Let’s Talk Tweens!

Wendy Douglas —  August 3, 2010

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?

Wendy Douglas

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Wendy is married to a warrior for the last 18 years and Mom to three boys. She volunteers in KidzPlace at The Gathering Church in Sevierville, TN. She reads almost anything she can get her hands on. In addition to contributing to Kidmin1124, she maintains her own blog called Saved Sister at http://savedsister7.blogspot.com/.

4 responses to Let’s Talk Tweens!

  1. Glad to see you bringing up my favorite age group! You are right about the need to modify to reach this group. The best way I have found to reach this group is to hand over some of the responsibility and leadership and give them some ownership. They want to make a difference themselves, not just be told what to believe or do. For a bunch of preteen ideas and insights visit this article: http://tinyurl.com/Preteenmin

    • Karl,

      Thanks for the comment. I think Wendy hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s not enough to take to kids’ curriculum and use if for tweens. Likewise, it doesn’t work to take a youth curriculum and use it for them either. I haven’t seen either of the two curriculum that Wendy mentioned that are geared towards tweens, but I am glad someone is finally recognizing the uniqueness of this age bracket. They are a fun group with lots of unique challenges. I’m not that old (ok, actually I am), but it seems to me that tweens today are dealing with issues that kids didn’t have to deal with until their teenage years just a little while back.

      So, I wrote that comment before I read your paper. It’s nice to see there are facts to back up my impression (I was willing to throw it out there without any support. :)) I only had a chance to skim through the paper, but it looks great. I’ve saved it to read later when I have some more time (VBS week this week).

      Anyhow, I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it to anyone reading this or who will listen to me – If you haven’t signed up for Kidology.org’s premium membership yet, you should. The article Karl linked to alone is worth the price, but there is so much more than that available at the site too. You won’t regret it!

      Thanks again Karl!

  2. Karl,
    This is actually the age group that has a hold on my heart as well. Love what you had to say about giving them ownership and leadership opportunities.

    I so agree on what you said about tweens these days dealing with more than before earlier than before. That is why I think mentorship at this age is crucial. They need as many voices in their lives as possible to partner with parents.

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