“I’m Howdy!” “And I’m Rowdy!” “And we like to get loud-y!”
When we think about planning program characters for our WyldLife friends, some of us get intimidated. “I’m not funny enough.” “I can’t write clever lines like that.” “I never have any new ideas.”
Good news! When it comes to middle school kids, FUN is often way more important than FUNNY.
I’m not saying WyldLife kids don’t like to laugh – they love to laugh. (Cue “Mary Poppins” soundtrack.) But what makes them laugh can be different.
These are concrete-thinking early adolescents who are beginning to think abstractly. They also make better participants than spectators.
Knowing this, how can we plan program characters for WyldLife clubs? Here are a few thoughts…
Short & Sweet
Program characters may only need a few lines before introducing an up-front game or mixer. If the program intro is 4 minutes followed by a 5-minute game, kids will be sitting for a long period of time. Instead, your characters can introduce themselves with a few short, catchy repeater lines.
Don’t overthink dialogue between characters. What you and your friends find humorous may go right over the heads of early adolescents. Many of my middle school friends still love a good Laffy Taffy joke. (Really!)
BANANA PEELS. Nobody needs to slip on an actual banana peel, but physical humor is great with this age group. The goofier and sillier, the better.
Middle school kids are sensitive, so we want to be careful to not poke fun at them. Younger middle school kids don’t always get sarcasm, so we need to avoid that up front, as well.
Program characters who are loud and move around will catch the attention of our WyldLife friends. If program characters are having fun leading a game, kids will have fun too.
What have you learned about doing program for WyldLife kids? Share your ideas with us.
Written by Julie Clapp.