3 Tips for Helping Kids Finish their Handbooks

3 Tips for Helping Kids Finish their Handbooks

When I was a leader, I had a room full of boys working on their handbooks. Only a handful of them made consistent progress on their handbooks. Several of them struggled with memorization. Many of them had a lot of work to do and a short amount of time to do it in as each day brought us closer to closing ceremonies. Around this time of year, many leaders and secretaries start or have been thinking about their kid’s handbook completion. Many of us are asking the question: How on earth are you going to get your kids to finish their handbooks? Well, I believe that all we need is a plan, some creativity, and a steady flow of encouragement from a leader like you!

Here are three helpful tips for helping your kids complete their handbooks before you wrap up the end of another Awana year.

  1. Catch Up Night – My club has done this for many years, and you can have a lot of fun with it. Rather than making it feel like a “work night” for your kids, turn it into a theme night and amp up your kid’s energy around it. You can insert some competition between teams and keep track of how many sections each team caught up on. Insert a prize or give the winning team an opportunity to hit some leaders in the face with a cream pie and you’re all set! Another idea is a play on words. Instead of Catch Up Night, turn it into “Ketchup Night.” Bring on some games or activities that include ketchup. From your Cubbies to your Journey students you can have a lot of fun bringing ketchup into game time or activities while still making time for kids to catch up on their sections.


  1. Sunday Section Scavenger Hunt – Many churches already offer additional times for kids to say verses on Sunday or another night or day during the week. Often many will have a station set up, and leaders are present to listen to verses and help kids complete their section requirements. Bring a little bit of fun into this common practice by putting together a scavenger hunt where they have to find some leaders dressed up in some funny costumes. I mean, who wouldn’t want to say some verses to Spiderman or have the opportunity to lead Batman to Christ?


  1. Make a Plan and Bring the Encouragement – Some kids need a lot of help to finish their books. I have found that they need encouragement and a plan. Work backward from how many sections they have to complete and put them on a schedule for completion. That way they know how many they have to finish between now and the end of the club year. Make this plan realistic. Saying ten sections in a night when they can barely complete one isn’t a plan that is reasonable. Therefore, use some of the ideas above to balance it out and give extra opportunities to complete those sections. Also, kids need encouragement, and they love getting mail! Drop some postcards in the mailbox with some words of encouragement on them. Make sure that you recognize each kid’s progress and effort. Sometimes the best motivation to help accomplish something difficult is being seen or noticed by someone else.

Leaders, thank you for all that you do to reach boys and girls with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!


  • comment-avatar
    Bonnie Kirby 1 year

    I am Director of our T&T program. We have always had about 50-60% of our clubbers complete their handbooks in one year keeping the “only 2 helps” standard. This year we implemented the new material for our 3rd and 4th graders. The verse selection in Evidence of Grace handbook, although appropriate content for the lesson, are lengthy, unfamiliar, complex, and verbally cumbersome. Even though the majority of our clubbers come with the lesson completed and have studied the verses, they are having a difficult time reciting the verses during small group time with only two helps (or even more). The Review Lesson containing the 7 paragraph verses at the end of each handbook part is almost impossible for the majority of the clubbers to complete. Then add in clubber absences due to illness and clubbers needing to complete two lessons, and you have extremely stressed out clubbers, parents, and leaders. Our Small Group Time is only 30 minutes. With an emphasis on discipleship instead of memory work, we’re seeing that many hardworking clubbers will not complete their books. What can we do? We meet 30 weeks and are finding the material relentless in pressure for all involved.

  • comment-avatar
    Margot Palpant 1 year

    I so totally agree with you, Bonnie Kirby. I am also a T&T director, and we also have a 30 minute handbook time.We even cover the explore part of the section in large group time and make sure the book questions are answered. Consequently we have no time to cover anything else (like a missions lesson)in large group. Bonnie described the difficulty with the verses very accurately. I have seen some verses in the gold extra credit that seem far more apropos. We have many unchurched children who come regularly with their friends, and many of the section verses totally overwhelm them. The curriculum and themes each week are excellent,but the long cumbersome verses drag them down. We are certainly open to suggestions.