AWANA Theme Night Ideas
Do you have a theme night idea you would like to share? Just comment below!
September (first Sunday after Labor Day)– National Grandparent Day. (Invite grandparents to club – they’ll enjoy coming, the kids will be happy and you might get a new leader or two!)
September 22nd – Hobbit Day (Did you know that J.R. Toiken was a big influence on C.S. Lewis turning from atheism to Christianity?)
October 16th – Dictionary Day (Noah Webster is considered the father of the dictionary – he felt education useless without the Bible.)
November 23rd – Eat a Cranberry Day – (Did you know cranberries were named after sandhill cranes? Wait – it’s the other way around! Because cranberry blossoms look like sandhill cranes, they were named cran-berries.)
December 9th – Christmas Card Day – (Not as many cards sent as there were at one time – but why not have the kids make cards for the church staff, the maintenance crew who clean up after Awana each week, missionaries, etc.?)
January 4th – National Trivia Day (How about a Bible trivia tournament? Or a T&T Handbook Trivia Tournament?)
January 31 – Backwards Day (What better day to do a backwards theme? Dress backwards, plan a backwards schedule, write backwards.)
February 11th – Make a Friend Day (Plan a Bring-a-Friend theme, pair up kids who don’t usually hang together, play games that require two kids to work together.)
March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day (Not that unusual – but did you know that Patrick was actually British and he went to Ireland as a Christian missionary, spreading the gospel? Do some research and share the real story of Patrick with your kids.)
March 26th – Make Up Your Own Holiday Day (Ask the kids to plan their own special day. What would they celebrate? What would they do? What would they eat?)
April 10th – National Siblings Day (Do something to honor siblings … or since this is probably near the end of your club year, why not have younger siblings visit club – especially those who would be in the club in the fall?)
April 26th – National Pretzel Day (Pretzels represent children folding their hands in prayer and were first created in 610 A.D. as a prize for kids who learned Scripture.)
1. Find the Verse – Say the Verse Night. Kids say verses as usual, but if they find the verse they are about to recite in the Bible and show it to their leaders before they say it, they receive double points for their team.
2. Find the Key Word Night. What will your Large Group Lesson be about next week? Love? Obedience? Patience? Challenge your kids to find as many verses that use that particular word and bring the list to club next week. Team points for every verse found.
3. Find the Date Night. Give kids a list of Bible events. During the week they put the events in chronological order. Kids who bring the correct timeline back the next week, receive team points. (Teens on Facebook and other social media are familiar with timelines. Challenge them to design a Facebook-type timeline for key biblical events.)
4. Treasure Hunt Night. Give kids a list of Scripture verses with the number of a specific word in the verse.
For instance (in ESV) –
- Genesis 19:26 – word four (answer – behind)
- John 3:16 – word five (answer – the)
- 2 Kings 4:10 – word 22 (answer – chair)
1. December Contest Night – Plan a contest for the December club nights. Make it fairly easy with everyone having the opportunity to be a winner. For instance the requirements might be to say three verses, or do two sections … a task doable for all your clubbers. Then announce that the promised celebration for the winners will be the first night back – and make it be something your kids enjoy: ice cream, tacos, whatever works. Emphasize needing to be at club the first night back in order to receive the prize.
2. A Favorite Speaker Night – Who is a favorite among those you ask to be guests speakers for Large Group lessons? Is it the church deacon who used to be a pro football player, the gospel illusionist or that lady who tells Bible events in such a way that all the kids are on the edge of their chairs? Let the kids know THAT person will be teaching the lesson on the first night back.
3. Snow Night/Beach Party – Where do you live? If you live in the south where you have little snow, plan a Snow Night. Use wadded-up newspaper for snowballs or snowman making. Serve hot chocolate and popcorn. Emphasize cold weather even if it’s 70 degrees outside.
If you live in a cold area of the country –plan a Beach Party. Play games with beach balls. Make sand castles in a child’s sand-filled wading pool. Serve lemonade or popsicles. If possible, you could turn the heat higher and have kids wear summer clothes. Large Group lesson could be one about the disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee.
