Church Family Fun Days are wonderful opportunities for families to come together in a relaxed atmosphere designed to build relationships through play. Unlike most church programming, Fun Days offer an inter-generational experience that doesn't separate the family into age groups. Planning a Fun Day is easy when you remember that the objective is to create an environment where families can talk, laugh and play.
Old-fashioned Box Social
Plan a Box Social on the church grounds or a local park for family fun, interaction and as a possible fundraiser for a church ministry. Have each family prepare a picnic hamper with a complete lunch and bring it to the picnic area. Kids can decorate the hampers. Plan for an auctioneer to auction off each closed basket, with the money going to the fundraiser. Families will enjoy discovering what their hamper contains as they sit down to eat together. Plan for simple games afterward such as three-legged races, egg toss and sack races.
Set up the church parking lot with game stations that encourage families to play together. Place board games and decks of cards at some stations to accommodate families with sedentary members; other stations might include supplies for family relay races. Put water balloons for balloon tosses out; chalk hopscotch frames onto the parking lot and offer jump ropes for jumping competitions. Bring a variety of balls for playing catch. Place Wiffle ball sets, horseshoes, Frisbees and Nerf balls in bins around the grassy areas to provide a variety of options. Play upbeat Christian rock music such as Third Day or Stephen Curtis Chapman throughout the day.
Orchard Harvest Event
Make arrangements to rent an apple orchard, a cornfield, a pumpkin patch or a local farm for a Harvest Day. Bring grills to serve simple hot dogs and chips. Arrange for hay rides or tours of the place; this event works especially well at at "U-pick farm" where families can pick their own produce as part of the activity. If pumpkins aren't readily available, purchase one small one per person ahead of time and provide paint, glitter, feathers and paste-on jewels for each family to decorate and take home.
Plan an indoor Family Day during cold or inclement weather. Rent two or three episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and have a Mayberry Marathon. Show each program and allow time afterward for families to discuss the moral lessons in each show. Discuss themes such as lying, gossiping, pride, prejudice, manners and consequences that emerge from the stories. "Opie the Birdman," "Rafe Hollister Sings" and "Opie and the Spoiled Kid" are especially powerful for family watching. Serve movie snacks such as popcorn, licorice and soda.
Elizabeth Park has written since 1983, with work appearing in the "Oxnard Press Courier" in Oxnard, Calif., "The Centre Daily Times" in State College, Pa., and online at VisitSouth and other websites. Park holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Pennsylvania State and completed graduate work at Rutgers University in English literature and Emory University in theology.