July 26, 2016
Celebrate the uniqueness of God’s creation as you enjoy a theme centered around the animal kingdom. You may want to break this down to focus on a different type of animal each day (jungle animals, farm animals, domestic, etc) or you could just focus on animals as a whole. You may decide to declare a day (when you need some peace and quiet) as a Bunny Day. The kids dress up as bunnies all day. The good news is that bunnies are a very quiet creature and you may want to allow them to hop along with this theme as you go to the grocery store and run your errands. Just a thought!
- Animal Dress up – Create your favorite animals ears using felt material or construction paper and attaching it to a plastic headband. Make a nose and whiskers using make up pencil or face paints. You can also buy fake animal noses at party stores. You may want to use felt or long stuffed socks for tails. Socks can also be used to cover hands and feet for paws.
- Face painting – look on pinterest for fun new ways to create animal faces.
- Animal Entertainment – Watch National Geographic or Animal Planet. Search the internet for funny animal videos. Read books about different kinds of animals (see below).
- Read about Animals in the Bible. Genesis 1:20 – 25 gives account of God’s creation of the animals. Read and act out the story of Noah’s Ark from Genesis 6-8
- Visit Animals. Plan a trip to the zoo, rescue shelter or a farm to see the animals first hand.
July 19, 2016
The garden is a wonderful place for both boys and girls to not only learn about God’s creative handiwork, but it also can provide life lessons on patience and responsibility. You can use the garden theme indoors or outdoors. If you don’t have a garden you can create even a small one through these simple ideas.
- Make tissue paper flowers. Use green pipe cleaners for the stems. Cut 4” by 4” squares of tissue paper (variety of bright colors). Gather the square in the center and secure with the pipe cleaner. Fan out the tissue so it creates a bloom.
- Visit an arboretum or gardens somewhere near you. You could even make it a fun adventure at a local nursery.
- Decorate clay pots. You can use stickers or paint or markers, depending on your kids’ age. You can even do thumb prints or hand prints depending on the size of pot.
- Plant seeds or flowers. If you have a garden you may want to plant some seeds or flowers outside on a nice day. Wear grungy clothes and expect to get a little dirty, it’s okay! You may want to get kid-sized garden tools and gloves typically available at garden and discount stores. If you don’t have a garden, spread out newspaper and plant seeds or plants in your newly created planter to set on the window sill. Don’t forget to water!
- Create a terrarium. You will need a large jar (large pickle jar or gallon size works best). Lay the jar on its side, you may want make a foam cradle for it using a Styrofoam block, so it doesn’t roll. Put dirt in the bottom and gently plant a few seeds (recommend…) add water…
- Books about flowers and gardens. I suggest Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert or My Backyard Garden by Carol Lerner.
- Read in the Bible about Plants. Matthew 13: 1-23 tells the parable about the sower and the seeds. In John 15: 1-5 Jesus calls himself the vine, we are the branches and God is the gardener.
Also, don’t miss Christian Book Distributors DVD sale going on right now
July 12, 2016
Count down to loads of fun for both girls and boys as you explore the wonders of outer space. When I look up to the heavens at night, I can’t help but think of Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glories of God.” My hope is that as you explore the heavens this week, you will also be reminded about the glory and power of our wonderful Creator. Here’s some ideas to make it a memorable week:
• Space Helmets. Take a clean plastic gallon jug, and cut away the spout and handle to create a simple helmet. You can either spray it with silver or white paint or cover it with foil.
• Power jet pack. Take two 2-liter plastic bottles. Spray paint or cover them with foil. Use silver duct tape to connect them together. Tie or belt them on your child’s back (with spout down).
• Space food. Tang is always a treat along with some dried foods in baggies and food bars. Serve on a tray covered with foil.
• Moon Rock Hunt. Crumple up aluminum foil and you have instant moon rocks. You can place little goodies inside and hide the rocks much like an Easter egg hunt.
• Moon dust art. Purchase a variety of colored sands at a hobby store. Place newspaper over the work area for easy clean up. Use cardboard as your base, and begin to create a picture. Use Q-tips to spread glue, then carefully sprinkle the different colors of sand color by color to form a picture (use a plastic spoon or curved paper to sprinkle the sand).
• Make a Rocket Ship out of a big moving box. Paint it white; add the letters USA on the side along with a sticker of the flag. Cut out round windows
• Visit a planetarium or science museum or a NASA museum.
• Write a letter to an astronaut, or write a journal entry from an astronaut’s point of view.
• Look at the stars either through a telescope, or take your sleeping bags outside and gaze at creation. If you live in a big city, you may need to drive to the outskirts of town to get away from the city lights for better viewing. Make a simple telescope using paper towel tub to view the stars. Download Star Chart ap on your phone to help you locate planets and stars.