4. Treasure Night. Collect old keys until you have enough for each clubber to have one. One of the keys should open a chest or other container. Decorate the chest/container so it looks appealing to a child. The last night of club before break, give each child a key with the promise that one of the keys will open the chest. They’ll have an opportunity to see if it’s their key on the first night back. Remind the kids on your club Facebook page, blog, etc., to bring back their key.
Large Group Lesson: Matthew 6:21
5. Winter Fair. Churches have been having fairs ever since Awana began back in the 50s. We think of fairs in spring or fall, but why not have an inside fair the first night back in the New Year? (That actually might give you more time to set up.) Start promoting the fair now.
6. Coupon It. The last night of club in 2015, give all clubbers a coupon to be turned in for the first night of the 2016 year. The coupon could be for an ice cream cone or something out of the ordinary. Do you have a fire fighter in your church who could teach the Large Group lesson (The coupon could be “sitting in a fire truck.”) Do you have an illusionist that could teach the clubbers a trick? (The coupon could be “to learn one new trick.”) What would motivate your kids?
7. Clubbers Run It Night. Give the clubbers opportunity to lead the club. Assign a speaker, musicians, etc. Plan it all before break and plan “clubbers-run-it” for the first night back.
8. Suspenseful Story. Yes, it’s been done many times before … but it works! Stop a story at the most suspenseful part and promise an ending the first night.
Jungle Night – 1 Peter 5:8-9. Talk about standing strong against temptation. Be positive with your clubbers and teach them the importance of standing firm in their faith. These verses also talk about people around the world who are suffering for their faith – which brings up the option of talking about the persecuted church. (Beware of your audience and explain this with age-appropriateness.)
What to do: You could have a jungle theme with green streamers and jungle-type stuffed animals around the room.
Plan some “jungle food” which might be bananas (monkeys) or rod pretzels decorated with orange frosting with black stripes. Play jungle games such as “pin the tail on the monkey” or animal musical chairs where the person who is out gets to choose what animal the remaining game players must imitate as they go around the circle.
Witness Night: 2 Peter 2:16. Kids need to know that the men who wrote of Christ’s earthly ministry (the gospels) were actually part of it. They weren’t making it up or reporting hearsay. They also had the trustworthy testimony of the godly men who wrote Old Testament Scripture (2 Peter 1:21).
What to do: Ask a leader (or another adult) who wasn’t at club the week before to the front. Ask him obvious questions about what went on.
For instance: Brad, do you remember that fun game we played with the balloons?
Brad (being as ridiculous as possible). Sure. We filled them all with soda and then popped them.
You: No … Kids, do you remember? (Wait for the right answer.)
Continue for a few more questions. Show the kids how much better it is to believe someone who was actually there.
L.O.V.E. Night –1 John is all about our responsibility of loving others as those who are loved by God. Lots of Large Group lesson possibilities here.
What to do: Have the kids role play different situations – a kid at school who no one likes; a fight with a sibling, being asked to help Grandpa weed his garden, etc. Talk about the difference between reacting with love and without love. You could also give each clubber a couple candy kisses.
Truth Night – 2 John is focused on God’s truth which is summarized by following His commandments and walking in love.
What to do: For older kids you could play “two truths and a lie.” (Everyone tells three things about themselves – two true and one false. Others have to guess which one is false.)
You could also list quotes and ask kids whether or not they think those quotes are from the Bible. (You can find quizzes like this on the web.)
Hospitality Night – 3 John. Gaius was know for his kindness and hospitality to strangers. John commended him for it. Talk to your kids about welcoming others – emphasizing the importance of welcoming kids to club.
What to do: If you have access to the church kitchen, you could bake cookies or some other snack and serve it to staff members. Being kind to maintenance staff is especially important since they are the ones who clean up the mess after club or set up and take down chairs.
Beware! Night – Jude. Jude focuses on those who “pretend” they love God, but they are really don’t. This may be a difficult subject to teach younger kids, but we can emphasize the importance of always checking what someone says with God’s Word. With older children you can talk about the tendency to use the right words and talk about loving God, but not truly doing so. Be careful NOT to talk about any particular person – but rather in general terms.
What to do: You could play blindfold games, flashlight tag or hide and seek (if possible); games that depend on someone being surprised/tricked by someone else.
