Making Scripture Art With Kids and Teens

Scripture art is a great way to help your kids memorize scripture and place subtle reminders of important Bible verses around your home. When kids make their own scripture art, it works even better. If they like what they made, they may choose to display in their rooms, where it will be seen multiple times a day. The very creation of the work of art can engage them with the scripture in such a way that it moves into their long term memory – ready to be retrieved the moment it is needed.

There are multiple creative ways to create scripture art with your kids. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Decorative throw pillow. This is a project I have used with various groups over the years. It’s always a hit with the kids and I love the stories parents share of pillows going on family vacations and their kids memorizing the verses without trying. The simplest version requires two squares of muslin. For the original, we drew a fruit basket with each piece of fruit labeled with a fruit of the Spirit on one side and a cute drawing of a child in a suit of armor with each piece labeled with the armor of God on the other side. The kids colored the drawings, stuffed the pillows and hand sewed the small opening to close the pillow. (Note: Use fabric markers for more durability and place cardboard inside of the pillow while decorating if the marker bleeds through your fabric.)
  • Decorative wooden hanging pieces. Full disclosure, the piece in this photo was purchased at a craft fair. Some balsa wood, acrylic paints and stencils if desired and your kids can make something similar. Craft stores often have aisles of precut wood items that could be decorated in a similar fashion.
  • Clothing items. When my daughter was younger, we had a pair of white sneakers decorated with a favorite scripture. She never wore them, but displayed them as art in her room for several years. Craft stores have tee shirts, aprons, tote bags and other fabric items that could be decorated with scripture art.
  • Journaling. Normally done in wide margin Bibles, your kids can use drawing pads or notebooks or even typing paper or card-stock. There are tons of free ideas and even patterns online for illustrating specific verses in the Bible or your kids can create their own. Looking back through their collection of drawings can help them review key verses.
  • Found art. For found art, you will need cardboard or other base that can hold some weight, a strong glue and various random objects. To illustrate the verse above for example, your kids may use four sticks to create the rough outline of a house and stones of various sizes to represent the members of your family. The verse itself can be written above or below the stick house. You can find lots of ideas online or your kids can create their own.
  • Temporary scripture art. Craft stores now carry markers and crayons that can be used on windows and mirrors. Chalk can be used on sidewalks and driveways. The art will only last until it is washed away, but it gives you a very inexpensive new canvas for every new scripture.

Have fun with it, but surround your kids with scripture art they have created. It’s a great way to help imprint important scriptures on their hearts.

Summer Family Fun Activities (That You Can Use to Teach Your Kids About God)

Summer break starts here in the next few days. Why not make plans to have some quality family fun time? There are quite a few fun summer activities you can do with your kids that can also give you opportunities to teach them about God in the process. While our website has hundreds of activity ideas for over 200 Bible lessons, here are a few of our favorite summer family fun ideas.

  • Star gazing. Light pollution can make it difficult to see more than a few stars in most suburbs and cities, but they are still visible. Want to make it a true adventure? Head to the nearest rural area to see more stars than you can count. While you are admiring God’s handiwork, talk about how God created the earth or His promise to Abram about having so many descendants, they would be as numerous as the stars. You can even tell them about one the dreams Joseph had about his brothers that involved stars.
  • Build a booth. The actual Jewish holiday of the booths isn’t until Fall, but the activity is a great summer one. Find branches and foliage and build a shelter. The holiday has very strict rules about the construction, but you can do whatever works best in your yard. Make sure you can see peeks of the sky through the roof of your structure. For extra fun, sleep or eat in your structure. During the Jewish holiday of booths, the parents tell their children all of the stories of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness and the ways God cared for them. They are great stories to share with your kids, too.
  • Grow or make food to share. There are lots of stories in the Bible when people shared their food with others – from Abraham feeding angels unaware to the widow feeding Elijah to Jesus feeding the five thousand – share stories about sharing food with others as you care for the plants that grow food to share or cook food for others. The story of Ruth and the stories in Acts about Christians helping those suffering in a famine, teach your kids that God wants them to help feed the hungry in our world.
  • Take family walks or hikes. Have you ever paid attention to how much teaching Jesus did while he was walking places with his disciples? Take a page from the ministry of Jesus. You can share everything he did on his walks or any Bible stories or passages of scripture you want your kids to know and understand.
  • Create some scripture art. Gather up some craft supplies. Spend time creating scripture art that is beautiful enough to display in your home or gift to others. You might even want to host an ”art exhibit” and invite others to view your scripture art while snacking on little snacks you provide.
  • Make your sidewalk a faith mural. We are supposed to have a dry summer in our area. Grab some colored chalk and create a faith mural on your driveway or sidewalk. Challenge your kids to create designs that would teach passerby about God. Help them execute their designs or if each child is decorating their own block, design one yourself. As you work, talk about what would make people more interested in learning about God and what are some important things for them to know about Him.

Have fun as a family this summer. You will create sweet memories and strengthen the faith foundations of your kids in the process.

End of the School Year Gratitude Ideas

For many of you, the chaos that can mark the end of a school year is heightened with the anxiety produced by the pressure to give your kids’ teachers end of the school year gifts. The dirty little secret in education is that teachers feel as if many of the things they are given actually have very little thought or gratitude attached to them. As a Christian parent, teaching your kids to express their gratitude to others and God should be one of your priorities. So what can you do to teach your kids appropriate character lessons and help their teachers feel truly appreciated?

There is no perfect answer, because the personalities of teachers can vary more widely than one would expect. There are some ideas, however, that should appeal to the vast majority of them.