• Read: Roaring Rockets (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton, or Cat in the Hat – There’s No Place Like Outer Space, By Tish Rabe
• Do experiments from The Glad Scientist Visits Outer Space (see link below)
• Read in the Bible: Psalm 19:1-6 Talk about creation Genesis 1:14-19
July 5, 2016
As we continue our series of theme weeks for your kids, this week I’d like to introduce you to bugs! Whether you like creepy crawlers or not, your kids will find this theme fun and fascinating. Who knows, you may end up liking the little critters too! As with all of God’s creation, as we examine His handiwork, we grow to appreciate the details He designed. You may choose to break this theme down into a different type of bug each day (butterflies, spiders, creepy crawlers, jumping bugs, flying insects).
• Make a bug catcher. You will need a big empty plastic mayonnaise jar, 7 inch square of insect screening or plastic mesh (available at hardware stores). You will also need a wide, heavy duty rubber band and paints or stickers to decorate the outside of the jar. After decorating the jar, place a stick and some leaves in the jar and go on a bug hunt. Once you find a bug, place the wire mesh over the top and secure with rubber band. Take a magnifying glass with you on your bug hunt so you can get a good view of the critters.
• Make bug antennae using a plastic head band and black pipe cleaners.
• Make a model bug using Styrofoam Balls, paint and pipe cleaners. Add roly-poly eyes (from craft store) and create your own fun and funky insect.
• Visit a museum of natural history or zoo that has an exhibit.
• Read bug books such as Ms. Spider series by David Kirk or The Very Quiet Cricket (and others) by Eric Carle or watch “It’s a Bugs Life.”
•Visit www.insects.org or http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bugs/
• Read in the Bible: Proverbs 6:6-11 Hard working Ants. Talk together about the importance of hard work and finding joy in the work God has given us. See also: Colossians 3: 23
June 27, 2016
Creating a “theme for the week” during the summer months makes memorable moments for your whole family and encourages engagement and creativity. In the next few weeks, I want to give you some ideas to use for Theme Weeks with your kids. You can build a theme around anything – Water Week, Bug Week, Cooking Week, Sports Week, to name a few. Here’s some simple ideas to create a Bible Week with the objective of inspiring a love for God and His Word.
This week I encourage you to look at a different Bible character each day of the week. Read the story from the Bible or a children’s Bible, do arts and crafts that reflect the stories. You may even want to do skits to act out each story and/or watch portions of The Bible video series together each evening (with popcorn of course).
Monday – Adam and Eve – Read Genesis 2 & 3. Talk about the perfect garden, how sin entered the world and our need for a savior. Activities: gardening, decorating flower pots, visiting the arboretum, flower shop or farmers market. Arts and crafts: Tree bark rubbings, drawing trees, stamp art using apples, creating flower pictures or floral arrangements.
Tuesday – Noah – Read Genesis 6-9. Talk about sin, God’s saving grace and God’s promises. Activities: act out the story, visit aquarium, zoo, farm or pet store (danger, you may come home with a new pet). Crafts: make rainbow art projects, animals out of foil, stick animals, animal puppets out of socks, animal ears and face painting, build an ark with blocks or legos.
Wednesday – Joseph – Read Genesis 37-50 Talk about the themes of forgiveness, resourcefulness, perseverance, growing through difficulty, trusting God, God’s favor. Activities: Act out story, make crowns, visit an exhibit about Egypt or ancient east, make a coat of many colors using duct tape or men’s t-shirts and markers, make popsicle stick figures for all the characters, bake bread together.
Thursday – Daniel – Read Daniel 6. Talk about leadership, courage, faith and prayer. Activities: Act out the story of Daniel and the Lions Den, prepare to celebrate Fourth of July by reading stories about the faithful and courageous forefathers of our country, make Fourth of July decorations and decorate bikes and trikes. Crafts: make a lion costume using felt and face paints, make angel costume with sheets and gold pipe cleaners, draw pictures of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Create a lunch, dinner or a smoothie with the Daniel diet (Daniel 1:12) of only vegetables as your basis – just for one meal – be creative.
Friday – Jesus – Read John 10:1-19. Talk about Jesus as the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. Talk about how much the sheep depend on the shepherd for everything. Activities: dress up like sheep and act out Psalm 23 with one person playing the shepherd. Costumes can be black socks for the feet, white towel over the back, black felt ears attached to a headband, face paint a sheep nose. Crafts: Make edible sheep using marshmallows, licorice and toothpicks or try ice cream sheep made from vanilla ice-cream rolled in coconut and pretzels dipped in chocolate for legs, chocolate pieces for face and ears.
All of these ideas are simple, home-spun fun to encourage a love for the Bible and inspire interest in God’s Word. Allow the Bible theme to open up engagement and conversation with your kids, so that their interest in the rest of the Bible will be ignited.