I have a soft spot for 4th and 5th grade girls. I think it’s because I remember when I was a gangly, goofy 5th grade girl like it was yesterday. The bangs. The awkwardness. The skinny legs and knobby knees. The banana clips and scrunchies. The perm. The Jam shorts and Coca-cola shirts. The fashions for a 4th-5th grade girl have definitely changed, but the awkwardness remains. It spans the ages. Eve is lucky she got to skip out on that little nugget of womanhood.
I am passionate about reaching this age group because they need connection. They need to form meaningful, deep relationships. They need to know that their Heavenly Father loves them and thinks they are beautiful. They need to know they have true friends who support them no matter what.
So, as a 4th and 5th grade girl small group leader, I always try to come up with fun and engaging ways to build those relationships within my group. The girls want more than just a Q&A session. They want to be part of something more relational and fun.
Here are some activities and ideas that I implemented in my group early on to get the conversation flowing. And once they began sharing, the floodgates opened and we were on our way!
- Bring in a picture of yourself when you were their age. Tell them a funny or story about that time in your life. Consider telling them about a problem that you were experiencing in your life then and what the outcome was. This age group loves to hear about how you were once their age and how you navigated through it. Open up the conversation and give them time to share about things going on in their life. Help them navigate through it. You don’t have to have all the answers, they just love knowing they are being heard and supported.
- Skits! This is a definite favorite! My girls love it when we talk about a topic they are dealing with—bullying, siblings, homework—and I give them a few minutes to get into groups and perform skits around the topic. I am be their captive audience as they act out their scenario. We then brainstorm ideas about what the wise choice is in the situation.
- Another favorite—Talent Show! At the beginning of our time together, I let the girl’s know I am going to reserve some time at the end for us to do an impromptu Talent Show. Each girl could participate individually or they could get into groups. I saw all sorts of talents—ear wiggling, dancing, singing, acting, etc–it was amazing what these girls could come up with in a matter of minutes! On a side note, be careful of any gymnastics routines, one of my talent shows resulted in a minor nose injury. It is definitely true what they say: facial injuries tend to bleed the most.
Your time with your few is precious so build those deeper relationships as quickly as possible!
What are some ways you have been able to build relationships in your group?