🌟 Week One – 5 Screen-Free Activities🌟

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Fun, simple ideas to bring fun to learning beyond the screen! (Add your ideas in comments)

Activity #1: Oobleck: Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup cornstarch (it seems stiff, but when your hands touch it, IMG_8620it loosens up. It’s a lot of fun. You can add an additional teaspoon of water at a time if you want to loosen it up more. We make it together and then start centers. You can add little plastic items to it also to make it more fun.

Activity #2: Treasure Hunt. Talk about directions North, South, East, & West. With painters’ tape, make a cross/compass on the ground and write the directions, N, S, E, W in the appropriate place so they remember.

Tell them they will follow directions to find a treasure. Ask if they believe that there really will be a treasure at the end. Share with them that that is Faith: believing even when you don’t see it. Give your child the treasure to hide (I gave mine a lollipop).

Have them start where you made the painters tape compass. Then, tell them to write down a list of directions to get to the treasure. For example: 5 steps North, 10 steps East, South 3 steps, etc. to get to the treasure. Have them try it out to see if they did it correctly. Then they give the directions to someone else in the family to follow. My kids had so much fun doing this.

Activity #3: Writing Prompt: If you could make your dream house, what would it look like? Slides instead of stairs, upside down house, etc.? Then, have them either draw the house or create it with play dough or boxes, paper towel tubes, egg cartons and other items.

Activity #4: Foam Dough. Mix 1 cup shaving cream & 1 cup cornstarch. You can add a little washable paint for color or food coloring. This is more crumbly than regular play dough, but still fun to play with. You can always use regular play dough if your kids would enjoy that more. I got this activity from the great book, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. 

Activity #5: Painting Ice. Fill a few different-sized plastic containers with water and IMG_2896
Freeze them overnight. The next day, pour them into different pans. Your kids can paint
on the ice with plastic utensils, paintbrushes, or their hands if they don’t put their hands in their mouths. The design of painting the ice looks so cool, especially mixing and matching different colors. The texture is awesome for the kids to feel. (Previously published on Focus on the Family.) 

You can also put little plastic items in the containers with the water, and then freeze them. The next day, put the blocks of ice in the sun and the kids can paint and then chip away at them to free the items from the ice.

I usually have one child do the creative center, while one does school assignments on the computer, and one works on Sunshine Math with me. I don’t always do a creative activity each day in the school week, but I try to. After 20 to 25 minutes, we switch.


Encouragement…

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0-3When my dad was younger, he had a rebellious side. Raced cars in the alleys, sat in detention every Saturday at his military school, and well, got into trouble.

He had a line of step-dads, seven of them, and his mom died at 49.

His mom was the “life of the party”. One of his step-dads was the Assistant Director of the Lassie series, but my dad wasn’t star struck by him. He was star-struck by her –because she was his mother.

My dad has an uncanny way of looking at life in contentment and making the most of it.

He could have wallowed. He had every reason to, but he chose to move past it.

You would think he’d follow in his mom’s footsteps and marry time and time again.

But, he chose the beautiful way of commitment – true love. My dad and mom have been married 47 years.

Despite the roller coaster of his childhood, he has been a remarkable husband and dad.

Not perfect, but just the dad I need and just the husband my mom needs. My mother has also been the stronghold he needs.

If your past is marked with pain, you do not have to stay there.

You have a choice to be the person God calls you to be. To choose differently. To pave a different path.

You don’t have to follow the footsteps of the ones who went ahead of you.

You can follow the steps of the One who created you.
The One who formed you.
The One who believes in you.

Look to him and follow the footsteps marked out for you by the One who is perfect.
By the one who loves you.
By the One who calls you by name.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5


Enjoy Getting Creative!

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Prayer, Jesus Had an Inner Circle But…, Uplifting Others

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My recent article published by Her View(!):

Jesus had an Inner Circle But Talked to All People – We Should Too

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That mom I didn’t know said four words to me.

Four words that lifted my spirits: “Way to go, mom.”

As moms, it can be easy to see where we’re falling short, so it was refreshing when this mom overheard me and said, “Way to go, mom. I love that.”

What I did was so simple. You know how our kids can easily lag behind us when we’re walking somewhere? Well, my daughter and I were leaving soccer practice and as she lagged behind me, I said, “Come on, Gracie. I want to walk WITH you. Not in front of you.”

