Children love presents. It’s fun to get the things you want without having to work for them. Christianity is about the tremendous gift Jesus gave us, but it’s also about us giving generously.
How can you help your children begin to understand about God’s gifts to them and how they can share those gifts with others? There is a fun family devotional you can do to help even very young children begin to understand. You will need a Bible, plain white paper, various colored papers, scissors, markers and glue sticks.
Tell your kids the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors found in Genesis 37. Point out that the coat was a very special gift Jacob gave Joseph to show him how much he loved him.
Give your kids the paper and markers. Have them draw themselves large enough to cover the sheet of paper. Give them the colored bits of paper. Have them think of gifts God has given them that they can use to help others and show God’s love to them. Encourage them to think of talents they can use to serve others as well as material things.
They can write each gift on a strip of colored paper and used the strips to create their own coat of many colors to represent the gifts God has given them. Have them share their finished artwork. If possible, encourage them to share at least one of their gifts to serve someone within a specified time period. Then review the story and what they did when the deadline is reached.
Encourage your kids to use their gifts from God to serve others and share their faith whenever they can. It’s a great habit for everyone in your family to have!
In Judaism, there is a holiday God established in the Old Testament. It was called the Feast of Tabernacles, the Festival of Ingathering, or more commonly today, Sukkot (Leviticus 23:34-43). The celebration included building a temporary shelter made from branches and leaves.
For seven days they lived in those shelters. God wanted the experience to remind them of everything that had happened when God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The days when every Israelite lived in a temporary shelter in the wilderness. Each evening, those who celebrate are told the stories of Moses and the Israelites.
We may not be Jewish, but the way the holiday is celebrated is also a great idea for a memorable family devotional. What better way to remember lessons from the Bible than building a temporary shelter out of items from God’s creation? Look up to the night sky – point out the moon and the stars – as you tell your children important stories from the Bible.
You may choose to follow the original holiday and tell the stories of Moses. Or you may choose to tell the stories of another person in the Bible. If you do this for several nights in a row, you can cover many of the stories from the life of someone like David or even from the life of Jesus.
Fall is when Sukkot is celebrated, but you can do this type of devotional any time of the year. It’s a great way to take your kids into God’s creation in your own backyard and give them a memorable experience of hearing some of the Bible stories God wants your children to know. Who knows? It may become a family tradition!
Having a grateful heart and thanking God regularly for His many blessings can help your kids be more appreciative and generous. It doesn’t come naturally to many children – especially as they grow older. How can you encourage them to be more aware of their blessings and that they all come from God? This fun family devotional is a good starting point.
Grab a Bible, some plain paper and art supplies like markers, crayons or even paints. Before starting, you may want to draw a large heart on a sheet of paper for each of your younger children. (You can have older children draw their own hearts on their paper before doing the activity.)
Read the story of the Ten Lepers found in Luke 17:11-19. Focus especially on the gratitude of the last leper who returned to thank Jesus. Ask your kids why they think one leper came back to thank Jesus. Have them share why they think the others did not return to thank Jesus.
Remind your children that God expects us to be grateful for everything He has given us. Ask them why our gratitude or thankfulness is important to God. (You may have to ask them to think about how they would feel if they gave someone a very special present and the person opened their gift, shrugged and walked away.)
Give your kids the sheets of paper with the hearts drawn on them. Explain to them that God gives us many gifts because He loves us. Tell them you want them to illustrate as many things on their drawings as they can of things for which they should thank God. Encourage them to put personal things, as well as things everyone would have in common.
Once your kids have completed their artwork, have them share what they drew. Encourage them to add new items to their drawings if they wish. Ask your children to think of ways they can thank God for His gifts. (Make sure taking good care of them – stewardship – is mentioned as part of the discussion.) Encourage them to use their drawings this week as they pray, to help them remember to thank God for the many blessings He has given them.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1 NIV) Your kids need to be able to “see” God as one of the very basic parts of their faith foundation. The Bible tells us one of the best ways to see God is in His creation.
There’s a fun way to have a family Bible study time, enjoy God’s creation and teach your kids to see God in it. Grab your Bibles, a phone with camera capabilities or some of those disposable cameras or the newer “instant” cameras (similar to the old Polaroid cameras).
You can do this in your back yard, a local park or in a more dramatic National Park. Gather your family and review the story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Share with them Psalm 19:1. Explain that although we can’t see God himself until we get to Heaven, God has created things to remind us of Him when we see them. Tell your children each of them may notice God in His creation in slightly different ways.
Give each child a camera. (If you want to do this in a low tech way, you can give them drawing paper and coloring pencils, crayons or markers.) Tell them you want them to capture the best images they can of things they see that make them think of God. Give them the time and encouragement to be truly creative and capture multiple images.
How you share the results of their efforts will depend upon the type of camera you chose. When you can see the photos, have your kids share why they chose those particular things as something that reminded them of God. Ask them to think of other things that remind them of God, but may not have been in the place you explored. You may want to also encourage them to say a quick prayer of thanksgiving and praise every time something reminds them of God. It’s a great way to teach your kids to see God for the rest of their lives.
Yes, it’s October and 95* in Atlanta, but colder weather will eventually come – even to the Southern U.S. You can do a fun Fall family service project, while also teaching your kids things God wants them to know.
Grab your kids and a Bible. Share with them the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors found in Genesis 37. Explain to your children that Israel can get cold in the winter months. Some places even get a few days of light snow. Joseph’s coat may have been to keep him warm as well as a way for Jacob to show him love.
Explain that many children in your area don’t have enough warm clothes like, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves and thick socks. Some families can’t afford to keep their homes warm during the winter and their kids may need to wear heavy clothing indoors.
If your children are older, get them to help research places in your area that will help you get warm clothing to children who need it. You may want to try churches, shelters, foster care agencies and orphanages. Some public schools may also be interested in receiving donations.
Once you have determined who will receive the warm clothing, it’s time to plan how much you will try to gather and how you will do that. Many families with young children often realize their kids have outgrown the previous year’s winter clothing when it begins getting chilly. It’s a great time to offer to collect any outgrown clothing in good condition.
There are other ways to gather donations. Your family may have things in good condition you no longer wear. Or perhaps your kids want to earn extra money and use it to buy socks or gloves. It could also grow to become a project for your church. This project can be as big or as little as you wish.
As you work on the project, have conversations with your kids about topics like empathy, serving others, faith sharing and more. Make sure your kids go with you to deliver the donations. The experience can give them a better appreciation for the need to serve others. You may even want to make it an annual family tradition.