7 Ideas for Summer Faith Growth

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7 all-new, all-fun ideas for summer faith growth.

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Crawl under a prickly bush, climb a camouflaged tree, wade in a crisp early-summer stream. No child can resist exploring the bounty of God’s fantastic creation — especially during summer when the air’s warm, the days are long, and there’s plenty of free time.

Kids love to explore, experiment, and discover. They love challenges and adventures. And when a child makes a new discovery — oh, the celebration! To explore and discover is truly rewarding — especially when kids are focused on their faith. Boost kids’ sense of awe with these ideas that’ll spur kids to experience and rediscover our amazing God this summer.

Cloudy Creatures

Children's Ministry Local Training

Kids can use their imagination to find the animals aboard Noah’s ark and discover that God takes care of every living thing.

Best for: Preschool

Stuff: Blankets, lists of animals, and a Bible.

What to do: Take kids outdoors on a partly cloudy day to gaze at the sky-and find the animals aboard Noah’s ark. Form pairs so kids share a blanket and animal list. Challenge kids to find the animals on their list in the clouds. Walk around so kids can point out and describe the animals they see.

Read aloud Genesis 7. Afterward, talk about how God took care of Noah, his family, and the animals during the flood. Remind kids when they look at the clouds in the sky to remember how God cared for the animals during the flood and how he cares for each of them every day.

Douglas Rose
Grand Prairie, Texas

Follow Me

Help kids trust even when it’s difficult to see where they’re going.

Best for: Elementary

Stuff: A bandana for each child and a Bible.

What to do: Give each child a bandana. Form a human chain by having each child hold one end of a bandana. You’re the leader.

Before you begin, caution kids about going too fast so no one falls. Lead kids around, turning frequently so kids can’t always see where they’re going.

Afterward, ask: How did it feel to be led? How did it feel to not know where you were going? How easy or difficult is it to follow God when you don’t know where he’s going? What helped you trust me? What can help you trust God?

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Read aloud Isaiah 42:16. Say: Even though we can’t always see where God’s leading us, we can trust him to watch over and protect us.

Diane Thom
Maple Valley, Washington

Bandana Bondage

Use this experience to help kids realize how sin becomes a burden to carry. This is great to use at camps, or adapt it for your regular summer classes.

Best for: Elementary and preteen

Stuff: Different-colored bandanas and a Bible.

What to do: On the first day of camp, designate a bandana color for each cabin or small group. Give each child a bandana to wear around his or her head, wrist, or ankle where it can be seen. The catch is that kids can’t remove their bandanas during the week. They must remain in place for all activities — including sleep, swimming, and showering.

As the week goes on, kids will undoubtedly complain about having to wear the bandanas. On the last night of camp, ask: How easy is it to get caught up in sinful behavior? Do you feel guilty when you know you’ve sinned? How does that guilt affect you?

Let kids remove their bandanas. Ask: How is removing your bandana like or unlike God’s forgiveness?

Read aloud 1 John 1:9. Say: When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, he takes our burden of guilt.

Close in prayer, thanking God for forgiveness, giving us freedom from our sins.

Janet Magee
Port Isabel, Texas

An Undercover Operation

Kids will enjoy this service project with a top-secret mission.

Best for: Elementary and preteen

Stuff: 11×17-inch brown envelopes and printed instruction sheets.

What to do: Many local shelters and mission organizations have an ongoing need for children’s undergarments such as undershirts and underwear — something kids are often embarrassed to donate. Have kids in your ministry collect these under-garments in a top-secret manner that avoids embarrassment for kids and provides a welcome supply for kids in need.

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Glitter Jars

Promote your mission project as a Top Secret: Undercover Operation. Give kids large brown envelopes with instructions attached indicating the mission of purchasing children’s underwear. Have kids seal their donations in the envelopes and bring them to a top-secret drop box location in your church. For added fun, announce the project in a trench coat and dark sunglasses.

Wendy Anderson
Coquitlam, British Columbia

Crayon Rubbings

Send kids on a hunt to preserve symbols and images in and around your church with crayon rubbings.

Best for: Elementary

Stuff: White paper, crayons, and church-approved textured surfaces around your church. Before this activity, compile a list of textured surfaces, such as crosses, liturgical symbols, plaques, or cornerstones.

What to do: Give kids a stack of paper, crayons, and a list. Tell them you’re sending them to capture the images on the list by placing the paper over the textured surface and gently rubbing a crayon across the paper to form an impression of the image. Encourage kids to use care when making impressions so they don’t color on items inadvertently.

When kids return from the hunt, look at and talk about the images they captured on paper. Explain what each symbol means or how it relates to the history of your church. This activity is a great way to help kids understand the history and background of your church.

Cling to Good

Use this science experiment to help kids understand that God wants us to focus on good things.

Best for: Elementary and preteen

Stuff: Colored paper, a hole punch, plastic wrap, white paper, and a Bible. Before this activity, punch out enough colored paper circles so each child will have several and place the circles on a table.

What to do: Give each child 2 feet of plastic wrap to crumple into a ball. Have kids rub the plastic wrap balls quickly back and forth across a piece of paper 15 times. Then have kids immediately hold the balls over the paper circles — close but not touching. The static reaction will cause the circles to leap to the plastic-wrap ball.

Ask: Why do you think the paper stuck to the ball? How can good things stick to us when we get close to them?

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What activities have a positive or negative impact on you? Explain. How can you get rid of the negative things? increase the positive things?

Read aloud Romans 12:9. Say: Just as the paper clings to the ball, God wants us to cling to positive things.

One of a Kind Creations

Host a family tie-dye event to remind people of how unique and special they are to God.

Stuff: Tie-dye kits (available at craft and hobby stores; for kits to dye a large number of shirts [up to 100], go to www.dharmatrading.com); rubber bands; plastic tubs; plastic gloves; large, resealable plastic bags; staplers; rainbow sherbert; plastic bowls; plastic spoons; and copies of the Bag Tag at right for the shirts.

What to do: Invite families to your church for a fun craft and snack night. Ask families ahead of time to bring a plain, white T-shirt for each family member. Follow the kit instructions for shirt designs and the dying process. Let families work together as they dye their shirts.

Provide a central location for families to package their shirts in plastic bags. Staple the Bag Tag to each bagged shirt. The shirts should stay in the bags for 24 hours. Finish by enjoying rainbow sherbert before families go home with their unique shirts.

Courtney Wilson
Rockford, Illinois

Bag Tag: Uniquely Created

This amazing, one-of-a-kind creation was handmade by someone who’s an amazing, one-of-a-kind creation of God. God hand-picked the colors and patterns that would make up who YOU are! As you wear this shirt, remember how special YOU were created to be!

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:13-14

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