3. Explore the Unknown
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A couple of years ago, my son discovered geocaching. Who knew that in our little town, there are treasures literally around every corner? Our hunt for hidden treasure has drawn us to areas of our community that we didn't even know existed. When I feel completely sapped for creativity during our lazy days of summer, an easy way to get out exploring is to "go treasure hunting."
Treasure hunting can be done in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Our 6-year-old's version of treasure is old bottle caps and anything shiny, whereas our sons are sticks and unique rocks. Taking the time to slow down and allow our children to explore creates space for their imagination to run wild and connect with their environment.
As we watch our children discover the world around them, we have an opportunity to relearn and reconnect with our environment as well. While we explore, we can also draw out what our children are connecting with. Next time you go exploring with your littles—or perhaps if you're exploring for the first time—ask them what they enjoy about the area they are investigating. Encourage them to move slowly through your adventure together; this allows us to capture these memories as a family.
4. Nourish Their Souls
During the summer break, we try to sneak off for a few family trips. We love camping or discovering a new town. We love visiting different churches wherever our travels take us. My husband and I both work for our local church, but getting to visit another church helps remind us of the larger body of Christ.
On a recent trip, we visited my mom's church. My son and the pastor's son made quick friends, later telling me that, "he's a pastor's kid, I'm a pastor's kid, and pastor's kids gotta stick together." My daughter emerged from her Sunday school class with ten new best friends and told me that "she hopes to see all her friends again on our next visit."
Visiting different churches reminds me of Hebrews 10:25, "not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." These visits can help our children and us, for that matter, understand that there are many different expressions of the church. Even though we may be separated geographically, we are one body.
If you have the opportunity to visit a new church with your children this summer, engage with them in conversations about their experience in the children's ministry, ask them about worship and the lesson taught. Our children can teach us so much about faith; they see things with such purity.
Photo credit: © Getty Images/Nadezhda1906