Beginning and the End Night – Revelation 22:13 – Explain the meaning of Alpha and Omega. Talk about Christ being the Beginning and the End. We can put out trust in Him because He is over all, He is sovereign.
What to do: Plan a Treasure Hunt – sending teams out with clues, or an Amazing Race-type game. The point is for clubbers to race toward an end.
Grumble Not Night – Philippians 4:4. Talk about joy – Joy does not translate into daily happiness and a magical life. God never promises us that we won’t face tough times, but we can rejoice that He is with us through good times and bad times.
What to do: For fun, ask clubbers to share their pet peeve (make a rule that they can’t talk about another person), or you could have leaders share their pet peeves. Even this can be a lesson – what should we do when we get upset over little annoyances?
Or play the “I-can-make-you-laugh” game. Kids sit in a circle. Choose one of them to be “it.” “It” kneels down in front of another clubber and attempts to get her to laugh without saying a word. (Put a time limit on this: 15-30 seconds.) If “it” gets the other clubber to laugh, that clubber becomes “it.” If not, “it” moves on to someone else.
Kindness Night – Colossians 3:12. Your lesson could be on kindness.
What to do: A few weeks before Kindness Night, ask the clubbers for service project suggestions. You might be surprised what they come up with. You could collect Bibles for a mission, toys for a homeless shelter, gently-worn winter jackets or loose change for a GO project.
Do What I Do Night – 1 Thessalonians 1:6. Many verses in the Bible talk about imitating good. Other verses talk about following a pattern of good words (God’s truths). Teach your clubbers the importance of following that which is good. Emphasize that we must surround ourselves with friends who make godly choices.
What to do: Play games such as Simon says or Follow the Leader. (Yes, we think of Follow the Leader as a little kids’ game, but an enthusiastic leader, who takes the clubbers through some funny and challenging antics, can easily turn this into an activity for older kids.)
GO Night – 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Do you participate in GO? If not, take some time to look over the resources we have available on the Awana GO page http://awana.org/go Get involved in reaching kids around the world.
What to do: Choose a country and focus on that country for a week or two. You could play games from that country, eat a snack common to the country … maybe even have someone who is from the country visit your club. Talk about the Awana clubs in the country and pray for the leaders and clubbers.
Honor the Pastor Night (or any church staff member) – I Timothy 2. Paul details the characteristics of a church leader in 1 Timothy. Why not invite your pastor to club that night? He could do the Large Group lesson or the clubbers could ask him questions about the Bible … or about his role as pastor. Honor him with a special snack and a gift – a poster or something on which kids could write their names and a message.
Church kids probably know the pastor, but might not understand what he does when he isn’t at church. Non-churched kids have no idea what a pastor does. This is a great opportunity for them to get to meet him. The pastor can express his willingness to answer their questions and be available to them at any time.
Strength Night – 2 Timothy 2:1. Large Group lesson could be about the strength we find in Christ. Many of the clubbers in your church face tough situations in their homes. Understanding that they face these hard times with spiritual strength can be a comfort and help them get through difficult situations. (You could also refer back to the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6)
Does one of your leaders lift weights? He could put on a demonstration for the kids. During Game Time, play games where clubbers have to carry something around the circle (not too heavy, of course).
King Night – Titus 3:1. Large Group lesson could be about King David, Solomon or any other king. Talk about Christ being the King of kings. (1 Timothy 6:12 is a verse that addresses this.) You could also sing King of kings (easy to find on the web).
For older kids, you could discuss what to do when we don’t agree with our government. Again, the emphasis should be that Christ is King of Kings.
If you have a suitable climate and outside space, you could play king of the mountain.
Forgiveness Night – Philemon. (can also use Ephesians 4:32). For your Large Group Lesson, dramatically tell the story of Onesimus and Philemon. We neglect this story of forgiveness and kids often aren’t that familiar with Philemon. You can also challenge them to forgive friends who have hurt them.
What to do: We assume that Onesimus stole from Philemon, an offence that often meant death at that time. Have kids sit in a circle. You will need a piece of string that reaches around the circle. Put a ring of some sort on the string and tie the string together so that you have an unbroken circle. Clubbers put their hands together on the string. As the person who is “it” comes back in the room, the clubbers begin secretly moving the ring around the circle by moving their hands back and forth on the string (touching hands with the person next to them) Person who is “it” has three guesses as to who has the ring.
