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Themed Children's Ministry Trends - 2011 And Beyond Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   
Themed Children’s Ministry Trends – 2011 And Beyond
A couple years ago I wrote an article on the trends in Children’s Ministry 2008 and beyond. As I reread the article I believe that I was really quite accurate as to what I believed would happen. So, what does 2011 look like and beyond? Here’s the way I see it…
In the last couple of years the industry has evolved to be leaner and more cost effective. As I had written before, the desire to have “over the top” themed spaces has faced a couple hard realities. One, the economy, and two, the reality that “over the top” designs didn’t really produce what some had hoped. Unfortunately, the feelings for themed work took a bit of a crash also.
The economy took a toll on the themed industry. I watched very large companies collapse; some companies left the industry and others changed focus and direction. Some opted for only providing wallpaper, others focused on any work that could be found, Children’s Ministries or other. And yet others, like us, flowed with the economy and the needs of Children’s Ministry.
First, I will state that I still believe that dollar for dollar, a quality, well designed themed Children’s Ministry is still the best investment for drawing in unsaved families. Period. I said this before… even above VBS.
So, let’s talk about where we’re at today and what tomorrow holds. Over the last couple years an evolution in decorating has brought in some new ways to theme a children’s space.
Wallpaper
The first is a larger focus by some for the use of wallpaper. I believe that wallpaper will continue to be used by some as an option. We have looked at it and for us the cost to produce, and install it just doesn’t quite compete with a custom design that is specific to what a client wants. Wallpaper is predesigned, with some ability to move characters around and relocate in different places on the predesigned backgrounds. But again, for some I believe this will meet their needs.
Play Equipment
Incorporating play equipment into a facility is another newer option. This type of addition is expensive so be prepared. Small pieces start around $20,000 and can run easily over $100,000. I believe that there is a place for play equipment but I do not believe that there is a good return on the investment. When play equipment is in most McDonalds, Chick-fil-a’s, Chuck E Cheese, and Burger King’s, I just don’t believe the uniqueness is there. And play equipment has a limit on age interest. My own kids lost interest around 2nd/3rd grade.
3D/2D Sculpted Pieces
I believe most are opting not to install much 3D stuff anymore. The expense is very high, and the usefulness is questionable. I saw that for years and now I am totally convinced that it is not a good purchase at all. I recently spoke with a church that was consulting with us on designing a new Nursery Building. They had hired a company to build out a town in 3D down a main hallway. Spending $500,000 to do so. They shared that they do not like it at all 2 years later now. It is too intrusive, takes up a large part of the hall and the impact is no longer there for anyone.
However, 2D work is gaining traction. It is much more cost effective than 3D and has a nice depth change to accomplish the desired effect. I see more of this in the future although in a limited amount. This is an area that we are giving more focus to.
Muraling
Ok, here is my disclaimer… this is, and has been our focus for the past 11 years. My comments could be considered bias. I believe that this basic form of custom themed work is hands down the best way to go to create a theme. Here is why. I believe the return on your themed investment is unchurched kids and families being drawn into a church because of the theme. From what I see in our industry, it doesn’t matter if you have 3D or 2D stuff in your theme, play equipment, or animatronics, compared to just a great mural theme created. The percentage of increase in the number of families is the same from my information. You could spend $100,000 more on all of the extra “stuff” than you need to but the result will be the same as just muraling a great theme. This will still be the primary form of theme creation in my opinion for the future.
Ok so what does the future look like? I think that it is looking up. The last couple of years have been tough on churches and the recovery will be slow but steady. I think the interest in creating a great themed Children’s Ministry has been there and will continue to grow. I will say that I am happier seeing churches be wiser about their theme inquiries. Most are no longer just jumping in with a blank check ready to do everything and anything. They are thinking, talking with others and making much wiser decisions. I like that!
As for Creative For Kids
We are excited about the future and we are still focused on 3 areas:
You do it! Our product line of Do-it-yourself resources continues to grow. Our Mural Kits, and wall hangings are still excellent at cost effectively decorating. We now have over 750 Wall Stickers and we have just launched and quickly expanded our Posters & Banners to just over 40 at this article. We plan on adding 25 a month until we fill out the categories we a focused on.
We help you do it! Working together has been fantastic! The number of churches interested in partnering together with us to create an amazing theme has been beyond our expectations.
We do it for you! Providing a “turn-key” solution has been the foundation of our work for these last 11 years.

Children's Ministry TrendsA couple years ago I wrote an article on the trends in Children’s Ministry 2008 and beyond. As I re-read the article I believe that I was really quite accurate as to what I believed would happen. So, what does 2011 look like and beyond? Here’s the way I see it…

In the last couple of years the industry has evolved to be leaner and more cost effective. As I had written before, the desire to have “over the top” themed spaces has faced a couple hard realities. One, the economy, and two, the reality that “over the top” designs didn’t really produce what some had hoped. Unfortunately, the feelings for themed work took a bit of a crash also.

