Here are some summer ideas which have worked for our family.
During long road trips we turn 4, 8 and even 13 hours of car time into spiritual training opportunities. The whole family will listen to faith-based stories. The key is to listen together as a family so that you can ask questions, apply the lesson being taught to real life situations, and hear how your children respond to different circumstances presented in the stories. Our favorites stories are “Adventures in Odyssey,” “Gilead Lane” and “Chronicles of Narnia.”
We plan in advance to have a Family Time Bible lesson with the family and friends we will be visiting on vacation. Our experience has been that non-Christian family members still enjoy participating in the activities and object lessons. I’ll let my kids choose a favorite activity and often they will help lead the lesson. (Visit Family Time Training for activity ideas.)
Camping and Hiking
Sitting around a campfire is fun! It is also a great time for spiritual training because the family is usually confined to the area lit by the fire and kids are looking for any excuse to stay up a little later. “Ungame, Christian Version” is a small box of cards with a thought provoking question on each card. While sitting around the fire take turns picking up a card and asking the question to the person on your right. You can make your own game by putting questions you create on 3” x 5” index cards.
My kids like to hike. We have a tradition of planning a break during our hike at a “story rock.” Depending on the terrain it could be a “story tree” or a “story lake.” The kids know that while we’re drinking and snacking, I’ll tell a favorite Bible story or share something that I have been reading in my Bible study time. Sometimes they will add a favorite Bible story of their own.
You can take a small bag of sugar and look for an ant hill during the hike. Sprinkle some sugar at the opening of the ant hill which increases the ant’s activity level. As you watch the ants, talk about Proverbs 6:6 and how the ants are hard workers and do their job even without being asked.
Schedule a casual picnic and consider inviting another family. Consider pacing off the dimensions of Noah’s ark in an open field. Take four flags or markers to put in each corner. Pace off the dimensions of the ark which are 450 feet by 75 feet (Genesis 6:15). Interesting facts may include:
1. Noah and his family built the ark without modern tools.
2. It took more than 100 years to build the ark.
3. Noah and his family were on the ark for one year.
4. There were two of each animal on board. How much food do you think it took to feed the animals for one year?
Kids love to play with sidewalk chalk, especially if dad or mom will play with them! The kids in our neighborhood enjoy it when we play sidewalk Pictionary. I draw pictures of Bible characters or Bible stories and the kids try to guess the story before I’m finished. With younger children you can draw a big fish on the driveway or on a basketball court and trace around the children inside the fish while telling the story of Jonah.
Do you have a summer activity that can be used to teach a Christian principle or value?
By Kirk Weaver
Husband to Trudi
Dad to two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder and Executive Director of Family Time Training