For Leaders--Ward Activity Ideas

by | Nov. 07, 2008

Event Planning

*Drive-in Movie Night* A drive-in movie night is perfect in the winter to bring everyone inside and out of the cold. Hold it in your cultural hall and tell everyone to bring lots of blankets. Have lots of popcorn and hot chocolate and use a big white wall and projector to show the movie. Have big cardboard boxes so families can make their own cars to sit in. Ask your local movie theater if they could donate prizes, buckets, or movie posters for d�cor. If you have some extra time, split the ward into small groups and give each group a camcorder, some props, and a topic to act out. Camcorders that record in DVD mode make it a snap to watch on a DVD player or computer in minutes. Award prizes for the winners in various categories. Have the Primary children sing "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree." _Note: The Church has very clear standards on what movies can and cannot be shown at Church functions. Because of copyright, only Church-produced films may be shown. For more information, see page 323 of the Church Handbook of Instructions._ *Tour de Bikes* Invite everyone to decorate their bikes and tricycles and have a bike ride or parade around a park followed by a potluck picnic. Try decorating with a Tour de France theme. Before the event have people decorate paper and fabric squares to look like their bike sponsors that they can wear on their backs. Find a tandem bicycle for people to try or one of those bikes you pedal with your hands. Build an obstacle course for small children to ride their tricycles around. Show pictures of how bikes have changed over the years. Invite a local amateur team to give a presentation or teach bike safety. *Broadway Dinner Night* This activity will take some planning, but with the right attitude and effort, the results will be fantastic! First, divide the ward into groups of about eight people and assign each group a different musical theme for the evening. They bring one potluck item and table decorations that relate to the musical. Invite at least one member from each table to perform a song or dance routine from the musical for the rest of the ward. *World Cultures* Explore and appreciate the cultures in your ward. Invite members to share their heritage or the culture of the place where they served a mission. Members can sign up to decorate a table with cultural items, pictures, postcards, etc. People can also volunteer to bring different ethnic dishes to share with ward members. Arrange for entertainment (song, dance, skit, etc.) from different cultural groups. *Courtesy Night* Have an etiquette dinner where everyone can practice their good manners. Invite several families who are willing to host tables and bring their nice dishes from home and who could decorate their table very formally. Try to recruit the Elders Quorum or youth to serve as waiters who can serve tables, dressed in their suits with a towel over their arm like in nice restaurants. Invite married couples to act out good dates and bad dates as funny skits. Play the Newlywed game. Teach ward members how to ballroom dance. You could also decorate with a "My Fair Lady" theme and get ward members to perform the various songs from the famous musical. *Old-fashioned Country Fair* Celebrate summer with a country fair. Hold contests for the best crafts, cookies, quilts, pickles, jam or jelly, fresh vegetables, bread, and pie. Include blue ribbon prizes for the winners. For a meal, have simple food like hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, and homemade root beer. Have fun with old-fashioned activities like sack races, square dancing, apple bobbing, and tug-o-war. *Game Night* Bring along four or five board games. Choose games that can be interrupted easily to take on new players like Uno, Balderdash, Scattergories, Taboo, Pictionary, etc. (give an overview of the rules for each before you begin the activity). Place the games on tables scattered around the cultural hall and give everyone a sticker of a different color (one of four or five different colors). Have everyone choose a table to start. Play the games for fifteen to twenty minutes, then blow a whistle and hold up a color. Everyone with that color must quickly rotate to a new table. Continue blowing the whistle and holding up colors throughout the night at regular intervals. This is a great way to get people to mix and mingle instead of staying in familiar groups. *Apple Fest* Apples are a perfect theme for a fall party--and they're inexpensive too! Have an apple festival and invite everyone to enter an apple cooking contest. All entries have to use apples in the recipe. Have apple dunking and core tossing contests. You could use a real country fair theme with blue ribbons and raffia. Invite the Primary to sing. Fill mason jars with dried apple chips to set out on table for people to snack on, and use the food entered in the contest as refreshments. *Preparation Precedes Playtime* The more simplified and more organized your activity is, the more fun everyone will have, including you! Here are some items to consider: _Location:_ equipment, decorations, A/C, entrances and exits, safety, parking, and a plan B in case of bad weather. _Time:_ Announce specific start and end times and then follow through. _Date:_ Will it conflict with other stake, ward, or family events? _Theme:_ Coordinate decorations, invitations, refreshments, activities, publicity, posters, and music. Will it be uplifting? _Publicity:_ Be clever, fit the theme, be inexpensive, and announce details, including appropriate dress. _Decorations:_ Consider the walls, ceiling, entrance, exits, food area, halls, and bathrooms. _Refreshments:_ Fit the theme, be creative, and consider people with food allergies and other health restrictions. _Program:_ Opening and closing prayer, mixers, entertainments, and/or games. _Clean-up:_ Assign specific people rather than hope everyone will just want to stay and help. Make it a game. Give thank-you cards or small gifts to those who helped with any aspect of the activity.
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