How to Make Family TimeExtra Special This Summer
Summer is a wonderful time to engage in spiritual practices as a family. Long car rides offer endless minutes to memorize Scripture, talk about God’s story, or share our faith journey. Quiet afternoon moments can turn our eyes to God’s story with videos from RightNow Media or devotionals that engage us to ask questions and seek answers. The extended daylight hours of summer offer the perfect chance to share life with neighbors, friends, and family with spontaneous dinners and fun family activities.
We hope this list will be a jumping-off point for your family to spend your summer minutes, hours, and days differently.
Summer songs can become our family anthems! We turn them on when we get in the car and sing at the top of our lungs, or we dance with crazy freedom in the backyard to tunes that fill us with joy. But what if this summer your anthem was also God’s Word? What if not only filling summer with sound, you also filled it with Scripture that shapes the heart and sharpens the mind?
Memorizing Scripture together as a family can become an incredible practice. God’s Word can become a catalyst for soothing summer bumps, engaging in celebrations, and a powerful tool for encouragement. Seeds Family Worship writes singable songs from Scriptures to inspire faith, character, courage, and knowing God and His purpose. Seeds Family Worship songs make it easy for the whole family to memorize God’s Word in a fast and fun way. Plus, just visiting their website will get you a downloadable song for free to start your family singing the Scriptures together. This summer discover 1 Timothy 4:12 “Young,” Philippians 4:6-7 “Do Not Be Anxious,” Ephesians 2:8 “Grace,” and so many more at Seeds Family Worship.
During the summer, you have more time together and rhythms are slower, allowing for new rhythms to be established before the busyness of the fall. Right Now Media, which is similar to Netflix but with only Christian content, has great devotionals and resources for kids and families. Our family is planning to use one of the teen devotionals with videos to add to each family member’s individual daily study and then spark faith discussions around the dinner table or in the car as we travel.
To gain access to RightNow Media, you need to CREATE AN ACCOUNT through our special link.
Summer is a season when Community Groups don’t typically meet regularly, which can give us more space to build community in our neighborhoods. A friend of ours hosts monthly “donuts in the driveway” to get to know their neighbors. Invite neighbors to an outdoor movie night in your backyard, or the next time you BBQ, buy a few extra hamburgers and hot dogs and invite neighbors to bring a side to share.
You can make the get-together as simple or formal as you like, but get the whole family involved in the planning. Have the kids make invitations and walk together as a family to deliver them. Another family friend added a service aspect to one of their monthly neighborhood get-togethers, inviting people to bring donations for Mission Adelante and having a truck ready to fill at their house the day of the event.
Be creative, have fun, and focus on building relationships with your neighbors.
Tropical Sno, Betty Rae’s, Glace, and Sonic are just a few places families frequent a little more throughout the summer. Nothing breaks the heat quite like a cold treat. This year, make these visits more meaningful and be more intentional with your time together. Included are various activities to engage your family.
- Downstairs: Families will need to find a staircase in their home or out in the community. The adults will stand at the top of the stairs. The children will stand below. Share the goal, “I want you to pretend I am God in heaven. I want you up here with me very much. Let’s figure out how to make that happen.” Explain the rules. “You need to do your best to get up here to where I am. But, no part of you (including your clothes) can touch the stairs or the railing. You have five minutes to figure it out. Now go!” Wait and watch as the children try to think through a solution. Clarify there is only one acceptable solution. Give hints as time runs down, “God can come down the stairs and carry you up the stairs on His back.” Once everyone has been carried up, head out for dessert. While eating, explain that Christ is God who came down from heaven to do for us what we could not do on our own.If you have extra time, read Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9 together aloud and explain that we all sin and no one can do enough good to get to heaven. God wants us with Him so much that He came “downstairs” to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
- Special Blessing: Set aside an evening to focus on one child. If you have more than one child, reserve different nights for each child. Gather together and spend time going through photo albums, pictures, etc. Comment and share stories on the special memories you have of your child. Read Psalm 139:13-16 and talk about the unique plan God has for your child and how that makes them extraordinary.
- Frozen Arms: Run and get a special treat (that won’t melt) and bring it home. Set it in the middle of the table. Tell your children you magically froze their arms so they are not allowed to bend their elbows or wrists. Explain to them they can eat one of the treats on the table. However, they’ll soon discover without the ability to bend their arms, they cannot serve themselves. Hopefully they will figure out how to serve one another to get the good stuff. When done, read Mark 10:43-45 and James 1:27. Explain we are called to serve those unable to serve themselves.
Devotional Resource Ideas
- Check out Splink. Splink sends an email each week containing three activities focused on the same spiritual theme. It’s great to help you engage your kids in conversation and capture teachable moments.
- The book Everything a Child Should Know About God by Kenneth N. Taylor gives you the language to talk to your kids about essential Bible truths.
- New City Catechism: collections of questions and answers designed for memorization and recitation—to teach the core doctrines of the faith.
- Open up the Bible and read. No supplies or special activities required. God’s Word does not return empty. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 (NASB) My son got a new Bible this week, and at bedtime he was so excited to open it up and read. He chose the book of Job. Job can be pretty deep and dark stuff so I was a little hesitant, but we read and it was amazing. The next day we heard a song on the radio (My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C. Mullen) and it was Scripture taken straight from Job that we had not recognized before!
Note: Find more activities in the monthly HomeFront magazine. Pick one up at church or go to www.homefrontmag.com.