You all know how much I love a good theme night in Children’s Ministry! Last night at our KidVenture program, it was Tourist Night!! So, you may be asking, what made you pick Tourist for a theme night? Our small town of Dahlonega is considered a very “touristy” town. We are located in the mountains of North Georgia. It’s also the site of the first major U.S. gold rush in 1828. Lots of history in this little town and the city of Dahlonega has done an awesome job at making our town so beautiful (check out our city page: www.dahlonega.org). Many, many people flock here, especially in the fall as it’s gorgeous when the leaves are changing colors. Tourists are all over the Square (our downtown) every weekend. So, with our city being such a tourist hot spot, why not make a fun night of it for our kids at church?
The kids were asked to come dressed in their “tourist” outfits. I was so impressed with all of their creativeness! We had Disney tourists, Hawaiian tourists, Hollywood tourists, and we even had one boy came dressed in his cape and mask and said he was Robin touring Gotham City! I loved the crazy hats, fanny packs, cameras, umbrellas, and all the tacky outfits! Of course, I had to add to the tackiness! I pulled together an outfit from things at my home and the kids said I was the “Crazy Tourist Lady”. Yes, I guess you could say I was!
Our Bible story for the night dealt with Paul and Silas in prison. What does that have to do with tourists? Remember that these men traveled all over telling others about Jesus. They saw many cities and got to meet new people and experience different things in each of the cities they visited. In one city, the people did not like them talking about Jesus and they were arrested and put in prison (Acts 16:16-26). Despite their incarceration, these men sang songs of praise to God and prayed. They gave thanks to God no matter what. That’s what we wanted our children to remember. Even in the hard times, we give thanks to our Lord.
I didn’t decorate the hall for the night, but I did plan some fun activities for the kids. Here is what we did:
Class Map of our Town
Our 3-year olds & Pre-K kids designed a class map of our town. The leaders reminded them that many people come to Dahlonega on the weekends to tour our city. They asked them what some of their favorite places in Dahlonega are. Using light brown butcher paper, they created one big class map of Dahlonega, listing the places that the children mentioned. The kids drew a square and colored it which represented their favorite place in Dahlonega. The leader then wrote above the square the name of the place and drew roads to connect all of their favorite places. After they finished, the map was hung in their classroom.
Our Kindergarten and 1st Graders designed their own maps. The leaders also talked with them about their favorite places in Dahlonega. They did the same things as the younger ones, but created their own maps using the light brown butcher paper. Then they folded them (like a map) and took them home.
Tourist Scavenger Hunt
Our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th/5th grade classes went on a Tourist Scavenger Hunt around the town Square! Our church is located 2 blocks off the Square so it’s great that we can walk and do things around town with the kids. Each class was given a list of places around the Square that are fun spots for tourists to visit. Their job was to get a group picture (or group selfie) at each location. Some of the places were shops, some with certain things inside a shop, one was even in front of the bathrooms at our local park (every tourist I’m sure makes a stop there!). After their picture was taken, they each had to say one thing that they were thankful for. They could not say the same thing twice either. We all had fun running all over the Square taking photos!
A theme night can be as fun as you make it. Whatever you want to do, go for it! You can decorate as little or as elaborate as you like. If you are all in, then the kids will be too. Have fun with it! The kids will remember it. Below are some of my favorite pictures from the night.