, puzzles, books, and art. Base activities on the missionary, missions area, or Christian concept area of the month. Conclude with a short Group Time story and prayer.
The Farmer’s Market
Allow preschoolers to pretend that they are missionaries living in a new city. Assign preschoolers and adults as shopping partners when you visit a local farmer’s market. Give each child a reusable shopping bag to carry her purchase of unusual fruits or vegetables. After looking and shopping, meet together to compare what preschoolers experienced. Share how missionaries often shop for new foods at different places wherever they live.
Tip: Follow church media guidelines as you take pictures of preschoolers. Print photos and create a picture book for your Mission Friends classroom.
Ask Mission Friends to visit your backyard. Put away breakable or unsafe items and transform your backyard into a Mission Friends adventure. Set up stations for making a summer snack (ice cream with toppings), painting a fence with water, kicking beach balls through hula hoops, and potting flowers for a neighbor. Preschoolers will be delighted to see where their Mission Friends leader lives!
Tip: If you are unable to host Mission Friends in your yard, ask a co-leader or parent to host the session in their backyard. Go early and stay late to help set up and clean up!
Do This for All Outdoor Mission Friends Summer Fun Sessions
- Select and prepare activities suggested in Mission Friends Leader before the session. Adjust activities as needed for outdoor success.
- Gather extra volunteers to assist with supervision and engagement with new families.
- Notify parents via postcard, text, email, or phone call about the special summer fun Mission Friends session. Include date, time, location, and any extra necessary materials needed (tennis shoes for hiking, swimsuit for water play, and so on).
- Carefully supervise all outdoor activities. Include additional adults to help with water play.
- Advise parents of any allergy alerts or concerns.
- Provide flyers inviting new preschoolers and their families to Mission Friends.
- Plan a short, simple Group Time to conclude the summer fun. Tell the mission story, pray for the missionary, and sing a song from Sing to the Tune.
Wherever you go and whatever you plan, enjoy your Mission Friends as they experience outdoor summer missions fun!
by Gina Smith