Claim to Fame Night – Hebrews 11. Talk about the Bible characters listed in Hebrews 11 or choose two or three of them to focus on in your lesson. Talk about fame and how many people today are famous for less-than-admirable reasons.
What to do: Tell each of your leaders to think of a talent or interesting aspect of their lives that the kids wouldn’t know. Then put each of them “center stage.” (You could even arrange a red carpet and spotlight) to share the talent/fact with the clubbers. For instance, a leader might play a solo on an instrument she played in their high school band, display his talent with a yo-yo or share with the clubbers how he’s related to a famous baseball player. Have fun with this activity.
Word Night – James 2. Talk about the tongue and how words can either hurt or help those around us.
What to do: You can do lots of things with this theme. A great object lesson is asking a child to squeeze all the toothpaste out of a tube. As the child is doing so, tell the other clubbers that the toothpaste represents our angry words. Then have the child attempt to put the toothpaste back in the tube. He won’t have much success. Explain that once we say our words, we cannot take them back so we must choose our words carefully.
You could do crosswords puzzles, word finds or play “hangman” as a group.
Or, have the clubbers sit in a circle. The first clubber says, “I’m going to my aunt’s house and I’m taking … (something that starts with an A).” The next clubber says, I’m going to my aunt’s house and I’m taking (the A object said by first clubber) and (something that starts with a B). Continue around the circle. You could play until someone forgets an item.
1. Valentine’s Day. Duh! You knew this one already, right?
Use heart candy for games.
– Guess how many hearts are in the jar.
– Have a heart relay. Kids take turns carrying candy hearts on a spoon to a specified container. Team who fills their container first, wins.
– Form a heart. At the whistle team members must form a heart – using all clubbers on the team.
Talk about John 3:16 for the Large Group Lesson.
Do a craft with the word Valentine and John 3:16. (See the picture illustrating this post.)
2. Crazy Heart Night. Here’s another Valentine-themed night. Kids wear as many hearts as they can. This can be a sweater with a heart pattern or stickers.
Large Group Lesson can be focused on Jeremiah 17:9 and Romans 10:9.
3. Barley Night. Have you celebrated Barley Night before. February is Barley Month (so says the Whole Grains Council) and is important enough to be listed on the February crazy holiday list. So let’s celebrate! (Actually there are some barley cookies on Pinterest.)
Use the barley for games.
– Teams stand on their line and each team member has a plastic spoon. Leader stands next to the first person in the line with a supply of barley. First person takes a spoonful of barley and carefully transfers the grain to the next team member’s spoon and so on until the last team member gets the barley. He/she puts it into an empty cup that is positioned at the end of the line. At the whistle, the team with the most barley in their cup wins.
Large Group Lesson – Tell the story of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth gleaned in the barley fields.
4. Popcorn Night. Popcorn Day is celebrated in February. Most documents say it’s the 19th. We don’t really know, but we can still celebrate! Play popcorn games.
– Have a container several feet away from the clubbers. Clubbers must throw the popcorn into the container.
– Plan a popcorn relay. You will need paper cups and strong rubber bands. Poke a hole in the bottom of the paper cup and stuck an end of the rubber band through the hole. Next attach a paper clip to the rubber band (the end that’s through the hole) to keep it in place. The clubber attaches the cup to his foot by putting the rubber band around his foot. Fill the cup with popcorn. Clubber must walk to a specified point, without spilling the popcorn.
– Ask for one player from each team to stand at his team line. Put a plate on each players head and put a few pieces of popcorn on the plate. Players must walk around the circle without spilling the popcorn. (Similar to bean bag relay.)
Large Group Lesson could be kids jumping up and giving a “popcorn” thanks. See how many different things/people the group is thankful for that the Lord has given them.
5. Canned Food Night. February is also Canned Food Month. What a great theme for club. Have a canned food contest – which team brings in the most canned food for a food bank. So often, food banks get a lot of donations November and December, but then are forgotten as the New Year comes in. Food banks will be thankful for a February contribution!
