The weekend is upon us! PTL! It’s difficult to find ways to engage your family and keep them all smiling together. The following are 5 ideas for you to have a blast with the people God has given you. I daresay, these may even be social media worthy… you know, the stuff you and your kids like so much you show it off online. So keep the mower in the shed and look past all the dust bunnies on your floor. Your family is much more important than little tasks. I also encourage you to be open minded with what you do with your family. Especially when our kids get older, we think we always have to be cool and avoid anything that looks hokey. But you know what, hokey can be great. We get the idea that we always have to be super entertaining, especially when it comes to sharing our faith. But that’s just not the case. Your kids will appreciate hearing from you, regardless of how spectacular your stories are. You’re intentionally taking time to be with and share with them. That’s far more important than keeping things hip. And if it’s the first time you’ve talked with them about faith, it can feel a little awkward. But embrace it. I always tell my youth group: awkward is awesome. It means you’re doing something new and different that stretches you. Besides, the more you do it, the more natural it will become. And sharing our faith with our kids should be natural.
So I’ll get off my soapbox and let you continue reading. Pick something fun and get after it!
1. Volunteer – Get your family out serving! This weekend will be easier than others. No need to set up anything in advance. With all the storms and wind we’ve had, there’s limbs and junk all over the place. Pack up some rakes, saws, and other tools, cruise town looking for people to bless, knock on a door, get permission, and do work! BONUS: after seeing how many houses you can hit in an afternoon, grab some Dairy Queen and talk about how Jesus modeled having a servant’s heart. Point out scripture with Jesus, the savior of the world, washing the feet of His disciples. Discuss how we’re called to lead like Jesus, by being a servant and meeting the needs God makes us aware of.
2. Food Fight – Not literally, but if you do, you’re probably the coolest parents in the world! Have a dessert making contest! Before dinner, split the family into two or more teams. Give them a spending limit, invade the grocery store, and get to cooking. After dinner, serve up both desserts. Winner has bragging rights, loser has dish duty. The only thing better than delish desserts with the fam is the fun of working together! BONUS: over dessert, share your journey of faith with your kids. Talk about how God used all sorts of ingredients to make your life great. Focus on all the characters God brought you and how they helped you or all the situations he used and redeemed to lead you to where you are.
3. Take in a Game – It doesn’t need to be big leagues to be enjoyable. Find a school that’s competing or hit up the local fields to see if anyone is playing a game, be it 3 year-olds playing soccer or travel baseball. Bring a cooler full of popsicles or a whole mess of walking tacos to give out to everyone else watching the game. Make lots of friends, cheer for good plays, and have lots of laughs! BONUS: if you’re watching young kids play, have your family break apart after the game and tell each of the kids playing how great they were and offer them compliments. Something along the lines of “You played great out there! High five for those wicked awesome [cleats, fingernails, hair bow, eye black]!!!” BONUS: on the ride home, talk about the smiles you saw on the kids faces and the joy it brought them. Mention scripture where we’re told that our tongues can be used for good or bad. How it’s our choice to be people who speak joy, life, and encouragement.
4. Read Aloud – Who doesn’t enjoy being read to? Have everyone pick out a short story or fable that can be read in 20 minutes or less. Have a fire outside, or turn off the lights and light candles inside. Get absurdly comfy with an overwhelming amount of pillows & blankets and take turns reading stories to each other. A living room fort would work wonders too, just skip the candles! There’s something magical about storytelling, when a person takes on characters and leads the listeners through a grand tale! The one rule for the night, no pictures. Even if the book has pictures, encourage everyone to use their own imagination to visualize the story. That way, after the story, you could talk about how differently you pictured the people and events. BONUS: once the stories are read, point out how scripture tells us to pass on our own stories. How the Israelites use to set up altars at different places so when they walked by them, they’d remember what happened and how God cared for them. Talk about your family’s stories: times where God took care of you, the story of the kids’ births (they love that story), funny things the kids did when they were little, how God has led your family to where you are now. Celebrate God and His story of your family!
5. Photo Contest – Split the family into teams of two or more. Choose a location: the backyard, a nearby park, your church. Arm teams with cameras (phones work great). Snap away! Encourage teams to take pics of their favorite things, play with angles, new perspectives, close-ups, etc. Have a stop time and meet up together. Load the pictures onto a computer and have the family gather around close. Pick a favorite from each team and celebrate all your favorites. You can also buy frames and put them up in the house to remind you of the fun and encourage you to do it again and swap the photos out. BONUS: When you’re done with the contest, flip through your wedding book or the kids baby books. Look back and celebrate each other. Share stories of the people or events in the pictures. Praise God for His goodness and all the joy He’s brought your family.
Hope you’re at least inspired! Now go! God has given you an unbelievable family. Enjoy them and make memories!