Eight Ways to Soak Up the Last Days of Summer by Kristi Gravemann

Tyndale Kids


As the mom of two active young girls, I look forward to the more relaxed schedule that summer break allows. I relish the room for spontaneous fun, and we take full advantage of the summer sunshine that allows us to get outdoors before the cold weather visits again.

Every year our tradition is to make a list of the things we want to do before summer ends. Our list usually includes things like finding a new park to explore, catching frogs, and getting ice cream from our local ice cream shop. We enjoy simple pleasures like Popsicles in the backyard, making sand castles in the sandbox, swinging so high our feet almost touch the clouds, and catching lightning bugs as the sun sets on a blue-sky day.

If you’re like me, when the summer starts to wind down and school looms on the horizon, it’s easy to get caught up in back-to-school planning. But don’t let that stop you from squeezing in a few more summer memories. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

1. Host a drive-in movie night right in your driveway. Grab some cardboard boxes that are big enough for kids to sit in, and then round up your kids and their friends. Have the kids decorate the boxes to look like cars. When the sun gets low in the sky, project a kid-friendly movie onto your garage door or a sheet you hang from your garage while the kids sit in their “cars” in the driveway. Serve popcorn, juice boxes, and other You can also do this indoors if you have the space.


2. Make ice cream in a bag. After enjoying your ice cream on a hot summer afternoon, make extra and take some to your neighbors. Be sure to label the bags with the ingredients in case anyone has food allergies.

3. Create a treasure hunt in your backyard. Make a map or leave a series of clues that your kids can follow to find the treasure. The treasure can be items from the dollar section at your local store or something else that will appeal to your kids. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can easily bring this treasure hunt indoors.

4. Have a family night. You can host family night inside your house or in the backyard. Make your own pizzas, play your favorite games, and do some fun activities. You might want to introduce new games and activities by taking advantage of free downloadable games like The Story Travelers Bible game or the Make Your Own Chooser activity from Tyndale Kids.


5. Make your own bubbles. You’ll need:

  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup of blue dish detergent
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin (sold in craft stores)

Mix all three ingredients together and let the mixture sit for at least an hour, although 24 hours works best. Make bubble wands using two drinking straws and a length of yarn 6 to 8 times longer than the length of one straw. Thread the yarn through both straws and tie the yarn ends together. Your child can hold one straw in each hand while dipping into the bubble mixture. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few dips before you start seeing big bubbles. (Note: It’s best to blow the bubbles in the shade on a wind-free day.)

6. Take a train ride. If you have a commuter train near you, hop on the train with your kiddos and get off at another stop just to have lunch. Trust me—your kids will love taking the train to lunch rather than the car. And if you’re feeling adventurous before heading home, explore the local sites near the train station.

7. Stargaze. Look up information about the constellations on the Internet or at your local library, and then drive to an open area away from city lights to see if you can spot the constellations in the night sky.


8. Go to the library. Speaking of libraries, if you want to get out of the house and are looking for fun, indoor activities, many libraries offer wonderful free programs for the whole family throughout the summer.

No matter what you do these last few weeks of summer, may you find refreshment and make joy-filled family memories.

Psst! If you have some other favorite ideas to add, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Kristi Gravemann is the Marketing Manager for Tyndale Kids. She has spent over 16 years immersed in marketing and product development for a variety of globally recognized brands. Kristi is convinced that if scientists were to study her DNA, they would discover a children’s book gene. Reading and a love of learning have been hallmarks of Kristi’s life since childhood. She brings that same passion and enthusiasm to her marketing role on the Children and Youth team at Tyndale. She’s beyond blessed to market fantastic children’s books with solid, Biblical values that parents can trust.

Back-to-School Giveaway!

Tyndale Kidsschool-supplies-in-cart

As we head into the final weeks of summer vacation, it’s time to start preparing for another school year! For parents and their children, this means purchasing school supplies galore, readjusting to a school-appropriate sleep schedule, and getting back into the rhythm of reading and writing in preparation for upcoming homework assignments. For teachers, this means setting up their classrooms and starting to think through the first few weeks of lessons for their new class of students.


If you have a budding writer in your household, I recommend Larger-Than-Life Lara as the ideal tool for getting back into the schoolwork rhythm. Written from the perspective of ten-year-old narrator Laney Grafton, Larger-Than-Life Lara (by veteran Tyndale Kids author Dandi Daley Mackall) communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, and Climax. This writing-focused chapter book is sure to equip and inspire your young reader to write his or her own stories!

For any teachers looking to incorporate Larger-Than-Life Lara into their curriculum, we have developed a Resource Guide designed to correlate with the Common Core Language Arts Standards in Reading. With book-related discussion questions and lesson plan suggestions for a variety of subjects (Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Math, Art, and Bullying), this book will not disappoint! Click here to download the FREE Teaching Guide for Larger-Than-Life Lara!

To help with back-to-school supply shopping, we’re giving away a $50 Visa gift card to be applied toward the purchase of school supplies for the upcoming academic year! Use the form below to enter.