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Creative For Kids... 11th Year And Growing Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   
Creative For Kids… 11th year and growing!
Humble beginnings
In the mid 1990’s my wife, Michele and I were on staff at a church in South Texas. Our church, like almost every church at that time, had white walls in the children’s area. I remembered what an instructor had said at the Bible school we attended “When we get to heaven the walls won’t be origami white so don’t make your children’s area look like a hospital or an institution.” With those words playing in my mind I looked at the white walls. I was inspired to purchase a $3.00 book called “How to draw… Blitz Cartoons” by Bruce Blitz. It was from this simple kid focused book on cartooning that Creative For Kids found its humble beginnings.
Starting with a girl walking a dog, then a tree, some ants, and a park scene, I began to sketch simple characters onto our walls. Back then I painted solid colors and outlined with a marker similar to our Mural Kits. Within a few years I had painted just about every wall in the children’s ministry of our church.
Soon churches in the surrounding area began taking notice of those walls. The buzz they were creating having an effect on the growth of our church. Shortly after this I had my first request to paint some theme designs in a larger church's children’s ministry.
In the beginning of 1999 an article was published on the front cover of the local paper. The headline read, “Pastor turned painter enjoying every minute”. Soon after this I resigned as an associate pastor and begin my journey as a mural artist.  It was during this time “Painter Of Fun” was born. During that first year I wanted to be a successful artist not just a starving artist. I painted everything I could get my hands on: the local mall, home builders, a daycare, etc.
With God All Things Are Possible
In the fall of 1999 Michele resigned from her position as the children’s pastor and we moved to my home town of Peoria, IL. At the time we made this move we were $30,000+ debit, living in my mother’s basement with a new born and a 3 year old.  Michele had no job and I had no clients. But  we knew God had a plan and if we followed that plan all things would be possible.
The internet was fairly new at this time and I believed that a website was critical to our vision of only painting for children’s ministries. I purchased a 2” thick book on web design with Microsoft Frontpage. In October of 1999 we made one of the best decisions of our early company and we launched www.PainterOfFun.com. (I still own the domain name.) I didn’t want to paint other facilities because in my heart I knew Churches where to be our focus.
In January of 2000 we made the decision to place our focus strictly on churches and children’s ministries. It was during this time that “Creative Kids Ministry” was born. That first year was tough sledding and we earned a whopping $9,000. Over the next few years "Creative Kids Ministry" evolved one final time to our current identity “Creative For Kids”.
Our Focus Was To Help
Our focus has never been “Us 4 and no more”. We have always wanted to help churches decorate their children’s ministries. So in the early 2000’s we created "Do It Yourself" Mural Kits. Their purpose was to provide a way for small churches with small budgets to decorate their children’s ministry. We created our first 6 Mural Kits and offered them online. Now churches had options if they couldn’t hire a company to come in and do custom designs. We were the first to offer any kind of church specific decorating products like this. It was during this phase that Creative For Kids products were born.
Grow, Grow, Grow
Every year after that we grew in some form or another. Each year children’s ministry decorating projects continued to grow in the number of churches and in the size of projects. Our product line kept growing with the release of mural kits and the introduction of  Project-A-Stencils, Wall Stickers, and Wall Hangings.  The purpose behind each product being to assist children’s ministries decorate. Products were being shipped all over the US and even overseas and we just kept giving God the glory and praise for how He had worked all things together for our good.
Getting Kids Saved
I love creating themes for children’s ministries. LOVE IT! I love helping healthy churches that want to decorate their children’s ministries. For me, decorating was never the end all for Creative For Kids. Today  thousands of kids see our artwork each week in churches all across the US. I know that our artwork has been responsible for drawing in many, many kids and families which in turn leads to salvations.
I am very humbled and honored that God has used me in that way all these years. Getting kids saved directly is what I have worked toward these many years. My vision to see kids getting saved directly was fulfilled 2 years ago when Michele, after 20 years as a children’s pastor resigned to work for our company full time.
God has gifted her and equipped her with the skills to get kids saved directly through writing Curriculum. So after much praying, planning and preparing  “Jesus In Jeans Curriculum - Proving Jesus relevant in everyday life", was born and a dream came true. Through this curriculum we are showing kids that Jesus is relevant in their lives TODAY!
Today, Moving Forward
Today, we continue to assist churches in decoration and now education. Our website sees many thousands of visitors a month from all over the world! We continue to offer custom work through designing children ministry themes, custom concepts, custom logos, custom banners, through our partners, architectural services , soon to be announced custom check-in desks, and woodworking. We also offer articles relating to Children's ministry education,  Children’s ministry décor ideas, and informational articles on decorating.
We now have over 950 products located in our online store in a variety of categories; Wall Stickers, Mural Kits, Project-A-Stencils, Posters and Banners, and a host of products in our Curriculum Resources that focus on Jesus In Jeans Curriculum.
I'd like to say "Thank you!" for supporting us through the years with custom onsite work and product purchases and for all the encouraging words from all of you. We are here because of God and you!
Our future is looking more exciting than ever. Our vision is large, our focus is precise, our dependency is on God, and our determination is unwavering. Together with you we will keep painting pictures, telling stories, and reaching kids and families for Jesus!
Creatively His,
Randy Triplett
President, Creative For Kids
PS If you would like to leave a comment, fill out the form below.