That’s it. But this mama stopped and took two seconds to encourage me.

Take that two seconds to let another mama know what she’s doing well, even if it’s small. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement. ❤️

“Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11


 

Awesome Activities to do at Home With Your Kids

Since so many of our kids are out of school, I included a number of ideas for learning and fun below. Being a former teacher, I love ideas that bring education to life and ones that are imaginative and fun.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the number. Just pick and choose which ones you want to do. To help organize, you could print out a calendar and write what activities you want to do on which days. Or, you could pick them randomly, or your kids can choose. Have fun!{Receive once-a-week content via email by subscribing in the right sidebar.}

Science

  1. Dioramas We created one of a rainforest, but have fun researching a place that 29186213_614541732218779_5880961398094506630_ninterests your child and create that.
  2. Robot Create a robot from old boxes and have them explain how it makes the world a better place through different gadgets and buttons they add to it.
  3. Ice Hunting Put miniature plastic figures in different shaped containers of water and freeze overnight. Pour them on the grass, letting them melt some in the sun. Then let the kids explore and chip away the ice to find the hidden treasures.
  4. Paint Ice Freeze water in different shaped containers overnight. The next day, pour them in a large tub. Let your child paint them using washable paints with spoons, brushes, or their fingers (as long as they don’t put their fingers in their fullsizeoutput_8e31mouths). (Originally published with Focus on the Family.) Or if you have snow, just put that in a pan and let them paint snow!
  5. Slime Make slime with cornstarch and water. Put amount of cornstarch in first, and then slowly add water until you have consistency you want (2 cups cornstarch, and 1 cup water works well).
  6. Plethora of Fun Make “Crystal Names”, “Rainbow Snake Bubbles*” out of a bottle, “Polka Dot Slime”, “Ice Chalk”, and more! “View the Gallery” of Activities here: 50 Boredom-Busting Activities to do with Kids. (*If you do the snake bubbles, make sure your child does not inhale the bubbles, but blows them out.)
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Math

  1. Measurement Practice measuring by making Rice Krispy treats or cookies together.
  2. “Fish Bowl” Math Cut a bunch of notecards in half. Write a multiplication fact on
    each card with the corresponding answer on the back. If your child is working on addition or something more difficult, you can write that on each notecard. Attach a paper clip to each card and put them in a laundry basket. Tie twine around a magnet and then two the other end of the twine to a stick. The child fishes for a card and then answers it.
  3. Best Math Word Problems By Grade These are the best “out of the box” thinking word problems that I have seen based on grade level K – 8: Sunshine Math. After clicking on the grade, scroll down on the website to find the math problems to print out. If you scroll further, you will see the answers. You will have to most likely help your child with the problems. What helps me a lot has been doing centers with my kids. Station#1: Word Problems with me Station#2: PlayDough or sand Station#3: Educational website such as Adaptive Mind (they do a free monthly trial) or create your own book, etc. As long as the other two stations are independent, you can focus on helping the third child with word problems. Switch stations after 15 or 20 minutes. If you have 4 kids, just do 4 stations, and so on.
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  4. Basketball Math Use a squishy ball or tennis ball. If you have an inside basketball
    goal, you can use that, or you can use several bucket/bowls to throw the balls into. Tape a notecard to each one that says how many points it is worth. Ask your child a math question, if they get it right, they get to shoot to try and make a basket. Create a point goal before you start so they can work toward that.

Bible

  1. Pushing for Peace Jar Since arguing might be at its peak with so many things being 75614045_1024892744517007_904558294796861440_n cancelled, this is a great help. Memorize Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Then, tell your kids, every time they do not argue, but choose peace and kindness, they get a marble. Once the family marble jar is full, you can have a treat, stay up past bedtime, or get some other fun surprise.
  2. Do not Fear Have your child paint or draw a picture of they’re favorite place or thing. Write or paint this verse on top of the page to remember to not be afraid and that the Lord is with us: “Do not fear for I am with you,” Isaiah 41:10
  3. Sharing Read John 6:1-14 about the boy who shared his lunch. Ask, What would have happened if the boy did not agree to share his food? Make a basket out of clay, play-dough, or weaving construction paper together. You can also make the fish and loaves to go inside. If your kids are younger, you can act out the story of the boy sharing his food with the hungry people. Or, you can make a meal to bring to someone and talk about loving others well by sharing.

