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.
June 18, 2016
Caution moms! It’s tempting to schedule every moment of the summer for your kids in order to prevent the B-word (boredom), but over-scheduling may do more harm than good. Committing kids to a constantly busy routine can have a negative effect, robbing them of much needed down time – time to think, create and make their own fun.
In a recent Washington Post article author Carolyn Butler encourages parents to relax the schedule instead of maintaining the same phrenic school-year pace. She writes:
“Summer is the time to slow down a little bit and take it easy — to help over-programmed kids develop their imagination, creativity and their own sense of initiative, instead of just being ferried from one activity to the next,” says Potomac child psychiatrist Michael Brody. He points out that the benefits of unstructured play include learning to work out conflicts and developing motor control and language skills. “I’m not saying that children should be raised by wolves — they have to come in for dinner, someone has to know where they are and there are obviously other safety issues — but there should be less of a leash.”
So what makes sense for a summer schedule? It’s not a bad idea to have a little order to the day, without overdoing it. Here’s a simple plan of what a summer routine may look like:
Rise and shine: I suggest you have a reasonable time when you expect everyone to be out of bed and eating breakfast so that they don’t sleep a good portion of the day away.
Morning activity: Swimming, sidewalk chalk, going to the zoo, working in the garden – this is when everyone is fresh and energetic and the best time of the day to get out and about, even if it is simply grocery shopping and walking the dog.
FOB: Known as Flat on Back or Flat on Bunk, this is a time (an hour or two) for everyone to be alone to read, rest, write, think, or nap. Moms need this quiet time too.
Freeplay: Games, crafts, computer time and/or simply playing with toys, provide kids with the freedom to create their own fun. It may be as simple as setting white paper and crayons out on the kitchen table for creative drawing or a puzzle or board game for the kids to join into when they emerge from FOB. This may also be the time of day you allow for computer time or getting out and playing with neighborhood kids.*
Dinner: Invite the family to join in the process of planning and preparing the meal and setting the table. Dinnertime offers a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversation with the family. Research shows that when families have conversations around the dinner table on a regular basis they tend to do better in school and adhere to family values.*
Family Time: How about a family walk or watching a movie or playing Frisbee? Laughter and experiencing fun together has a bonding effect on the family.
Bedtime: If you don’t already have a bedtime routine, I encourage you to start. After bath and brushing teeth, read a Bible story and pray together. You may want to make this an individual time with each child or a group family time.
Use these ideas as a general template for a summer plan. My prayer is that this summer will be a memorable time for you and your family. Relax and enjoy the precious gifts God has given you.
*You may want to check out my $5 summer special: Fun House and Table Talk.
Also, click the image below for one of my favorite children’s Bibles:
|The Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible|
June 14, 2016
If you are a deal-finder like me, you will love this sale. Christianbook.com is selling their slightly imperfect products at a mega-savings for you.
Slightly imperfect products are simply those with a wrinkle here, a dent there, but at an extra-low price. Over 1,200 products are featured now through June 20th (like up to 98% off books and Bibles up to 92% off). This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on your summer reading for both you and your kids. Don’t miss out on this special sale! Just click the images below.
While your are shopping – don’t forget about Father’s Day!
June 4, 2016
Worried that your kids will spend the whole summer on their phones? Without a doubt, it’s tempting for our kids to use all of their free time engaged with technology rather than engaged with the people around them. Now, I’m not saying that all technology is bad, but I do believe it is wise to set limits during the summer. One positive idea is to introduce “Basket Time,” where all technology goes in the basket for an hour or two. You may choose to do this during the dinner hour, so you can enjoy attentive conversation, or you may want to pick a particular time during the afternoon when all technology takes a rest.
What do you do with that unconnected time? Here are a few suggestions:
Play Together – Whether you choose indoor board games or outdoor water sports or a good game of Frisbee – “The family that plays together stays together.” Or is it, “The family that prays together stays together?” Why not use a little of the “Basket Time” to share prayer requests and pray together too.
Walk Together – Perhaps a walk in the morning or after the sunsets would be a wonderful way of experiencing family time. If it is too hot, play in the sprinklers instead.
Read Together – Reading a book to your kids, no matter what age, can be a bonding experience. I suggest The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis as it captures every heart whether young or old.
Bake Together – Have fun in the kitchen baking a special meal or treat. Pick out recipes from a cook book (yes, the old fashioned way before pinterest), and pull together the ingredients to make a memorable meal.
Garden Together – How about starting a small herb or vegetable garden?
Serve Together – Consider someone else who has a need or think of ways to serve others in your community. Maybe the saying goes, “The family that serves together, stays together.”
Basket Time invites your family to experience simplicity and unity. Everyone needs a break from the constant connect of technology, but instead of making it a negative, turn it into a positive and let everyone dump their phones for an hour or two and enjoy good ole fashioned fun engaging with each other.
May 27, 2016
Sometimes we just need to read a book that encourages us and reminds us why we do what we do. This summer check out the updated version of The Power of a Positive Mom. You will find both inspiration and practical advice as well as creative ideas for fun activities to do with your kids. I’m especially excited about the newest feature, QR codes, which allow you to scan a code with your smart phone and watch a video for each section of the book. It’s perfect for a group study or an individual read. An added blessing is that a portion of each purchase will be donated to Engage Parenting, a non-profit that leads parenting discussion groups for men and women in areas affected by poverty or adversity.