Kids Min

TV Free Summer Days

Summer is in full swing, and as a parent you might already feel like you are running out of ways to keep your kids entertained. Turning on the TV so that you can finally get a few things done feels like the the easiest solution. But, with a limited amount of outdoor days, we want to give you some alternative ideas to keep your kids engaged and entertained this summer whether the forecast is full of sun or rain.

1. Have a Water Day

You don’t need a pool to have fun in the sun.

Sprinklers, super soakers, and water balloon fights will get kids active and connecting with each other and even provides a great opportunity to connect with neighbors and friends.

If they (or you) aren’t up for getting completely soaked, you can still have fun with water by having soap boat races like this:

Soap Boat Races.jpg

Supplies needed:

  • Rain gutter (can be found at Lowes in the lumber section)

  • Bar of soap (found at Dollar store)

  • Toothpick

  • Fabric and scissors

  • Glue gun

Cut a piece of fabric into a triangle, glue it onto the toothpick and stick it into the bar of soap. Simple as that! Run a hose at the end of the rain gutter and you are ready to race.

2. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Taking your kids on a nature or photo scavenger hunt will get them active while also challenging their minds. This can be as simple as a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, but Rochester also boasts a variety of free local parks and trails all over our region that you can visit for a change of scenery.

Not familiar with these locations? Check ‘em out HERE. You can also download the Genesee Riverway and Trail Guide to get some ideas of places to explore and you could even see some waterfalls along the way.

Here is a great start for a nature scavenger hunt that you can tailor to your kids and your location. Teach your kids the importance of exercise and show them that it can also be fun.

Nature-Scavenger-Hunt.png

On a rainy day, you can bring the fun indoors and have a household item scavenger hunt.

3. Family Fun Game Day/Night

Kids love to play games, and it’s a great way for the whole family to have some fun together. Pull out a board game, play Corn Hole or KanJam in the backyard, or create an obstacle course together. Your kids are bound to enjoy watching you run through an obstacle they got to help create!

Looking for a new challenge? Minute-to-Win-it games are easy, quick options that can be played in small or large groups and are sure to bring lots of laughs. Switch it up by challenging parents versus kids or boys versus girls! Memories are sure to be built with any of these options! Here is a list of Minute-to-Win-it games that you and your family can choose from.

Is there rain in the forecast? Too hot to be outside? Here are a few more ideas for some creative indoor family fun.

4. Rainy Daze Jar

Create a jar for rain days that is full of varying activities. Include indoor activities that are outside (or inside) your norm. Decorate a jar, or choose a special container, and fill it with popsicle sticks that have activities on them and you are all set! You could add activities such as:

  • Build a fort

  • Have an indoor picnic

  • Write someone a card

  • Play a board game (This could even have a specific game for each stick!)

5. Put On A Show

Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Have your kids take turns putting on a show. This could be a puppet show, lip sync battle, dance party, or your kids can make up their own musical or play. They will be using their imagination to create a day that they are sure to enjoy.

6. Have Your Own Cooking Class

Take this opportunity to teach your kids some new things in the kitchen, turning a drowsy rain day into a fantastic learning adventure that your kids will love. You and your kids can bake treats for a neighbor or someone from church, help make the meals for the day, or learn a new recipe together! The only rule: HAVE FUN!

Whether you're inside or out, summer is a great time for rest, trying new things, and stretching your brain in new ways. Keeping your kids busy during the long weeks of summer can seem like a daunting task, but whether rain or shine, we hope we've helped you spark fresh and fun ideas!

**Special thanks to Debbie Andrus, for writing this post! A recent communication graduate from Cedarville University, Debbie has been working as an intern with Kids Min this summer. In August she will be getting married and heading into a full time work in Toledo, OH. 

**Special thanks to Debbie Andrus, for writing this post! A recent communication graduate from Cedarville University, Debbie has been working as an intern with Kids Min this summer. In August she will be getting married and heading into a full time work in Toledo, OH. 

Value #5: Engagement

Kids eat with their eyes. 

 

If their pizza doesn't come in the right shape, it's rejected.

If their mac and cheese is the wrong color, it's refused. 

If their portion of pasta is too large, it's rubbish. 

 

When food doesn't look the way it's supposed to look, we get suspicious. Some even get sick.  

It's the exact same food. It has the exact same taste. 

It just has a different presentation. 

For example...

Did you know that carrots come in colors other than orange?

I didn't. 

At least not until one of my friends posted the above picture on his social accounts last summer.

