Although the gathering of church youth groups may have been disrupted due to the pandemic, it’s essential for churches to reinstate church youth group activities as the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control. Unfortunately, the country is still experiencing heightened levels of community transmission of the novel COVID-19 virus and its variants. That said, the advice of the CDC is clear that maintaining social-distancing practices and wearing masks can help to greatly reduce the rate of the virus’s spread. According to the CDC’s mask guidance, any instance where children will be gathered in an indoor space is cause for mask-wearing. While masks are generally not required outdoors, if children will be working in groups, mask-wearing is strongly encouraged.
For churches, this means continuing to be vigilant when it comes to safety measures and diligently tracking COVID case spikes within their community. With these safety measures taken, churches may continue operations that include the reinstatement of church youth ministries. As children have suffered greatly during these troubling times, it’s important to work to provide them with opportunities to socialize, learn, practice faith, and make new discoveries — all of which church fun youth group activities can help them achieve.
This guide will help your church come up with a youth group program filled with COVID-safe youth group activities.
Church Youth Group Activities Need Support
Churches who are taking on the mission of helping others, often rely on the help of others themselves. Creating a safe and organized space for children to gather during their youth group sessions requires resources that churches may find challenging to provide. Unfortunately, the expenses related to PPE, food, gas, utilities, cleaning supplies, and play materials can add up quickly. As churches are nonprofit entities, they rely on the support of their members to fund basic operations. The pandemic caused church donations to drop significantly with some churches seeking donations dropping by over 50%, according to the Washington Post. In fact, some churches have even been forced to close their doors for good because they were unable to recover from the negative effects of the pandemic.
When a church expands its operations to include beneficial programs such as church youth groups, their financial needs increase. As a result, many churches turn to fundraising to generate much-needed revenue. Luckily, there are many fundraising ideas for churches to choose from. Just be sure to choose an idea that reflects your church’s current resources and involves your church members. Fundraising helps to raise money, however, its benefits for a church congregation go even deeper. Working together to help the church fulfill its mission can help to facilitate stronger connections within your church.
That said, implementing these youth group fundraisers will take time and careful planning, but their success will more than make up for the effort. With funds generated from fundraising, your church can create a budget for your church’s youth group. This includes planning the purchase of masks and cleaning supplies to help ensure that you are providing a clean, safe space for children to gather. That’s why fundraising is such a critical aspect of a church’s operations, it helps the church to actively pursue the fulfillment of its vital mission.
Top Covid-Safe Youth Group Activities
Planning youth group activities can be challenging, but when it comes to planning COVID-safe youth group activities the bar gets raised even higher. Activities for church youth groups should be fun, first and foremost. Not only will this help to improve the children’s engagement, but it will also aid in the children’s development as play has been proven to improve children’s emotional wellbeing and development.
That said, traditional activities likely won’t cut it for your church group. Or, at least, they will have to be modified to ensure that they allow members to practice social distancing and wear masks when appropriate. You’ll likely have to reconsider where youth group activities take place, as well. To safely accommodate youth group members, each member must be able to maintain a minimum six foot distance from one another. Repurposing the church’s pews may work well in this scenario. As places of worship usually boast high ceilings and ample seating for members, they can easily be repurposed for safe gatherings in limited numbers. Additionally, if your church has outdoor space on its grounds, make use of the area for as long as the weather permits. Outdoor gatherings are considered significantly less likely to result in virus transmission than indoor gatherings. All of these requirements can make it difficult to come up with church youth group activities.
The following list will explore some fun COVID-safe youth group activities to engage your church’s youth group members.
If your church is in an area with a high rate of community transmission, it might be safest to hold virtual meetings rather than to suspend group activities altogether. Virtual youth group lessons allow children to maintain their connections with one another, instead of losing them completely. Additionally, virtual meetings are more flexible, so you can meet on everyone’s schedule without having to worry about transportation or other logistical issues.
Staying outdoors in uncrowded spaces is an excellent way to perform youth group activities without facilitating the spread of the virus. As a bonus, volunteering presents youth with the opportunity to give back to the community, meet their neighbors, and spend some time outdoors. Simple outdoor volunteering activities that you can do with a youth group includes yard work for the elderly or disabled, picking up litter, and organizing recycling drives.
Scavenger hunts are fun and mentally engaging activities that you can do with your church’s youth group. Start by breaking the group up into smaller groups or singles. Each group will start with a clue that will take them all around the church’s interior and its grounds. Within small groups children can wear masks and can easily maintain a distance of six feet. You can strategically place hints and clues in locations that will reduce the proximity of each group to one another. Whichever group solves all their clues first wins!
A youth group talent show allows each child to bring forth some entertaining or interesting skill they have learned. Children can remain socially distanced as each one gets up to perform a quick routine in front of their peers. Whether it’s singing their favorite hymn or solving a rubik's cube in under a minute, each child has a talent that they will be eager to share. For those who suffer from stage fright, this will be a good opportunity to practice speaking in front of a trusted group of friends.
Youtube for the win! Simply search Youtube for children’s yoga and get a session in with the children. Yoga promotes good physical health and the practice’s meditation aspect can introduce children to mindfulness. Although mats are preferred, standing yoga practices are available and won’t require children to lay on the floor to get into position. Just make sure you have ample floor space for this activity as children may stumble and they’ll need to maintain distance from one another.
Senior Pen Pals
Does your community have any senior living facilities within its borders? Having your youth group write to senior pen pals can help them practice their writing skills. However, the best part of this activity is how much it can brighten a senior’s day to receive a letter. In some cases, the elderly may not be visited often or may not have many family members and friends left. These individuals may feel disconnected from the world, so having a pen pal can provide them with a much needed external connection.
All you need is a decent set of acting skills and a sheet of paper to keep track of the score
Organize a Can Drive
Organizing a can drive can be especially helpful during the holiday season. With many individuals who are food insecure, food donations can mean a world of difference for some families. Youth groups can collect cans within their neighborhood. Start by drawing up flyers to let neighbors know when cans will be collected and how to get their donations in. Have children collect the cans when the day comes. You may choose to donate the cans to a local charity or your church can distribute them to those who are less fortunate in the community.
Have Children Share their Favorite Passages & Present Them to a Group
Not only does this activity facilitate a better understanding of the scripture, but it also allows children to practice critical thinking and public speaking. Additionally, sharing favorite passages can be a great way to spark a conversation about a passage and the meaning behind it.IT’s a fun way to study the bible in an approachable way.
Host a Bible Trivia Night
Organize children into small groups in a space that can accommodate those children maintaining a six foot distance from one another. Play Bible Trivia, a game in which you ask the youth questions about the bible and its passages. You’ll award points to those teams that get the answers right. It may make the game more competitive if you put up a simple prize for the winning team, such as paper awards or sweets.
Now more than ever, it’s essential for places of worship to actively pursue their mission of helping those in need. However, it can be challenging to fulfill that mission without relying on the generosity of church members and those in the community. Fortunately, fundraising can help make donation more convenient and accessible for those that want to help. With an eGiving platform to support virtual donations, your church can greatly increase its donation revenue and better connect with the community it serves, including operating church youth groups. When hosting any of the above activities, be sure to provide a church event permission slip for parents and guardians to fill out.
Want to learn more about how Vanco can help your church take its donations to the next level? Get in touch today and ask about our eGiving platform!