• Cath Kennedy

Raising the Joy Level: Family Fun

Updated: 5 days ago


"Thank you so much - our family really needed this. We are all so stressed out with moving house we came to the park for an hour to get away from it all. It's been great to just have fun together, and the way those kids (from a WildFire team) spoke to us really touched us. We feel like we can go back and face the packing again." These were the words of a dad in a Cambridge park, where WildFire were raising the joy level for an afternoon.

What a privilege it is to work with the Holy Spirit to create a relaxed kingdom atmosphere where he can bless families through joy, play, encouragement and togetherness, coming in the opposite spirit to the pressures which fracture family life.

Here are some of the ways the Lord has led us to raise the joy level with families in towns, cities and parks in various nations, with practical tips on how you can do it too.

Face painting

Face painting offers an amazing chance to treat a child like royalty, to sit with them face to face and speak gentle words of life that will bless their hearts (and their parents’).

This activity is always popular with families, particularly if parents discover it is free! We usually set up in an open space (or an indoor family event) with other family fun activities happening nearby. We have had a range of ages serving with face painting – at one point we had a group of very artistic and organized 10-12 year olds who basically ran this activity, with an adult facilitating them.


You will need:

A garden gazebo (optional, for outdoors)

a folding table

garden chairs (two chairs per painter)

(alternatively, go informal and spread out picnic blankets)

a bottle of water

small bowls/ containers for water

wet wipes

a mirror or two

paint brushes and sponges

face paints

laminated pictures of face paint designs (that your artists are ready to do)

Artistic face painters!

Outreach prep

Practical: The activity leader helps volunteers choose and practice designs on each other. The leader helps the team give each other feedback and decide together which designs they will offer. They give guidance on using the equipment, keeping brushes and sponges clean etc, as well as coaching on being welcoming and friendly.

Spiritual: Pray for the children and families you will meet. Invite God to touch them, encourage them and bless them.

Ask God to bring people along who particularly need this encouragement and blessing.

Reflect on the value God places on each child you will meet, and consider ways your actions and words can convey this – look at scriptures such as Psalm 139 and Mark 10:13-16.

Take it deeper


Here are a couple of ways to take face painting up a few spiritual gears.

Prophetic pictures:

In prep time, ask God how he sees the children you will meet. Choose designs that reflect the things he shows you. Some examples might be:

Lion/ tiger (Courage, royalty)

Prince/ princess (royal identity)

Eagle (Vision, strength)

Superhero (Standing for justice, helping others)

Flowers/ leaves (beauty, life, growth)

Butterfly (new start, new life, beauty)

Gems (Precious)

Knight (fighter for truth, courage)

Volunteers are now ready to gently encourage each child as their faces are painted, eg “You have a lion on your face but you also have lion’s heart – be strong and courageous!” Or “You are so precious, more precious than diamonds or rubies or sapphires!” or “I am so glad we get to paint your face (child’s name) – you are amazing! Do you help your friends just like Spiderman?”

Be listening to the Holy Spirit as you paint, and see if there is anything in particular he wants to say to that child through the design they’ve chosen.

Practice doing this on each other in prep time!

Colours:

During prep time, the team decides together which paint colours represent different blessings they want the children to receive, eg,

Red = love

Orange = freedom

Yellow = joy

Green = fullness of life

Blue = peace

Purple = healing

Black = friendship

White = blessing on family

Team members can either be conscious of these blessings as they use each colour and pray internally as they paint, or find ways to speak them out. For example: “This yellow is a really happy, joyful colour! I’m asking God to give you lots of joy as I paint with it”

Nail painting

This one is usually most popular with younger and teen girls. It is similar to face painting in the opportunity it presents to sit one-to-one with precious daughters of the King and treat them royally.


You will need:

A garden gazebo (optional, for outdoors)

A couple of folding tables or several small tables

Wipeable/ disposable table coverings

Garden chairs (two chairs per nail painter)

A good selection of nail varnishes

Stencils/ gems/ other nail art

Nail varnish remover

Cotton buds

Cotton wool

Nail artists (volunteers who can do a good job)

Outreach prep:

Practical: similar to Face Painting prep. You may have certain designs you could offer, but be ready to be guided by individual tastes.

Spiritual: similar to Face Painting.

Take it deeper

In prep time, ask God to give you encouragements and words for the girls who will get their nails painted. Write them out on gift tags. You may not know who they are for, or you might get some clues about who should receive them. As each girl’s nails are finished, give them a small free gift (eg a wrapped chocolate) with the gift tag you feel is for them attached.

The colour/ blessing idea from face painting works well with nail painting too.

Giant Bubbles

Another crowd pleaser, the giant bubbles area is usually ringing with squeals and shouts of delight! We might usually have a couple of volunteers making clouds of giant bubbles for tinies to enjoy, whilst other volunteers help older children and adults to have a go themselves.


You will need:

Strong bubble mixture (we make our own from secret ingredients - contact us for the recipe!)

Large, sealable containers (for transporting bubble mixture)

Large, open containers (for using bubble mixture)

Bubble wands of all shapes and sizes (we make the bigger ones ourselves with sticks and string)

A non-slippery, preferably concrete outdoor area (bubble mixture kills grass! Alternatively, place your mixture containers in inflatable paddling pools; much of the overspill will be caught)

A few old towels (for mopping up spills)

A bucket of water (for sluicing afterwards)

Bottles of water (in case of splashed eyes)

Wet wipes

Outreach prep

Practical: Volunteers can mix the bubble solution, make wands, practice techniques to pass on to participants, learn how to set up and clean up the activity, learn some safety guidelines (eg positioning area away from paths, roads etc, mopping up slippery spots quickly, first aid for splashed eyes etc). Practice welcoming and including passers-by.

