Fun Way to See God Through Your Children’s Eyes

One of the most difficult aspects of Christian parenting is truly seeing your kids’ heart for God. It’s impossible to know someone’s heart accurately unless they choose to honestly share it with you. As children grow older, they realize that filtering what parts of their heart they show to their parents can save them a lot of time and trouble. Some kids even begin portraying a false image of what is actually on their hearts, to avoid potentially upsetting others.

It’s difficult to help your child grow spiritually when you are parenting to a partial or incorrect image of their heart and what it feels and believes about God, the Bible, Christianity and more. You need to find ways to encourage your kids to reveal more about their hearts in honest ways.

Art can be a useful way to encourage kids to open up about their feelings. There is something about art that encourages those engaged in it to choose colors and images that reflect parts of who they are or what they think and feel. You can take advantage of that and find ways to use art to get your kids to open up about their personal faith.

Grab plain white paper and some art supplies. If you can afford or make some sort of art supply that is new to your children, that can make it more likely the art will be authentic as they focus on experimenting with the new medium. Participating with your kids and creating your own art work can give you more opportunities for a great discussion when you are finished.

Explain that you will give them a title for their piece of art. They can create anything using words or images that will fit the title you have given them. Give your kids a title like, “Who Is God to Me?”. Then give them the time and freedom to create their answer to that question. Have them explain their finished work of art. Ask interested questions. Why did they choose those particular things? What would they absolutely not have included in their work of art? What would someone who knew nothing about God learn from their finished creation? The more they become engaged in talking about their masterpiece, the more of their heart they are likely to reveal.

To make it more interesting, give each child a different title for their piece of artwork. Create a family art museum. Do the project more than once with different questions and different mediums. Find ways to share the finished art with others. It’s a fun way to check in periodically on your kids’ heart for God.

Fun Ways to Teach Difficult Biblical Concepts to Kids

Kids are full of questions. It can be exhausting to help them find the answers they want. When many kids reach preschool, their parents become tired of answering the constant questions. They begin evading or changing the subject. Soon kids stop asking their questions. They leave those holes in their knowledge or find other ways to get the answers they want and need.

Unfortunately, if their questions are spiritual, this can have disastrous results. Those unasked and unanswered questions by parents can lead to doubts or answers provided by people who don’t give godly answers.

There are fun ways to be proactive and teach your kids some of the more difficult concepts in the Bible. Instead of teaching your kids a bunch of big words with definitions they still may not understand, using familiar objects can make the concepts understandable and memorable.

Object lessons use an object familiar to kids and take something about that object to help them understand a more difficult and often abstract idea in the Bible. We’ve listed a few examples below to get you started.

  • The Trinity. The idea of one God who has three different manifestations is extremely abstract and difficult for even adults to fully understand. Ice, a bowl and a microwave can help. Show your kids the ice. Ask them to describe it and tell you everything they know about it. Place it in a bowl and heat it in the microwave just long enough to melt the ice, but not hot enough to create steam. Have your kids describe the water. Then place it back in the microwave (or on a pan on the stove) and get it hot enough for the water to become steam. Ask your kids to describe the steam. Point out that all three were water, but in different forms. In fact they were all from the exact same water. Draw the connections to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • How our behaviors can be influenced by others. Take some celery (or white carnations), glasses of water and food dye. Ask your kids to describe the celery. Take particular note of the lovely green color. Make a fresh cut at the bottom of a stalk and place it in a glass of water you have colored with food dye. Observe as the celery takes in the colored water and begins to change color. Explain to your kids that others can influence our beliefs, thoughts, words and actions if we spend enough time with them. The celery did not expect to change color by hanging out in the colored water, but it did. Likewise, they can be influenced to do things God doesn’t want them to do – even if they don’t intend to disobey Him – merely by spending a lot of time with people who don’t obey God.
  • The Blood of Jesus covering our sins. Take a piece of white paper, yellow markers or crayons and red plastic wrap (depending on how dark it is, you may need more than one layer put together for this to work). Have your kids name some things that God has told us are sins. Encourage them to write or draw these sins in yellow marker on the white paper. Explain about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and how our sins are forgiven through baptism…because the blood of Jesus covers those sins. Place the red plastic wrap (representing the blood of Jesus) over the sins your kids have written and watch them disappear. For older kids, you may also want to discuss trying to avoid sin and praying for forgiveness once they have become Christians.
  • Sins darken our hearts if we reject God and remain in sin. Grab some bread without preservatives. Cut it into the shape of a heart (dampening it slightly will make the mold grow faster). Ask your kids to name some sins. As they name a sin, have them use their hands to “put” that “sin” on their heart, by naming the sin and touching the bread with their hands (and the imaginary word representing the sin). After several “sins” have been placed on the bread, put the bread heart in a plastic baggie and seal it. Watch it for several days. Point out to your kids that at first those “sins” appear to have no impact on the bread heart. As more and more mold grows, discuss the problems with remaining enmeshed in sin. Continue until the bread is totally covered in mold. Compare it to the original state of the heart. Point out that sin can darken our hearts – especially over time.

