In the children’s ministry year, we often have to decorate large spaces for kids’ or family events, such as Vacation Bible School, day camps, family nights, missions festivals, and others. Here are five useful tips to get the biggest bang for your buck when you need to turn a gym, multipurpose room or social hall into whatever your theme calls for, be it tropical island, castle, jungle, or other environment we create, as children’s ministry leaders, to make an event lively with lots of impact.
1. Stand Back – Assess the Room
Stand at the entry to your space and look carefully at what you have to work with. Note things like doors that might interfere with placement of décor. Are there items like water fountains or other permanent fixtures that need to be worked around?
2. Make Your Point – Create a Focal Point in the Room
To where does your eye naturally gravitate in the room? Sometimes, it’s an obvious spot, like a stage. Other times, you can choose where you want the focal point and make all the décor go to it.
3. Go Big – Create a Piece Big Enough to Draw Attention All Across the Room
A really large piece of décor trumps dozens of posters from the party store every time, and does not have to be expensive! For instance, we needed a volcano one year. We stacked chairs in a large circle, then stacked chairs on top of those chairs, more chairs on top of those and so on, till we had a structure that was 20 feet around and 12 feet tall. We zip tied chair legs together for stability, then covered the whole thing with brown painter’s paper from our local home improvement store (about $9 for a large roll), added a little paint and insulation foam, and there you go – a huge volcano with lots of wow factor!
4. Look Up – Décor Overhead Helps Fill Out the Room
Very often these large spaces also have very tall ceilings, so it’s a challenge to keep the eye from wandering up and away from your focal piece and other décor. One solution is to string rows of heavy-duty fishing line high up from wall to wall, and hang lightweight décor items on them. Jungle vines, Christmas lights, stars and planet cutouts can all be hung this way.
5. Light It Up – Inexpensive Lighting Adds Life to the Room
Simple can lights are inexpensive at the home improvement store and can be used to throw light and color where you need it. Christmas lights, black lights and disco balls can all add fun effects without breaking the budget.
So the next time you are faced with the daunting task of creating an amazing environment in a large space, try out these tips to help make the task come in under budget and over expectation.