Children are the future of the church, as we said in the first part of this two-part series on children’s spaces, when we talked about security. Now that we’ve gotten your children safely into your church building, let’s talk about what they find when they get there.
Making Children’s Spaces Obvious
First of all, it should be clear where the children’s spaces are located simply based on the different décor.
As you can see in this example from Phillips Temple Church in Trotwood, OH, clear signage helps guide parents to the children’s area of the church building, but the children themselves are likely to find it because of the bright colors and age-appropriate themes.
You want the theme of your children’s space to be part of your church’s vision as a whole. Use creative names that catch kids’ attention and tell parents about your vision for teaching them about Christ.
Creating Age-Appropriate Spaces
Of course, these spaces should also be age-appropriate. For example, the seating should be sized properly for smaller bodies, and there should be toys and activities that match the ages of the children in the room, as you can see in the picture of Life Foursquare Church in Decatur, IL.
You’ll also want carpeting on the floor so kids can easily and comfortably play and gather. At the same time, you’ll want tile in craft areas, in the restrooms, and around sinks, to make cleanup easier.
Another important element is where to put things. We carefully consider how to create storage for each classroom, whether that’s a closet or, with some renovations of existing buildings, a lockable cabinet within the room.
In addition, we also create a common resource room with a copier and other basic materials—within the children’s area whenever possible. This makes it easy for teachers to produce additional copies of materials or grab extras of something when more kids show up, all without ever having to leave the secure children’s area.
Of course, storage spaces should also be designed for the particular needs of each children’s program. For example, for the Church Mouse Praise House at Grove City Church of the Nazarene, in Grove City, OH, we built a puppet storage room, a prop storage room, a green room for the church mice and puppeteers, a sound booth, and a space for storing tables and chairs when they’re not in use.
Is Your Church Building Also a Day Care Facility or Church School?
If your children’s space doubles as a day care or church school during the week, there are other considerations that will need to be factored into designing your church building. Sometimes we will actually put two closets in each of those classrooms: one for use by the church and the other for use by the school.
There are also more stringent building codes for day cares and schools than for your typical church building. When we design children’s spaces, we take those into account in order to create a building that truly meets all of the needs of your ministry.
More Church Design Resources
That concludes our series on children’s spaces. To learn more about our thought process behind designing church buildings, watch for our new i3 webinar series coming in 2016. We’ll be announcing the topics and dates soon right here.