Here are 8 faith builders tailor-made for Christian families to use as summer family activities.
Fancy trips and high-tech gadgets aren’t required for first-rate family memories. In fact, some of the best experiences occur during “down time,” when you can have quiet conversations about family and faith. Encourage kids to share thoughts about how you spend time together. Use these questions as a springboard for insightful conversations: “What are family times that are most special to you, and why? What do you wish we did more of together? What do our favorite things to do as a family say about us? How can we demonstrate our faith in God during these times together? Why does Jesus like us to spend time with him?”
1. Nature Hunt
For younger children, make picture-based checklists of things found in nature, and go outside to find each item listed. Kids can mark off the items with a pencil. Afterward, talk about what you noticed about God’s creation. Then take some time to praise God together for making all the things you found.
2. Express Yourself
Use sidewalk chalk to declare your love for one another and for God. Fill your driveway or sidewalk with special messages, family “portraits,” and short Bible passages.
3. Swim, Jonah, Swim!
If your kids are good swimmers, play a game of Tag. The person who’s It is the Big Fish and tries to tag someone else. Afterward, talk about Jonah and why it’s important to obey and follow God.
4. Go for “Some More”
Set out ingredients for s’mores and make them together, assembly-line fashion. As you eat, ask: “When has God done ‘some more’ for you? Why do you think God wants us to do ‘some more’ for others?”
5. Let It Shine
Place floating candles in a kiddie pool, and then use squirt guns to try to extinguish the candles. Talk about how we can shine our light for God, no matter what tries to put it out.
6. Come to the Water
Experience Jesus’ forgiveness by having family members stretch out their hands and think about anything they need to confess to God. Pour some water from a bucket onto all the outstretched hands, and then gently dry them with a towel. Pray together, thanking Jesus for always forgiving us.
7. Bubblin’ Over
On a sidewalk (or tarp), place plastic bowls of bubble solution mixed with washable paint. Give each family member a straw to blow bubbles in the mixtures. Then place paper atop the colored bubbles to create designs. When dry, fold the papers in half to make cards, and write the message “God’s love is bubbling over for you” on the outside. Give the cards to people who need encouragement this summer.
8. Seed, Seed, Grow!
Play a game similar to Duck, Duck, Goose. The person who walks around the circle is the Gardener and carries a full watering can. He or she taps heads and says “seed”—until sprinkling someone’s head with water and saying “grow.” Afterward, talk about the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29).
Excerpted from Children’s Ministry Magazine’s Parenting Christian Kids newsletter–the customizable newsletter for powerful family ministry.