Summer

School’s out and we’re on!

Although many churches see summer as a period of low church attendance and little programming it is a wonderful time to connect with families who have more flexible schedules than during the school year.

During the pandemic, especially, families are trying to figure out what to do with their children and youth. That’s where the church can step in! Here’s some ideas for in-person, online and take-home summer programming.

Some summer curriculums we love

Whether you’re planning Sunday School activities to accompany your online service, a take-home Vacation Bible School or a virtual day-camp here are some great places to start your planning!

Check-out SALT Project’s Sing! Play! Summer! program. It comes with a booklet of activities for families to enjoy together, as well as an album of accompanying music.

Illustrated Ministry’s Compassion Camp is perfect for a printed take-home version, or try it as a virtual VBS camp. They also offer lectionary-based weekly colouring/activity sheets.

A pricier option but well worth it for those wanting to run an in-person or virtual day-camp, check-out GO Project’s 5-day Promise of the Rainbow curriculum.

Go get outside!

Here are some fun nature-based activities we like, that you and your family can do in your local park, or in your own backyard!

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

It may sound silly, but gazing at the clouds and describing what you see can be a wonderful way to pass the time on a nice day, and it doubles as an easy car-ride activity.

Photo by Mina-Marie Michell on Pexels.com

Take a piece of string and lay it in an area you want to explore. Take a moment to stand or sit still.
Look near your string.

What do you see that is unique?
Watch for any movement.
Listen for sounds. What do you hear? Birds, bugs, wind?
Take a deep breath. What do you smell?
What do things feel like near your string?

Here’s what parents/guardians are saying

Summer kits from St. John’s Marathon, 2020

Spring 2021 we talked to parents and guardians and asked them what kind of goodies they’d want to see in summer kits.

We specifically asked what kind of items would encourage kids to get outside and get active.

Read their suggestions in our blogpost here…

We love an activity bag/box!

Take it to the next level with these printable labels.

You can stick this punny label on a pack of crayons, pencil crayons, chalk or markers, to remind families God is with them.

This label can be added to a skipping rope, bouncy ball, streamers…or even a noisemaker! Let’s remind one another that God delights in our joy, in our noisy play and the movement of our bodies.

Put one of these labels on a magnifying glass, kaleidoscope or pair of binoculars. Or pass out toiler paper rolls, string and tape for DIY binoculars.

These binoculars have been well-loved at Selina’s house for over 3 months!

This label could be put on a flashlight or candle!

Add a can of play-dough or air-dry clay with a reflection on how wonderfully made we all are.

Add some seeds to your summer kits with the parable of the Sower or the Mustard seed.

Get crafty with found and recycled materials

From mamapapabubba.com.

Summer is the perfect time for leaf rubbing, all you need is paper, crayons and a walk outdoors.

From parentingchaos.com.

This card board construction idea can be customized in whatever ways your imagination comes up with! We especially love designs we’ve seen where the cardboard pieces have been painted/covered in wrapping paper (and Mod Podge) ahead of it. Using reds and oranges you can make a faux camp fire, white and blue looks like icy shards, greens can be mountains or even Christmas trees!

From artbarblog.com.

We love these rainbow collages made with cardboard. You can use all sorts of scrap paper, bottle caps, and other recycled material!

From researchparent.com.

Many of us parents enjoyed using old soda bottles to make these bottle rockets when we were little. It’s a great way to get outside, get crafty AND do some science together.

From racheous.com.

A sand tray is simple to put together and a calming activity for all ages! You can include rocks/pebbles, small rakes or combs. Send it in a plastic tub or aluminum baking tray. Cost of sand a challenge? Swap it for a cheaper alternative–cornmeal!

Other favourites

From purewow.com.

Use painter’s tape to make a stained-glass sidewalk chalk masterpiece! Just put down your design with the tape, colour in and remove the tape when done! You can try this technique with a variety of materials.

Last summer Selina designed large stickers to pass out to kids in town focused on positive messages. Download the Heroes Wear Masks design!

From thecrafttrain.com.

Why not put those delivery boxes to good use and take a boat ride with Noah and the animals (Genesis 6:11–9:19), or napping Jesus and the disciples (Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, and Luke 8:22–25).

From kitchentableclassroom.com.

Create your own storybook!

God determines the number of the stars; God gives to all of them their names.

Psalm 147:4

This is an activity for older kids/youth that they can spend literal hours doing. Fill a jar up with these mini origami stars (tutorial video). You might even want to print a label for the jar with a verse.

Try mixing paper colours and patterns!

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place

Psalm 8:3

Who doesn’t love a marble maze!? Create your own with any building blocks you have on hand, or glue straws/sticks to cardboard in a maze pattern (if gluing consider drawing your maze on before hand).

God guides me along the right paths for God’s name’s sake.

Psalm 23:3b

Many adults turn to Psalm 139 when they’re feeling anxious. Selina wrote a short paraphrase of the psalm which can be prayed using jelly beans!

Doctor Abby’s medical kit.

Explore stories of Jesus as a Healer with this DIY medical kit! Make a jumbo popsicle stick thermometer, felt gauze and bandaids (add some adhesive velcro dots to the back), and print off our Check-up Checklist (customize with your kid’s name)! If you have any old infant care items around (liquid medicine syringes or rubber suction bulb) add those as well!

Check-out our detailed How-To and scripture connections on our blog.

We use candles for all sorts of events at church. Why not custom design your own candle? Check-out this tutorial on how to transfer a drawing to a wax pillar candle!

Some selected colouring pages for you!

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