Reading/Writing

  1. Read Together Grab a Great Book from the library and read it to your kids. Ask 76640113_1011884549151160_1473347273436954624_othem questions throughout so they can increase their reading comprehension skills.
  2. Create your own Book Have them create their own book. Help them come up with an outline of the story first before writing it to help the writing go more smoothly.
  3. Wacky Wednesday Read Wacky Wednesday to your kids by Dr. Seuss. Then each child (and you) draw one page that has wacky things on it to create your own wacky book. Go through the book together and try to pick out all the wacky things. (For example, the house is upside down, the sun is ice cream with a cone, the house doesn’t have a door, etc.)
  4. Circle Story Sit in a circle and create an oral story. The first person starts the story off with one sentence. The next person adds another sentence to the story. Then, the next person does and so on. Go around several times until your story is complete. Then the next person starts the story off and you continue going around until you have created one very wacky and adventurous story.

Just for fun

  1. Picnic Inside Throw a blanket or sheet on the floor in a different room than the fullsizeoutput_8542kitchen and have a picnic breakfast there.
  2. Backwards Day Change everything up. For “breakfast”, start with ice cream. Then, have dinner: food like pigs in a blanket, oranges, and carrots. Our kids normally read before bed, so before eating, they read in bed.
    – Tell them: “DO NOT make your bed. It’s Backwards Day!” fullsizeoutput_78a9
    – Wear pajamas ALL day.
    – For dinner, have breakfast!
  3. Crazy Muffin Create the craziest muffin you can with random ingredients. Make some normal muffins too so you can enjoy those later. (:

Here’s a base recipe: 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons margarine melted, 4 medium bananas mashed, 1 egg.

Mash bananas first, mix all ingredients. Spray muffin pan and put batter int the twelve slots. Bake at 350 degrees. After about 15 minutes, check them by putting a toothpick in one. If nothing is on the toothpick when you remove it, they’re ready. If there is batter on it, bake for longer. Every oven is different so keep an eye on them. They usually take about 25 minutes.

 Not so fun

  1. Chores While they aren’t fun, they have to get done. So have your kids help out with daily chores. It usually helps to throw on some fun music while you do them, and to get that done before doing the fun stuff. (:
  2. Chore chart If you would like my chore chart and Tips on Allowance Sheet, let me know by commenting on this post and I’ll be happy to email them to you.

Outdoor

  1. Walking Scavenger hunt Write down or draw animals and items on different IMG_8536notecards for each child to find on the walk.
  2. Around the World Basketball Write the numbers 1 to 10 arching around the basketball goal. Once you make the shot from number one, you move to 2, then 3, etc. But, if you miss the shot, it’s the next person’s turn. You can give them two chances at each number or just one.
  3. Water Balloons Have a classic water balloon fight.
  4. Leaf Drawing Gather a few of your favorite leaves from outside that won’t break easily. Glue them on paper and make a cool picture with them.

Geography

  1. Traveling If you have a globe, close your eyes, spin it, and then point to a place on the globe. If you have a map, close your eyes, spin around a few times, then point somewhere on the map. Where you point is where you’ll live. Research the clothes they wear, food they eat (make some of it if you can), and the weather there. Write it on a piece of paper and present it.
  2. Community Read the story of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37. I LOVE this story in the Rhyme Bible for Kids if you have it. Have your kids come up with ways they have seen others love one another in small ways and big ways. You share some as well.
  3. Surprise Kindness After the activity above, have each person think of a way to love someone in the family well but don’t tell them about it – just do it. You can talk about Matthew 6:3, 4 and how the Lord talks about giving in secret.

I hope these activities bring some connection and joy to your family during this time.

As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Seasons will not last forever.

Our children won’t be babies, toddlers, elementary-age, or teenagers forever. They’re growing up fast, and this is a season.

There is indeed a time for everything.

A time for adventure, and a time for simplicity.

A time for travel, and a time to stay put.

Now your adventure just looks different.

It involves precious little children the Lord saw fit for you to raise.

Our adventures don’t have to take place across the globe–they can be right here at home.

