children

Teaching Little Ones to Know the Word

"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly."  Colossians 3:16

Sometimes I forget this verse applies to our children. That somehow they are exempt from needing to be filled with the knowledge of Jesus through the Word.

Actually, helping the Word dwell richly in our cherished little ones is part of the great responsibility and joyful opportunity we have as Christian mothers (and fathers). The Word of God roots our hearts in Truth, is an anchor of hope for our souls, and teaches us about God and his great rescue plan. The Word of God matures our hearts, grows our faith, and gives us wisdom - all things I know we long for our children to possess - maturity - faith - wisdom (and more!).

Here are a few tools and ideas to get Scriptures into our children's hearts:

  • Verse of the Week - write a short verse using markers and cardstock (or use a chalkboard) and hang it where you eat breakfast. Teach the verse the first two days and then review it each morning of the week as you eat your eggs. (Click here for a list of verses we've used at the breakfast table - coming soon.)
  • Books with Scripture - read a little devotional or prayer book with Scriptures before bedtime. We use Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers by Thomas Nelson Publishing for our 2 year old that had a little verse and prayer on each page with a fun illustration.
  • Sing Songs about Scripture - songs make it easy to write the Word of God on our hearts. Sometimes we make up little ditty's to help us remember verses (with lots of "woos!" and "yays!" ;) but also use resources like Songs for Saplings. Songs for Saplings has a ton of songs that teach the word of God - they are short, catchy, and very fun.

Do you have a great tool or resource for helping the Word of God dwell richly in your children? Maybe you have older kids and you have other creative ideas.

Please share them in the comments below!

How to Make a Countdown Paper Prayer Chain with Your Kids

We've all made them - the countdown paper chains - counting down days until Christmas, until vacation, until birthdays. It's a great visual for children to see days getting closer to something they are looking forward to experiencing. It builds anticipation and excitement.

But what if we took the countdown chain a step further, adding an element that will focus our hearts on Jesus while we countdown?  We could turn a simple countdown into a discipleship tool to teach prayerful anticipating and expectation to our children.

How to Make a Prayer Countdown Paper Chain

Step 1

Cut construction paper in 1.5 inch strips.

Step 2

Write numbers on each paper strip according to your countdown calendar (i.e. if you have 25 days left, write each number on a strip of paper 1 through 25).

Step 3

Write simple words next to each number to guide prayers or prayer requests for each countdown day.

Prayers can center around things about what you are counting down to, or can be general prayer requests. Consider writing different families or missionaries on each strip as you countdown days until Christmas.

Step 4

Tape (or staple) strip 1 into a circle. Loop strip 2 through the first circle and tape to form a chain. Keep going until all your strips have made up links in a paper chain.

Step 5

Choose a part of the day to rip of a piece of the countdown chain and pray for that particular request.

Pray as a Family

We use the prayer countdown paper chain when counting down to vacation to build anticipation (see more about How to Take a Family Vacation here). Each morning we rip a link off and pray for the request at breakfast. It gets the family excited and keeps our hearts on Jesus. It teaches our children how to pray and wait in eager expectation of the Lord to work.

A simple tool for family discipleship.

Sun Tea: A Fun Activity Teaching Kids about Transformation

My daughter is only two but she loves to be involved in everything I do. Honestly, this is a big hassle sometimes as I rush through my day and try and get tasks accomplished. I mean, sure I’d love an extra set of hands helping fold laundry, but not the type that balls up all my neatly folded and sorted shirts, saying, “I helpin’” as she quickly and thoroughly moves through my stacks in seconds.

Discipleship in the home looks a little . . . messy. I’m realizing it’s part of life. And while I could do laundry in half the time and with great efficiency without toddler hands, it would come at a great sacrifice of spending time with my daughter training her in the ways of a household.

With that said, I do try and find activities that are helpful AND we can do together. It’s a win win win.

So during these summer months we praise God for the sunshine and make ourselves Sun Tea. It’s easy, entertaining, and involves almost zero clean up - Victory!

Make Sun Tea is a fun, easy, and tasty activity for children that can be used as a teaching lesson about transformation.

Make Sun Tea is a fun, easy, and tasty activity for children that can be used as a teaching lesson about transformation.

It’s a sweet activity and at the end of the day regular water turns into something tasty.

Sun Tea: A Fun Activity Teaching Transformation

Go outside on a sunny day with a couple of glass containers (we use 1/2 gallon Ball Mason jars) and make some sun tea with your kids. Have an assortment of tea bags and let them choose their own flavors. Use the tea as an object lesson and try talking about one of these passages or teach thankfulness to God:

  • Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Canna John 2:1-12
  • transformation from death to life (water transformed to tea) John 5:24
  • nothing can separate us from God’s love (can’t separate the tea from the water) Romans 8:35-39
  • praise God for summer and creating the sun and the good that comes in this season; talk about other summer activities you are thankful for in the summer


Sun Tea Recipe

  • 1/2 gallon glass container
  • water
  • 3 tea bags of your choice
  • sunny day
  • sugar or sweetener (optional)

Directions

Fill glass jar almost to the brim with water. Water does not have to be hot. The sun will brew the tea by warming up the water. If you are outside, you can even have the kids fill it with the hose.

Add three of your favorite tea bags in. Black teas and berry herbal teas work the best because they are potent in flavor. Sun tea is not as strong a brewed tea so keep this in mind when selecting your tea bags.

Find a really sunny spot and let the glass container sit in the sun for 5-8 hours.

Optional:  Add 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of sugar (or adjust for sweetener of choice) depending on your sweet tooth to tea after brewing in the sun while the tea is still warm. Mix well and store in fridge for up to 3 days.