Randy Triplett - Creative For KidsHumble beginnings

In the mid 1990’s my wife, Michele and I were on staff at a church in South Texas. Our church, like almost every church at that time, had white walls in the children’s area. I remembered what an instructor had said at the Bible school we attended “When we get to heaven the walls won’t be origami white so don’t make your children’s area look like a hospital or an institution.” With those words playing in my mind I looked at the white walls. I was inspired to purchase a $3.00 book called “How to draw… Blitz Cartoons” by Bruce Blitz. It was from this simple kid focused book on cartooning that Creative For Kids found its humble beginnings. 

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Follow Creative For Kids On Facebook! Print E-mail
Follow Creative For Kids On Facebook!Follow Jesus In Jeans On Facebook!Get the most current information and updates about Creative For Kids and Jesus In Jeans Curriculum as well as sneek previews and special offers when you follow us on Facebook. Whenever you see the Creative For Kids / Facebook Icon just click on it! Try it now!
 
The Courage To Decorate With A Mural Kit Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

Mural Kit"I can paint and follow instructions, but I don’t have the creative mind to come up with these ideas on my own. As I prayed for God’s leading, I found your site. WOW!!!  I thought, hey, I can do this. I can do this!  So we ordered the delux set. I will be planning next with our childrens’  pastor and a team of maybe one other artist in our church family.  You have given us the keys to unlock the vision we have for our children’s church and preschool areas. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!"
- Michelle W.

Recently a competitor, in an attempt to generate business, made light of our product. But, more importantly they made light of you who have had the courage to paint your facility yourself.  We at Creative For Kids take exception to their comments.

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Who Are You Designing For? Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

Children's Ministry DecoratingI believe that one of the most important questions that should be understood is "who are we doing this for?" Well, who do you believe should get the most out of the creative theme design in your children's area? The teachers? The parents? Perhaps the children? All good reasons but there is a bigger picture here that will change your understanding of the importance of theme design.

Will your teachers be blessed? Yes! Will your regular attending parents be blessed? Yes! Will your regular attending children be blessed? Most definitely, yes! But your greatest priority is ...

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Begin Designing With The End In Mind Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   
Woodland Kids Children's Ministry MuralCreating amazing theme environments can be exciting and fun. The creative process is all about the design and creating a great themed space. One element of design that few consider is how long your design will be relevant and how soon it will need to be changed.
The idea of beginning with the end in mind is crucial to properly developing an effective theme that will serve you over the life of the design. So, where do you start?
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Free Forms Every Children's Ministry Needs Print E-mail
Free DownloadsJust click on the forms that you would like to download and select "save" and then choose where you want them to go on your computer for later reference.
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Where to Start when Considering a Children’s Ministry Theme Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

In the beginning…. oh, where have we heard that before? When looking into creating a unique, creative children’s ministry theme it can be quite daunting. So, let’s take the pressure out of it. Designing a great theme is really a process of getting before God and asking him for an idea. Ask him what will work best for your kids and the demographic of your community. Do this step in the beginning before you get too far into the process. An idea from God can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

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Themed Children’s Ministry Trends 2008 and Beyond Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

What is the future of Children’s Ministry theme designing? Will creative Children’s Ministry decorating still reach families in the future? Do I need to have a full blown “Disneyland” theme to still be effective?

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Designing for Multi-use Space Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

I often get asked the question about how to decorate a space that has to be used for a variety of purposes. These churches rent space somewhere every Sunday or they simply do not have dedicated space for kids because of current building limitations. They must share the same rooms with other ministries.

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Decorating Around Trends Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

Trends and fads come and go like the weather. Designing with a current fad in mind can be a recipe whose flavor will fade quickly. I have watched my kids become involved with a trend here and there to suddenly move on to the next new thing.

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Creating a Budget Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

So you want to create an effective budget for designing an amazing children’s ministry. Money, money, money. That’s all it takes to create something amazing for your children’s ministry. For some that’s $30,000 and for others it can be well over a $1,000,000 (million). No kidding, it’s been done!

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Can I spend too much money on Theme Designs? Print E-mail
Written by Randy Triplett   

One of the big questions in creating a creative theme environment is how much is this going to cost me? Since I began designing children’s facilities in 1999 I have seen a once infant industry blossom into a major financial industry. I have seen churches that have spent several million dollars decorating their children’s ministries. Make no mistake, I love looking at every one of these designs.

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