My mind was blown. 

Then later that summer, I read that orange carrots didn't even exist until the 17th Century. Shocker! A group of Dutch farmers honored their king, William of Orange by developing carrots in their country's color...orange.*

That's true patriotism! 

I thought I was doing good by buying an Old Navy flag tee once a year. I guess I was wrong. 

Presentation matters not only in the food preparation but also when it comes to teaching kids the Bible.

Because...

How you say what you say is as important as what you say!
— Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A purple carrot tastes exactly the same as an orange carrot. Nothing about the carrot has changed except it's appearance or in another term, it's presentation. 

At Northridge Kids, we are in the presentation business. Not presentation for the sake of presentation itself, but presentation in order to engage the heart and mind of kids and motivate them to acting out the truths of the Bible. This is what we refer to as life change.  

We don't think we've done our job when we've merely presented truth. Content by itself is not enough. 

Americans live in a culture that's flooded with content. The average elementary student spends an average of 35 hours a week ingesting content from technology on TVs, iPads and gaming devices. 

The church has to cut through the cultural clutter by presenting content, biblical truth, that is accurate, clear and compelling. This type of content captures the attention of everyone. Including kids. 

Cutting through the cultural clutter is what Disney has been able to do with its princess story lines in movies like Cinderella, Brave and The Little Mermaid. My daughter will sit and watch those movies on repeat all day. Then she'll go and pretend that she is one of those characters. That's engagement! Disney, captures our attention and moves our imagination to action. And they even provide tools that help us engage our imaginations...toys.  

While Northridge Kids may never produce a full-length animated movie, we want to tell the stories of the Bible in such a way that kids hear, understand, and are moved to take action on what they hear. We want kids to want to come back every Sunday because they're hearing something unique, the story of God, being told in a unique way. 

We want to capture kids' attention in order to tell God's story. And when we do, we call it: engagement. 

There are three ways we seek to engage your kids each week. 

1. STORIES

We think it's a sin to bore kids with the Bible. 

Northridge Kids' hosts and storytellers work hard, investing literally hours, to accurately and creatively teach the Bible using technology, illustrations and applications that best makes sense with each kid's stage of life. 

When we get this right, kids are able to pay attention to what we're teaching in order to best hear what God is saying. 

2. ACTIVITIES

Every week, the leaders of each of environment selects activities (such as games, role play or crafts) that further illustrate and reinforce the story that was presented. 

While we try not to overwhelm parents with too many papers (or popsicle sticks) on any given Sunday, when we do send home a paper or project, please remember that it is a tool that was used in your child's environment to reinforce the story. That craft wasn't merely used to fill the time allotment for that Sunday. These projects, whatever their level of artistic value, can be one more tool you can utilize in your family's weekly rhythm to discuss with you what they learned that week, especially for the preK kids in your house.  

3. DISCUSSIONS

When our volunteers and Small Group Leaders talk with the kids in their environments, they are reinforcing the lesson by interacting with and asking questions of each kid. These interactions help: gauge what each child learned, hear how it is impacting them, encourage them to take the next steps and even to pray for courage for your child to obey God.

If you have any questions about what conversations are taking place in your child's environment, ask them, "what did you learn today," on your drive home. Or feel free to ask a volunteer serving in your child's environment at pick up.  This connection is one more way we love to demonstrate that we are partners with you, the parent. 

Storytelling is...searching for the best way to frame and communicate an idea.
— Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

Who knows? I may never have the courage to eat purple carrots. The presentation is just too weird for my brain. 

Plums are purple. Grapes are purple. Eggplants are purple. 

Carrots are orange. 

Regardless of what I eat, our commitment to parents at Northridge, our partners, is that we will work as hard as we can to tell the most important story, in the most engaging way possible. And as we prepare, we'll be praying that God will use us to motivate your kids to faith in action. 

Presentation matters. 

 

*Orange Essentials by Reggie Joiner, 30.

Value #3: Safety

As a child of the 80s, when someone mentions the idea of safety, there is one image that consistently pops into my mind...

First introduced in 1971, Mr. Yuk was created by the Pittsburgh Poison Center in order to promote poison prevention. His presence was most popular in Western Pennsylvania, but Mr. Yuk could be found in homes across the country. By the time I was born in 1981, his image was plastered on every chemical in my house. As a toddler, I was trained by my parents and this frightening commercial to stay away from any object that had this sticker. Seeing that I'm still alive more than thirty years later, the warnings were effective, at least in my household. 

