After Christmas and before Spring Break can be a long season in a cold weather state. By February, it can feel like Spring will never come. A few years ago, we decided that we needed to do something to keep the energy going and the kids coming so we created our own version of March Madness. A large month long team-based contest that took many different elements to win.
It begins with creating teams. Students create their own teams of 10-12 people.
The teams must have:
- more than one grade represented on their team,
- can have a leader or two if desired,
- and they must have a name.
We’ve had Team Miscellaneous, Team Burgers and Fries, and Team Ninja for some examples. We also have a team each week that includes all the kids that like to play the games but didn’t want to be on a team.
Teams earn points in four ways:
- Wearing the appropriate costumes for the weekly theme. A point for every dressed up team member.
- Placement in the weekly game. (We organize points so that every team gets something based on how many teams there are)
- Daily postings on social media with hashtags so that they can be found.
- And, of course, good sportsmanship throughout.
For weekly themes, we just try to have fun with it. Students and leaders dress up for the theme and the bigger the better! Here’s a few of the themes we’ve used:
Week 1: Superheros
Week 2: Pirates
Week 3: Neon
Week 4: Ninjas
And if there happens to be a Week 5: Western
The weekly game connects to the dress-up theme. This is one month where the games are over the top. (I posted the game Superhero Obstacle Course a while ago which came from Superhero week.) For the Western week, we jousted. For Ninja week, we played a giant version of Fruit Ninja. I think you get the idea.
However, most points are scored during the week as teams participate in the daily hashtags and post them. Students need to make the posting with the following hashtags and #teamname so that they can be found on social media and receive their points. One point for every post.
- #MeditationMonday – post a Scripture and why you chose that verse or verses
- #JesusTshirtTuesday – post a picture of yourself at school/work or out and about in a Jesus t-shirt of some kind. One point for every person on your team in the picture. (If you have youth group t-shirt it’s a great way to get them worn!)
- #WorshipWednesday – post a link to a worship song and why you chose that song
- #ThankfulThursday – share a thankful post
- #FriendsFriday – Post a pic with your friends!
- #ServingSaturday – share a way you were able to serve that day
The hashtags have truly been the best part of March Madness. The costumes and games are fun, but seeing kids share verses, worship songs, and serve while proudly wearing Jesus to school has been amazing. In fact, the hashtags keep popping up all year as students continue Jesus T-shirt Tuesday or Thankful Thursday. For points, just search in the hashtags and you’ll find your students. We focus on Instagram and Facebook for our postings but Twitter would work as well. (If they don’t have an account, they can text their picture to their leader and still receive points!)
The spreadsheet for this contest is a bit large, but it’s so worth it! Just make sure your prizes are worth the month long process. We’ve done this contest for the past two years and it sure does make the long winter fun, we see a lot of visitors, laughter, and connection.
This year, I’m sure we’ll have a Star Wars theme along with Trolls!