Fun With The Family *
A survey by Michigan State University found that 75 percent of parents polled thought
they communicated well with their children, while 81 percent of those parent's children
said their parents did not communicate with them.
Family games and projects can wonderfully strengthen communication. Parents can gain
deep insights into their children's needs, thought patterns, and peer pressures in
the excitement of being together in an activity.
Choose one of the following each week. Seek to integrate the project or activity
into time with your family. Use some of the time after you pray for each of your
children, to think ahead and plan a time of fun and creative growth.
Meal Time Fun
Ask questions or play quick games around the table such as
- What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the
past 24 hours? Let each family member tell something new, not mentioned
by another member.
- Play SPIN THE BOTTLE. Take a large soda bottle, and spin it in the center
of the table. When the bottle stops, pointing towards someone, let each one
around the table affirm that person. Begin with sentences such as, I love
____________ because, or, I like ____________ because.
Sometimes the family may want to continue, until everyone has had the bottle
point to them.
- Take one of the names or titles of God in the devotional guide, this section,
and ask each person to think of something the name MEANS, or DOES, or a NEED
it meets in our daily lives.
- MAKE ANY MEAL SPECIAL: Decorate or buy a YOU ARE SPECIAL plate (be
sure to use food-safe and dishwasher-safe material). Put it in front of where the
one you are honoring this day will sit. Prepare ahead of time the person's
favorite food, or desert. With a little imagination you will make a regular
ho-hum meal into a time of special celebration at the table. A few colorful
balloons could be hung or taped to the light above the table. Ribbon may be
strung. Make a center piece for the table by putting together into a square,
four colorful sides of old Christmas or birthday cards. Cards given to the
person being honored makes this even more special.
- Make devotions short and exciting involving as many people at
the table as you can. Note any unusual interest or discussion excitement, and
include the topics in a longer Family Night time an evening
When A Child is Bored
Cure that boredom with one of these, creating some fun as you do:
- Give pencil and paper. Have child think up and write down 25 things he might
like to do sometime.
- Hang a bird feeder outside the child's window.
- Stand over a milk carton or bottle; try to drop clothes pins inside.
- Blindfold child:
a. Teach identification of objects, fruits, things. Let
child smell, feel, eat! Or, give an orange, let them feel and remember its
specialness; then place fruit in a group of oranges and see if child can
identify it with blindfold off.
b. With two or more children give one a little bell to ring; blindfold
other children. They say ring bell, ring and person with bell
must tinkle it. Seek and find.
- Play Sardines: One person goes to hide, preferably in close quarters such
as a closet; family counts by 5's to 200. Everybody searches for hidden person.
As each person finds hidden person, they crowd in until all are like sardines,
awaiting last family member.
- Squirt Time: Weather permitting, fill empty plastic bottles with water;
send kids outside to hit target or each other
- Box It: Get a large cardboard box, let kids play inside it. To enhance
imagination, decorate, color and cut the box outside to look like a car,
airplane, or boat.
- Use Tape Recorder:
a. Radio Station Station H-O-M-E:
# Let kids do weather report. Announce future events such as
A picnic is to be held at the Moores Saturday, or, Bible
study will feature visiting missionary friend at the Moores Friday evening.
# Interview a person in the house, or down the street. Parents
and teens: Plan questions ahead carefully, then interview grandparents;
strengthen your roots. Ask them questions about their schooling, their
grandparents and parents, childhood, fun and recreation, special events,
traditions and experiences no longer a part of our culture.
b. Record birthdays, special events around the table, happenings
parents attend at a school program (sit near PA speakers for good recording).
Our daughter's graduation program and speech was recorded and mailed to me
while I was ministering overseas. Preserve tapes.
- Invest in a good magnifying glass. Look closely at salt, sugar, finger prints,
fabrics, snow flakes. Print name on wood and burn. A hand mirror is a wonderful
plaything to reflect the sun onto paper, or to flash a message over a distance.
CAUTION: Supervise your child. Do not let child look directly
at sun through magnifying glass. Dangerous!
Let Christ Touch the Family
- Act out bible stories. Assign children and parents rolls.
- Ask questions about a passage you read to the children.
- Use devotional books to help you; Ken Taylor's series, the Muffin Series.
- Grab an interesting TV or magazine story, or newspaper clipping; share how the
story illustrates a Biblical principle applied, or broker. Major on those helpful,
modeling, experiences for the children. Discuss.
- Recall specific answers to prayer. KEEP A PRAYER DIARY. Go over your many
requests and the answers God has given over the weeks.
- Play 20 questions. Pick a Bible character personality. Let children ask 20
questions to discover the answer.
- FAMILY DEVOTIONS:
a. Use children's Sunday School memory verse. Review, then make it the basis
for a family devotion.
b. Take SERMON NOTES at church. On Monday evening, review and discuss notes
and ideas for APPLICATION from Sunday AM sermon. Use Sunday evenings' notes for
Tuesday nite's devotions. Wednesday prayer hour devotions for your Thursday evening
family time together. Note taking will become a supreme aid to remembering sermons,
and the application of God's Word to family life. Simple rewards may be given for
the best set of each month's notes.
- Memorize a verse or passage of Scripture together:
a. For a birthday, emphasize a special verse for their new age.
b. On a vacation. Discuss while driving, and dig into possible applications
of the verses to daily living.
c. At special times of the year: Christmas, anniversaries, New Year's.
Touching Others Through the Family
Expose your children to the needs of others; teach them early to share, with food,
work ministries, and words of love.
- Make a short visit to someone at home . . . a shut-in or person recovering from
illness. Write a family letter of thank you to a school teacher,
policeman, church staff worker or pastor. Send a note of thanks to a Sunday School
teacher, a Deacon, musician, or custodian. Send a cheery note to someone nice.
