Fun Activity to Help Your Kids Understand Miracles

Miracles are an important part of the Bible – especially the ministry of Jesus. The Bible tells us they were necessary so people could tell God from magicians and fake gods. Modern theologians often try to explain miracles as some natural phenomenon God used to make a point.

Unfortunately, that viewpoint undermines the very purpose of miracles – God being able to overcome natural laws only because He is the one who created them and is more powerful than those laws.

There is a fun activity you can do to help your kids understand how impossible it is for man to do a true miracle (Note: During the Ten Plagues the magicians could fake the first few plagues, but soon gave up as God increased the miracles).

You will need your kids, a Bible and a large paper or plastic plate, markers, sticks, optional masking or colored tapes. Tell your children the stories told in Joshua chapters 10, 11 and 18. Talk about the miracle involved. Explain that God uses miracles to remind people He is God and can control anything – including the sun.

Help your children understand the basics of how the sun normally moves during the day, creating a marker for time. By causing the sun to stand still, God was in effect making time stand still as well. (Since this is a difficult concept for children to understand, you may want to do the craft before telling the story. Take the finished sundials outside and have them note where the shadow is at that time. After telling the story and discussing it , note where the shadow is at this point. It won’t move much in those fifteen minutes, but if you have marked where it was, a slight difference should be visible.)

Give them paper plates. Have them decorate the center with something that helps them remember God as the Creator can change any “rules” of nature with miracles any time He wants. Have them mark the rim of the plate with numbers like a clock. (Plates can be pre-marked with tape at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions.) Help them insert the stick in the middle of the plate through the hole made there. Have them put a bit of play dough on the reverse side of the sundial around the stick. (This will keep the stick stable and more accurate.)

Take the sundials outdoors and line them up so the shadow reflects the current time. Have your kids try to make time stand still as reflected on the sun dial. The only ways they can think of (like casting a shadow over the sundial) are really tricks and aren’t actually making the sun stand still. Explain that in order for God to do that He broke several of the natural laws He created (like rotation of the Earth – technically if that were to happen all sorts of things would happen) But God was able to break the rotation for a time without the negative consequences only because He is God and it was a true miracle.

Remind your kids that anyone who tries to deny or downplay God’s miracles in the Bible is attempting to diminish God’s power. Fortunately, God is all powerful and His power cannot be removed merely because someone refuses to believe in miracles.

Teaching Your Kids About Friendship

Let’s be honest. Friends can cause a lot of drama for kids and teens. Your kids will probably have struggles in this area from time to time. They may wonder how many friends they should have, worry about finding the “right” best friend, struggle with peer pressure or any number of other friendship issues.

They need your guidance. You can’t control their friendships, but you can influence them. The younger your kids are when you start teaching them about friendship, the easier it will be for them to handle whatever happens.

So what are some things you should be sharing with your children? There are a lot of things that may help, but these are some of our favorites.