  • Have your kids write sincere, handwritten, specific notes. I know that for many of you, the idea of actually accomplishing this seems unbearable. However, it provides your kids an excellent lesson in going the extra mile, treating others the way you would like to be treated and showing gratitude. These notes need to be highly personal and specific. Encourage them to think of one or two examples of a time when their teachers made an impact on them. Did they have a difficult year, with a problem teacher? It happens. Even the worst teachers teach our kids something, though. They may not want to ”thank” this type of teacher for teaching them how they don’t want to treat children when they are adults, but encourage them to think hard of something positive the teacher did during the year. Notes filled with platitudes will never mean quite as much as notes that are specific. Most great teachers would probably be happier with a note like that from your child than some meaningless gift. (Note: Start really early with beginning or struggling writers. There will be a lot less stress for you and them.)
  • Find a gift that shows your family has been paying attention to them as people. Starbucks gift cards are great, but most teachers will never have to pay for a Starbucks drink again for the rest of their lives. How many families paid enough attention to learn that she loves to knit or wants to learn how to do something new. Or maybe she misses riding horses. Gift cards to make those things possible, along with a note connecting it to something shared during the year will let your child’s teacher know you thought of her as a real person and not just an ”employee”.
  • Remember the school custodian, librarian, specials teachers and others who are often forgotten. Did the school secretary help you out with something? Was the assistant principal always kind to your child? Notes from you or your kids with a small token will often mean more to the other people who work in your child’s school than an expensive gift to a teacher. No one likes to be forgotten or their kindnesses taken for granted.
  • Make gratitude a year long project. Want to make the end of the school year less stressful? Do all of those kind things throughout the year. A teacher who feels genuinely appreciated throughout the year will feel more encouraged than one who has presents thrown at her the last day of school that obviously have very little real thought or gratitude put into them.
  • Teach your kids to thank the teacher at the end of every class or day . Our daughter participated in an activity as a child that required taking a lot of classes each week. The studio insisted the children thank the teacher individually before they left the room at the end of each class. In fact, the teachers thanked the students, too. It made a difference in how they treated each other and set a great precedent.

Taking the time to help your kids express real gratitude to their teachers is a great way to teach them some important Christian character traits. Make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity.

Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About God While Reviewing Academic Skills

The verdict is in. Most children lost ground academically during the pandemic. In fact, some school systems have as few as 20% of their students reading on grade level by third grade. Even students who are on grade level academically can lose some ground over the summer. Reviewing and practicing the skills they will need to use in the coming school year doesn’t have to be dull and boring. In fact, you can even teach your kids the things God wants them to know while you are having fun practicing academic skills.

The Teach One Reach One Ministries website (www.teachonereachone.org) has tons of activities that combine Bible lessons and academic skill practice. Even better is the fact that the activities are not only hands-on, meaningful and memorable, but they are also fun. Although the activities were designed for faith based tutoring, they can easily be adapted for use with one or two children.

Activities are arranged by both Bible stories and category. With activities connected to over 200 Bible stories, your kids will most likely learn a lot of new Bible stories, too. You can find activities for Bible lessons (these specific activities are not tied to other academic skills), application lessons, service projects, ESL (the activities can be used with any second language), basic and advanced elementary language arts and math, science, health/hygiene and even sustenance and survival.

You will find the activity ideas under the “lesson plans” tab on our website. Choose children’s activity ideas and you will have access to hundreds of great ideas for your kids this summer! Best of all, they are free thanks to our generous donors! While you are there, you may also want to check out our free Living the Christian Life curriculum written to help older children and teens learn crucial Christian life skills.

Have fun with your kids this summer teaching them about God and reviewing important academic skills. It’s a great way to spend the summer!

Great Technique for Stopping Power Struggles With Your Kids

Have you ever had your kids decide that disobeying a rule or command is their number one goal in life? Or perhaps one of your kids has decided life is “opposite day” because he or she is determined to do the exact opposite of what you expect him or her to do? Power struggles are real in many homes. They can be exhausting and damage parent child relationships.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Kids who regularly engage in power struggles often do so because they have worked in the past. Let’s be honest, they often want what they want much worse than we want them to obey. When parents give into a power struggle, they will usually set the stage for many future power struggles.

One of the top tactics kids unknowingly use in a power struggle is to get you to be emotional. The minute you get upset, they know they have won. Or at least, you have lost…because no one actually wins in a power struggle that escalates. For the technique below to work really well, you absolutely must control your emotions. If it helps, think of yourself as a robot. You can’t get upset. You aren’t programmed to get loud or yell. You are calm, cool and collected – all of the time.

If you can maintain that demeanor, you are half way there. Now, all you have to do is repeat the rule that applies to the situation. ”Bedtime is nine o’clock.” ”We obey our parents in this house.” ”We are kind to others in this family.” There is no need to repeat what you have asked them to do. They haven’t forgotten it. They are well aware of what you have asked them to do, because the power struggle is about them not doing whatever it is.

At first, you will get power struggle push back of all sorts. They will continue to be verbally defiant. Do not get upset or respond to anything they are saying. More slowly and more quietly – without emotion (but firmly) – state the rule again. “We….obey…our….parents…in… this…house….” Every time they try to respond in some power struggle fashion, repeat the rule. Each time using no emotion and stating it slower and a little quieter.

Don’t forget the key to managing the behavior of children is consistency. Even if this technique works once, it does not mean a child addicted to power struggles will stop engaging in them. If you use this technique every single time, however, they should begin to diminish in frequency and eventually disappear.

Don’t forget. Relationship is key. The stronger your relationship is outside of the power struggle, the less need the child feels to create the friction a power struggle creates. Strengthening your relationship will also diminish power struggles.

No one wins in a power struggle. The winner might believe there is a victory, but power struggles become addictive and will eventually destroy every relationship the child has. Breaking the habit, will improve their relationships with you and with others in the future.