Program on the Bus

By Dave Smith

The program on the bus should be:

1. Planned
2. Exciting
3. Enjoyable
4. Varied each week
5. Prayed over
6. Holy Spirit anointed

There are 168 hours in a week. We have kids in children’s church approximately 1 hours per week. You will control the children or the children will control you. The above reasons are the two leading factors that, in my opinion, mandate a program on the bus.

The program on the bus is divided in half by children’s church (at the church).

I. On The Way To Church (Special Time – prepare hearts and minds for children’s church)

A. Songs and choruses

1. Can purchase visual songs

2. Can make visual songs

a. Copy machine – enlarge – can color and use clear contact paper to protect

b. Can be as simple as a marker and poster board

3. Can teach short choruses with no visuals

B. Teach a memory verse

1. Put on poster board

2. Repeat in short phrases a number of times with children

3. You can have a reward for those that learn it

C. Have a Bible lesson

1. Have a visual lesson, simple and short

2. Tell a Bible story

3. Preach (aiming at the riders’ heart)

4. Always make plain the plan of salvation

5. Have review questions on the way home

II. On The Way Home

A. Review of the Bible lesson taught on the way to church

B. Bible quizzes

1. You make up questions

2. Use Bible trivia, etc. that you can purchase at Christian bookstores

C. Review Bible verse taught on the way to church

D. Play games

1. Ugly face contest (see who can make the ugliest face on the bus)

2. Sleeping game (everybody fall asleep, best sleepers are rewarded. This is your driver’s favorite)

3. Marshmallow stuffing (how many can you stuff in two selected riders’ mouths)

4. Balloon blowing (who can blow up and burst a balloon first; select two riders to participate)

5. Balloon relay (relay a balloon from seat to seat on each side of the bus aisle; see which side can do it first)

6. Balloon popping – prize inside (Accumulate a supply of small prizes. Look at closeouts at discount stores in your town or order an assortment from Oriental Trading or Kipp Brothers. Put the names of about 6-8 prizes on a small slip of paper and put in a different balloon. Blow up the balloons before the return trip home and tape them to the plastic ceiling lights on the bus. Assign each rider a number. Have a bowl with the numbers enclosed. Draw numbers out of the bowl and if the rider whose number is drawn is seated, he/she can select which balloon they want. Pop the balloon and give them the prize you listed on the slip. Do the game slowly so as to take up time on the ride home.)

7. Shaving cream on nose (put a dab of shaving cream on each rider’s nose; see who is the last one to keep it there)

8. 30 second game (quiet and in your seat for 30 seconds; at the end of 30 seconds ask them to show you an item they would have on them – the first to show you wins)

9. Life Saver on tongue (have each rider put a Life Saver on their tongue at the same time; last one to dissolve wins)

10. Bubble blowing (first one on bus to blow bubble wins; all start by putting gum in their mouth at the same time)

11. Toilet paper unrolling (pick two riders, give them each a roll of toilet paper, first one to unroll wins)

12. Quiet side contest (the quietest side of the bus for a time interval wins)

13. Mystery seat (mark a seat with masking tape under the seat before riders get back on bus after church; if that person stays in his seat and is quiet he/she wins the mystery prize seat)

14. Ping Pong match game
(Buy 10 inexpensive ping pong balls and number them 1 through 9 and put a “w” on the last ball (that is the winner ball). Put the balls in a plastic jug. Go from rider to rider asking each one to call out a number from 1 to 9. Then without looking draw a ball from a jug. If they don’t get a match, they get one piece of candy for playing. If they get a match, they get 2 pieces of candy for playing. If they draw the winner ball, they get 3 pieces of candy.)

15. Time out 3 minutes or 5 minutes on your watch; the quietest side of the bus wins a piece of bus candy

16. ABC game (Each side is a time; sides take turns naming Bible characters whose names begin with the corresponding letter. For example, the left side starts with letter A and has a chance to name a Bible character (Adam would be an example). Then switch sides and go to letter B and so on. The side with the most points at the end of the alphabet wins and can be given a small treat.)

17. Name that tune (Sing part of a well-known bus song. The rider must sing the rest of the phrase. For example, you could sing “Jesus Love me this I know…” The bus rider you pick would win a point by singing “for the Bible tells me so.” The child that has the most points when you finish wins a nice prize.)

18. Bible jeopardy (Purchase thick card stock of poster board size. Cut envelopes in half and stick to board to hold 3×5 question cards. Create your own categories and questions. You can have 100,200,300,400 and 500 point questions per category. Boys versus girls is good or sides. Play until all categories and questions are exhausted.)

19. Laughing contest (The 2 sides are teams. Pick a child to get up and try to make the other side laugh. Give him 30 seconds, then switch sides and pick another child, etc. If the rider can make the other side laugh, his team gets a point. Play to 5 or 10 points depending on the interest of the kids. You can make them be silent while attempting to make them laugh or they can also do it verbally. Warn them – no dirty jokes!)

20. Eat the licorice string contest (Buy a package of licorice strings – the thin licorice strings are 12-18 inches long. Select two bus riders about the same age and give each of them a licorice string. They are instructed to put the licorice strings in their teeth and then remove their hands. The one that can eat the string of licorice first, drawing it in their mouth with their teeth only, wins.)

III. Things That Will Kill Your Program

A. No variation – same thing week after week

B. No enthusiasm

C. Lack of control

D. Favoritism

E. Laziness and lack of preparation

F. Program on wrong maturity level

G. Having no program one week

Keep in mind the most important time of the day is the ride home. If they have a fun time on the way home, they will be back next week. This last experience of the day is remembered most. Why can’t we teach them of Jesus and the Bible and make it fun?