This is a really neat event that brings the little youth (and their parents) together with teens for prayer, fun and food. You just pick a simple art project, something that the older teens can help the younger kids with, (we painted wooden crosses as Easter presents for parents). Get your teens involved early with this and encourage them to bring a friend to help.
When you have your art idea set, start promoting like crazy to your neighborhood, your church and their friends and families. Try to get kids signed up early so you can get a good estimate of how many supplies to buy. (Buy twice as many as your sign ups- think big!) You can charge a couple bucks to cover expenses, but not too much (you want to draw as many people to your church as you can, not make a bunch of money off them). Ask all your teens to bring 1-2 dozen cookies or treats to cover the food.
As the little kids start arriving, assign them to one of your teens and make sure the teen understands they are in charge of that kid for the rest of the event. (You may have to assign several kids to each teen.) After the art project is done, clean up together, have a bathroom break and then move everyone to an area for snacks (teens stay with their kids). After the food is a good time for games, coloring pictures, or wrapping the art project if it is a gift for their family.
Make sure and have lots of adult help for this one too so they can be talking and reaching out to the parents while they wait for their kid(s). Take a lot of pictures of the teens with the little kids. Both ages love to be in pictures. You could even send in an article about the event complete with pictures to your local newspaper, which makes good advertising for the “2nd annual art day”. End the event with a group prayer and invite them all back on Sunday.
John & Shelly Valdez, Youth Ministers, Blessed Sacrament Church, East Sandy, Utah
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.