Games with canned food could include …
– Rolling a can around the floor with a broom.
– Stacking four or five cans before a child is able to run around the circle.
– Running around the circle and needing to knock over a stack of cans with a bean bag before getting the pin.
(Cans used in games should be empty, but make sure that they’re not the type with sharp edges.)
Large Group lesson could be anything about service for the Lord, feeding the hungry, etc.
6. Plimsoll Night. (I think this is my favorite.) February 10th is Plimsoll Day, a day dedicated to Samuel Plimsoll. Samuel was a member of the English Parliament back in the 1800s. Shipping was a big industry at the time and to get as much cargo from one place to another, ship owners would overload their vessels. This way more cargo would get to where it was going and they would make more money. But many of the ships were so overloaded, they sunk and more than 1,000 sailors a year were losing their lives.
Samuel said that all ships needed to have a line painted on the side of the ship and when that line hit the water, no more cargo could be added. Ship owners and many in government didn’t want the line because they were more interested in the money from an overloaded ship.
But finally in 1890, the line became law. Since then this has been known as the Plimsoll line and is still used today. (You can find out more information about Mr. Plimsoll on the web.)
Large Group Lesson. The Plimsoll Line is a natural illustration for a Large Group Lesson. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
God knows how much we can handle and promises not to tempt us beyond our ability or endurance. He knows our Plimsoll line.
1. Glowstick Night – Play games with glow sticks (in the dark, of course, though do have some light for safety.) Kids stand on a predetermined line and toss their glow sticks into a bucket (line the top with glow sticks). Or, you could play glow-stick “pick-up-sticks” or glow stick ring toss. Large Group lesson could be on letting your light shine for Christ. Matthew 5:16
2. Riddles and Giggles Night – everyone brings a joke to share. Large Group Lesson – a merry heart does us good. Proverbs 17:22
3. Pirate Night – Kids dress as pirates. Play games with gold-covered chocolate coins or have a scavenger hunt. Large Group Lesson – the Bible doesn’t talk about pirates, but we do have an account of Paul’s shipwreck. We also have other verses that talk about treasure. Acts 27/28 or Proverbs 2:3-5
4. Dots and Stripes Night – Kids dress in polka dots or stripes. For every section said, clubbers get to “dot” their leader with a dot sticker. Large Group Lesson – Joseph and his coat of many colors. Explain that the big deal about the coat was it’s embroidery and the fact that it was longer – not short such as a shepherd’s coat. These were the types of coats given to privileged people who didn’t have to work. (Shorter shepherd’s coats allowed the shepherd to quickly climb over rocks and jump over streams.) No wonder Joseph’s brothers were jealous. Genesis 37
5. Goofy Glasses Night – Clubbers wear goofy glasses. Give prizes for the goofiest. Large Group Lesson – Hebrews 12:2 Here we’re told to look to Jesus.
6. Dress Like Your Dad or Mom Night – Clubbers dress like a parent. Large Group Lesson – Ephesians 6:2 (To help kids get ideas, suggest they model a uniform if their parents wears a uniform to work, or if their parent is an Awana leader. Or they could carry a “tool” of their parents employment – a book if she’s a teacher, a stethoscope if she’s a doctor, etc.)
7. Nickel and Dime Night – Clubbers bring nickels and dimes for your local Awana missionary or another missionary your church supports. (Let leaders and clubbers know about this night several weeks before hand so they can begin saving.) Play games with the coins: tossing them into a bucket; seeing how many a clubber can balance on the end of a spoon etc. Large Group Lesson could be about missions or you could ask your Awana misstionary to speak.
8. Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head Night – Clubber dresses a potato. Provide material scraps, sequins, etc. and then give them categories. Dress your potato as: an Awana leader, a well-known person, a dog, etc. Give prizes for the most creative. Large Group Lesson – no, there are no potatoes in the Bible, however, you could talk about the variety of food God provides for us and talk about thankfulness for all the good things we have to eat.
9. Town Night – What’s happening in your town right now? Are you having a pumpkin festival, a winter festival, a cheese festival? Is the new mall opening? Is the high school basketball team heading for the state championship? Think of ways you can incorporate that into a theme night. Perhaps you could collect food for a community food bank as part of the theme.
