Be creative WITH the very ones you are being creative FOR…
Kids are your target – so get into their minds and let them into yours. Believe it or not, kids are the most creative of God’s creation. Their imagination is amazing… crazy amazing! Give a kid a toy and in 10 minuets, it becomes something else than what it was designed for. My son can take any object and turn it into a gun, sword, or some ninja thing. My daughter can take any toy or object, and rock it to sleep.
So get with them. Just give them a chance to be heard. Gather together the kids in your church in age appropriate groups and buy them lots of pizza and ask them questions.
I like to hand out paper and let kids take simple polls. I ask about favorite music, movies, shows, hobbies, sports, etc. It will give you a look into their world and sometimes, gives you some insight as to what’s going on at home… (I’ll let you think about that one). It may cause you to shelve your current curriculum to focus on a subject or topic that’s relevant to your kids… NOW.
Brainstorming is a great way for your older elementary kids to get in on the planning in your CM. Get your 3, 4 & 5 graders together and present some ideas – then, let them voice their opinions. Write those ideas down. Here’s an important note: take each one idea seriously and consider it. Get down to getting their reactions to some of your ideas for events, lesson topics and design.
Remember the silly-putty exercise – do it! Or hand out other props related to your research and allow them to play and come up with games and fun things to do with them.
Have thick skin… in other words: don’t be offended by their ideas – they are telling you what they think is cool and what are good ideas in their minds. This is not about you – if they like your ideas, they will tell you… and, if they hate it – they will pop your bubble! But, your goal is not to sell them your ideas, it’s to get into their minds. You may come up with the most innovative program, ministry or event just because you listened.