While the images of Mr. Yuk have largely disappeared from our culture, the idea of child safety certainly has not. In fact, safety is consistently the number one priority for parents when choosing automobiles, childcare facilities, educational opportunities and even extra-curricular activities. For parents, the priority of their child's safety ensures peace of mind. 

At Northridge Kids your child's safety is our main concern. Here's why: 

Safety sets you, the parent at ease. We don't think you as parents can participate in the worship experience if you're on high alert on your kid's behalf. When your kids are physically and emotionally safe, you can be experientially present in our worship experience.   

Safety sets your kids at ease. We don't think your kids will have fun or learn unless we have first created environments characterized by safety. Trusted adults point kids toward a trustworthy God. When kids are physically and emotionally safe, they will be spiritually open

While there are numerous ways Northridge Kids seeks to maintain physical and emotional safety, here are some of the most prominent: 

  • check-in

    Located in the lobby, our computer check-in stations allow you to retrieve your family's information and select with environments they will participate in for the day. A name tag will print for each child as well as pick up tag for the parent. There will be code on your child's name tag that is identical to the one on your parent tag. Each week this code is randomly assigned. At the conclusion of the service, parents present their tags at their child's environment. Our volunteers match the parent tag with each child before releasing the child to an adult. 
  • Environments

    • CLEAN - While "cleanliness is next to godliness" isn't in the Bible, we do think it best helps prepare kids to learn the Bible. Having a clean kid's environment is more inviting and healthy for kids and more inspirational for our volunteers. We've found that clean environments certainly lead to  better faith conversations between kids and volunteers. 

    • AGE-APPROPRIATE - Our environments are designed physically (size and design) and developmentally (teaching and activities) specific for the ages who utilize the space.  

    • WELL-STAFFED - Our goal is not to manage a crowd, but to inspire faith. Therefore, we maintain recommended adult to child ratios (Infants 1:2. Toddlers 1:3. Pre K 1:4. Elementary 1:8) to ensure our leaders' ability to connect and care for each child as uniquely and specifically as possible.  

  • VOLUNTEERS

    • BACKGROUND CHECKED - Every volunteer who serves in our ministry has passed a state and national background check (covering criminal and sexual misconduct) and they have also passed reference checks (covering skill and stability).   

    • TRAINED & IDENTIFIABLE - Before serving, our volunteers test drive our environments where they learn their roles and responsibilities. Our leadership team encourages continual skill development through trainings and resources. You'll recognize these individuals when you look into our environments and see not only their smiles and skills but also their shirts. As a team member, volunteers wear our Northridge Kids t-shirt and a name tag every Sunday. 

    • SECURITY TEAM - Each campus has security personnel who help ensure that anyone without a tag (see check-in segment above) is not permitted to enter our kid's environments. 

 

We place great value on children because they are important to parents and also to Jesus (Mark 9:42). We think the best way for us to inspire faith is by creating environments where kids feel physically and emotionally safe.

If you have any questions about how we operate our environments to ensure physical and emotional safety, we'd love to hear from you. Please connect with us HERE

Value #1: Bible

 

In every area of life we prioritize what we find most important. 

Values. When we talk about values, we are actually talking about priorities. 

Values determine both the "WHAT" we do and the "HOW" we do it. We talked about the "WHY" in a previous post on the mission of Northridge Kids. (Click HERE to read it now, if you missed it.)

Ultimately, values reveal and reflect the priorities of any organization.

For example, if you've ever flown on Southwest Airlines you'll recognize that compared to other airlines they're dressed more casually and create a level of brevity surrounding their safety announcements...that most people ignore anyways. That's a reflection of their value of being Fun-LUVing. Fun is a value that is clearly visible within their organization. Fun is celebrated and rewarded as the way that creates and maintains loyal customers. However, you will not see fun in the core values of Delta Airlines. They even call their values "Rules of the Road." There is no fun with Delta. There is however, safety and professionalism, which are also admirable traits. 

Delta's values aren't bad. Southwest's values aren't good. Their values just serve as a guide for what they do and how they do it. Their values also determine "WHO" chooses to do business with them.

You're far more likely to hear a screaming baby on Southwest than Delta because serious business travelers want to be treated seriously, not greeted with families wearing Hawaiian shirts and floaties headed to San Diego for vacation. And since families don't want to annoy serious people, they'll fly Southwest, where kids are welcomed as evidence of fun.   

