One of the best things about the holidays is that your kids get time off from school and many of their activities. Bed times can be a bit later, because they can sleep in a little longer. You have more time at home together.
What does your family do with that extended family time? If you use even some of that time more intentionally, you can have fun with your kids while teaching them some important things God wants them to know.
You don’t have to lecture or preach sermons as you have fun. When appropriate, just throw in a little wisdom from God. You can summarize or quote a Bible verse or refer to a Bible story they know and get the point across. Sometimes, it’s best not to talk about what God wants in the moment, but refer back to it later in another discussion.
For example, “I know it’s hard to be patient. God even says it’s a fruit of the Spirit, so He knows it’s important and we need His help. I notice you struggled with patience the other night when we played xyz. Do you think if we played games like that more often, it might be a fun way to help you practice being more patient?”
Here are some of our favorite family fun activities to help you teach your kids about the things God wants them to know.
- Jigsaw Puzzles. For years, a card table went up in our den during Thanksgiving and stayed there until January. We worked large jigsaw puzzles – often with a holiday theme. You can pick these up at library and yard sales for often $1 or so. Jigsaw puzzles can teach your kids about patience and perseverance.
- Board Games. Board games vary, but in general they can teach humility and kindness. How do you react in godly ways when you are a winner? How kindly do you treat others when you are really happy or really upset? They’re also good for teaching sharing, taking turns, honesty, serving others, working together in the best interest of a larger group, planning ahead and more. Some games can also teach stewardship as you decide how to spend and save money (or the game decides for you!).
- Making Cookies. Cooking in general teaches patience and perseverance. Most recipes also teach the importance of following directions exactly as they are written. If you don’t, you are likely to have something that doesn’t look or taste the way it should. If you take turns adding ingredients, that will help them with sharing and turn taking. If you share the finished product with others, it can help teach your kids about being hospitable or serving others.
- Having Friends Over. Kids often want to have their friends come over and join in the fun. It’s a great way to teach your kids about hospitality, kindness, thinking of others more than themselves, service and other godly concepts. As an added bonus, it also gives you an opportunity to get to know their friends a little better.
- Holiday Art Projects. Pull out those craft supplies and have some fun. You might discover some of the gifts God has given one or more of your children which can be developed to serve Him. Encourage them to create things and share them with others – serving others, by brightening their days and making them feel loved. Depending on the project, arts and crafts can also teach patience, perseverance and planning.
- Gifts. Encourage those giving your kids gifts to give them presents that will let them explore different areas of life. Playing with these gifts may help your kids discover more gifts and passions they can also use to serve God. For those they particularly seem to enjoy, try to find other ways they can develop those gifts. Help them find ways to use those gifts to serve God now and dream of ways they can use them when they are more fully developed to serve God in the future.
- Family Devotionals. You know we had to work this one in somehow! There are a lot of fun family devotionals available. We have quite a few free ones on our website. They teach your kids a Bible story, discuss application principles, but also have a fun family activity to reinforce the lesson. Use this time to start a tradition of nightly or weekly family devotionals you will carry into the new year.
Take advantage of the extra free time your kids have over the next two months. Don’t over schedule it or let them fritter it all away. Be intentional about having family fun. While you are having fun, teach your kids about what God wants for them and from them. It’s a great way to help your kids build stronger faith foundations and develop to their godly potential.