School's out, the sun's shining, and there's a whole world of blessings waiting to be enjoyed! This summer, spend some quality time with your family and use it as a way to nurture your Christian faith. Try these fun, inexpensive, and faith-based summer ideas that even your children will thoroughly enjoy.
1. Camp under the stars.
Going camping is a quintessential family activity with lots of value. It fosters an up-close connection with and appreciation of God's gifts, and it teaches us how to live a fulfilling life away from computers and TVs.
If you can't exactly go on a camping trip with your kids yet, a great alternative is simply pitching a tent in your backyard and spending a night stargazing. Take a star map so you and your kids can find named stars together. At the same time, talk about the immensity of space and the marvel of Creation.
2. Host a themed movie night.
Instead of spending tons on summer blockbusters, pick a night to have a themed movie party at home. Choose a couple of family favorites and use their themes for food, decoration, and costumes! You can even hold contests such as Best Costume and Best Reenactment.
Some films to start you with: "The Prince of Egypt" (1998); "The Chronicles of Narnia" (2001); "Charlotte's Web" (2006); and "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).
3. Do a "Random Act of Kindness" challenge.
Make it a daily challenge all throughout summer (and beyond) to show kindness to others! You can also turn this into a friendly competition by seeing which member of the family has done the most "RAKs" before school starts. If you're out of ideas, there are some really good ones here.
4. Do a reading challenge.
Another friendly contest for the family is racing through a book list. Compile a number of good titles to last the summer, then challenge the family to read them all. If needed, make separate lists for different age groups like Schoolkids and Teens. Don't forget to have family discussions about the volumes you've read!
Some book recommendations for small children: "The Giving Tree" (Shel Silverstein); "When God Made You" (Matthew Paul Turner); "The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving" (Jan Berenstain).
And some book recommendations for older children: "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" (C.S. Lewis); "Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul" (Irene Dunlap, Jack Canfield, et al); "Do Hard Things" (Alex and Brett Harris).
5. Make a Bible craft for the pool.
Since you're spending a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids this summer, why not use the water to illustrate some Bible stories? Christian craft magazine Indoor Outdoor Space has the fantastic idea to build a "Noah's Ark" for the pool or the bathtub -- using kid-friendly pool noodles! As a bonus, crafting objects like this lets you spend additional bonding time with your family. Perfect time to retell and reflect on the story of Noah!
6. Prep for the 4th of July together.
Nothing says summer quite like the barbecues and fireworks of July 4th. Your family probably looks forward to it every year, so you can engage them in some Christian pre-Independence Day activities. You can have a sit-down planning session where everyone gets to pitch ideas, decorate together while talking about the values of our nation, and stroll around the neighborhood for some fair-trade, ethical markets to shop from.
(PS. The Jesus-USA flag blanket shown above is available here!)
Whenever there's a considerable amount of free time, we highly recommend volunteering. Not only does it help others in need, it also enriches our own relationship with God through active kindness. And when we do it with children, our young ones get to learn to live their faith through good deeds, too.
There's likely a church program or a non-profit organization near you that accepts volunteers, so look out for those.
8. Plant a garden.
Growing plants is an underrated hobby that teaches responsibility, love of nature, and Christian stewardship. Adults and children alike can develop a value or two from this activity. Engage your kids right from the start of planting so they get invested in the process (like taking care of a pet). Teach the little ones about the beauty that can bloom soon, what they need to do to get there, and about God's beautiful design.
If you don't have time or space for an entire garden, grow a very special potted plant instead. Try a flowering succulent or a similar low-maintenance plant.
9. Visit grandparents.
A visit to grandma and grandpa's home is always a lovely gift for everyone involved, especially if you live far away from them. It's an excuse to go on a fun trip while reconnecting with some of the most important persons in your life. What's more, kids always seem to have a great time with gran and gramps (possibly because of all the doting going on!).
You can also take this one step further by volunteering to visit a nursing home or retirement residence, where many seniors could use visitors to brighten their day. Just be sure to prepare your kids on what to expect and how to behave when they get there.
10. Go on a Bible picnic.
Pack a Bible and a basket of healthy snacks, and take your family to a nice outdoor park -- it's time to relish the Word of God al fresco. Going on a picnic is a welcome change to the usual Bible sessions you have at home. Plus, if you involve the kids in planning this activity, they'll look forward to it and be more invested in learning the Scriptures.
With these Christian summer ideas, we're really excited to have more family time this season! Which activities are you trying out with your household? Or do you have a fun family tradition for the summer? Share with us in the comments!
Whatever Christian adventure you're taking on with your family, we at Christian Style wish you all the best of fun and faith!