10. Pastor Appreciation Night – Ask the clubbers to write a note of appreciation to the pastor, collect them and give them to your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Week. If your clubbers don’t know your pastor (or even if they do), invite him to speak at club.
11. Ruler Night – all clubbers bring a ruler. You could start the night to see which team has the longest amount of inches (represented by their rulers). This would be especially fun if some brought yardsticks or tape measures. Give a point for each inch represented. You could have competitions where the result needs to be measured such as throwing a ball or frisbee (or if inside, a cotton ball). Large Group Lesson could be about a ruler such as Solomon or David. Or it could be about Colossians 3:15 on allowing the peace of God to rule in your heart.
12. Duct Tape Night – Clubbers come with duct tape on their clothes (such as making a hat or bracelet from tape) or have duct tape in various colors and design and allow the kids to be creative. Large Group Lesson – Proverbs 18:24 – a true friend “sticks” closer than a brother.
13. Time Capsule Night – The first night of club gather together items for a time capsule. If you plan to open the capsule at the end of the year, you could have the clubbers write down two or three goals and simply put those in the capsule. You could also have the clubbers guess the results of upcoming happenings of the year: How many nights will Awana be called because of snow? How will the local sports team do in the final rankings? Will Leader Katie have a boy or a girl? How many total verses will be said during the year? (Of course, then you do need to keep track.)
Or, you could do a longer capsule – one to be opened when most of the kids are graduating from high school. Include a current event update, goals the kids have, goals you have for your Awana club and anything else you would like to put in the capsule.
Large Group Lesson could be about redeeming the time. Ephesians 5:16
14. Souper Bowl Night – Bring soup for a soup kitchen or food pantry. Large Group Lesson on service (many verses you can choose from).
15. Campfire Night – If you’re located in a climate and have the ability to actually have a campfire – that’s great. Otherwise make one from logs, orange, brown, red crepe/tissue paper and a couple flashlights. Sing campfire choruses. Again – if you can, have s’mores. Large Group Lesson – John 21:9 Talk about the need to follow Christ.
16. King and Queen Night – Clubbers can dress as kings or queens. (Younger girls will especially like this.) Large Group Lesson – Esther or any other Bible event that involves kings and queens.
17. Fashion Disaster Night (good for girls) – Clubbers come dressed as mismatched as they can. Large Group Lesson – 1 Samuel 16:7
18. Cookie Night – Bake a giant cookie (or four giant cookies – one for each team). Count how many chocolate chips you put into the cookie. For every section a clubber says, they get one guess as to how many chips are in the cookie. The clubber who comes closest gets to take the cookie home (wrapped in Saran wrap) or he/she might choose to break it into pieces and share it with his/her team. Large Group Lesson could be on sharing.
19. Any Country Night – Choose a country to celebrate. This could be one where your church has missionaries or a home country of one of your leaders. Play games from that country, fix food from that country, talk about the culture and the land. Large Group Lesson – a missionary story about that country.
20. Messy Night – Clubbers wear dirty clothes. This is not only fun, but gives the game director the freedom to play messy games. Large Group Lesson could either be about Jeremiah 17:9 (the deceitful heart) or Isaiah 64:6 (our righteousnessnes are as filthy rags).
21. Obedience Night – Invite a Christian dog trainer to come to club and talk about training dogs. You could play games such as Simon Says. Large Group Lesson – on the importance of obeying God or obeying parents (Ephesians 6:1)
22.Cow Night – clubbers dress in black and white. Play “Dead cow, sick cow” during Game Time. (A quick web search will provide the rules.) Large Group Lesson – Psalm 50:10 – He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
23. Ant Night – Invite someone to talk to the group who knows about ants (perhaps they have an ant farm). Have ants on a log for a snack (peanut butter and raisins on celery). Large Group Lesson could be Proverbs 6:6; Proverbs 30:24
And now for the half …
24. Half Night – Halfway through the year have Half Night. Award small prizes to clubbers who are halfway through their books (on track). During game time, clubbers run halfway around the circle. Have snack time where each clubber receives half a cookie. Large Group Lesson – You could do this one right after King and Queen Night and once again talk about Esther and how the king offered her anything up to half his kingdom.