Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rainy Days to the Glory of God

In Florida, I tend to spend summer inside (since it's so hot) and winter outside, since it's beautiful here then.  I love to read ideas for indoor play. We don't mind tv/movies, but really like to use that minimally and instead I want to engage my kids. If I'm honest, most of the lists I read online are fun ideas that engage body and mind, but totally neglect the heart. I want to enjoy time with my kids in fun ways, but always intentionally pointing them to Jesus. And long summers (or long winters for my friends up north) provide an opportunity to do that within our home. Day after day after day.
How do I entertain them for months? Eek!
I'll post a few posts with some things I've done that both entertain AND engage the heart. Here's today's list:

1) Genesis 1 creation art. Go as creative as you want doing layers with different art/craft supplies. Paint sky and land and water, then draw/color plants, then make play dough animals, and last make pipe cleaner people, etc.) Use your child’s art to retell the creation account or help them tell about God through it.

2) Use old cardboard boxes (You can pick them up at grocery stores) to retell Bible stories or illustrate principle for growth in Christ
Examples: retell stories of Jesus calling the 1st disciples (boxes make great boats)... Or make the Ephesians armor of God- markers, stickers, paint, etc. and then explain each piece to them as they wear them… Or make and decorate hearts to teach about guarding our hearts.

3) Sit by a window, on the porch, or at the door and watch the storm and talk about awe of God. Share with them things about God that blow you away and ask them what some of their favorite things about God are. Talk about His power in thunder, that He is THE light of the World as you see lightening, and let the clouds help remind them of His protection and nearness to us. 

4) Let the dark sky and clouds teach on a cloudy or snowy day- Have the kids watch the clouds hanging overhead outside. Is it hard to see because of the clouds with no sunlight to help guide us? Then Read Exodus 14 or the kids bible version of the exodus and teach how God guided the Israelites to freedom through His presence in pillar of smoke by day and fire at night then act it out. You can make blankets be the Red Sea on the floor. Part them and walk through and then throw them on stuffed animals behind you to represent Pharoah and his army being swept up under… and then tell them how Moses and the exodus pointed to the coming Savior: Jesus and our "crossing over" from sin to eternal life in Him...

Other ideas for cloudy days: try to remember from memory or look together for clouds in Bible stories (Elijah going up in the clouds, the Holy Spirit descending from the clouds on Jesus at baptism, Jesus rising up to into the clouds in the ascension, and how Jesus will come back from the clouds in Revelation!)
Riding in a "boat" to retell Jesus calming the storm
Playing together is so fun! And rainy, yucky days that go on day after day are hard, but they are opportunities to share Christ in our daily fun times. So I pray our hearts will stay on Him, our kids will burn some energy in fun activities, and we'll engage their hearts in our time spent with them. Look for more ideas in my next few posts.

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