Fun Way to Spark Your Kids’ Curiosity About the Parables

Curiosity is one of the keys to a child’s enthusiasm about learning something new. The parables in the New Testament provide great opportunities to engage your child’s curiosity with simple activities.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed found in Mark 4:30-32 is a great example. Mustard seeds in the grocery spice aisle won’t work. Retailers like Amazon, however, sell packets of mustard seeds for planting. You want to find the variety brassica nigra or something similar that can grow to six feet. This particular variety has yellow flowers.

This Spring, (earlier if you want to start the plant indoors) read the parable to your kids. Show them the mustard seeds. Ask them how big they think the plant from the seeds would grow if they hadn’t read the parable. Plant your seeds. Once they appear above ground, regularly measure them to see how tall they grow.

Over time, as the plant grows, have conversations about what the parable means. Discuss what faith is and how to have it. Talk about the things they can do to have a strong faith. Ask them for the questions they have as they think about the parable and faith. If you don’t have the answers, teach them how to find accurate answers to their questions about the Bible.

Many of the other parables in the Bible also have possible activities that can spark their curiosity. From learning about where pearls come from, to understanding the importance of an oil lamp when there is no electricity, to learning about ancient weddings, take advantage of the natural curiosity of your kids and explore the parables in engaging ways. It’s a great way to teach your kids about God.

Cooking Through the Bible With Your Kids

In parenting, it’s always great if you can accomplish more than one thing with the same activity. Your kids need daily exposure to the Bible. Your family needs to have family devotionals when you actively teach your kids what God wants them to know. And your kids need important life skill training in cooking. (Otherwise, they will spend way too much money on take out as young adults!) There is a fun way where you can do all three things at once.

Recently, I discovered a great book about the foods in the Bible. Carefully researched, The Foods and Feasts of Jesus by Douglas Neel and Joel Pugh is a book full of interesting information about the foods and feasts in the time of Jesus. Better yet, it contains authentic recipes you can make with your kids to teach them important cooking skills.

The authors mention various Bible stories in most chapters which you could easily find or Google for verses that mention the various foods and tell your kids the story surrounding the mention. Some of the recipes are rather unique – like making your own yogurt and cheese. Most are quite healthy as they are variations of staples in a Mediterranean diet. Older kids may enjoy some of the historical tidbits they share in the various chapters as well.

If you don’t want to purchase a book, just search online for authentic recipes from ancient Israel. Many modern Jewish recipes were heavily influenced by the Eastern European areas in which many Jewish people lived within the last few hundred years and aren’t necessarily authentic to those that would have been eaten in Bible times. Adding the words “authentic” or “ancient” to your search should help you find more authentic recipes.

As you are cooking, talk about the Bible stories that might connect to the foods you are making. Discuss the life Jesus lived every day – both the mundane and the spiritual aspects of it. Encourage your kids to talk about how life is different today and the ways it is the same. Help them think of ways they can live the spiritual part of their lives to be more like Jesus (although adopting some of his dietary habits is not a bad idea either).

Have fun with it. Gradually encourage your kids to take on age appropriate cooking tasks independently. Adding some of the favorite recipes to your regular meal rotation means they are more likely to eventually be able to cook that meal independently. It’s also a great way to add a regular family devotional time to your family’s schedule.

Top Tips for Raising Loving Siblings

If you have more than one child living in your home, you are familiar with the “natural” sibling dynamic. Siblings who are close, loving siblings usually have parents who have intentionally worked with them to help them develop a positive relationship. Left to their own devices, they are more likely to squabble, fight and generally dislike one another.

So what do these intentional parents do to help their kids have a loving relationship? Here are some of our favorites.

1. Teach your kids God wants them to love, serve and be kind to each other.

2. Remind your kids your family is a TEAM for God.

3. Teach your kids each one of them has special gifts from God they can use to serve each other, your family and God.

4. Do not let your kids use ugly words when speaking to each other.

5. Do not let your kids tease or say ugly things about each other.

6. Teach your kids how to end conflicts in Godly ways.

7. Encourage your kids to express their love for each other regularly.

8. Help your kids think of ways to encourage and serve each other. Encourage them to do these things regularly.

9. Do not treat one child with more or less love and kindness than your other children.

10. Work together as a family on service projects, sharing your faith and family projects.

In addition, you can study some of the following scriptures with your kids and talk about what they mean and how to live them: 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Peter 3:8, Proverbs 18:19, Galatians 5:22-23

Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids How to Share Their Faith

If the surveys are accurate, Christianity has lost sight of its primary mission. Before Jesus left Earth after his resurrection, he gave his followers a command that applies to every Christian since then. Our primary directive? To teach others the Gospel message, baptize them and teach them how to obey everything Jesus commanded. Yet the vast majority of Christians aren’t familiar with these verses in scripture, much less are they obeying them.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can break the negative cycle by teaching your kids at a young age how to share their faith. When children are taught to do something at a young age and are given lots of practice, it becomes very natural to them. It’s difficult for them to avoid doing those things. Your children need to be able to share their faith as easily as they breathe.

