The flip flops are flopping. The sunscreen is lathered. The baseball hats and sunglasses are on. Juice boxes are packed for the tykes, candy for the husband with a sweet tooth, and coffee is in hand for me. Summertime is my favorite time of year! I’m pretty sure I love it all, bugs and humidity included. Topping the list, without exception though, is time spent together as a family.
Relaxed summer schedules afford us the opportunity of taking time to create memories. It’s a chance to live out faith on the road, towards new destinations and old stand-bys. A huge component of living out what we believe is allowing Scriptures to come alive in the midst of our journeys. We want our kids to be immersed in the Word, just as their hands are immersed in the backyard mud puddle.
I can’t say that we’ve got it all nailed down yet. Our last family day was spent ice skating (It was too hot outside for anything else!) And I’m pretty sure the only conversations centered around falling and getting back up (a spiritual lesson of its own) and my personal complaints of my skates being too tight and my ankles being too weak. That said, we’re working on it.
Try the following family devotional ideas. Each goes with a popular family location for Summer fun. It’s not hard to incorporate the Bible into these experiences, it just takes a little planning. These suggestions include discussions, verses, songs, snacks, games and/or activities to do with your kids just for fun. You will have to adapt as necessary depending on the age of the children and their personal likes/dislikes. Only you will know your children best!
Summertime Family Devotions for 5 Favorite Places
1. The Zoo: A showcase for God’s creativity. Hunt for five of the most bizarre animal facts. Discuss God’s purpose in His specific design of each animal. Try to find an animal for each letter of the alphabet. Make an A to Z book. Talk about Adam’s job to name the animals. What names would you have chosen?
Discuss Noah’s faith in building the ark. Sing the “Rise and Shine” song. Eat animal crackers.
Upon your return, make monkey bread or decorate cupcakes to look like animals. Play a game of animal charades or animal races (hop like a kangaroo, slither like a snake, or walk like an elephant.)
2. The Beach: Another display of God’s handiwork. Build a sandcastle near the tide, on the sand. Build another one on a rock on higher land. Discuss the wise man and the foolish man. How does that apply to us? Sing “The Wise Man Built his House upon the Rock.”
Fill a small container with sand. How many granules would you estimate are in there? Talk about Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”
Go on a hunt for seashells. Challenge them to find two that are exactly the same.
Find a recipe for a “sand dirt dessert” and make it when you get home.
3. The Farm: A place where man’s hard work meets God’s provision. Ask a local farmer if you can assist him for the day (or even an hour). Ask him questions about his job. Discuss how it relates to scripture. Try to find the four soils explained in Matthew 13.
Go berry picking. Talk about God being the vine and His people being the branches. Eat some of the fruits of the labor.
Visit the animals at the farm. Does scripture talk about any of them specifically? Sing, “Old McDonald.”
4. A Road Race: An opportunity to witness hard work, perseverance, and accomplishment. Cheer on a friend or family member with signs and support. Encourage people who are tired.
Set up a water table (with permission) to provide for others. What is it like to be thirsty? Read the story about the Woman at the Well in John 4.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 or Hebrews 12:1-2. Train for a race yourself and model healthy living for your children. If your child is old enough, have them participate in a race with you just for the fun of it. What do races teach us about living the Christian life?
5. The Backyard: Go cloud watching. Read Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Replicate the clouds with a cotton ball art project. Read It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G. Shaw.
Plant a vegetable or flower garden. Take care of it daily. (Even dead plants are a great object lesson if things don’t work out!) Read Mark 4:30-32, the Parable of the mustard seed.
Play games, have fun, and be silly. Jesus promises us life to the full. What does that mean?
Hunt for bugs. Find a caterpillar and a butterfly. Discuss 2 Corinthians 5:17.
At night, chase fireflies. Notice how they stand out in the darkness. Play flashlight tag. Sing, “This Little Light of Mine.” Search for constellations.
Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list. What are some of your favorite places to go with your children? What are some of your favorite things to do as a family? How have you incorporated God’s Word into your own travels? Please leave a comment below and explain! Thanks!