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.

Fun Mummy Family Devotional

A lot of kids go through a phase when they are fascinated with Egyptian history. Who doesn’t love mummies and pyramids? There are actually quite a few stories in the Bible that take place in Egypt or involve Egypt in some way. Why not encourage your kids’ fascination and teach them some Bible along the way?!

Making your own mummy does require a few special ingredients you need to gather before the devotional. You will need a lot of salt and enough sodium carbonate (look in the laundry section or online) and baking soda, so that when the three ingredients are mixed, they will cover the object you are mummifying. The ratios are one part salt to two parts sodium carbonate and two parts baking soda. For example, if you use ¼ cup of salt, you will need ½ cup sodium carbonate and ½ cup baking soda.

As far as what you will mummify, you can try apples, a piece of chicken or a small fish like a sardine. It’s important to remember that while the “mummy” will look dehydrated when finished, it is no longer edible.

Grab your kids and remind them of the stories about how Joseph ended up in Egypt and how his father and brothers eventually joined him. You can find some of these stories in Genesis 42-50. Point out that when Jacob and Joseph died in Egypt, they both wanted to be taken home and buried in the family tomb. At the time, Egyptians were mummifying bodies, which also made them easier to transport and kept them like the mummies your kids have seen in museums or photos, rather than just becoming a pile of bones.

Jacob’s body was carried back and buried in the family tomb shortly after it was mummified. Joseph’s body on the other hand stayed in Egypt about 400 years until the Israelites escaped under Moses. One of the things they took with them when they left Egypt was the mummified body of Joseph!

Explain to your kids a little bit about mummification from a children’s book or website. Tell them they are going to make a mummy of something other than a person. Help them safely mix the ingredients and cover the “mummy” with them. A Tupperware type of container often works best. It will take several days to mummify, depending upon local humidity, etc. You can check on its progress periodically, but make sure to recover it if it needs more time to continue the process.

As you wait for your mummy to mummify, you can use the time to check it each day and talk about other stories that involved Egypt…including the time Jesus lived there as an infant. The goal is to connect Egypt to the stories in the Bible in their minds. Then whenever they see an Egyptian exhibit, their minds will go back to the Bible stories and the lessons learned from them. It’s a great way to tie something they may see periodically to memories of the Bible. The mummy or anything from Egypt will now act as a cue to bring up those Bible memories. (Just like a rainbow reminds many Christians of Noah.)

Have fun with it! Let your kids’ curiosity spark studying other cultures in the Bible, too. It’s a great way to connect secular and biblical history.

4 Reasons Your Kids Should Memorize Scripture

Yesterday in worship service, I had to smile. The sermon was based on the passage John 1:1-14. I knew it well. Why? Because my third grade Bible class teacher had us memorize it and several other long passages of scripture.

Scripture memory used to be common a few decades ago. It weakened a bit in generations after that when scripture memory work was limited in many cases to reciting just one verse (called a memory verse). It wasn’t as helpful because many kids looked at it for a few seconds then repeated it. Close enough was good enough for most teachers and the verses never made in to the long term memories of children. Now, it is the rare Bible class teacher that even asks students to memorize any scripture at all. It’s considered boring and therefore, thought to add no value to their spiritual growth and development.

Actually, the truth is that scripture memorization is a critical part of spiritual development. It doesn’t matter how easily they can look up a verse on their phones. Having it stored permanently in their brains provides benefits a Bible app cannot give.

  • Memorized scripture gives your kids immediate knowledge of what God wants them to do when given a choice. Your kids will have to make many choices during their lives in a split second. They won’t have time to do a Google search for applicable scriptures and read them in their Bible app. Having important verses memorized gives them immediate access to the information they need to make a godly choice.
  • Memorized scriptures serve as constant reminders of God’s promises, principles and commands. When your kids have thoughts rolling around in their heads, memorized scripture can provide some helpful input. For example, if your kids are thinking about how unpopular they are, memorized scriptures about God’s love can remind them they are indeed loved – no matter how it feels at the moment.
  • Memorized scriptures can make it easier for your kids to encourage others and share their faith. When a peer asks a question about life or God or needs encouragement, your kids will already have ideas of what they can say stored in their brains. Adults may patiently wait while you search for answers in the Bible, but your kids’ friends want some wisdom in the moment. Your kids can provide wisdom beyond their years by quoting the appropriate scriptures (or at least a summation of them).
  • Oldest memories stick with us the longest. Robot’s Law states that early memories are less likely to be lost than more recent ones. Other studies have found memories that are regularly reinforced stick with people the longest. Translation? Getting your kids to memorize and then regularly repeat key scriptures means those will be the last memories to fade as they age. Want your kids to have God’s words on their hearts for their entire lives? Start them on scripture memory early. It’s why many Christians tell stories of relatives in late stages of dementia who can still sing church songs and quote scriptures from memory.

