Preteens or “tweens” are at the in-between developmental stage where they are in the process of sorting out all the information and values they are exposed to. They are reaching out, questioning, and testing. Children at this age are in a time of transition while facing more “adult” issues at an earlier age and beginning to make decisions that will have long-lasting implications. They are constantly evaluating whether or not they are fitting in and receiving approval. They aren’t little anymore, yet they aren’t teenagers either.
In children’s ministry reaching tweens means having a curriculum that reaches out differently than the one used for elementary aged kids. One option is to adapt the curriculum you are using for the younger children for older tweens. Another option is to tweak the curriculum you are using for the older students to make it mow suitable for these in between years. There are also curriculum out there written specifically for preteens like Grapple, and The Lads Band now have a curriculum as well.
I was talking to a friend recently and explained that my ideal preteen curriculum would be a mix of WebKinz, Pokemon Cards, and iCarly. Yes I referenced all of these, but what I meant was taking all of the things about them that kids are wild about and creating a curriculum which includes those aspects. It would be a web-based area the kids could go and play safely with kid friendly games, collect trading cards for points to be used in the game, and have a short entertaining yet informative lesson online. All of these would coincide with what we are doing on Sundays. That is a preteen curriculum which I think would really work.
How are you reaching out to your tweens? What would you like to see in a curriculum for them? Are you modifying existing curriculum or writing your own? How do you incorporate what interest tweens into your curriculum?