There are many other object lessons you can find online, or you can create your own. Young children may still struggle a bit even after an object lesson, but over time object lessons can help your kids better understand and remember difficult spiritual concepts.

Ideas for Fun Family Faith Traditions

Most families have family traditions. After every first day of a new school year, my daughter and I headed out for high tea and talking. Some traditions last for decades, like our new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Others fade as children grow, like the elementary school last day of school Bruster’s ice cream run.

God built traditions into Old Testament Judaism. The various holidays brought family and friends together several times a year to celebrate something God wanted them to remember. These holidays also served to point them to the coming Messiah.

Jesus and the Apostles didn’t create the liturgical calendar. In fact, the Lord’s Supper during the worship services on the first day of the week was really the only holiday type tradition they established and practiced. (Easter and Christmas weren’t celebrated until long after the death of the Apostles.)

There is nothing in the Bible that says you can’t create family traditions that involve worshipping God in some way – we just can’t bind them on others. (Romans 14) So what are some family traditions you could begin that would also point your kids to God?

  • First day of school year. This is a day that should be bathed in prayer. A day where you reflect on what God may want for and from each of you during the coming school year. Perhaps you walk to school early and pray together in a quiet spot near the school. Maybe you have a special breakfast, praying a blessing over each child and helping them pick a personal theme verse for the year.
  • Fall harvest. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot moves because of the lunar calendar, but this year it will be October 2 – 9. This was also known as the festival of booths. Families took brush and built a shelter or booth outside. They ate and sleep in the booth each night, with parents telling the stories of Moses and the Israelites. They are celebrating the Fall harvest, but also God’s provision over the years. The original festival also pointed to the coming Messiah. You can do your own version. As you look up at the stars, tell Bible stories that help your kids understand the over arching story of the Bible. Talk about how God has impacted your life and how you see Him working in the world today. Talk about what God wants for and from His people.
  • Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was originally meant to focus everyone on thanking God for the many blessings He has given us – even in difficult times. Over the years though, it has become more about parades, food, football and shopping. Find fun ways to bring back the focus to God. You don’t have to give up your favorite secular traditions, just make God the top priority again.
  • Snow days. If you live in the southern half of the United States, snow days are rare and special. Why not start a special tradition on the first snow fall of the year – no matter where you live? Build a snowman or go sledding. As you drink your hot cocoa or eat your snow cream, talk about how difficult it can be to survive harsh weather conditions without the proper attire. Plan ways your family can serve others and share your faith. Take the extra time indoors to do some fun things to help discover your kids’ gifts from God or develop them more fully. Find ways for them to use their gifts on a project that serves others. Encourage them to find ways to point others to God as they serve them.
  • Valentine’s Day. Why not make this a day when your family finds unique ways to shower everyone around you with love?! Maybe you want to plan all sorts of surprises for others. Or perhaps you want to bake and decorate cookies together and take them to people. Make it a family goal to show active, godly love to as many people as possible every year.
  • Purim. Purim is the Jewish holiday celebrating the story of Esther and how God used her to save His people. Traditionally, this is a time when the story of Esther is retold. Hamantaschen cookies are eaten and little gifts of food are taken to neighbors or the poor. It’s fine to celebrate it traditionally, but add sharing your faith or encouraging the faith of those whom you serve as part of the celebration. (In 2021, Purim will be on February 25 and 26.)
  • First day of Spring. Spring is a great time to remind your kids about the rebirth Christians experience. It’s also a great time to plant a small garden – even a container garden to grow food to share with others. Or use the food you grow to cook food to share with people who may be lonely or food deprived. Since Easter is usually soon after the beginning of Spring, why not invite the people you serve to services? Many who may be intimidated by a regular church service feel more comfortable attending on holidays like Easter.
  • Last day of school. For many kids, the best day of school is the last day of the school year! Regardless, it’s a great time to talk about how God has blessed your family over the previous months. You can also talk about the ways you have each grown spiritually or how God has used each of you to serve others and tell them about Him. It’s also a great time to set summer faith goals. You may want to take an idea from our neighborhood and do it over an ice cream cone!

