Family is important. Spending time together is critical to raise mentally and emotionally healthy children, and summer is a great time to engage with them in fun activities. Kids also need structure and balance over the summer. Check out this article with suggestions on keeping your kids emotionally healthy over the summer.
We enjoy lots of summer activities with the family, but especially cooking out, lawn games, and watching the grandkids play in the pool.
We’re blessed to live close enough to go to the beach, Busch Gardens, and Water Country.
When it’s super hot or raining, going to the movies is a good alternative—when we can find something decent to watch. Bike-riding can be fun, too.
In July we’ll get to visit with family in Tennessee, and in August I’ll appreciate laying out at Myrtle Beach while my husband golfs.
The possibilities for entertainment and connection with others over the summer months are endless.
But the risk of neglecting God and meeting with other believers is also high. If we’re not careful, we can become so wrapped up in keeping the kids busy with outings and soaking in the sun, our leisure and fun time becomes priority over time with God, church, and serving in ministry.
As a pastor’s wife, I can tell you that church attendance traditionally declines through the summer months, as does the giving. But churches have the same bills all year round and the same needs for ministry volunteers.
Am I saying don’t go on vacation or have fun with your family this summer? Absolutely not, and I intend to enjoy myself this summer. But not at the expense of my relationship with God, and not if I have to stop tithing and serving to do it.
How can you engage with your family, have a blast this summer, and still honor God?
Here are a few suggestions:
Choose to visit the beach, the amusement park, or other activity on Saturday rather than Sunday. Teach your children that church is essential—not something we do if we’re free that day.
When you‘re at the beach, teach your kids how to prayer walk. Talk about the greatness of God as you point out the expanse of the ocean and the fact God knows how many grains of sand are on that shore. Check out this article from CBN on ways to teach kids about God at the beach.
If you’re at an amusement park, when others are rude and pushy, set the example of patience and kindness and teach your children to put other people ahead of themselves.
While lounging by the pool, instead of listening to your favorite country or pop music, listen to Christian music, or read a Christian book and share with your children what God is teaching you. Purchase or check out Christian books from the library for your kids to read. Talk to them about the themes in the books.
As a family, help a neighbor in need of yard work, a meal, or a friendly chat.
Host a block party and invite neighbors you don’t know.
Find a local mission project your family can take part in.
When your child succeeds in sports and outdoor activities, praise them, but be sure to mention that God gifted them with their ability, and give glory to the Lord for your child’s accomplishments. Teach them humility and gratitude.
Open your home for a church function, or invite a few church families for a cookout and game night.
Participate in the summer opportunities your church offers. If you have teens, take them to youth group meetings and events. Make interaction with other Christians a priority for you and for your children.
I hope this list has spawned some ideas of your own. Whatever you do this summer, put God at the center. Don’t neglect meeting together with other believers, and don’t ignore your time in God’s word and prayer. God never takes a vacation from us, so let’s follow His example.
Join the conversation by leaving a comment about your favorite summer activity with your family. If you have other input or links to share for summer ideas and events, post them in the comments so we can all benefit. I’ll start us off: 101 Fun Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer.