WinterBallThe Winter Ball Invitational is an evening of ball food, ball games, inviting several other local churches to bring their 3rd-5th graders, and building connectional community. We started it in 2013 and I blogged about it here.  We have tweaked it a bit since then, so this is how we ran it last weekend.  We so thoroughly enjoy it that it has become a great tradition for our CLUB345 and schedule it for our first gathering in the new year. It is truly one of the best nights to invite a friend…and they do!

These are the logistics:

WinterBallCheeseballs5pm – 5:30 dinner  Meatball subs (cut hot dog buns in half with one meatball smothered in spaghetti sauce, sprinkled with shredded cheese), cake balls, cheese balls, carrots, ice water in dispensers.  This is when we have continued a tradition of finding out how many cheeseballs can a kid, or leader, put in their mouth all at once. Because we can…Ms Kate wins this year at 40!

5:30 Introduce Games in the gym through 6:00 at stations inside gym with Icebreaker (this gives our youth and the adults a chance to pick  up the tables and chairs to prepare for ball stations already set up by some great youth who started this event in Children’s Ministry and have it down to a science).

WinterBallIceBreakerIcebreaker:  Students meet at center of gym and move from one side of the gym to the other
Cake balls or Cheese balls
Cake or Cookie
Coke or Slurpie
Popcorn or Candy
Radio or iPod
Basketball or Soccer
Tennis or Football
Video Games or Board Games
Board Games or Card Games
Mountains or Beach
Circus Clown or Circus tiger trainer
Book or Movie
QT or RaceTrac
Target or WalMart
Jonah or David
Mary or Esther

These are the games, set up in our gym, in 9 different stations:

Bible Station has a stack of bibles set on a chair in the middle of the gym. To find out who goes first, each youth station leader asks a question and the students have to dive into the scriptures, then leave the bible and run back with the answer.

Basketball Wrap
Supplies: Toilet paper, Basketballs, Trash can
Who goes first question or picks their team first: What friend of Jesus, who was the brother of Mary and Martha, was brought back to life when he was already buried with burial clothes when Jesus said, “Come out!” John 11:43
Answer: Lazarus
To Play: Work in a team of 2. At the GO, wrap a basketball in an entire roll of toilet paper.  First team to use all the toilet paper, wins!

WinterBallTwisterFootball Twister
Goal: Be the last well-balanced player
Supplies: Twister Game mat (we duct tape 6 mats together to make a huge mat and use it all the time)
Football as the spinner (we found a spinner that adds tasks like rock paper scissors people on yellow, scream for 5 seconds, play pat-a-cake with the mat, etc. which makes for a loud and hilarious game).
Who goes first question:Where was Jesus when He raised His hand and said, “Be still!” Mark 4:39
Answer: in a boat
To Play: Everyone plays and last one standing, or leaning, wins.

That’s My Bucket
Goal: Toss mini basketballs (happened to find a bucket of these at a leadership conference years ago) to fill buckets while scripture is read by 2 teammates
Supplies: Buckets, Mini basketballs, Kid’s bibles
Break into two teams. Teammates toss mini basketballs into buckets while partner teammates read a passage of scripture aloud.  Most mini basketballs in the bucket wins!
Scripture Passages:
The shortest chapter in the bible – Psalm 117
The shortest book of the bible – 3 John
Most commonly quoted chapter – Psalm 23

10 Commandment Ball
10 buckets numbered 1-10,  tennis balls (a local tennis pro leaves a bag of hundreds of tennis balls on her front porch a couple times a year and posts on Facebook for whomever gets to her porch first can take them home.)
“Who’s first” Question: In what 2 books of the bible do you find the 10 commandments?
Answer: Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5
Actions for each numbered bucket:
1 jump up and down 3 times
2 whistle
3 snap your fingers
4 answer “what do you like best about your church?”
5 tell a grown up, “thanks”
6 do a cheer
7 answer “what is your favorite thing your parents do for you?”
8 answer “if you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?”
9 high 5 everyone at your station
10 make a funny face

WinterBallKateIce Hockey
Supplies: Snow Balls (white cotton batting in white socks), little hockey sticks (found these in the storage closet one year and have no idea where they came from.)
Construction paper
Who goes first question: In Mark 16:15, Jesus told His disciples to “Go into the world and preach the _______ _______ to all _________.”
To Play: Break into two teams and hockey the snow balls from behind the line onto the colored construction paper. Which team gets all their snow balls on the construction paper mat first, wins.

Horse Love
Supplies: Basketball, Basketball hoop
Who goes first question: Who was Jesus talking to when He spoke John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believed in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life?”
Answer: Nicodemus
To Play: Play HORSE, but spell LOVE. Everyone plays, even the youth station leader. (make it easy or no one will ever win and there can easily be a lot of frustration).

WinterBallBibleBig Stuff
Supplies: Kiddie pool, Plastic balls (got 150 balls at Toys R Us for $24 last weekend to restock).
Who goes first question: In John 14:1-5, Jesus told His disciples, “In my Father’s house, are many what?”
Answer: rooms/mansions
To Play: At the GO, who can stuff the most balls into their clothes by the time the youth leader counts to 14 or stops a stopwatch/clock. Count.  Repeat.

WinterBallPingPongIn The Hole
Supplies: Ping Pong balls and/or Cottonballs, 2 boxes on side
Who goes first question: Ask how many books are in the bible?
Answer: 66
To Play: Break into 2 teams. One play from each team kneels behind the line by his starting line with a Ping-Pong/cotton ball on the floor in front of him.  At GO, players blow the Ping-Pong/cotton balls along the floor and into the hole on their side of the box.  First player to blow his ball into the box, wins.  Players can not touch their ball or interfere with an opponent’s ball.

WinterBallTrophyKickin’ Back
Supplies: 2 footballs, Cones
Ask who goes first question: What are the first 4 words in the bible?
Answer: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God”
To Play: Relay kicking a ball around an obstacle course and returning to your team/line. First team to complete the course wins.  Replay linking arms of 2 players who have to kick together.  Replay moving the ball without feet.

Our fabulous youth facilitate each ball station and we blow a whistle every 5 minutes to rotate clockwise.  Each team has between 4-6 team members. When we have all played every station, we play a couple games of Rock, Paper, Scissors and build a huge snake chain to see who wins. We offer short devotion, then award trophies to each church represented to take home. Our youth leader is an artist and she can do amazing things with old basketball trophies.  Team photos are taken and everyone goes home.

WinterBallBFFThere are some amazing KidMin directors within my networking group and playing with them and their kids always makes for a fun and memorable night.  I’m still grinning over Sunday’s fun, fellowship, and fanning the flame of connectedness with champions for children’s ministry who serve with intention and collaboration without fear, comparison, or competition…except for how many cheese balls you can fit in your mouth!

“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3