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Not Caring What Others Think & Independence

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Something my dad drilled into me growing up was to not care what other people think.

My dad’s mother was married 7 times and died at 49 years old. He met his “real” dad when he was 25 years old.

My dad has had every reason to care deeply what others think of him – to find his security in others’ confidence in him. But, he doesn’t.

He’s beat the odds and has been married to my loving mother for 47 years.

He was, and is, a trailblazer.

He simply doesn’t care what people think. I’ve always loved that about him.

Sometimes it makes my mom mad, like when they were first married and he served salad to the guests with his hands (eeks!), and my mom had to run to get serving forks.

But, many times it’s what draws her to him.

I’m grateful that when I was a little girl he instilled in me to not care what others think. That same quality is one of the things that drew me to my husband thirteen years ago.

I’m not talking about hearing and gaining wisdom from others. I’m talking about caring too much what others think and being swayed by them in an unhealthy way.

Do I struggle with this at times? Yes. I think we all do to a degree, but I care far less what others think than I otherwise would have.

We all have the chance to instill these freeing truths into our kids’ hearts.

I want my children to care mostly about what God thinks. And, I want them to care what they think of themselves.

I don’t want them to care about trends.
I don’t want them to care about what course culture takes.
I want them to follow their deep convictions and what makes them come alive.

Let’s remind our children over and over again that true life and joy are found in Jesus.

That the here and now is temporary, but that the Lord and the Eternal lasts.

That we DO NOT have to jump on the bandwagon.

That we can run freely with the Lord – the life-giving way – by not loving the opinions of others, but loving the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul, and loving others.

This verse is intense, but so good. It makes me want to check myself: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2


fullsizeoutput_8da9My 8-year-old daughter did NOT want to keep her hair like this.

She told me she loved it, but didn’t normally wear it this way and “What will the other kids think?” she asked. “They’re going to tease me.” So, she took it down.

After school, my husband and I talked more with her about the freedom in not caring what people think, but caring mostly about what the Lord thinks of her.

I told her that, “If the ‘strong-personality girl’ in your class teases you about your hair, WHO CARES? Tell her you like it and walk away.

But this really isn’t about hair at all.

It’s about telling our kids not to make decisions based on what the world thinks, so they will be more prepared to walk away from the crowd when that crowd is up to no good.
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Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:14 are some of the most powerful words we can share with our kids: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave…and shake the dust off your feet.”

Jesus calls us to pray them (MT 5), but he also says to shake the dust off your feet and leave if they don’t welcome you. While the verse is talking about leaving if someone won’t listen to your words about Jesus, I think we can relate it to everyday life.
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I want my kids to care mostly about following Jesus and not others’ opinions.

I want them to be concerned with pleasing the Lord and not jumping on the bandwagon.

When they mess up, I want them to be refreshed by the forgiveness Jesus came to give us.

When my kids feel weak, I want them to call out to Jesus.

I want my kids to choose Jesus, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because they love Him.
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The next day, my daughter did wear her hair “the new way” and she loved it. The following day, she wore her hair another new way.

This small choice was empowering. She’s seeing bit by bit how to not let others define her, but to look to the Lord for her confidence.
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Jesus, would you move our kids’ hearts in this way. We pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them to care more about what you think, Lord, than what others think. Give our kids strength, joy, and confidence to let go of the opinions of others and to seek you first, Jesus. Thank you, Lord. We love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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Independence

When our little ones act “needy”, isn’t It easy to think we need to push them to independence?

When an American missionary in Papa New Guinea said she was trying to make her kids more independent of her, an indigenous Ipili woman gave her profound, simple wisdom.

At a certain point, it is healthy for our kids to be more independent. But in those early years, instead of pushing them to independence too early, hold them close so they will be more secure and so one day can sprout their wings and fly.

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“As soon as possible, you should focus on the ‘whys’ of what you’re doing.

Not ‘Don’t call your sister stupid. That’s a sin,’ but ‘Don’t call your sister stupid. That hurts her feelings. Do you like it when someone calls you names?’

The latter is more relational.

When Jesus commanded us to love others as ourselves…he was teaching about the deep connection of empathy. Teach your children that their behavior affects others.” – Dr. Cloud & Townsend, “Raising Great Kids”
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Jesus’ approach was all about getting to the heart.

