We try to make the programme as varied as possible so there is something for everybody. This would include: a quiz, a talk, a demonstration, a musical, craft, an outing, a game, a meal and a topical or calendar event. We try to include something from each category over a term. Some are repeated several times in a year, others are just annual events or one offs.
On a typical day we have hot drinks and cake for about 30 mins, then the activity for 30 to 40 mins with the thought and our announcements at the end.
Thought for the week
Our group is part of Emmanuel Church and we want a spiritual element to our programme.
Where possible we link it with the theme. We normally use readings from Our Daily Bread. We also have other gospel literature around for folk to pick up. For special events and meals we have a guest speaker. At a break we sometimes give a book of testimonies like “Real Lives” and “Sagas: Finding faith after 50”. Both can be purchased from 10 of Those.
Quizzes can be an entire programme or integrated into a themed session. They can be for individuals or teams. We find team ones are the most successful as no one feels anxious about their knowledge and it provides more social interaction and the competition is fun. There are a number of downloadable quizzes in the Activities menu. There are also many websites for quizzes. One favourite is www.kensquiz.co.uk.
DVD quiz games can be used such as TV Addicts, Blockbusters, Family Fortunes and Catchphrase. These can often be picked up cheaply at charity shops. Make sure you try it beforehand so you know how to navigate through the menus and questions!
Quiz board games such as Chronology and Linkee. These can be be expensive to buy new so I look out for them in charity shops.
Crossword challenge where each team have the same crossword, we stop when the first team finishes.
Who wants to be a millionaire? Use the book. To involve everyone we run it in teams. Each team has 4 cards with A,B,C,D on. After each question each team holds up their answer at the same time. The correct teams continue to the next question. Teams can choose to “stick” if they are unsure of an answer. Each time also has a lifelines but the lifeline is only told to that team.
Baby photos: Have the group bring photos of when they were a baby or child, as you are given them place in a numbered clear plastic folder. Pass them around the teams for everyone to guess the person. This usually sparks conversation too. Alternatively, you could use photos of royal babies or celebrities.
Guess the famous face or British landmark: These can either be in a PowerPoint or printed.
Guess the object: Use photos of objects from obscure angles or very close up. Boxes of these can be bought, for example at www.boardgamesgeek.com. However they can also be downloaded from the internet and printed or included in a PowerPoint. An alternative is to wrap household items up pass around to guess the contents.
Guess the sounds: There are children’s sounds lotto games that can be used. May be a family in the church with young children, if they had one, would loan it for that session.
Guess the taste/smell: Taste flavours, e.g. sugar, salt for smells use herbs, fruits.
Dingbats: Always a favourite. Free downloads available at www.kensquiz.co.uk.
Naughts and crosses: Use masking tape to mark out a 9-square-grid on the floor. Use plates for “O” and cross a knife and fork for “X”. Label each square with a different subject such as sport, history, geography, science, pot luck, the bible, music, literature, red. Each team in turn chooses the subject they want to answer questions on. As you would expect, the winning team is the first to get 3 in a row. Keep the running score, the team with the most wins is the overall winners. At the end of each game change the subjects around in the squares. For the questions I use a quiz book. I look out for them in charity shops.
Recognise the local area? Have a selection of photos of local sites taken from obscure angles. A keen photographer in the church may be willing to put this together for you.
A to Z: This format can have different themes. For example: animals, birds, insects/boys names, girls names/countries, cities, rivers. Be warned, this can get competitive and it is useful to have the internet available to check answers, unless you are a walking encyclopaedia! Animal Bird Insect grid.
Talks and demonstrations
Church members have hidden talents and hobbies! they may well be willing to spare a half hour or book a speaker from the community.
Suggested subjects: Photography, internet safety, missionary report, community police officer, local councillor, magistrate, Gideons, dietician, fire brigade, wildlife, pat dog, Age UK, bee keeping, cultural experience eg wedding, poetry reading, cake decorating, ready made meals tasting eg Wiltshire farm foods, gardening in later years, low vision community team, food bank organiser.
Always go down well. It is nice to have a meal made for you if you are on your own and good to eat with others instead of on your own.
- Try to set the tables nicely, with cloths, flowers, candles, serviettes, crackers.
- Have a table quiz. There are suitable ones in the quiz section.
- Between courses use excerpts from funny books, jokes, monologues (Albert Ramsbottom monologues go well), poems, a rendition of my favourite things with an appropriate twist.
- Background music.
- Finish with a chocolate, Easter egg, heart, father Christmas, mint chocolate.
- Ask the regulars if they would like to bring their spouse or a friend.
- Have a guest after dinner speaker, with a short spiritual thought.
Suggestions: Harvest Hotpot, Christmas dinner, Fish and Chips (we do this as we break for Easter and order from our local fish and chip shop). Picnic in the park/on the farm/by the riverbank. Street Party. Pancake Party.