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New Challenges

Making the most of every opportunity

by the Revds Trevor and Juliet Donnelly (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage children to make the most of every opportunity and rise to new challenges.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need ten challenges. You can devise your own, use the ones given in the 'Assembly', Step 2, or tailor them to suit your school. If you use the ones given, you will need some modelling balloons, a hardback book and some music to dance to.
  • You might also like to create some ‘Certificates of achievement’ for the children who complete the challenges, but this is optional.


  1. Introduce the theme of ‘challenges’ – that is, tests or contests that require us to do our best to achieve certain goals or outcomes.

  2. Tell the children that you have some challenges for them. Read out each challenge and ask for a volunteer to do each one.

    Use the following challenges or the ones you have prepared.

    - Sing ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’.
    - Balance a book on your head and walk ten paces.
    - Say two nice things to one of your teachers.
    - Pretend to be an animal of your choice for the other children to identify.
    Tell a joke.
    - Say your seven times table.
    - Make a balloon sculpture.
    - Dance for 30 seconds.
    Teach everybody a word from a language that is not English (or one of the predominant languages in school).
    Do ten star jumps or five press-ups.

    Afterwards, if using, give each child who has tried a challenge a ‘Certificate of achievement’.

  3. Talk about challenges that the children may be facing - joining a new after-school club, trying a new sport, moving house, making new friends, even the opportunities and challenges that might arise on their holidays.

    Explain that all of us have been given many good things in our lives, such as the different people we meet and live alongside, the different experiences we have had, and there is a whole world to explore, learn about and enjoy.

    Sometimes, like the challenges some of you have attempted today, these can be a bit scary at first, but the only way to meet a challenge is to step up and do what we have to do, whether that’s singing ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’, speaking to someone new for the first time or any of the other new challenges we may face in the future.

Time for reflection

Close your eyes and take a moment to silently think of a challenge that is ahead of you  . . .

Now, imagine yourself overcoming that challenge  . . .

Imagine this challenge making you stronger and wiser  . . .  and feel positive, that you are going to do your best.

Dear God,
We thank you for all the opportunities you have given us.
Help us to make the most of our time at school to learn and enjoy all that we can.
Help us to encourage others to do their best, too.
We pray for all those feeling nervous about the new challenges that are ahead of them.
May they grow through new experiences and find joy in whatever comes their way.


‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106)

Publication date: September 2020   (Vol.22 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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