Serving together as a family is something special you can all do together to help teach your kids about thinking larger than themselves. Summer is a great time to get started!
- Create a Neighborhood Prayer Board
Read the story of the Good Samaritan together in Luke 10:25-37. Then try this Prayer Board Project to connect with others in your own neighborhood.
Take a walk through your neighborhood with a digital camera or your phone’s camera. Photograph people, places, and things in your neighborhood. Take time to visit with your neighbors and share about this project before taking their picture. After viewing the photos, print some of them to create a picture display on a bulletin board or a large sheet of poster board, along with a map of your neighborhood. For at least a week, pray daily for the neighboring people and places on your prayer board. As a family, how could you serve those in your neighborhood this summer?
2. Make Friendship Cookies
Read the story of the four friends who helped a man who couldn’t walk in Mark 2:1-9. Then bake some Friendship Cookies together to deliver to friends.
Buy some refrigerated sugar cookie dough, frosting, and toppings such as chocolate chips, mini candies, and colorful sprinkles. Slice the dough into circles and press your thumbs into the dough of each cookie twice to make a heart shape. Bake the cookies according to the package directions. When cool, frost the cookies. Outline the heart-shaped imprint with chocolate chips, candies, or sprinkles. Plan a cookie delivery trip to share the cookies with some friends who have helped your family. Then say a prayer thanking God for friendships!
3. Celebrate the Gift of Water
Read the story of Jesus changing water to wine in John 2:1-11. Then enjoy some splashy fun together.
Families can enjoy water during the summer by drinking cold water, swimming, or watering flowers, just to name a few ways. We can enjoy water, but we are also called to be caretakers of this good gift from God! How could your family save water this summer? Maybe you could fix a dripping sink, install a low-flow shower head, or have a shortest shower contest. Or, if your family knows a couple getting married this summer, give a gift with a watery theme such as matching water bottles, fun ice cube trays, or a cool watering can.
4. Throw a Health Kit Party
Read the story of Jesus healing the ten with leprosy in Luke 17:11-19. Then invite friends to create and assemble some health kits to donate to a local or global organization.
Learn about a local agency or global organization that needs health kits to find out their specific needs. Invite friends to join your family for a meal, whether a fun breakfast, picnic lunch, or barbecue dinner. Give a list of items for guests to bring and take time to assemble the health kits during your gathering. Kit items may include wrapped bars of soap, nail clippers, combs, bandages, and dark-colored washcloths and hand towels. As you assemble the kits, let your guests know when and where you’ll donate them and who the kits will assist. Finish your gathering together with a prayer of thanks for friends who join you in service.
5. Tell Malaria to Buzz Off!
Read the story of Jesus healing a girl in Mark 5:35-43. Then develop a plan for your family to tell malaria to buzz off!
Mosquitos may be a nuisance where you live, but they can kill when they infect children, youth, and adults with malaria. Check out the World Health Organization, UNICEF, or Red Cross web sites to learn more. How could you raise money to support these efforts? Try a lemonade stand, donate the amount you would have spent on a restaurant meal, or ask kids to give part of their allowance. Ask at your church about a recommended campaign or initiative to eradicate malaria where you can give your donation. Additional Idea: Local agencies serving people in need sometimes need summertime donations of bug repellant and sunscreen. Check if these are needed in your area. What could your family do to help?
Photo credit: YouthWorks