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Lazy days at the beach. Road trips. Hot afternoons spent running through sprinklers. The carefree days of summer are full of opportunities for families to reconnect.
As you enjoy each other this summer, you can also create teachable moments that nurture your children's faith. Thriving Family has compiled two months of simple activities for you to do with your children (the July calendar is now available online).
Designed to help your family learn biblical principles and grow in faith, many of these activities can be done almost anywhere — whether you're relaxing at the beach or traveling in the car.
So take a few minutes each day to enjoy your children and do something together using these faith-building activities. May you experience the wonder and beauty of God's goodness this summer — as you never have before!
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1 - Make "story cards" to keep in your car. Write one word per card: patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, honesty, perseverance, loyalty, dependability, courage, mercy, justice, etc. Let your kids choose a card, and then make up a story for your children to learn about that virtue.
2 - Make a small photo book of immediate family members and grandparents. As you look through the book with your kids, ask them to share something nice that each family member has done for them. Pray together for each person. (Ephesians 6:18)
3 - Discuss ways to praise God. Make a CD of your children singing their favorite praise songs. (Keep it in the car or anyplace you spend time together.) Then sing praise songs as a family. (Psalm 9:11; 47:6; 147:1)
4 - Join Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Jr. summer service challenge. Find out what you can do at clubhousejr.com.
5 - Think of a special word to listen for in the morning sermon, such as love or faith. (Or ask your pastor for a word related to the sermon topic.) Then have your child count how many times he hears that word. At lunch, talk about what that word meant in the context of the sermon.
6 - Write Psalm 119:11 on a large sheet of paper. Cut it into puzzle pieces, and hide the pieces around your home. Let the kids find and put the puzzle pieces together. Memorize this Scripture as a family during the week.
7 - Give your child five pebbles to put in his pocket. Ask him to be kind to others today. Every time he does a random act of kindness, he can move one pebble into a different pocket. At the end of the day, discuss what he did to bless others. (Galatians 6:10)
8 - Start a game of follow the leader or Simon says. Then discuss the One we should follow and obey. (Deuteronomy 13:4)
9 - To help your family memorize this week's verse (see June 6), toss a ball to one child. Have her say the first word of the verse before tossing the ball to someone else, who says the next word. Continue in this way until you complete the verse. If the ball is dropped, start again.
10 - Ask your children to shape a lump of modeling clay into a ball. Next, have them put the clay down. Ask them to shape a similar ball without using clay or anything else. Point out that God created the universe from nothing. (Hebrews 11:3)
11 - As you're driving with your kids today, point out the lines on the road. They are guides. They help us know where we should and should not be. They set limits for us. What limits does God put on us? On our behavior? Why? (Deuteronomy 5:6-21)
12 - Select a country in the world where Christians are persecuted. (For a list of countries, visit persecution.com.) Look up information about the country, find its location on a map and have children draw its national flag. Then pray together for the believers there.
13 - Write out Jeremiah 29:13 on index cards, putting one word on each card. Shuffle the cards. Then have your kids put the cards in the correct order to form the verse. If they need help, let them look up the verse in the Bible. Memorize the verse as a family throughout the week.
14 - Supply your children with encouragement and hope this morning. Kiss their cheeks, and whisper in their ears, "You can do great things with God!" (Hebrews 3:13)
15 - Take an evening walk and enjoy the full moon. Explain that the light from the moon is reflected from the sun. Tell your children that Jesus is the Light of the World, and we reflect His light by our faith and actions. (John 8:12, Matthew 5:16)
16 - Look through your family photo book (see June 2). Ask your children to say why they're thankful for each family member. Pray together for each person. (1 Timothy 2:1)
17 - Drive with all your car windows rolled halfway down. Talk with your kids about the wind, explaining how you can all feel it but you can't see it. Share the concept that while we can't always see how God works, He is always at work. (Ecclesiastes 11:5)
18 - Hide in a tent that you and your children build from sheets. Remind them that God is their hiding place, a shelter to protect them during tough times. (Psalm 32:7)
19 (Father's Day) - Put on a skit for Dad by acting out a childhood story that he likes to tell. Let the kids take on the role of Dad's parents, favorite pets, best friends. Then as a family, say this prayer for Dad: Numbers 6:24-26.
20 - Write Philippians 4:13 as a scrambled verse on paper: "I nac od verintheyg rhutohg mHi how segiv em threnstg." See who can be the first to unscramble it. Memorize the verse as a family throughout the week.
21 - Blindfold your child and spin her around gently. Let her try leading you to a nearby tree or swing set. Remove the blindfold and explain how those who don't know Jesus are like blind people who don't know where to go. Pray for someone who needs to know Jesus. (Isaiah 59:10)
22 - Open an umbrella and ask your kids, "When do we use umbrellas?" Then read Psalm 91:1 to discover what kind of protection God gives to His children. Ask: "Who will you run to in the storms of life?"
23 - Help your kids think about how words affect others. If we say something mean, what happens? If we say something kind, how does it make people feel? Ask your children to look for five people they can say kind things to. At the end of the day, discuss their experiences. (Proverbs 18:21)
24 - Have your kids help water the plants in your house or yard. Explain to them how water makes things grow. Tell them that God's Word is living water that helps us grow into the people God wants us to be. (Psalm 1:1-3)
25 - Have a camping trip in your living room or backyard. Count the stars as you count things that you are most thankful for. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
26 - Before church, pray for your pastors and their families. Think of one thing your family might do for a pastor's family to help them on a busy Sunday.
27 - Let each child write Proverbs 3:5 on a strip of masking tape. Tear each strip into several pieces, with one to two words on each piece. Let the kids race to stick the pieces in order on their shirts. Memorize the verse as a family throughout the week.
28 - Jump for Jesus! "I love orange juice. I love tea. I love Jesus, and He loves me." Make up your own rhymes and jump rope together. (Acts 3:8)
29 - Cut an apple in half widthwise. See the surprise star inside. Now take a "surprise walk" looking for God's surprises: a snail, feather, white stone. (Jeremiah 33:3)
30 - Blindfold your children, and have them guess the scents (spices, perfumes, foods) that you place under their noses. Mention that we rely on our noses to identify odors, just as we rely on God's Word to tell the difference between right and wrong. (2 Timothy 3:16)
~ Want more? See last year's June activity calendar. ~
This article first appeared in the Summer, 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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