Northridge Kids has seven values that serve as the basis for WHAT we do (Foundational Values) and HOW we do ministry (Methodological Values). Over the next several weeks we want to take time to introduce our priorities since they directly affect what activities and programs our staff implements. These values establish the words and actions of our volunteers and ultimately each parent's willingness to allow their kids to participate in our Sunday morning environments. 

Our first value is the standard for everything else we know and do.

Value #1: Bible

If your best friend wrote a story about herself, you'd want to read it. The same is true of God. If the Creator of the universe took steps to tell us about himself in a book, we should want to know about Him. 

God has talked to us in such a way. That way is the Bible!

The Bible is where we hear what God says. 

One of Jesus' closest friends, Paul, wrote to a young pastor in the first century named Timothy and reminded him that God has spoken to us and that knowing God has spoken was important. That letter is the book of 2 Timothy. It's amazing that we still have that letter 2,000 years later! Here's what Paul told Timothy: 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Paul told him that Scripture, or the Bible, is God-breathed. That means its very words come from God! God is the source of the Bible's words. 

Because those words came from God, their content is useful and helpful to us. According to Paul's letter, the words of God:

  • Point us in the right direction ("useful for teaching"),
  • Keep us from going in the wrong direction ("rebuking" and "correcting") and
  • Help us become who God made us to be ("training in righteousness"). 

And ultimately the goal of that teaching is that we demonstrate our love for God and others through obedient service ("equipped for every good work").

When your kids come to Northridge Kids, you can be sure that what they hear will emphasize the Bible as the very words of God and that because God speaks to us, we should listen and obey. 

 

 

want to know more about the bible? 

Article. Brief yet detailed. Revelation, Inspiration and Illumination by Tim Challies.

Book. Deeper but understandable. Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung.

Tool. Talking points for your kids. Big Truths for Young Hears by Bruce A.Ware.

 

Start With Why

At Northridge Kids, we're not psychologists but let's start out with a little Word Association Game anyways. What's the first word you think of when you see the name of the following organizations? OK...Go!  

 

Starbucks

Starbucks

 

Apple

applelogo.png

 

Nike

 

Got your answers? I'm betting if you're anything like most people, or at least like me, the first word that popped into your mind for these organizations was coffee, computers and shoes. That particular organization's product. Am I right? I hope so, because we're going with those answers anyways. 

Starbucks, Apple and Nike are three of the most culturally relevant organizations in America today. In spite of their differences, they are all similar in one way. They are ALL in the inspiration business. These organizations don't exist to make coffee, computers and shoes. They exist to inspire people to connect, innovate and move. Their products: coffee, computers and shoes are merely the way they partner with you to reach your goals.

 

If you want to connect with your spouse...enjoy a cup of our coffee together.

 

If you want to create new ideas...utilize our cutting edge computers to fuel your ideas.

 

If you want to get in shape...wear our stylish and functional shoes to get started. 

 

As a consumer, you utilize these product because they help you reach your goal. Kids ministry really isn't any different. The volunteers and staff at Northridge think you, the parent and your child's primary influencer, bring your kids to Northridge because you share our goal. 

Could you name that goal?

Your primary goal (or mission) as a parent is not to produce well behaved kids or even to impress other parents with your parenting skills. As tempting as those goals may be, the Bible reveals that the primary goal of parents is to inspire faith in our children by regularly sharing examples of the love and work of God. Why do we think that? Here are a few examples: 

 

  • Psalm 145:4 - Our generation is to talk about who God is and what he has done.

 

  • Psalm 78:4-7 - Our motivation is the faith and obedience of the next generation. 

 

  • Deuteronomy 6:5-9 - Our rhythm of life should be characterized by regular faith conversations. 

 

God's plan of inspiring faith is given to parents. Northridge Kids can't and won't take that role away from you. However, we do want to partner with you. 

Northridge Kids doesn't exist as a ministry of Northridge Church simply to create bigger classes or better programs. Our Sunday morning experiences (the Nursery, Ark, Hot Spot and HighPoint) are the product we design to help start faith conversations while also encouraging and equipping parents with the tools they need to succeed in their goal of faith inspiration. So what is the mission of Northridge Kids? 

 

Our Mission: To partner with parents in order to inspire faith in the next generation. 

 

Your goals are our goals. Let's succeed together at inspiring faith in the next generation. 

                                                                                                                                           

Notes: 

*The Golden Circle image taken from Simon Sinek's book Start With Why