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Play space with purpose at Still Others

Play space with purpose at Still Others

Play space with purpose at Still Others

28 November 2018

Captain Sonia Jeffrey getting ready for the Still Others Kids and Family Fun Zone.

By Lauren Martin

Territorial Children’s Ministry Secretary, Captain Sonia Jeffrey, says when people walk into the foyer of the Melbourne Convention Centre, where Still Others is being held, the Kids and Family Fun Zone will be the first thing they see.

“It’s designed for engagement, for intergenerational engagement. For families to come together, for grandparents to come together with their grandchildren, for the public to come together,” she says.

The Kids and Family Fun Zone is tailored for children aged one to 10, accompanied by a parent or carer. The theme for the play space on the Saturday is “Circus”, chosen specifically to spark conversations around trying new things, which ties in with the Australia One journey to a new national Australia Territory.

“That’s part of what’s happening with the Australia One transformation,” says Captain Jeffrey. “We’re doing something new and some of the things that we’re experimenting with may not work out … but the theme of the Circus Family Fun Zone is that it’s OK to try something that you haven’t done before. It’s OK to have a go at something.”

On Sunday morning the zone will transform into a pirate adventure space, and will be a designated space for Kids Church during the morning Commissioning meeting. This is a ticketed event and ticketing has now closed. For families who aren’t registered for Kids Church, there will be children’s activity packs available to keep the kids engaged during the morning service.

The theme for both the Kids Church and the Commissioning meeting activity packs for kids is around the idea of change.

“The people who are being commissioned are going on adventures and things are changing for them,” says Captain Jeffrey. “And it’s not always easy. So we’re talking about the types of thing that change in kids’ lives – going to new schools, or starting high school or primary school.

“We’re talking about going on adventures, we’re talking about adventures that are sometimes smooth sailing and adventures that are sometimes rough waters, so we’re talking about all these kinds of ideas about ministry being sometimes easy and sometimes difficult.”

Captain Jeffrey says both the Saturday and Sunday themes for children deal with big ideas and are designed to be either light, or go deeper, depending on how each child and family wants to interact with the idea. “We don’t want to shield these big ideas from kids,” she says.

After 1pm on Sunday, the space will open back up to the public for free play in the Pirate Playhouse, with different interactive experiences. “We will have a blow-up boat and blow-up crocodiles in there,” says Captain Jeffrey.

During the afternoon “Sending Us Out” service, the space will be closed because the meeting has been designed deliberately for kids to be involved. Children will receive an activity pack targeted to their age group, which has been designed in partnership with The Salvation Army Kidzone magazine.

“We are giving out a commemorative Kidzone magazine and a children’s Commissioning brochure, plus a whole bunch of other stuff,” says Captain Jeffrey. “We have designed these packs so that primary school children will be able to engage with the content of the afternoon service and there are kids engaged in the meeting as well, there will be kids singing and a whole bunch of inter-generational worship experiences.”

Families attending Still Others on the weekend are also encouraged to complete an interactive travel adventure through the Still Others Salvo Expo. Children’s passports can be collected from the Kids and Family Fun Zone, with 20 destinations within the Salvo Expo to visit to learn new things and get a special sticker for their passport. At the end of the weekend, all completed passport holders will go in the draw to win a major prize, which will be drawn in the Kids and Family Fun Zone.

Captain Jeffrey says she’s looking forward to meeting a whole heap of new families and children in the play space during the Still Others event, and is encouraging everyone – both young and old – to make sure they visit.

“In the buzz of the expo and the buzz of the weekend, if you’re a mum or a dad or a grandparent, you can park your pram if you’ve got little ones, and come in with your coffee, … and you can engage with your children in a variety of play activities.”


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