Theme Week: Bible Week
Posted on

 

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.

How about starting off  with a Bible Theme Week for your kids next week. It’s the perfect opportunity for 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.

Family Fun Ideas for the Summer
Posted on

Happy active children jumping

Summer is in full swing, and I have a feeling you may be looking for a few quick ideas to do with the kids. Here’s a some home-spun, creative fun:

Squirt Bottle Showdown – Have super soak wars using squirt bottles from the dollar store. Begin by allowing each child to decorate their own bottle with stickers and permanent markers.  Fill the bottles with water and create fun competitions. Try pushing a beach ball simply by squirting it. If you have a group, stand in a circle and try squirt-pushing the ball toward each other. If the ball touches someone, they are out of the circle. Shaving cream or soap foam can be added. Simply cover each other with foam (below the neck) and then have fun squirting each other clean. No squirting in the face.

Wacky Wardrobe– For indoor amusement, create silly hats and crazy outfits using items you have around the house. Foil, paper towels, gift bows, cereal boxes, wrapping paper. Use tape or string to hold it all together. Gallon jugs make great super hero helmets – just cut away the handles and cover the helmet with foil.  Allow your creative juices to flow as you design a wacky wardrobe. Show off with a fashion show, and don’t forget to video it.

Space Rock Scavenger Hunt – For indoor or outdoor fun, create a unique hunt with or without clues depending on the ages of your kids. All you need is some aluminum foil. Take a square of foil and crumple it up into a ball – and voila – you have a space rock.  Now hide the rocks just as you would hide Easter eggs around your house or yard. You can also put little items inside the foil (candy, favorite little toys, money, trinkets). You may want to give your super space heroes a helmet as they go on their scavenger hunt using the idea from Wacky Wardrobe (above).

Kitchen Kreations – Together with the kids, choose an interesting and delightful recipe from Pinterst. Make your shopping list, go to the store and then make the creation together.  Be sure to take pictures. You may want to assign one child at a time to pick the creation that everyone will make together. Be sure to divide responsibilities of pouring and stirring.

 

Don’t forget to be deliberate about good hearty discussions around the dinner table or in the car during those long vacation trips. Here’s a few conversation starters.

 

  • If you could choose to be any person in American History, who would you be and why?
  • If you could fly like a bird, where is the first place you would visit?
  • Which super-power do you wish you possessed?
  • Where is the one place in the world you never want to go?
  • Describe the movie you would create if you were a Hollywood director.

 

For more ideas and conversations starters, check out Fun House and Table Talk.

Click Here for more details.

 

The Mess of Summer
Posted on

Drawing together

 

It can be the best of times. It can be the worst of times. Most of us know it as summer time. Yes, there is the joy of being with the kids, having a laid-back schedule and just enjoying some good summer games and activities. On the flip side, the heat, the togetherness and the clashes between siblings can tend to try a mom’s patience. There is also the mess that comes from having a houseful of kids (plus there friends and cousins).

As positive moms, we can’t go through life worrying about the mess!  Now, I know that we need to maintain responsibility and not allow people to go wild in our homes, but there is a healthy balance.  I have found it helpful to have things on hand to prevent any major messes (such as plastic table clothes and plenty of coasters for drinks).   I have learned that most things do clean up fairly easily, and of course people are more important than things.  Let your kids know what is expected of them, and also let them know their limits.

My friend Jennifer wrote a poem when her kids were little concerning mess.  Just a little insight into Jennifer, she had a business in which she organized people’s clutter.  You can imagine with her personality she is one who enjoys life when all her ducks are in a row.  Then she had kids, and realized that it’s not so easy to maintain the “perfect house.”  Consider her words:

Blessed Messes

By Jennifer McMahan

 

You’ll find them in the kitchen

And scattered down the hall,

 

Some are in the closets

And many a bedroom wall,

 

Some are made of crayon

And others red sticky jelly…

 

But the one I love the most

Is the carpet vermicelli.

 

Once there was a time when

I would not have been so calm,

 

But God has changed my heart

And blessed me as a Mom.

 

Jennifer’s poem is a reminder to us all that life is messy, people are messy and summer fun may be messy, but there are tremendous blessings because of the mess.  If we can maintain the outlook of openness to joy, laughter and fun, while ignoring the urge to keep everything perfect, we too can experience the wonder of hospitality and delighting in the people God has brought in our home.