  • Teach them how to find godly, supportive friends. David and Jonathan are a great example of this type of friendship. They both worshipped and trusted God. They were supportive of one another under extremely difficult situations. Situations that would have made most people enemies. Talk to your kids about ways to find out if someone will be a Jonathan type friend to them. Help them understand the value of a friendship that will make them grow in positive ways.
  • Teach them to be friendly to everyone, but choose close friends carefully. Kids and teens are more likely to become like the kids with whom they spend the most time. It’s a rare young person who would have the ability to convince a child who is constantly in trouble to change his or her behavior. It’s more likely your child will soon start to get in trouble with his or her trouble bound friends. That doesn’t mean however, your child should act in unkind or unloving ways to people whom they have not chosen as close friends. Their behavior should reflect God’s love to everyone – friend or not.
  • Teach them the types of people who can cause them to move away from God’s plan for their lives. Sometimes, those negative traits are hard for young people to see. They may only notice outward appearances or common interests – missing the warning sides this friendship could change them in negative ways. Teaching them proactively – from places like the friendship wisdom in Proverbs – can keep you from having to point out the negative traits in a new friend.
  • Teach them to be encouraging, kind, supportive, loving friends. Teach them by how you treat your friends. Discuss ways they can support, encourage and love their friends. Correct unkind and hurtful words and behaviors towards others. Help them correct bad habits that can annoy others and cause them to reject your children’s attempts at friendship.
  • Help them develop multiple friend groups. Some children only need one or two close friends to be happy. Others will have lots of casual friends. Unfortunately, for many young people, they are only in one friend group. When the drama of their friend group becomes hurtful or annoying, they are left feeling they have no friends. If they have several friend groups – school, church, activities – it’s more likely they can find friendship respite in a friend group not currently involved in drama. It also lessens the effects of peer pressure from one group – their entire social currency is not invested in making that one group happy.
  • When friendship blues happen, remind them of everyone who will always love them. Yes, they will quite probably roll their eyes or tell you that those people “have to love them” (so it doesn’t count). Deep down though, there is reassurance in knowing God, their family and others will love them in spite of any “mistakes” they may make.
  • Give them hope for future friendships. Some kids are mature for their age. Or have special needs. Or are extremely talented. They may feel like there is no one in their current environment who really “gets them” enough to be a close friend. It can become discouraging – especially in the teen years. Explain to them that as they move towards college and/or a career path, they will move or specialize more. It is often in those environments they will find those friends who are more like them. Sometimes just giving them that hope for the future is all they need to move through their current friendship woes.
  • Watch for serious signs of trouble and get help when needed. Falling grades, changing eating habits, lethargy, lack of interest in things they normally love, flat affect and other signs of depression are often red flags. Don’t let things go on so long serious issues like drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders or suicide become a reality. Start having conversations to try and find the roots of the changes in behavior and attitude. If you feel like the problems are serious, get professional help for your child.

Friendships are essential for your children’s health and growth. Preparing them to choose and be great friends can make it easier for them to form friendships that will encourage them to reach their godly potential. It’s worth your time and effort.

Fun Activity for Teaching Your Kids an Important Parable

Have you talked with your children about the kind of hearts God wants them to have? In today’s world many people call themselves Christians while having no intention of following any of God’s commands – especially if those commands keep them from doing what they want to do. Had someone spent more time explaining the parable of the soil to them, they might have a better understanding of the hearts God wants His people to have.

Their is a fun activity you can do with your kids to help them understand the many layers of the parable of the soil. You may have to grab a few supplies first, although you can also use paper cups, dirt from your yard and seeds from food scraps.

Grab your kids, a Bible and the supplies. Read them the parable from Matthew 13:1-23 (with older kids you can compare versions of the parable from Mark 4:1-20 and Luke8:4-15).

 Explain that if they have never had a garden, this parable might be a little difficult to understand. Take your kids outside. Have them throw a few seeds on the sidewalk. Ask them what are some of the things that could happen to those seeds. Ask them whether or not they think those seeds will grow on the sidewalk to look like the plant on the seed packet.

For the next three “soils” you may want to allow each child to make one of each or make a couple of each for the family. If you can somehow make the parable “work” over the next week or so and show your kids the results, that’s great. If not, just explain what would probably happen if this were done in a real garden.

One cup should contain gravel. Your kids can drop in a few seeds. Another cup should contain dirt, and your kids drop in the good seed. You can be “birds” that then drop in grass seed to the same cup. For the last cup, use dirt and just the “good” seeds.

After all of the seeds have been planted, go back and talk about Jesus said would happen with each. With younger children, use a simplification of the explanation Jesus gave for the parable. Encourage older kids to think of concrete examples from real life of what each of those scenarios might look like in today’s world. Ask them to think of ways to make sure they are the good seed in the good soil.

Your Child’s “In Love”, Now What?

Love is a tricky subject. There’s only one word for it in English. It’s easy for your child to think the butterflies caused by the person he or she is dating is the same love your child is looking for in a potential future spouse.

Hopefully, you’ve been talking about dating, love and marriage with your child for years. Or perhaps you haven’t discussed it at all, thinking it would work out well regardless. Your child may be a young teen with a crush on a schoolmate or a young adult hoping to marry in the next few years. Is there anything you can do at this point to help your child through this critical stage? Yes, but you need to be very careful.

