Childhood passes too quickly; capture those fleeting moments with these enriching activities to nurture, instruct and create cherished memories in your home or neighborhood whether you are staycationing or just enjoying summer time together.
Enrich your summer time with your children or grandchildren by enjoying a few simple or complex activities in your home, yard or neighborhood. Here are a few ideas that you can try:
Give each of your children a blank book or have them create a book with blank pages, this can be plain brown paper bags tied together. Encourage them to record their summer adventures, write about trips, books they read and people they visited. Be sure to add photos and mementos of activities.
Have children pick a character and share details of a story or act out an excerpt from the book from the character's point of view (good for creating empathy). Plan a meal with a theme from the story, such as an Alice in Wonderland's tea party, a cowboy cookout or an outer space picnic. A library is a wonderful source for books, movies and story times.
Theme days: What is red?
Pick a theme for the day or related themes for a week, such as the beach, a horse, rocks, flowers, blue, superheroes etc. Look at books and websites for ideas and plan an activity that incorporates that theme. Ask "What is (color)?" For example, ask "what is your favorite red thing?" Wear red, eat something red, and so forth. Have a scavenger hunt to find red items or play "I Spy."
Family stories and traditions
Share stories from family history. If you can, visit a place where ancestors lived, look for landmarks, maybe old homes or cemeteries.
Make a bingo game with five rows of five squares featuring copies of family photos or names and places. Tell stories of your ancestors as you pass out the photos to glue-stick into place on the bingo cards. Play family bingo and save the cards to play again after Thanksgiving dinner.
On a map, show where where each child was born, where family members lived, where soldiers served and what important events occurred.
Who are you?
You and your little one can research the meaning of your his or her name. Make a decorated plaque or poster showing your child's interests.
See if you can find a family crest or coat of arms — check heraldry websites or books.
Make a "hug" out of a long strip of felt or paper with traced hands glued to the ends. Write a message on the strip, add hearts and send it to a soldier, grandparent or someone who could use a little love.
Fun with scripture stories
Dress in simple costume pieces such as sashes, robes and sandals and act out favorite scripture stories.
Make a mobile (hanging collage) with items that represent the days of the creation of the earth.
Make simple puppets and have a puppet show of favorite scripture heroes.
Pick a scripture theme and host a two-hour tournament of skill and/or water games. This can be a fun activity using stories like Daniel in the Bible. Talk about being brave, a faithful helper and overcoming fear. Many American soldiers that have served in Afghanistan have learned some Dari, the language named for King Darius. Perhaps you can ask a soldier to teach the children a few phrases.
Games based on stories from Daniel might include
Refusing the king's meat which had been sacrificed to idols and asking for pulse, a seed and grain mixture. Toss beanbags at fake burnt meat and bottles of wine on a cardboard "idol" statue. Hand out bags of trail mix and bottles of water.
Spending the night in a den of lions and emerging safely (set up a zip line with a small angel cutout to soar over cardboard lions on the ground or do a tightrope-style walk on a board with lions around, have white-costumed "angels" come and help).
Have a squirtgun fight with a fiery "furnace."
Use red lens disposable decoder glasses to read a poster of green writing on a red grid which you can print in green, then draw red lines over. The red glasses will filter the red lines so only the green shows through (Daniel 5:18-28).
Build a statue representing the kingdoms of the world out of boxes: decorate one with a gold head, one with silver chest and arms, another with a belly and thighs of brass, a fourth with legs of iron and the last, feet of clay. Use a bowling ball or heavy ball to represent the kingdom of God to knock down the statue.
Also, it's very likely that Daniel would approve of fruit and other healthy summertime treats.