- Take a small gift of food, flowers, etc. to a neighbor, with a note that says
thank you for being you. Let children help you make cookies, put in bags,
and give. Notes to those who serve you daily are so encouraging; have kids write to
groceryman, postman, barber, beautician.
- Invite neighborhood kids over for a party. (You may use a birthday time, but not
Holiday to Holy Days
- OPEN HOUSE Invite in neighbors at a holiday time to share coffee, cake,
goodies, and an appropriate story or Scripture. Have children help make
invitations and deliver to neighbors around the block. At Christmastime
when some of those invited came, our children had memorized the Christmas story from
Luke 2:1-20, and shared it as we talked and ate with the new friends who visited us
for the first time. Take the whole family caroling around the neighborhood; visit a
widow's home or a shut-in. Visit a lost family, or that new family you don't know.
Sing two or three songs, then go elsewhere. Afterwards at home, pray for your
- THANKSGIVING Choose some thanksgiving Psalms, read each night. Invite a
family you don't know, who can't pay you back to eat Thanksgiving dinner
(Luke 14); look for a widow or older couple, some singles who live nearby. Share your
blessings from the Lord. Invite a family from a different background or race for a
meal; why not a foreign student or refugee.
- CHRISTmas Give a family offering to foreign missions. Give more than your
combined personal and family gift budget, to Christ. That is, give Jesus the biggest
gift. Why do some people still celebrate CHRISTmas as if it's their birthday rather
Make CHRISTmas last. Celebrate it the whole month; CHRISTmas is when we celebrate the
birthday of the King of Kings, our Savior. Make the celebration fitting for a king.
Decorate a table with five candles surrounded by green four pink and one purple
candle. Beginning four Sundays before CHRISTmas, symbolize the LIGHT that came into
the world with:
1. Advent Prophecy Candle Read Isaiah 9:1-6
2. Bethlehem Candle Read Luke 2:1-5
3. Shepherd's Candle Read Luke 2:8-10
4. Angel's Candle Read Luke 1:26-33
5. Christmas Day: purple candle. Sing Joy To The World.
LET JESUS LIVE: Draw family names. Each person play the part of what Jesus
would do, in sharing a kind act or word, or helpful ministry, to the one whose name
you drew. At the end of the week, reveal whose name you drew, and draw again. Did
they guess it was you?
- Celebrate one-half year birthdays; you'll have twice the fun! Children grow up
too fast; slow it down this way and savor God's grace. Bake a cake, cut it in half.
Freeze the other half for the next fun time. Put one candle on the cake. Do this at
the pleasure and need of the parents. Birthdays are for parents, when we admit it.
Children wouldn't know otherwise.
- Start a breakfast with a donut or waffle with a candle in it.
- On YOUR birthday, give your mother a gift. After all, who did it?
- Treasure Hunt Hide peanuts, candy, balloons, through the house. Each kid
is given a sack and dumps what he finds on a sheet in middle of the room. Then divide
up the snacks and enjoy a crunchy time.
- I SPY Hide something small that can be seen, but must be observed
to be found. Camouflage it. When person spots it they move away from object and say
I spy. Wait for others to also discover it. See who is first, and last.
Hide objects according to the height of the smallest child playing.
- SCHOOL Surprise Pick a child up at school at lunch break time; take them out
to eat once a month for a taco, or fish and chips, or something they won't get for lunch
at school. Listen to them, and you'll learn. Please check with school administration to
get an OK for this activity. We don't want to break school security rules.
- OVERSEAS MISSIONS Surprise Cook something from another country. Discuss the
nation and its people. Have a map and information available. Ask a missionary friend for
suggestions and recipes, if possible. Look online for recipes.
and here, for just a couple examples of what's
available. Mentoring does not endorse these sites, we merely mention some we found with
a quick search for international recipes on the Google search engine on our
Home Page scroll down the center column and enter your
phrase (with quotation marks). You will find other examples.
- HAVE A DATE Make a date with each kid SEPARATELY for breakfast
on a Saturday every few weeks. Order their favorite food. Listen to them carefully; they'll
talk and love the time. Give them your undivided attention.
- Take the whole family out to eat. Let each family member put into a hat or sack the name
of their favorite place to eat; then draw ONE name. Go. this will eventually make everyone
- MAKE A CREST Each member of the family decide on an animal, motto or Scripture,
tree, flower, or fruit. Then, pick a symbol that can represent the father's business or
family heritage. Draw on bright felt or colored cloth the objects voted on and chosen. Cut
out. Combine with imagination. Stitch together your family's new Coat-of-Arms.
Put inside picturee frame. Change every year, but save.
- If you watch TV as a family, make sure there is discussion on the commercials, their
folly, lies, or half-truths. Some dramas and movies are certainly worth seeing (usually you
don't know it, however, until it's over). Drive the lessons home, with discussion afterwards.
This preserves the lessons to be learned about the morals, decisions, life-paterns, and the
BIBLICAL results, rarely shown on TV. A video recorder will let you build a library of
valuable teaching movies and educational experiences.
- Read to your children, or let them read biography. You can get children's versions of
most of the great men and women of history and Christianity. Mark the faithful of
the land is an exhortation from me that encourages both watching and reading about
mighty men and women. Children will have heroes. Parents can help provide those worth modeling.
Bring into your home godly men and women, older teens or singles that your children can know
* Many of the ideas on this page come from FAMILIES ARE FUN,
Christian Medical Society Journal, Oak Park, Ill. Summer 1977. Used with their
Bible Study Tools
Is A Worldwide Christian Mentoring Ministry Equipping
Believers To Evangelize, Nurture, Disciple and Multiply