BE BOLD is full of activities. But are they all really needed? Is it just a lot of busy work that could be done more simply with discussion only?
Yes, the activities are very important! BE BOLD is intentionally built for preteens from start to finish! Here’s how:
A Welcoming Environment
Preteens love being social, and yet can feel insecure and awkward walking into a room full of people. By having a snack and an arrival activity that’s easy for preteens to join in at any time, we mitigate the awkwardness. Preteens can talk while they play and eat, but they have something to do with their hands that takes the focus off of feeling self-conscious. Throughout the lesson, we try to take the pressure off of their social interactions with meaningful experiences to connect them to each other and to God.
A High-Energy Game
We don’t need to tell you that preteens like to move! A high-energy game will help them burn off some steam, but the game is also a meaningful experience that helps them connect with the question of the week. And they can make those connections for themselves through meaningful debriefing questions.
A Variety of Learning Styles
Throughout the lesson, you’ll see a variety of learning styles used—like conversations with each other, movement, making things with their hands, and logical thinking skills. If you’re not a sporty person, a game might not feel like meaningful learning. Or if you can barely glue two craft sticks together, maybe making something feels pointless. But we’ve created entry points for kids to learn in all sorts of ways so that everyone can get something out of the lesson…and make it stick. That means that even when they’re digging into the Bible to see how it addresses their questions, they’re having an experience beyond merely reading.
A Chance to Put It Into Action
The Bold Action section is a really strategic time for kids to do something about their questions. We recognized that preteens have questions, and sometimes those questions can feel paralyzing. Bold Action moves kids from inaction to action. They see how their questions can actually lead to living out their faith by applying it to their own lives or serving others.
This is especially important for preteens, who are going through something called cognitive pruning. Essentially, their brains are in “use it or lose it” mode. If they don’t do something with what they learn, their brains weed it out as unimportant. But through Bold Action, their brains are getting the message that what they learned today is important to hold on to.
Memories That Will Last
Sometimes it feels like activities inhibit learning. Like if you could just stand and lecture for an hour, you could go deeper into profound theological truths. But the fact is, if you stand and lecture for an hour, most preteens will tune you out. And even those that listen won’t remember what you said for very long. Why? Because experience makes memories that stick. As kids do things to wrestle with their questions and serve others, they’re creating memories.
So don’t be tempted to skip activities as “just busy work.” Use them intentionally to be bold with your preteens!