Sounds great, but what if you are unsure how to share your faith personally? What if you don’t know how to teach your kids how to share their faith? Thankfully, the basics of faith sharing are fairly simple.

  • Teach them how to ask questions to create a connection. When they meet someone new, can your kids ask questions to help them find things they have in common with the other person? Many kids do this naturally, but if your child struggles, give them some tips and guided practice. Others are more likely to listen to your child share his or her faith if there is an emotional connection.
  • Teach them how to find out where someone is spiritually or share something non-threatening to start a spiritual conversation. Sometimes, people will initiate a spiritual conversation with someone they know is a Christian. At other times, it can be quite natural to ask them if they are a Christian or where they attend church. Many times, your kids will need to look for natural ways to take a regular conversation and turn it towards more spiritual things. Your kids don’t have to do this in every conversation, but they need to learn how to recognize an opportunity someone gives them to talk about God or how to be intentional about creating an opportunity to talk about Him. This is another area where brainstorming and guided practice can help.
  • Teach them how to take the person from where they are spiritually one step closer to God. Maybe the person needs a Bible or an invitation to church. Perhaps they are ready to study the Bible with someone. Maybe they need to have a question or doubt answered. Your kids don’t have to have all of the answers, but they need to learn how to figure out the next step in someone’s spiritual growth and how to encourage them to take it.
  • Teach them the overarching story in the Bible. From Creation to the Fall to waiting for Jesus, his arrival, ministry, death and resurrection and the origins of the church, your kids should be able to explain God’s perfect plan, how sin disrupted that and how Jesus gives us a way to be restored to God. They don’t need to memorize every detail in the Bible or a script of some sort, but they should be able to explain the overarching story naturally, in their own words.
  • Teach them how to explain the need for baptism for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Lots of Christians avoid teaching about baptism – going as far as to teach Acts 2:36 and 37, while carefully avoiding verse 38. Why? Who knows, but if you and your kids read the book of Acts or notice the example Jesus himself set, baptism is necessary to become a Christian. Once most people understand that, they willingly comply if they want to truly obey God. Any objections are more process oriented- like what will I wear – than actual objections to obeying God. Teach your kids to be brave, but willing to listen and address any concerns.

Need more advanced help? Our website (www.teachonereachone.org) has free faith sharing tools under volunteer resources as well as a free baptism study with leader guide, when your kids are ready to study the Bible with someone. Feel free to use any resources you think will help your kids. Let’s break one of the cycles that is shrinking the church. Prepare your kids to share their faith. You may just be surprised how much fruit they bear.

Including God in Virtual Learning Days

Gone are the days when snow, water outages or pandemics meant children stayed home with no academic responsibilities. Virtual learning means school continues – no matter what. There are several hidden gifts in those virtual days, however. Cutting out travel time and extra curricular activities means your kids have extra free time in their days. Why not claim some of that for God?

There are lots of great ways to add activities that encourage your kids to spend time with God and learn more about Him. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Take a snow stroll. The Bible tells us God’s creation points us to Him. Snow changes how the world looks, sounds and even smells. Take your kids for a stroll, asking them to point out the things that are different from a regular non-snow day. Older kids may enjoy taking photos that show the beauty of God’s blessing of snow. Over a cup of hot cocoa after your walk, ask your kids why they think the things they saw could point people to God.
  • Practice academic skills with a biblical framework. Our website has tons of activity ideas tied to Bible stories and academic skills like language arts, math, second languages, science, health and even survival skills. Look around for some skills your kids need to practice. Have fun teaching them the connected Bible story and doing the activity. (http://teachonereachone.org/activity-ideas/)
  • Have a family devotional. What better time to start that family devotional habit? Our website can be searched for family devotional ideas or use some of the activity ideas on our ministry website.
  • Serve one of your neighbors. Make some soup or homemade bread for a neighbor. Offer to shovel their sidewalk. Find ways for your family to serve others around you with some of your extra time.
  • Teach your kids a Christian life skill. Our free teen curriculum can be adapted for older children, too. In addition to the Bible lesson, you will find activities teaching your kids important Christian life skills like godly conflict resolution. They also give your kids guided practice, so they will know how to do what God wants them to do.
  • Encourage your kids to discover, develop and/or use the talents God gave them to serve Him. Your kids probably have things they have wanted to try, but never seem to have the time to do. Encourage them to take some time to try or read about a possible new talent. Or let them work on developing a talent they’ve already discovered or help them find a way to serve someone using one of their talents.

The next time your kids have a virtual learning day, use some of that redeemed time to teach them something God wants them to know or encourage them to use some of that time spending time with God and serving Him. It’s a great way to help your kids build a strong faith foundation and reach their godly potential.