Summer Family Challenge

 

Summer Family Challenge

Intentional time no one will forget!

To dos:

Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm a list of family activities each member of your family can participate in. Get creative and make it fun. Here’s a few ideas to get the list started:

Go roller skating
Visit the library
Walk around your neighborhood
Learn a new song
Play a board game
Have a picnic
Build a fort
Run through the sprinkler
Have a backyard campout 
Go on a family bike ride
Play dominos
Fly a kite
Put on a play
Have a water balloon fight
Spend the day at the zoo
Surprise neighbors with baked goods
Go bowling
Visit a museum
Complete a puzzle
Wash your car in the driveway
Play on a playground
Work in the yard/garden
Walk through a farmer’s market
Movie night
Put together your family tree 
Try a new restaurant
Go to the lake
Attend a musical
Go on a scavenger hunt 
Build a fire to make s’mores 
Go to a sporting event
Go visit a nursing home
Have a barbeque
Go to a splash park
Play cards
Go fishing
Plant a garden
Make slime
Paint works of art
Visit the aquarium
Visit your favorite amusement park
Spend the day at the local community pool
Kick a ball around the yard
Write out prayer requests and pray for each other
Read and discuss your favorite Bible stories
Save your change to raise money for your favorite charity
Take a long drive and discover a new town
Memorize Scripture
Serve together


Summer Family Time:

Take advantage of the warm evenings to plan a few outdoor activities. Try this one to get started:

Following the directions: Create a map or use a GPS to guide you to a favorite place such as park. Load up the family and let them know you are going for a fun surprise. Have children give directions from the map/GPS device-guiding you step by step. As you get directions, insist you know best and turn the wrong way. Try to end up at some dead end and admit you got lost. Ask the kids what you should do. (Answer: Start over and follow directions!) After you finally arrive at the destination after properly following directions, read Psalm 119:104-105 and discuss the following:

  • What went wrong the first time we drove? (Answer: I ignored the map)
  • What is the map for us to make right choices in life? (Answer: The Bible)
  • How much fun would we be having now if I kept insisting I knew best? (Answer: None!)

Family Movie Nights:

Watching movies together as a family can be fun and intentional. Watch together and use the following questions to open up dialogue.

  • What was the “big idea” in the story?
  • Who were the main characters and what were they hoping for or trying to achieve?
  • What qualities did you admire in the main characters?
  • What qualities did not honor God?
  • What themes or scenes from this film touch issues of faith and/or morality?
  • Did the story affirm our beliefs or undermine them?

Summer Travel:

Summer is often a time with hours in a car or plane. Make the most of travel time together with these great ideas.

PREPARATION

  • To help children get the most from traveling, include them in the preparations for the trip. Get a road map for each school-age child, and find books or search online about the places you will see.
  • Pack a special activity bag for each child. Ideas to include in the bag: games, notepad, favorite snacks, a fun craft or activity, or books.

ACTIVITIES

You can also get creative and work together to make up your own games.

  • Alphabet Thankfulness: You can play this game out loud or have older kids write out their lists. Starting with the letter A, each person names something that they can be thankful to God for. This can be a person, place or anything! (Examples: A-Aunt Peggy, B-Brothers, C-Chocolate.)  At the end of the game, say a prayer thanking God for all the things He has blessed you with.
  • Car Bingo: You can make your own bingo game by drawing pictures or using stickers of items you might see. 
  • Talk Time: Travel time is a great opportunity to connect and communicate with each other. Have a list of questions to talk through. Some ideas include:
  1. What is something you want me to know about you?
  2. In what ways do you fee l that I do not understand you?
  3. What is your biggest worry?
  4. What do you think that I think about you?
  5. What one word best describes you?
  6. If you could change something about your school, what would you change?
  7. When do you feel most alive?
  8. What would be the best day of your life? The worst day?
  9. If you could have one super power, which super power would you have and why?
  10. What is your strongest emotion? 18.What do you want to be remembered for? 11.What is your best childhood memory? 
  11. How can I do a better job serving you? 

Take turns asking questions, letting your kids ask you questions as well. Questions
can be as simple and silly as “If you were any animal what would you be and why?” to deeper questions like, “What is one thing you want us to pray for you this next year?” 

Keep in mind, the goal is to listen and learn – not to correct their impressions or “fix” anything too quickly. Also, remember that your teen may feel awkward talking to you about some of these concerns if you have not had similar chats before. Be patient, and don’t worry if they struggle opening up. Simply move on to whatever fun experiences you’ve planned and try again later.

  • Drive-time Audio: Hours in the car fly by when enjoying these wonderful stories that reinforce Christian faith and values. Consider listening to Adventures in Odyssey and Chronicles of Narnia.


Memorizing Scripture:

Choosing a summer scripture helps focus on the importance and power of God’s Word and allows you to have fun together along the way. First, pick your verse. Consider choosing a topic in an area in which your family might need to grow. (for example: kindness, gratitude, compassion), or find a verse that speaks about God’s love. Have each member of the family find versus that speak on that topic and vote on your favorite. 

Have fun and get creative with all the ways you can discover to help memorize the verse. Here are some ideas:

  • Write: Get creative. Use sticky notes that can be put on anything in your home. Create flash cards. Have kids draw if they are too young to write out the verse.
  • Move: Create hand motions for each word in the verse. This is helpful for memorization and is great fun creating together.
  • Sing: Put your verse to a popular tune to sing together. 
  • Play: Use the words in the verse to play a game. For example, sit in a circle and toss a bean bag to each other. The first person starts with the first word of the verse and tosses the bag. Whoever catches the bean bag next says the second word to the verse, and so on.
  • Repeat: Throughout the summer, choose specific times like bedtime, dinner or in the car that you go through the verse together.

Summer Journaling:

Kick off an “All About Me” project that can continue throughout the entire summer!

  • Make A Journal: Get items to make a small journal for your child. Let them use stickers, cut out items they love in magazines, etc. to decorate their “All About Me” journal.
  • Pose Questions: Create some questions for them to answer in their journal about themselves, their age, their favorite things, etc.
  • Keepsakes: Encourage them to collect keepsakes from particular activities that you do during the summer months.
  • Pictures: Buy a disposable camera for them to take special photos of their summer fun to add to the journal.
  • Celebrate: At the end of the summer, go through the “All About Me” book and talk about all the wonderful memories that you have made. Celebrate God’s goodness for all His many blessings!
  • Share: This is also a great project for kids to take back to school to share when their teacher asks them what they did this summer.

Summer Resources:

Making Summer Count, by Joyce Heinrich and Annette Heinrich LaPlaca, includes scriptural devotions, stories, reinforcing activities for the whole family, suggestions for vacations with a difference, and more.

  • Sanity in the Summer, by Linda Dillow and Claudia Arp. This fun-filled book features easy-to-do, creative activities, games, recipes, and more to help you and your children enjoy the summer months together.
  • The 4:8 Principle, by Tommy Newberry, is a great Date Night resource for couples to go through together and/or with older children during the summer months to help create a joy-filled culture at home.
  • Adventures in Odyssey: The Ultimate Road Trip Family Vacation Collection audio (age 8 and older)