Is this yet another list of things to do this summer that I will never actually get to? A list of things I want to accomplish and will end up feeling regret for if I fail to do them? No!
This is not one of those lists! Here are three easy, “do-able,” intentional, “follow-throughable,” simple, budget-friendly things to do with your kids this summer. I’ll introduce them with this meaningful quote:
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out” (Robert Collier)
Remember, you don’t need to run around all summer, plan expensive trips and outings, and spend hours of time outside of the home to ensure that your family has a meaningful break! These three small adjustments to daily life this summer can help to foster fun connection, build trust, and increase intimacy within your family.
1. Pray with your kids, every day
Commit to 10 minutes of God-connection time with your family everyday this summer! Don’t resign your prayer time to just saying grace before a meal (even through that is awesome and should continue). Prayer, like all forms of communication, is a learned behavior! Choose a time in the morning, mid-day, or before bed where everyone gets together to connect with the Lord. Here are some ideas that take less than 10 minutes and can be done at home, in the backyard, at a park, at the beach, or on a hike:
-Bust out the musical instruments! Play around and worship together. If you don’t have instruments, make a shaker or drum craft to use for worship time. Use spoons, pots and pans. Turn a funnel into a mini-trumpet. You can also play a couple of worship songs through YouTube in the living room.
-Create a picture or painting or collage together. Express yourselves creatively as a way to communicate with God.
-Take turns talking or writing to God about your day and share as a family. Maybe pick a theme or question to talk or write about.
-Keep a jar of cut-up scriptures at your kitchen table and take turns drawing one out per night. Read it and talk about what each person thinks it means. Pastor Bill Johnson is quoted saying, “Children do not have a “junior” Holy Spirit!” Don’t be afraid to discuss deep spiritual truths at dinner.
2. Don’t forget about your local library
Some of you already visit regularly, but local libraries can be your best-friend during the summer months! They have events planned, free rentals for family movie nights, and BOOKS. What is a book, you ask? I’m kind of joking… but, with screens everywhere- it can be challenging to help kids develop a love for reading books that open up their imaginations and expand their minds. Books transport us and are full of characters facing challenges, adventures, heartache, celebration, lessons to be learned, and wisdom to be gained. Create 20 minutes of space in your day where everyone is reading something. Help your children learn to love to read. If they can’t read yet, read to them! Doing this routinely will help them to create a desire to read on their own as they grow.
Here is a really great article from NPR about some recent research done on the effects of “screen time.”
3. Create a summer memory album
Be intentional about picture-taking and printing this summer! Give the kids your camera to record memories from their perspective. Have photo-shoots! Allow the kids to play a roll in putting this together, writing captions, adding stickers, drawing borders, and cutting pictures into fun shapes. The last week of the summer, gather all of the photos, captions, and created pages, and make a summer album. Have a special dinner or dessert night before they go back to school to talk about everybody’s favorite parts of the summer. Form a new tradition and do this every year. You’ll create precious keepsakes that will be passed down and enjoyed into adulthood.