Meaningful and Stretching Prayer Activities for Kids

praying at table

A huge thanks to Rachel from Titus 2 Homemaker for this article on prayer activities for kids! When my sisters and I were young, we had a book we called “the Ryan book.”  The actual title is Adventure at Hidden Haven Ranch,and it’s a chapter book about a young boy named (you guessed it) Ryan, who learns to pray during a visit to his aunt and uncle’s ranch. The interesting thing about this is that none of us particularly remember reading the book or doing the exercises from it.  Neither does my daughter, who I also used the book with when she was very young.   We do, however, remember the lessons we learned.  That realization was an eye-opening encouragement to me as a parent – this clear evidence that what we do doesn’t have to be flashy or even memorable to make an impact. What we learned about prayer Adventure at Hidden Haven … Read More

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help Kids Sleep 

get your kids to sleep

Help kids sleep (and get more yourself) with these 5 life-changing tips. My son’s little face scrunched as he greedily sucked down his meal. The smell of milk breath and sweet baby skin mingled, but I wasn’t focused on the moment. Instead, the rocker moved quicker and quicker, my feet unable to stop pushing. I had just heard that my friend’s baby, born the same week as mine, was sleeping peacefully for 8 hours at a time. Mine still woke up every hour or two, which, while it was a big improvement from his previous longest sleeps of 40 minutes, was a far cry from 8 hours.  Why couldn’t I get my baby to sleep when she obviously could? I was the one who had an older child; I felt like I should be better at this.  But the mystery remained. All babies seem to sleep a little different. There … Read More

Your Ultimate List of Nativity Gifts for Kids

One year, my preschooler announced, “Mom, Christmas is really about the presents…” I waited with bated breath for the rest. “…because God gave us Jesus!” Phew! When my middle son was 3, he encountered Christmas for the first time in his memory. When we visited my in-laws at the beginning of December, he paid no heed to the beautiful nativity scene they had displayed. During our next visit 3 weeks later, he very excitedly told me, “Grandma and Grandpa have a stable!” Somewhere in those intervening 3 weeks, something had clicked about the Christmas story. As a former Children’s pastor, mom, and Preschool Director, I believe that our kids learn best through play. As adults, we tend to fill our home with beautiful (and breakable) nativity scenes and try to pack a full reading of Luke 1 and 2 into our Christmas Day. But our kids learn best by encountering … Read More

The Surprisingly Simple Tradition That Will Bring Focus To Your Christmas

Advent wreath for the Advent candle tradition

When I pull Advent candles out of their box, I run my fingers along their smooth surface and inhale their subtle scent. A lighter snaps, and the wick gently accepts the flame. It shudders to life. One candle has the power to brighten the darkness, but is incredibly fragile on its own. A single puff could blow it out. In Matthew 12, Jesus quotes a prophecy from Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” A … Read More

5 Engaging Ways To Keep Christ in Christmas For Your Kids

put Christ in Christmas with these 5 ideas

INSIDE: 5 ways to keep Christ in Christmas with your young children One year, my 5-year-old son announced, “Mom, Christmas really is about the presents…” I cocked my head and looked at him, wondering if there was more to his announcement, “…because God gave us Jesus!” I let out my breath in a sigh. I hadn’t even noticed I was holding it in, but there it was, waiting for my little man’s decision about the season. I had tried really hard to show my boys that there is more to Christmas than presents and cookies and Santa and songs, and was relieved that at least a bit of my teaching had sunk in. Christmas can be a very confusing time for Christian parents. We want to join in all the fun with elves on shelves and hanging out stockings and putting out cookies for the man with the gifts, and … Read More

Is your child too young for faith?

Can a child ever be too young for faith?

I am so thrilled to have the amazing children’s author, Glenys Nellist, sharing her grandson’s story with us today. Glenys is a wonderful storyteller (both on the page and in person), has worked in children’s ministry, is married to a pastor, and is a mom and a grandma. She loves Jesus and wrote an entire series of truly unique children’s picture Bibles in an effort to help kids know him better. But I’ll let her tell you her story herself… *** I remember the day well. It was a Thursday afternoon and we were sitting together on the sofa, my little grandson and I. We were reading my very first children’s Bible storybook: Love Letters from God, and I remember thinking: what greater blessing could there possibly be than to sit with your three-year-old grandson and read God’s great story together on a Thursday afternoon? He laughed at the story of … Read More

One Unexpected Way to Help Your Child Be Thankful at Christmas

help your child be thankful at Christmas

I have repeatedly told my kids that Christmas is not about getting gifts, but until we stop giving them ANY gifts, they’re not really going to believe that, are they? In fact, it seems that I can’t go anywhere in December without strangers asking my children, “What do you want for Christmas?” Is there any way to combat the coveting and ingratitude that always crops up at Christmas? If you enjoyed this video, make sure you hit “Subscribe”  on YouTube or Like my Facebook page so you always know when a new episode comes out! Is it just me, or is it practically impossible for kids NOT to obsess over gifts at Christmastime? Feelings of gratefulness are expected to come after the swath of gifts has been unwrapped, after the impossibly large meal, after we have been given more than we ever needed. Teaching kids to be thankful at Christmas … Read More

Help your child put the “Christ” in Christmas!

put the Christ in Christmas

Every year I have the best of intentions. I plan to do an Advent reading and activity each day but then we get 3 days behind on the 4th day and it feels like we’re running on fumes. Sometimes Christmas zips and the only time I’ve talked about Jesus is when I quickly read a Bible story on Christmas Day! It’s a little discouraging. But I’ve discovered one simple way to help keep Christ in Christmas in an organic, kid-friend (and schedule-friendly) way! Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out what it is! I tried so hard when my kids were little to make their Christmas strictly about Jesus. But alas, the trappings of a North American Christmas are not shed so easily! We have now settled into a comfortable middle place of setting up a Christmas tree and singing about Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, while … Read More

8 kid-approved ways to have a Jesus-focused Christmas

INSIDE: This Christmas, set out a few strategic toys to help your kids experience a Jesus-focused Christmas, through play. His chubby hands wrapped up the stuffed bear in a special blankie, then lowered the swaddled bear into a laundry basket. “Ni-night Jesus,” he said. I tucked him in, and made sure that the Jesus-bear was ready for sleep as well. Together, we acted out a story as old as time. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6, 7 (NIV) Christmas is the perfect time to learn to incorporate play into your child’s Bible learning, because the subject matter is so gentle and the story is so familiar to even the most irregular church-goer. … Read More

Wise For Salvation book

2016 Word Award finalist for Children’s Nonfiction: Young children can know God’s Word! As your family follows each week’s series of devotions, children will act, dance, draw, imagine, memorize, and sing their way to a better relationship with God and a knowledge of His Word. Wise for Salvation contains five interactive devotions per week, with each week focusing on a single story. Covering 87 of the major Bible stories and lessons, Wise for Salvation can be your go-to devotional for years! Printable flyer Printable Sample Page Purchase the Book: Endorsements: “Wise for Salvation” resonates with my convictions that God’s Word is relevant and active in even the youngest. Christie has written devotionals that are creative and interactive to capture kids’ attention and imagination, taking kids and parents on a joy-filled journey of encountering God.  I am excited to recommend this resource to young families. – Pastor Donna Hernandez, Children’s Ministry Pastor at Sherwood Park Alliance … Read More