School Supplies Giveaway



Just Look Up Giveaway

Do you remember instant cameras, stationary, and the simpler things?

To celebrate the release of Courtney Walsh’s new novel, Just Look Up, you can enter for a chance to win a new instant camera and some awesome stationary items along with a copy of Just Look Up!

Here’s how to enter:

  • Fill out the form below
  • Sign up for Courtney’s email newsletter
  • Follow the directions for sharing to earn extra entries

We’ll announce the winner on July 24th!


Just Look Up

About the Book: Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.


Buy the book for 20% off from Tyndale.com in July >>

Kids Summer Reading eBook Deals!

Tyndale Kids


This July, we’re promoting several Tyndale Kids eBooks for only $0.99. As your elementary school children work toward accomplishing their summer reading goals—whether at home or on the road—encourage them to borrow your eReader and give these five fun titles a try! Click on the titles or book covers below to learn more.

willie's-redneck-time-machineWillie’s Redneck Time Machine (Be Your Own Duck Commander #1) by John Luke Robertson—Willie finds a mysterious wooden crate in the Duck Commander warehouse. Only John Luke is around, so the two of them open the box and find a time machine! Willie and John Luke test the machine and find themselves journeying back and forth in time.


death-trapDeath Trap (Robot Wars #1) by Sigmund Brouwer—Set in an experimental community on Mars in the year 2039, The Robot Wars series features fourteen-year-old virtual reality specialist Tyce Sanders. Life on the red planet is not always easy, but it is definitely exciting. Tyce finds that the mysteries of the planet point to his greatest discovery—a new relationship with God.


wild-thingWild Thing (Winnie the Horse Gentler #1) by Dandi Daley Mackall—Twelve-year-old Winnie Willis has a way with horses, but other parts of her life don’t always come as easily. Along with her dad and sister, Lizzy, Winnie is learning how to live without her mom. As Winnie teaches her horses about unconditional love and blind trust, God shows Winnie that he can be trusted too.  In Wild Thing, Winnie’s fearful heart finally begins to trust God again as she tries to gentle the horse of her dreams, Wild Thing.


haunted-watersHaunted Waters (Red Rock Mysteries #1) by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry—Watch out! The Timberline twins are on the loose. Bryce and Ashley are ATV-riding tweens from Colorado who unearth action-packed mystery and adventure wherever they go. From clearing the name of a local miscreant to thwarting a gold-stealing heist, the twins’ growing faith and the strong example of their parents guide them through even the most life-threatening situations.


the-vanishingsThe Vanishings (Left Behind: The Kids #1) by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye—This series is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. Readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind.



Click here to download a FREE Summer Reading Chart for your kids!

For a more complete list of Tyndale Kids chapter books (all available in eBook), head to tyndale.com/kids/fiction

Wow Your Kids with God’s Good News

Tyndale Kids

How would your kids react if you told them you were heading out on a trip to Disney World tomorrow? Would that good news thrill them? I’m guessing they would probably jump up and down, maybe yell with excitement, and want to share their happiness with all of their friends.

How can you foster that kind of enthusiasm in your kids when they think about the good news of the gospel? It can be daunting to think about teaching your children to love and follow Christ. We often feel unequipped to be the teacher in this case. But, take heart, it’s really not that hard! Below are four simple ways you can help your little ones develop a love and passion for what God has done for them.



1. Meet them at their level. Use age appropriate language and activities as you introduce your children to the greatest story ever told. If you are talking above their level, boredom can set in and their attention will wander—along with their little bodies. Presenting the gospel at a level they can understand will not only encourage learning but will also help it stick with them for the rest of their lives. If you are looking for a book to help explain the gospel in a simple, but profound way, take a look at Wow! The Good News in Four Words by Dandi Daley Mackall. You and your kids will love it!


father-with-daughter-on-dock2. Make it interactive. Children are kinesthetic learners, meaning they tend to learn by physically engaging in the learning process. Studies show that kids retain more information when they use multiple senses as they take in new concepts. You can capitalize on this by playing games, creating opportunities for them to recreate what they have learned through artistic expression such as coloring and painting, and acting out various Bible stories together.



mother-researching-with-kids3. Engage kids in the learning process. Think of ways your children can help you research Bible stories, figure out the meanings of words they don’t already know, and learn more about the cultural and geographical background of a Bible story. The more they are responsible for learning themselves, the more they will remember as they grow up.




family-together-by-river4. Let them see your love for God and His story. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to model a genuine love and thankfulness to God for who He is and all He has done for us. Children are very perceptive, and your authentic excitement for the gospel will help to create a desire in them to build the same type of relationship with their Heavenly Father.




Developing a love for God and an attitude of gratefulness for what He has done for us can be a delight for you as a parent and a life-changing experience for your child. Start today and watch your kids flourish as they grow to love the One who created them.

Linda Howard is Associate Publisher for Kids and Youth products at Tyndale House Publishers. She has been with Tyndale since 2007.