When our kids understand how their behavior affects others, they will grow in empathy and love.

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22

 


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When our kids are left out
and our hearts ache for them,

Lord, encourage and comfort them.
Surround them with so much love.

Remind us that you are with them and
that our kids are resilient.

Surround them with friends and
give them strength to be leaders.

When our kids are the ones surrounds by friends, Lord,

help them be compassionate,
to reach out,
to care,
to make a difference.

Help them care more about what you think, Lord, than what the world thinks.

We pray they would see the ugliness of leaving people out and the beauty of bringing people in.

Help them be difference makers for you, and

fill them with

your confidence

Your presence

Your peace

Your joy

You.

We pray our kids would look to you for true joy and
have big hearts to want to love you and love others. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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Isn’t it so easy to compare? We all do it.

But reading God’s Word and praying help dissolve jealousy, and build peace & gratefulness in our hearts instead – where true life is found.

At the end of the day, it’s a choice.

Let’s choose God’s way of selflessness and loving one another well by releasing envy and choosing to celebrate one another and the gifts God has given us. ❤️

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

Valentine’s Idea, Book/Devotional Recommendations, Washing the Dish ❤️

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I’m grateful for you!

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My kids love this – write what you love about each of your kids on separate tiny scraps of paper. Then, roll each one up and squeeze them into a balloon for each child (or put one note in each balloon so each child has several balloons).

Then, blow them up, write their names on the balloons and tape them to your kids’ bedroom doors. On Valentine’s Day, they pop the balloons and read what you wrote. Although, they might want to play with the balloons for a bit before popping them!

What are some fun things you’ve done for your kiddos on Valentine’s Day? 😊❤️

 


 

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My kids loved the top two devotionals and the bottom four have made a great difference in my parenting & faith. I’d love to hear abt recommendations you have. Here are the links to these:

Wee Believers “Love Journal” (they’re out of the kindness one): https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944689028/ref=dp_cerb_3

Indescribable: https://www.christianbook.com/indescribable-louie…/…/086101…

Wild things: https://www.christianbook.com/…/st…/9781414322278/pd/322278…

Raising Girls: https://www.christianbook.com/raising-girls-melis…/…/272891…

(The winner of this book Giveaway was Stephanie K. – Congrats! You can get he book right now for $5 at the link I shared above. Enjoy!)

Love Does: https://www.christianbook.com/…/bo…/9781400203758/pd/203751…

Raising Great Kids: https://www.christianbook.com/…/hen…/9780310235491/pd/35499…

Happy reading! 😊And, share with other parents who might be interested.

For more on Faith & Parenting, join me at LinseyDriskill.com.


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This quote by Mother Teresa is both inspiring and challenging to me.

It transforms the way I look at serving and why I do it. I don’t think any of us want our children to help someone because they have to, but rather because they see a need and want to meet it.

How do we teach our kids to do this? I think it starts with us, as they mimic just about all we do. How does it change our day when we don’t grudgingly do daily tasks, but do them out of love for our family and for Jesus?

If we take a moment at a time to pray and shift our perspective, maybe it will change our outlook and rub off on our kiddos.

Wouldn’t that be awesome. ❤️

Giveaway!, Enjoying Our Kids, & When We Don’t Understand Everything

To enter giveaway, comment below and like this post. Extra entries if you share this post. (: Sissy Goff is a Christian counselor and shares so much wisdom about raising girls in her book.

(Giveaway ends Friday, February 7th at 9am. Winner is picked at random. You must live in the continental United States to enter giveaway.)

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Let’s take time to enjoy our kids today – just for who they are. To take joy in them. ❤️

If they’re driving us crazy, to take a break and breathe. To ask the Lord to help us delight in them as He delights in us.

We can all find faults in our kids when we focus on that, just as anyone can find faults in us when they focus on them.

Today, let’s try to focus on what we enjoy about our kids.

A day at a time.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t instill boundaries and consequences. I’m a big believer in having those set up and doing our best to be consistent and following through, but

I also believe that our kids will respond far better when they know we enjoy them.

Lord, help us simply enjoy our kids. Thank you so much for each of them. Help us remember we’re not promised tomorrow so we can relish in the gifts you’ve given us today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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