Starting family traditions can be a bit tricky. It’s important that you are committed to doing the same things year after year for each tradition. Some kids will let you change things, but many want traditions to be safe, comfortable and exactly the same! (Take notes if you are forgetful. Trust me. They will remember even the smallest details!)

If a tradition doesn’t work, it’s okay. Try something different. Include things your family enjoys doing together. Find times when everyone can set aside a day or an evening for the tradition. Remember, traditions are as much about your family spending quality time together as they are about whatever you are celebrating. It’s a great way to create strong, positive memories of your family and your relationship with God.

Fun Kid Craft For Giving Anxieties to God

We live in anxious times and the anxiety level of the average child has raised exponentially from previous generations. When kids aren’t taught healthy, godly ways of managing their anxiety, they can become susceptible to all sorts of unhealthy, dangerous and ungodly ways to cope.

Children raised in Christian homes, may have been taught to turn their anxieties over to God, but not really understand how to do it. There’s an easy craft project you can do with your kids that can not only help them understand the concept, but also encourage them to practice it.

Grab a Bible and tell your kids about some of the times in the life of David when he may have been anxious. You can find some great examples in 1 Samuel 21 – 24. Explain that when David was anxious we know one of the things he did was talk to God. We know this, because he wrote some of his prayers down in the book of Psalms. (You may want to read Psalms 23, 27, 34, 61, 91 or others to them.)

For older children, it’s important to point out that God didn’t always take away the stress from David’s life immediately. When God left the stressful situation in David’s life for a time, David had to trust that God would help him get through the situation. David learned to lean on God by turning his anxieties over to him, even if they continued to exist for long periods of time.

Explain to your kids that sometimes when we are anxious, we forget to pray to God about it. Instead we spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about the things that are making us anxious. Suddenly, we can’t sleep or maybe we start feeling ill from the stress.

A great way to remember to pray about the things making them anxious – and to let God handle them for them – is to have a visual cue to remind them. Grab empty tins for mints or other small containers. Have your kids each decorate one. If the containers are large enough, they may want to write their favorite verse from the Psalms you read on them.

Inside the container put lots of slips of blank paper and a pencil (golf pencils work well for smaller containers). Tell your kids whenever they worry, they should write what is worrying them on a slip of paper. Then they should pray about what they wrote. When they are finished, they can close the slip of paper in the container or dramatically destroy it to remind them they have given it to God to take care of for them.

After completing the project, make sure your kids place their containers somewhere in their room where they will be easily seen. When they seem anxious, remind them to write it down, pray about it and let God handle it. Helping them establish good prayer habits can also help them manage their anxiety levels.

Do Your Kids Need Christian Apologetics?

Christian apologetics isn’t what it may sound like. It’s not apologizing for being a Christian or for Christian beliefs. Rather it provides the answers to the questions and challenges to Christianity in the world.

It’s part Bible knowledge, part critical thinking skills and part good communication skills. Done well, it relies primarily on scripture while pointing out the logical fallacies and error in the question or challenge.

Because apologetics is based on truth, most great apologists are kind and loving as they present their case. Since God’s Truth is on their side, there is no need for the emotional ugliness that is often a part of debates. While great apologists hope those listening are persuaded, primarily because of the eternal consequences of rejecting God, they are usually passionate about the truth while still being considerate and respectful towards those with whom they disagree.

This doesn’t mean that apologists are perfect. Some may still have been swayed by inaccurate theological arguments from time to time. Most of them seem to avoid topics, however, that can divide Christians and focus on the basics of Christianity upon which most Christians would believe.

Apologetic materials are much easier to find than in the past. Many have materials designed for kids and teens, as well as adults. You can find some information free online. There are videos on Right Now Media, to which many churches will give families free access codes. There are also plenty of books which you can purchase from almost anyone who sells books.

Some apologists are so well known, you may be familiar with their work. Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharius, J Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell are probably the best known. While I haven’t read everything each of these men has written, the things I have read were well done and biblical. As with anything though, it’s best to read any books or watch the videos before sharing them with your kids.

There are also highly focused groups that are part apologetics and part science. Answers in Genesis has some great scientific materials that are strong in both apologetics and science. Lee Strobel also has a book, Case for the Creator, which is filled with more scientific information than your kids probably care to digest.

Apologetics used to be somewhat optional. With even some ministers and churches questioning what have always been considered main tenets of Christianity, it’s important your kids thoroughly understand what they believe and why they believe it. Not only will it strengthen their personal faith foundations, but it will also make it easier for them to share their faith effectively.