These are some great ideas if your students do VBS-type meetings on mission trips or if you're involved in children's ministry (found on churchleaders.com). Also, if you're a ministry leader with little time for corporate meetings, these are examples of tips you can send out via email (like with a small group guide).
1. Say in a normal tone of voice, “If you can hear me, clap once.” Wait for a response. Repeat and say a little softer, “If you can hear me now, clap twice.” Wait for a response. One final time, lowering your voice to a whisper, “If you can hear me now, clap three times.” Wait for a response (by that time you should have their attention).
2. Use a simple hand motion. Before the lesson, tell the kids, “Anytime you see me raise my hand, I want you to raise your hand too and listen to what I have to say.”
3. Use silence. Just stop talking, in a few second it will catch on.
4. Use a noisemaker, like a toy train whistle. Teach the kids what kind of sound a train makes when it’s pulling into the station (Shhhh shhh shh). When they hear the whistle, they are to make the “Shhhh shhh shh” sound.
5. Buy a small music box (wind up before class) and tell the kids before you teach, “Anytime you start talking without permission, I’m going to open the music box and let it play as long as you keep talking. When you stop talking, I’m going to close it. At the end of the class, if there is any music left, I will reward you with a small prize (like a piece of candy).”
6. Say, “Give me five.” Hold up your hand and have the kids count backwards with you, starting loud with “5” and lowering your voice with each number until you’re whispering when you hit “1”.
7. Some type of simple rhythm (ex. smack legs twice, then clap twice). Eventually all the kids will be joining in and you will have their attention.