It’s important to remember, ultimately this is your child’s life and decision. If you have a healthy relationship with your child though, you can probably do these things to help.

  • Pray. If you’ve already been praying for your child’s future mate, great! If not, it’s never too late to start. Pray very specific prayers. Pray that your child and their special someone make wise choices. Pray that they keep God at the center of their relationship. Pray God will help them see clearly if it is in His will that they remain together.
  • Have your child make a list. Detail oriented young people probably already have one. This isn’t to set up expectations anyone will perfectly match the list. If however, there are many areas where the person fails to meet the list, there may be a better match in someone else. (You don’t need to see the list, but be aware some of it may be unrealistic.)
  • Spend a lot of time with your child’s boyfriend/girlfriend. You need to spend as much quality time together as possible without making things awkward. Get to know them as a person. What are their hopes and dreams? How do they feel about God? How do they treat your child, their parents and others? How do they react under stress? As a somewhat more casual observer, you may be able to see red flags your child has missed. Watch particularly for controlling behavior, someone who tries to separate your child from you unnecessarily and if your child’s friends dislike the other person. It may not mean anything at all, but it indicates a need to look a little more closely.
  • Learn about the boyfriend/girlfriend’s family. This isn’t about money or status. It’s about how healthy the family environment was. If it’s not great, that doesn’t mean the relationship must end. They just need to be aware they may need more outside help to work through issues that are created by the trauma.
  • Help them set safe boundaries. The closer they get to engagement and marriage, the more difficult it is for many couples to obey God and avoid pre-marital sex. You don’t need to hire a professional chaperone, but you can casually suggest ways to help them avoid unnecessary temptation. (If your child’s an adult, this must be handled very carefully. You can’t give consequences and rules to adult children.)
  • Suggest pre-marital counseling before the engagement. My daughter and son-in-law developed this idea. They are from two different countries and wanted to make sure they had discussed everything that might cause an issue when people are from different cultures. It’s great because had they found serious issues, it is much easier to end a dating relationship than an engagement. In fact, you may want to add this to your family list of future expectations (like asking the parents first).
  • Be loving and supportive. Don’t sweat the small stuff or you will push both of them away and set yourself as the common enemy. Focus only on anything that will put your child in danger spiritually, physically, emotionally or mentally. Everything else is personal taste and you need to accept those choices – even if they don’t match your personal taste.

You can’t control whom your child chooses to love. With love and care however, you can help your child make wise romantic choices. It’s a delicate balance, but with such an important life changing choice, you need to be supportive in godly, parental ways.

Fun Activity to Teach Your Kids About Sibling Love

If you have more than one child, you are no stranger to sibling conflicts. There are all sorts of reasons why siblings often disagree, but the impact of handling their conflicts poorly during childhood can weaken their relationship as adults.

So why not have fun making dinner and discussing the relationship of the famous Bible siblings Jacob and Esau? Grab your Bible and gather your kids. You will find the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis chapters 25 and 26.

As you tell the story, have your kids help you make some lentil stew. We don’t know for sure what sort of stew Jacob was making that was so good (or Esau was so hungry!), Esau was willing to trade his birth right for it. Most likely, it was some form of lentil stew. (Here’s one recipe you can try.)

While the stew is simmering, have a discussion with your kids about sibling relationships. With older children, begin discussing some of the dynamics that can cause siblings to dislike and/or take advantage of each other. Ask them to think of scriptures that could remind them to treat each other with love and kindness. Brainstorm ways to help them break bad habits and develop a more loving relationship.

After simmering for enough time, serve the stew and some rustic or pita type bread. Share with them the rest of the story, when Jacob and Esau finally reconciled years later (Genesis 33). Point out that Jacob not only asked Esau for his forgiveness, but he did so humbly and offered to make amends by giving him gifts. Talk about the ways they can truly heal their relationship after conflict.

Have fun with your kids cooking dinner and learning about Jacob and Esau. Who knows? The devotional might be the beginning of better sibling relations in your home!