Spiritual: Pray for the children and families you will meet. Ask God to release joy, fun and play. Bless parent/ child relationships.

Take it deeper

Use the bubbles for creative prayer. For a volunteer, it is a small step from making giant bubbles for children to chase after, to doing the same whilst internally asking God to release joy and freedom as the bubbles burst over them.

Volunteers could also use the preparation time to ask God some specific ways he wants to bless the families they will encounter. These things can then be prayed for and “released” on earth, as it is in heaven, with the bubbles!

Circus

This fun invitation to play attracts children, teens and adults alike. It holds a particular appeal for lads, who enjoy the kinetic, challenging nature of the activity, but it really works for everyone. Circus also creates a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to play together, learn new skills and encourage one another.


You will need:

A variety of circus equipment:

Juggling - balls, scarves and clubs

Spinning plates and sticks

Diabolos

Poi

Hoops

Flower sticks

Pedal-gos

If you have enough experienced volunteers for individual instruction you could go large and include:

Stilts

Unicycles

Rola-bolas.

A large, heavy weight tarpaulin (you want a durable, non-slip play area that doesn’t crease too easily)

Marker cones (it’s safer to have one entry/ exit point in your play area)

Outreach prep

Practical: Volunteers get to play with all the equipment and learn how to use each piece safely. They practice helping each other and giving each other encouragement. On outreach, younger volunteers can play along with participants, inviting them to join in and sharing their skills; adult volunteers usually focus on instruction and safety.

Spiritual: Pray for the children, teens and families who will come and play. Pray the circus zone will be a place of safety, fun and joy. Pray Malachi 4:6.

Take it deeper

In preparation time, ask God what he wants to do that day, invite him to do it and be positioned to join in. (For example, if he draws your attention to “Encouragement”, be ready to maximize every opportunity to build others up, or “Dads and sons”, be proactive in including dads in play).

Hold a mini performance towards the end of your outreach time, showcasing the skills participants have learned, however undeveloped! Honour and praise everyone’s effort. Some great messages about perseverance, trust and being fearfully and wonderfully made can be woven in by the MC.

Balloon modeling

A fun activity to watch and have a go at, full of colour (and noise)! If you have an adult or two with a penchant for balloon modeling, ready to pass on their skills, you’ll already have an advantage. However, there are many simple balloon models that are fairly easy for any age to learn (though usually easiest for 8 year olds and over). We have fashioned countless balloon dogs, flowers, swords and swans over the years!


You will need:

Modelling balloons

Several professional balloon pumps (they can’t easily be blown up by mouth like normal balloons)

A way of displaying examples (eg attaching them “washing line” style to string)

A fun container to hold your balloons and pumps

Outreach prep

Practical: At least one adult needs to have prepared ahead of the general preparation time and have learned how to model a handful of balloon shapes. YouTube teaching videos might be helpful (search for “simple balloon models”). The wider group of outreach volunteers can be split into two, with Half A learning two models and Half B learning a different two. Members of A and B can then be paired together to practice teaching each other their models (this helps them to be ready for teaching members of the public). Volunteers will need to be ready to make models for younger children as well as show older participants how to make them.

Spiritual: Pray for the children, teens and families who will join in with balloon modeling. Invite the Lord to guide your conversations and ask him if there’s anyone in particular to look out for.

Take it deeper

Ask God for encouragements to share with those who receive the balloons, based on the balloon shapes. For example, with a flower balloon, the Lord might lead you to say something about colour, life, vibrancy, beauty or God taking care of their needs (consider the lilies). With a sword, you might give encouragements about fighting for truth/ justice or you might knight them with a blessing!

Parachute

A parachute forms a colourful focal point for all sorts of crazy games. It’s easy for passers-by to join in; they can just grab hold of the nearest piece of free edge and they are part of the action.


You will need:

A large play parachute

Depending on your chosen games, some extra equipment eg

Football/s

Sponge balls

Outreach prep

Practical: It helps to have at least one adult volunteer to oversee safety, but volunteers of all ages can take turns to lead games (if their voices are loud enough!) Prep time can focus on sharing parachute games and practicing leading/ playing them.

If you are short of ideas, try: http://ministry-to-children.com/parachute-games/

It is also useful to prepare volunteers for other roles they may need to fulfill: welcoming children, running to collect balls, observing safety for different games etc

Spiritual: Pray for everyone who will join in. Bless them and their families and release joy and shalom over them. Pray God’s kingdom will come, in their lives and the place you are going to play.

Take it deeper

Parachute blessings – children really enjoy lying face-up on the ground as the parachute wafts them. Volunteers can internally pray for the wind of the spirit or the breath of God to touch the children as they do this.

Or, if your volunteers are confident, get them to choose different blessings (eg Vol 1 one shouts out “Joy” whilst the parachute is up, and everyone else shouts out “joy!” as it wafts down. The Vol 2 shouts out “love”, and everyone repeats “love!” as they lower the parachute). Other ideas could be healing, a new start, peace, freedom, friendship, provision, courage, hope, protection, wisdom etc

If the setting is right, and you want to create a more reflective atmosphere, get everyone to whisper it.

Engage the parents who might be standing around watching in this – you could create a set of cards with some of the above suggestions written on, for parents to pick from. Light-hearted enquiries about how they would love their children to be blessed may reveal deep things. In many places in the UK, parents might be more ready with negativity than with positive words. It is an expression of God’s kingdom to operate in the opposite spirit, inviting parents to participate in blessing their children.


Find us: 

WildFire, The Kings Lodge, Watling Street, Nuneaton, CV10 0TZ

© 2019 Youth With A Mission King's Kids England
Registered charity number 264078.
Company registration number 1049516 in England and Wales

Call us:

(+44) (0)24 7634 8128