Scripture memory work doesn’t have to be boring. Many verses have been made into songs. Singing them together over and over can cement those scriptures just as well as standard memorization. Plus the tune can serve as a trigger to bring those memories flooding back later. Take the time and effort to help your kids memorize scripture. It’s a great gift to give your kids.

How to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About Becoming a Christian

There’s nothing more exciting and more terrifying to many Christian parents than when their kids start asking questions about baptism and how to become a Christian. It’s exciting, because having your kids want to dedicate their lives to Christ is a huge Christian parenting goal. It can be scary though because the stakes are so high.

What exactly is the age of accountability? Is my child really ready to make that serious of a commitment? Does he or she really understand what is involved in being a Christian? Does he or she understand enough? What are your child’s motives for wanting to be baptized? Should I try to delay the baptism even though my child is mature, but slightly younger than the average age?

Those and a thousand other questions may be racing through your head when your child first mentions an interest. The most common questions most parents have, however, are, “What should I study with my child in the Bible to make sure he or she understands how and is truly ready to become a Christian?” and “Am I personally able to do that study with my child?”

I was in your shoes not too many years ago. Even though I had studied baptism with others several times in the past, it just feels different when it is your own child. I looked around for a study that was biblically accurate and would engage a young person. I found absolutely nothing that appealed to me. So, since we happened to also be homeschooling at the time, I asked my daughter if she would help me write a baptism study for other families to use too as we studied together. I took her questions and our discussions and created “A Student’s Guide to Baptism (With Leader’s Guide)”.

The study is designed to take you and your child through the important basics of becoming a Christian in an organized fashion. It also answers many of the common questions young people have that can make them reluctant to be baptized, but which aren’t theological in nature. The leader’s guide contains resources like additional scriptures for each section should your child have additional questions or concerns he or she needs to address.

The study is set up so it can be gone through relatively quickly with your child that is almost certainly ready to become a Christian. It also has questions and activities that can slow down the process a bit for more immature, but interested young people. Many of the questions are also designed to help you uncover what is really on your child’s heart and mind about becoming a Christian. The activities can also be used after baptism to begin discipling your child to the Christian life.

Every year, this is our most popular resource. The feedback from parents and even classroom teachers who have used it with small groups has been incredibly positive. It truly seems to give parents the confidence they need to study the Bible with their own children. Best of all, it’s totally free! You can find it here.

May God bless you as you study His word with your children!

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids About Facts, Assumptions and Opinions

If your kids are school age, you’ve probably already noticed that everything their favorite teacher says is a fact, regardless of whether or not it actually is. It can be funny if the new fact is that okra is the best vegetable ever, but for Christian parents your kids’ lack of discernment can quickly become problematic. Not being able to differentiate between the facts of God’s truths, and the assumptions and opinions of others can leave them spiritually susceptible to being led astray.

There’s a fun activity you can do with your kids to help them begin to discern between facts, assumptions and opinions. Grab a Bible and share with your kids the story of Hannah and Eli found in 1 Samuel 1:1-18. Ask your kids what Eli assumed about Hannah? What was Eli’s opinion of Hannah based on his assumption? What were the facts of what Eli observed? How did Hannah explaining the facts of what she was doing change Eli’s opinion of her?

Explain that if Eli had not taken the time to discover the facts of what was happening, he could have made a lot of mistakes based on his assumption. As it was, he added to Hannah’s distress by falsely accusing her. Had he chosen to tell others or deny her access because of his assumptions, the situation would have gotten even worse.

Teach your kids the difference between facts, assumptions and opinions. Find the dictionary definitions. Give lots of examples – especially for young children. For example: The fact was that Hannah was praying fervently to God. Eli’s assumption was that Hannah was drunk. His opinion of her was negative because of his erroneous assumption. Point out that keeping our assumptions without checking for facts, causes all sorts of problems. Give examples you have seen of people expecting the worst and causing problems for someone who was innocent. Or someone who assumed the best and believed a lie that later hurt them or others.

Then have fun with it. Play a game where statements are made or scenarios given. In each case, your kids must decide if a fact, assumption or opinion is involved. In some cases an assumption can lead to an opinion so in those cases they need to point out both. Older kids may want to create their own statements and scenarios to try and stump the rest of your family. For older kids and teens, you may want to read statements from social media or news articles. Have fun with it, but make the scenarios varied enough that your kids get lots of practice in discernment. Play the game periodically to keep your kids’ discernment skills sharp.