Family Activity – Christmas Advent Calendar

Have you ever used an advent calendar?  This is a fun thing that you can incorporate into family devotions or homeschooling.  It will help your family focus more on the reason for the Christmas season.

There are tons of options out there, but here is a fun printable from Wycliffe.org.  It is called “Kate & Mack’s Christmas Advent Calendar“, and it looks like a fun project for little ones!

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Have fun!

Reader Tip – 10 Ideas to Teach Children to Give

Check out the Reader Tip that I wrote for MoneySavingMom.com.

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As a parent, we want our kids to be kind and generous with others, but we all know this does not come naturally to most children. So, how do we teach them to give to others when they would rather focus on their own needs and wants?

Here are a few ideas…   Go here to read the rest!

Hopefully you can get some great ideas for how to help your kids learn to be more giving.

Do you have other ideas?  Please share them!

Family Activity – Children’s Map of the World Puzzle

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Here is a great idea for family fun if you and your children like puzzles!  We recently purchased this puzzle and our 5 and 8 year olds are loving it!  We spend time together working on putting it together, and we talk about the countries and illustrations on it.  There are 100’s of fascinating illustrated facts about the world. The finished puzzle measures 24″ x 36″.

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This would make a great Christmas present…or an activity for the family to do together during the Thanksgiving or Christmas break!

 

Why I Wrote a Children’s Book – Missionary Kid Stories

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(This post contains affiliate links.)

As a former Missionary Kid (MK), missions has played an important role in my life. I now live in the United States, and I want my kids to be exposed to missions, too. But this is hard to accomplish when you don’t live in another country.

I have implemented many of the things that I write about on this blog with my family, but I wanted something that would be very interesting for the kids and that would help me with other ideas of how to teach them.  Let me tell you about how Missionary Kid Stories came into existence.

My kids and I tend to read lots of books together, so I started looking for books about missions to read to the kids. I wanted one that had information on different countries and types of ministries, but from a kid’s perspective. In searching for a book like this for my children, I could not find one that talked about different ministry strategies from the missionary child’s point of view. The closest book that I found was: Around the World With Kate and Mack by Melissa Paredes (published by Wycliffe), which has a missionary child traveling around and focusing on different languages, cultures, and people groups. I also found several other books written for children about true missionaries from history, like Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor.

So, I set out to write a fun, educational, and informative way for children to learn two main things about missions. The result is Missionary Kid Stories . In it, kids learn:

  1. What life is like for different missionary kids in other countries (Mexico, Brazil, Zimbabwe, France, Indonesia, and the Philippines)
    • where they live
    • what languages they speak
    • where they go to school
    • their favorite foods
    • the weather
    • local arts and crafts
    • important landmarks or interesting topography
  2. Different types of ministries in which missionaries serve
    • printing Biblical literature
    • Bible translation
    • teaching in a seminary for local pastors
    • church planting
    • piloting planes to reach remote locations
    • teaching in an international school

Each chapter focuses on a different missionary kid, each in a different country, each with a different ministry focus. The characters are fictional (for security reasons in some countries), but are based, largely, on real missionary families serving around the world.

This book is intended to plant ideas into children’s minds that will hopefully grow into a desire to serve God in missions. I know that my kids have enjoyed reading this book (or having it read to them), and it has sparked many conversations about things they read about. I have been able to use this book to teach them about the countries included. For example, you can read about ideas to use when learning about Brazil here.

I the coming months, I plan to include more ideas for activities you can do with your children based on the book. I hope that families will use this to help broaden their children’s horizons. I also hope that it will be useful in homeschooling, Sunday Schools, and Vacation Bible Schools.  If you would like to purchase the paper or Ebook version of “Missionary Kid Stories”, click here!

If you have activity ideas that coordinate with the countries or ministries in the book, comment and share! I’d love to know!

Family Activity – Cooking with Kate and Mack

Want a fun idea for an activity to do with the family?  Check out these recipes from Wycliffe sent in by real missionary kids!  You can try to make them with your kids and try foods from all over the world!

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https://www.wycliffe.org/resources/kids/cook

Family Activity – Operation Christmas Child Boxes

One fun way to involve your children in thinking and giving globally is to pack an Operation Christmas Child box.   First, find a shoe box or plastic shoe container. Next, decide what age group and gender you would like to pack a box for. Then, buy things and fill the box. Donate 7 dollars to help with shipping the box to its destination. (If you do this online, your package will be tracked and you will get an email to let you know when and where your package was delivered.)

