School has finished. Christmas is done. And so the long Christmas holiday begins. As the normal routines dissolve and holiday life begins, Jesus can also drift out of our routine. It is also a fantastic time to start some new routines, where you can try different ideas and have some space to try new ways of spending time with Jesus.
So to help keep Jesus at the forefront, here are some ideas of things you can do over the long summer break.
Like most things, coming up with a plan can be very helpful. If you like to be organised it is worth spending a little bit of time thinking of how you can intentionally keep a focus on Jesus. You could do this by:
- Having a family meeting – everyone gets to contribute their ideas. Kids are more likely to have buy in when they can contribute their ideas
- Manage expectations – sometimes on holidays we do things we like to do and sometimes we need to do things that others like to do. Having a conversation about this can help manage those expectations, particularly when asked to do something that isn’t their choice of their favourite thing to do
- Don’t try too many things, just pick one thing and add to it if you want to
- If you want to be really organised, check out this awesome resource called The Summer Family Activity Guide from The Village Church in Texas, USA. It contains ideas around planning, capturing and leveraging opportunities to have faith conversations and marking and making occasions to celebrate milestones
Heading away on a road trip? Why not play something the whole family can listen to:
- The Action Bible cds – the whole Action Bible in audio form. Available to borrow from Family DNA resource library
- Adventures in Odyssey – is an award-winning audio drama series created for kids ages 8-12 and enjoyed by the whole family. Episodes last an average of 25 minutes. The episodes teach lasting truths and bring biblical principles to life, with just the right balance of fun, faith and imagination. Listen on the Radio Rhema catch up
- Bible Stories My Kids Love – With titles like “Jesus Spits” and “I Want My Prayers Answered”, each episode of this podcast brings a bible story to life
- By Kids, For Kids Bible Stories – stories read by kids for kids
- Seeds Family Worship – is a fun way for your family to learn and remember scripture. All the songs are word for word scripture. Create or use one of their playlists from Spotify or make up your own playlist with all your favourite worship songs.
- While you’re away try going to a different church. Check out this video from the Parenting for Faith website about the adventure of going to another church
- Purchase or borrow a family devotional – there are several which can be borrowed from our Family DNA library at CV or check out this one called May the Faith Be With You
- Use the YouVersion app to pick one of their devotionals – there are tonnes for any age
- Start a prayer journal. Create a family one, encourage each family member to have their own or do both
- Start a gratitude journal. Print off a page for each family member and write one thing each day
- Try some meditative prayer such as The Examen, Lectio Divinia or the Centering Prayer. Cards available at CV. Pop one in your car or bag or use these digital versions
- Bible 2020 – join the world’s largest bible reading campaign. Brought to you by The New Zealand Bible Society
- Superbook kids bible app – Using the popular Superbook series, this app brings bible reading to a new level. It includes videos, games, quizzes and Bible profiles
- Use a different bible – there are several different ones you can borrow from our Family DNA library or buy a Kindle version. Friends with God tells bible stories from the character’s perspective or try Phil Vischer’s (Veggie Tales creator) Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids
Part of the holiday experience is having fun as a family and creating lasting memories. Try some of these ideas:
- Summer bucket list – 100 things to do which are free or cheap. A free resource from Desertmum
- Fun in the car – try these games and conversation starters for those long car trips. A free resource from ministrytoparents.com
- Try the Big Life Family Challenge – a series of challenges, eg doing a random act of kindness, learn a word or phrase in 3 different languages
- Choose a scripture for your family and create an artwork. Buy a canvas or poster board and let everyone contribute to the art. Hand and foot prints are a great way to include smaller children. Once finished display it in your house. Use one of these scriptures or pick a favourite that you already have – Luke 6:31, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 24:15, 1 John 4:19
- Whether you’re in the car, out for dinner, waiting in a queue at Splash Planet, why not try asking some crazy questions to get a conversation started. These ideas come from Rachel Turner of Parenting for Faith:
- Who would you rather be and why: Moses or Peter? Mary or Deborah? Elijah or John the Baptist?
- If you could be there to actually see with your eyes one thing in the Bible, what would it be?
- Did Jesus make mistakes, like spilling his milk? Why or why not?
- If you could change one thing about church what would it be?
- What is the most difficult thing that Jesus had to do, except dying on the cross?
- Would you rather see 10 people healed/brought back from the dead OR see the red sea part and why?
Hopefully some of these ideas will spark your own ideas of ways to invite Jesus into your holiday life. Have an awesome summer!