 

For more fun ideas check out A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining on my website http://positivewomanconnection.com/books/  You may also be interested in my $5 special this month. Two books, Fun House (How to Make your Home the Fun Place to Be) and Table Talk (Conversations Starters for the Family)

Making the Most of Teachable Moments
Posted on

gejxi_qrpwm-karl-fredrickson

A trip to the zoo. A forgotten homework assignment. A gift for a homeless man. A trophy from a track meet. A lie to a parent. What do these situations have in common? They are among the myriad teachable moments that typically occur in the life of a family. Lessons about values and character sprout up continually throughout each day, and as we identify them, we can use them to teach our kids moral values. An astute mom recognizes that both pleasant situations and frustrating ones are of value when it comes to passing along a life lesson.
In the Psalms, we read David’s prayer: “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” We moms can pray a similar prayer: “Lord, help us recognize the opportunities You give us each day to teach our kids valuable lessons, so they will grow in character, integrity, and wisdom.” Teachable moments can be far more effective than simply sitting down and discussing the importance of kindness or giving to the poor.
How do you spot a teachable moment? First pray for God’s direction. Then begin looking at each encounter and experience as an opportunity for learning. Now don’t go around making a lesson out of everything you see and do. You don’t want your kids to roll their eyes and, with exasperation, say, “Not another lesson from Mom!” On the other hand you do want to light a fire for learning as you spark their interest and offer wise words or important life lessons. Here are five everyday occasions that offer a lesson waiting to be taught:
1. Going Places Together — Whenever we go somewhere together as a family—on vacation or to a local park, the zoo, a restaurant, the movies—there are opportunities for growth. Patience, self-sacrifice, an appreciation for God as our Creator, and contentment are just a few of the lessons to be learned on a family outing.
2. Mistakes — We grow and learn from the “oops” in life. Forgetting,
misjudging, or miscalculating can be frustrating and painful, but those times do offer lessons to be learned. We learn, first, that no one is perfect—not us nor anyone we are around. We also learn the importance of forgiveness toward others (because we need it ourselves), being careful, taking responsibility, and not rushing through a task. When your kids make a mistake, remind them that everyone makes mistakes. Help them see how they can do things differently next time. Most important, try to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their mistakes so they learn from them. From forgotten homework they learn responsibility. From a bad decision they learn to think more carefully next time. Each of us can grow wiser from the times we stumble and fall and pick ourselves up again.
3. People in Need — What do you do when you see someone holding out a hand begging for money or food? Do you pass by shaking your head, or do you use it as a teachable moment? You may want to buy some food for the person and even have a conversation. You can teach your kids loving-kindness when you reach out and care for another human being who is hurting. And it’s not just the homeless who have needs. A friend may have lost a loved one or experienced a personal struggle. Teach your children how to reach out in compassion to a hurting friend by first joining in prayer for that person and then by talking together as a family about how you can best meet the needs. Finally, allow your kids to participate in the help, thereby giving them hands-on experience in caring for others.
4. Wins and Losses — When our children don’t perform as well as they’d like and struggle with the pain (whether in sports, piano competition, or grades in school), we can make these teachable moments. First allow your children to grieve and cry over the loss, but eventually help them discover something they can learn from the situation. The lesson may be as basic as we will not win or come out on top in every situation in life. There may be lessons to learn about forgiveness, dealing with anger or jealousy, or creative ways to do things differently next time. Winning can present growth opportunities as well. Lessons about being gracious and thoughtful of the other contestants can evolve from OR be prompted by a win, as well as lessons in pride versus humility and in thanking God for the abilities and talents He has provided.
5. Discipline — It may seem like a negative setting for a teachable moment, but we can’t overlook the opportunity to teach and train our children whenever we must discipline them. When our child is caught in a lie or untruth, we have the occasion to teach the importance of honesty. When our kids disobey, we help them learn the responsibility of obedience not only through our punishment but also with our words. When a son or daughter speaks disrespectfully either to you or to another person, it is your chance to teach about respect and kindness. Don’t look at disciplining your child as a huge frustration OR pain-in-the-neck. Instead see it as an opportunity to help your child learn important life lessons.

Martin Luther said, “Family life is a school for character.” Consider every occasion in your family’s life together as a great occasion to teach your children values and character. And the more time you spend hanging out with your kids, the more you can take advantage of these moments. Never underestimate the power OR importance of the precious time you spend together and of the teaching opportunities that will emerge.

This is an excerpt from Bright Ideas for Busy Moms by Karol Ladd on sale on Amazon!

Motherhood Makes Us Beautiful
Posted on

dakota-corbin-243775

 

I was headed down the road called It’s All About Me – that is until the title of “Mom” was added to my resume. When our first daughter Grace was born, my world began to change for the better. Oh don’t get me wrong, I was stretched beyond my limits, but it was a good stretch (and I’m not just talking about my belly).

 

Motherhood has taken me down roads I never thought I would travel. It’s the toughest job I ever loved. Through the joy of caring about another person’s life more than my own, I’ve learned to:

 

Love deeply

Pray fervently

Think creatively

Live flexibly

Discipline wisely

Speak kindly

And most important, give generously of my time, energy and love.

 

Yes, being a mom has made me a better person as I’ve traveled down the road of selflessness and joy. Through it all, I have recognized my need for God’s strength, wisdom and patience as I pour myself into raising the next generation. What about you? What have you learned as you traveled down the delightful and sometimes frightful road of Motherhood?

 

For more encouragement as a mom, check out The Power of a Positive Mom

 

Positive Mom Book: