Friendships and Water Go Together by Karen Whiting

Tyndale Kids

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Splish! Splash! Children gravitate to water fun; and giggles increase with a friend to splash along. Let your child invite one or more friends to come and play outside with water. Keep towels on hand for children who want to dry their eyes, and be sure to encourage young ones in taking turns and sharing. Snap some photos so your child can talk about the time after their friend leaves then e-mail the pictures to the friend. The photos will help them remember the fun they shared and will help build bonds between them.

 

Fun and Safety

A pool is fun and helps with gross motor skills, but even basins of water or sprinklers can be a hit. Discuss water safety before letting children take a plunge. Children can drown in just an inch of water. Teach your child to relax around water but not to go in without an adult, even if they know how to swim. It’s a good habit to make a simple adult-supervisor necklace. Use a small plastic lid and write “Adult” on it with a permanent marker. Punch a hole and string the lid on a cord. Have an adult wear it to make sure there is someone designated to watch the children.

 

Water! Water Everywhere!

Simple water fun can be done anywhere outside. Paintbrushes and buckets of water make it fun to paint disappearing art on almost any surface outdoors. It’s also a great way to get children to help clean outdoor areas!

Freeze some colored water before friends arrive to add to the cool excitement.

 

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Do a sponge toss.

Count how many children will be participating in the activity, noting the ages of each child. Cut a sponge apart for every child, creating enough pieces to match how many years old each child is. (For example, a three-year-old’s sponge would be cut into three pieces.) Number each sponge’s pieces starting with the number one, and toss the labeled sponge pieces into the water. Starting with number one, the children should grab each piece of their sponge. While the older children may be faster, the younger ones will have fewer to collect. Then use the wet sponges for a water-sponge toss. (Optional: Use different colored sponges for each child.)

 

Water and Faith

Set up a station with dolls for girls to bathe their babies. Boys can set up a wash station for their riding toys or action figures. Talk about baptism and Jesus while they clean their dolls or other toys. Let them try some feats with action figures and dolls such as walking on the water. Talk about Jesus and water (he boated, walked on water, and even calmed a storm).

 

Differences in Ability

You’ll probably notice a big difference in swimming ability among children. Since my late husband served in the Coast Guard, we taught our babies to swim starting at two weeks old. Other children might not start lessons until they are school age. Don’t start a swim competition unless children have equal swimming ability.

 

 

Water and Math

All of them can enjoy splashing and playing in water. Put out empty cups and containers for children to fill and to pour back and forth in containers. Use some measuring cups to give them simple math lessons as they play. They can even try to fill cups under a sprinkler and see how much longer that takes than scooping water from a bucket or the pool.

 

Ice Cubes

Take those frozen, colored cubes you made and add them to the body of water. Children may squeal as they touch the icy cubes. They will enjoy swirling them and watching them melt in the cold water. Discuss how water changes from liquid to solid when put in the freezer and how it turns back to liquid as it warms up. Use some of the ice cubes for cube races to see how fast they slide down an incline. Have an ice cube toss.

 

Hydration

Since children are in the heat as they play, make sure they drink plenty of water. Set up a station where they can add in berries, lemon and orange wedges, or sprigs of mint to flavor the water. Talk about dehydration and signs of it (chapped lips, feeling hot, flushed, thirsty) and add a salty snack to help them retain fluids.


Check out the “Princess in Action” section of each day in The One Year My Princess Devotions for other water-fun ideas and more from Karen Whiting!


karen-whiting-author

Karen Whiting is an author and speaker with thirteen published books and hundreds of articles and short pieces for over four dozen publishers including Focus on the Family Magazine and Christian Parenting Today. She was a contributing writer for Focus on Your Child 2008-2009. She writes a quarterly article for Enrichment Journal for pastors and leaders of the Assemblies of God, a quarterly column for Discipleship Ideas magazine, and a family page for a monthly denominational newspaper. Whiting has also been the community producer and host of the television series Puppets on Parade for Miami educational TV.

Whiting has a heart for families and encourages families to connect and live more fully for God. She is a mother of five and a grandmother.

To learn more about Karen Whiting, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

How to Keep Breathing When All Seems Lost

From the earliest days of our marriage, I longed for and prayed for a large family.

My dream of love-filled, chaotic Christmas mornings came true when my only son presented me with the six most precious grandchildren on earth. They lived hundreds of miles away, but miles can’t affect the love of a grandma.

Each phone call was a treasure and each visit a joy of epic proportions. Is there a treasure of more worth than a ringing phone followed by six little voices yelling in unison across the miles, “I love you, Mimi!”?

Fourteen years of ever-increasing grandparent bliss came to an abrupt end with a sudden and bitter divorce.

Anger, hatred, and vengeance tore my world apart when my ex-daughter-in-law definitively declared my husband and I were no longer allowed any contact with our six little loves.

We had no rights or recourse.

The pain was beyond what words can convey. A good portion of our prayers were simply tears squeezed from broken hearts. “Why?” “What is the purpose?” “How can we I go on?”

It was six years before the first of our babies was old enough to re-establish contact. The sound of her voice on the phone bathed my shredded heart with a life-regenerating balm.

Over the next two years, two more of our precious ones came of age and chose to come back into our lives.

As I was in the process of directing the portrayal of Paul in Romans 8 of the NLT audio New Testament, Breathe, the fourth contacted us and came for a visit.

It was the first time we had even spoken to her in over ten years.

I listened in as the words of Paul, voiced by Kurt Naebig, sprang to life . . . and the words of God, penned by Paul, sprang to life within my heart:

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28).

Three of our grandchildren have chosen to relocate to be close to us and one visits and calls on a regular basis. But there are still two who have grown up outside our world.

The twins were only five years old the last time we saw those sweet little faces. It has been twelve years since we held them close.

We do not know the purpose in our lives or the lives of our grandchildren for the years of separation and pain.

But as I heard Kurt Naebig read Romans 8:28, I was impacted again with the fact that God has a plan for my life and my grandchildren’s lives.

True faith stands through times that seem hopeless, secure in the knowledge that all things work together for good.

True faith stands through times that seem hopeless, secure in the knowledge that all things work together for good.

Even when traumatic loss rips all sense from life—the Holy Spirit strengthens us, prays the prayers that are too agonizing to voice on our own —and allows us to walk forward, ever closer to the glory revealed to us through Jesus.

There are days when success is remembering to just breathe.

Just breathe deep…. and inhale the grace and goodness of God. 

And then—exhale the stress and the strains of life. 

There is a way to breathe—that exhales worries and inhales the Word. 

It’s a strange grace—how in the spaces between the words of His Words — our soul finds the space it desperately needs to finally breathe.


The Breathe Bible Audio New Testament is a remarkably vivid listening experience that transports you into the world of the Bible. Performed in the New Living Translation by a cast of internationally acclaimed film, television and recording artists, this captivating multi-million dollar audio production features cinema-quality sound with an original music score. It’s an experience you will never forget. The Breathe Bible Audio New Testament—“It’s like being there.” Not only are 18 CDs are included in this premium audio product, it also includes a code to receive the user friendly mobile App for free! Listen however you like!

Learn more HERE.

This story was written by Brenda Noel and originally posted on Annvoskamp.com.

The Key to Courageous Conversations

 

They said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4

Most of us spend our lives trying to project an image of beauty and competence.

Certainly, we want others to think highly of us, but one of the things I respect most about people is their ruthless honesty—about themselves and their situations.

Nehemiah had a plum job.

He was working closely with the king, and he lived a life of luxury.

His heart, though, beat in unison with God’s heart.

He cared about the things God cares about, and when he heard that the people in Jerusalem were suffering, his heart broke.

He didn’t minimize the problem, and he didn’t fly into a panic of mindless activity.

Instead, he let the brutal truth sink in, and he responded appropriately: He sat down and wept.

Nehemiah had a courageous conversation with the messenger, then he had a courageous conversation with God.

Only courageous people are known for their honesty.

It’s a lot easier to look the other way when we see needs in our lives or in the lives of people around us.

We can give the excuse that we’ve tried as hard as we can or that we don’t have time to help a person in need.

But excuses don’t cut it.

Like Nehemiah, we need to let the truth sink into our hearts so we can respond with genuine compassion.

This is just the first part of Nehemiah’s story.

He then took bold action to gather resources, inspire the people, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Successful action, though, starts with ruthless honesty about the need.

What are some needs in your own life and in the lives of those around you?

How would being honest about those needs become a springboard for change?

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth. But most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” Winston Churchill

*****

From The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar by Zig Ziglar and Dwight “Ike” Reighard

In The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar, Zig has gathered his insights on what the Bible says about success in life into the popular, bestselling One Year page-a-day format. Now, with this One Year devotional, it’s easy to create a positive, biblical, and achievement-oriented outlook on life. Perfect for starting your workday the right way.

Learn more HERE. 

Good Intentions by Matt Hammitt

Tyndale Kids

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Matt Hammitt, lead singer of Sanctus Real and author of  I Couldn’t Love You More,  shares a poem he wrote about fatherhood and the struggles fathers can face as they try to “lead through actions, not just intentions, Spiritual servants, emotionally present.” Happy Father’s Day! 

Good Intentions
by Matt Hammitt

I wanted to be a good leader, husband, father, and friend,
But when I heard my family cry, “Lead me,” I wasn’t sure what to do next.
I always had good intentions, knew what I should do and could be,
But I felt stuck on the treadmill of life and work,
Lost in ideas and dreams.

As time went on through some difficult lessons,
I started to clearly see that my good intentions without any actions,
Were worthless to everyone but me.

My good intentions were a seed without soil,
With nowhere or way to grow.

My good intentions were a car without wheels,
With no way of getting down the road.

I used to say never stop dreaming,
And maybe that’s still a good thing,
But there’s no point in dreaming,
If you never start doing,
Cause without doing, nothing can change.

So I took the intentions in my head and my heart,
Started using my hands to build a home,
Make a mark.

I scheduled time to be together,
Create moments,
Cultivate laughter,
Read God’s Word,
Teach and learn.

Pray with each other,
Become a better listener,
Spend quality time, not just talk about it,
Face a hard issue instead of skating around it.

Raising a family,
Building a home,
Creating a safe place to be loved and known.

I’m just one little house, but imagine a world,
where daddies were always there for their girls.
They silenced their phones and shut out the noise,
To focus on wrestling through life with their boys.
Leading through actions, not just intentions,
Spiritual servants, emotionally present.
Imagine a world where every child felt loved,
Where women weren’t lonely ‘cause they felt understood.
A world where families stayed together,
The fabric of culture grew stronger and better,
Less about me, more about us,
Sacrificially building a home with true love.


Matt Hammitt is the lead singer and a founding member of the band Sanctus Real. He is the co-author (along with Jason Ingram) of  I Couldn’t Love You More, a sweet story with a loving, yet powerful message: I couldn’t love you more, but there is someone who does. This engaging picture book combines lovable and irresistible images with the lyrics from the song I Couldn’t Love You More, on Sanctus Real’s album, Every Fallen Tear.

When Matt and his wife, Sarah, were halfway through her third pregnancy, they discovered their son would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital defect. Matt and Sarah’s son, Bowen, was born on 9/9/10 and received a huge following through the Hammitts’ blog (bowensheart.com), K-LOVE, and ABC News. A portion of the proceeds from the book I Couldn’t Love You More  goes to the foundation the Hammitts have started to help parents with children who have this heart condition.


Select kids titles are on sale now at Tyndale.com! Head to tyndale.com/youth to learn more.

Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway!

Tyndale Kids

Summer is finally here, and a break from school brings time for family adventures . . . including road trips! Keep your kids entertained with hours of car-friendly fun, found in this Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway!

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This prize pack includes:

Enter below for your chance to win!

Ultimate Road Trip Giveaway


For more ideas on building a road trip kit for your kids, check out this post!