Why do this?

  • It is practical and hands-on – your kids can help buy things and pack things with you.
  • It can be budget friendly – you can choose to spend as much or as little as your budget allows.
    • One option is to take your kids shopping with you to the store. You can let them help choose items – they’ll have great fun putting things in the cart and helping.
    • Another option is to buy things throughout the year as you find them on sale. This is great for families on a budget. You can get fun stuffed animals and toys at after-Christmas sales and after Easter items go on clearance. Back-to-school shopping can help you find great deals on pens, pencils, erasers, and pencil sharpeners. Many times you can get these for 1 penny!

I am going to walk you through what we put in our boxes and how much we spent.

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Box 1:

  • Backpack – $2.00 at Walmart on clearance in October
  • Bunny – $0.50 on clearance after Easter
  • Pencil Sharpener – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Red and Black Pens – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Crayons – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Markers – $1.50 at Walgreens in August
  • Scissors – $0.75 at clearance sale at Walgreens in September
  • Balls – (we had a baggy of these at home, so they were not a recent purchase)
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste – Free (donated)
  • Socks- $0.50 I split a package between the boxes
  • Pencil – we had this at home
  • I threw in some Bandaids and hard Halloween candies at the last minute (not in the picture).
  • TOTAL $5.28 + $7.00 = $12.28

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Box 2:

  • Backpack – $2.00 at Walmart on clearance in October
  • Eeyore – $0.50 on clearance after Easter
  • Hot Wheels – $0.25 each at a garage sale in the summer (New in package!)
  • Pencil Sharpener – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Red and Black Pens – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Crayons – $0.01 at Office Max in August
  • Colored Pencils – $1.50 at Walgreens in August
  • Scissors – $0.75 at clearance sale at Walgreens in September
  • Balls – (we had a baggy of these at home, so they were not a recent purchase)
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste – Free (donated)
  • Socks- $0.50 I split a package between the boxes
  • Pencil – at home
  • I threw in some Bandaids and hard Halloween candies at the last minute (not in the picture).
  • TOTAL $5.78 + $7.00 Shipping = $12.75

Want some other ideas? Check out this post from MoneySavingMom.

What do you put in your Operation Christmas Child box?

Find a Great Local Experience for Your Family

Have you heard of Compassion Experience?  I recently learned about this event that happens in cities all across the United States.  This is a great way to let your family see what it would be like to live as a child in another country.   It is free and open to all ages.  I plan to attend with my family, and I would love to know if you have been and what you thought about it?  Leave some comments!

Want to see where you might find a Compassion Experience near you?  Look here:  Compassion Experience

Use the Olympics to Get Your Kids Interested In Missions!

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Are you having trouble getting your kids to want to learn about other countries and people groups? Do you wish they would care about others and be more generous?

Here are some inexpensive ways that you can use the recent Summer Olympics in Brazil to spark their interest:

  • Color a map of Brazil together. Label Rio de Janeiro (where the Summer Olympics were in 2016).
  • Create or color a flag of Brazil.
  • Read a book about Brazil from your local library.
  • Read a book about missionaries. Find one that includes people who have gone to Brazil, and talk about what kinds of jobs they have done. Missionary Kid Stories
  • Play soccer as a family. Look up the rules if you need to.
  • Make homemade lemonade/limeade from fresh squeezed lemons/limes.
  • Make a Brazilian dinner (include rice and beans) by looking up recipes online. You can use the recipe from MoneySavingMom Crockpot Beans for how to make crock pot beans (so simple)!
  • Put together a puzzle of the world. Find Brazil.
  • Learn some Portuguese phrases together. Bom dia!
  • Look up missions websites like JAARS http://www.jaars.org or Wycliffe (www.wycliffe.org) and search for articles about missionaries and mission work in Brazil. Pick some to read as a family. Sign up for updates from a missionary if you find one you are really interested in!

You won’t have to do all of these things to get your kids interested…just pick the ones that will work for your family! Your kids will already be excited about the Olympics, and you’ll be surprised how easy it will be to help the excitement carry over to learning about a new country and the mission work people are doing there!