April 2017 Posts

Make a Road Trip Activity Kit for Your Kids!


Like most kids, I grew up going on long car rides with my family. When things between my sisters and me got a little too rowdy, my dad would often announce that it was time to play Can’t Talk Until You See!

Can’t Talk Until You See was a more competitive version of Eye Spy, where one person would pick a clue (a green mailbox, the letter U, etc.) and everyone tried to be the first to find the item.

There was one major parental advantage to Can’t Talk Until You See: Everyone in the car had to be quiet until the clue was found.

My parents, the geniuses that they were, gamified silence. It wasn’t until my midtwenties that I realized this wasn’t a game that everyone played.

While I stand by the idea that Can’t Talk Until You See was an ingenious game, it’s never a bad idea to have something a little less competitive ready for long car rides.

Bible Sleuth: Old Testament and Bible Sleuth: New Testament are seek-and-find books featuring Mike, an adventurous kid who travels through time to observe some of the greatest stories of the Bible.

Each spread tells a Bible story and gives kids eight items to search for in the detailed illustrations.

It’s the perfect addition to any road trip activity kit!

To make an activity kit, find an inexpensive canvas bag that you can hang over the headrest of your car. You could even buy one for each of your kids and let them decorate it with fabric markers.

Pack your activity kit with things like . . .

  • A dollar store sheet pan, which can act as a canvas for magnetic letters or games
  • Washable markers, colored pencils, and a pencil sharpener (be careful of using crayons that might melt in hot cars)
  • Coloring books (like this one by Ellen Elliott!)
  • Pipe cleaners or Wikki Stix
  • Small toys like race cars or finger puppets
  • Beads to be sorted or strung on necklaces
  • Sticker or activity books (click here to see some fun, faith-based examples!)
  • Paper for License Plate Bingo or other simple paper and pen games
  • A seek-and-find book like Bible Sleuth: Old Testament and Bible Sleuth: New Testament

For more road trip entertainment for your little ones, head to www.tyndale.com/youth.

Clean & Green by Gary Bower

TyndaleKidsQuick! Name your five favorite holidays. I’ll bet Christmas made that list, and most likely Easter and Thanksgiving. Kids may think of Halloween candy or Fourth of July fireworks. Perhaps you can picture roses for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Did the environment pop into your head? I doubt it. But April 22 marks the observance of the 47th Earth Day, established in 1970 to stimulate awareness of the environment and to celebrate our natural resources. Two key words are the focus: clean and green. Earth Day is intended as a reminder for us to protect our green forests and to work for cleaner water and air. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the benefits of lush, healthy trees, a cold glass of clear water, and a breath of fresh air?


Writing my new book The Beautiful Garden of Eden took my thoughts back to a perfectly green, clean world. Imagine the celebration that took place in the heart of God our Creator during that first “Earth Week.” Everything that He so joyfully made He pronounced “very good.” Picture the “trees that swayed in the breeze.” Clean air. Pure streams. Of course, how could the environment have been anything but beautiful? It all came out of God’s crystal clear heart and perfectly pure mind.


When God graciously turned over this clean, green paradise to a man to steward, He also gave Adam clear instructions which, we are painfully aware, Adam chose to ignore. As I wrote in my book, the result was a “crushing, calamitous curse that made the world wayward and woefully worse.”


(Does that sound like too tough of a tongue-twister? Don’t underestimate your kids! I’ve heard this phrase effortlessly roll off the tongues of even three-, four-, and five-year-olds with delightful giggles!)


Earth Day presents an opportunity

As traditional media outlets, social media, and community events try to remind people to recycle, reduce fuel emissions, buy locally, and think green, I thought I’d offer some further suggestions you might not hear from these sources. You can use Earth Day as an opportunity and The Beautiful Garden of Eden as a tool to help your child understand the importance of clean and green.

  1. “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it . . .” (Psalm 24:1, NLT). Every plant, every creature, the oceans, lakes, and rivers, the atmosphere . . . all of it. It’s all His creation, His idea. It’s created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11) and sustained by His power (Colossians 1:17). Stewardship is not about Mother Nature (whoever she is) or saving life on earth from extinction (as if we could). Help your child understand that being a good steward means realizing that this is God’s world and acting like we truly believe it by acknowledging, appreciating, and honoring God for His goodness and His handiwork.
  2. The environment is not our biggest problem. The earth is not in its present predicament because Adam failed to recycle, plant enough seeds, or reduce his carbon footprint. Our world’s horrible problems (the crushing, calamitous curse) are the fruit of mankind’s pride and rebellion (Romans 5:12). Sin is the biggest toxin on planet earth, and it has polluted the human heart. Perfection came from God’s heart; perversion came from man’s. When we do things our way instead of God’s way, we get our results instead of God’s results. Cleaning your neighborhood or recycling as a family can offer an opportunity to help your child see the cause-and-effect connection between choices and consequences.
  3. Nobody cleans like God can. Children can easily see that some tasks are just too big. Like trying to clean up an oil spill of millions of gallons with paper towels, our own efforts to purify our hearts are hopeless (Jeremiah 17:10). God provides the only cleanser able to do the job—the blood of Jesus Christ. Help each family member try to grasp the extent of God’s love for them, and His plan to “save the earth” (John 3:16; 1 John 1:7-9; Romans 6:23). Help them to really understand what it means to repent, confess, trust, and believe.
  4. Think Green. What comes to mind when you think of the color green? I think of the new life of springtime, a healthy lawn, a thriving garden. The New Living Translation has a beautiful word picture that you might want to share with your loved ones:

    “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat  or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” — Jeremiah 17:7-8


Gary Bower has written over twenty books for children. A retired children’s pastor, Gary and his wife, Jan, have twelve children and twenty-three grandchildren. They enjoy their own beautiful garden near Traverse City, Michigan, where Jan does most of the work and Gary does most of the eating. Learn more at Gary’s website, or find Gary on Facebook.

Hymns for Every Day of the Year from The One Year Book of Hymns

The celebrated songs of our Christian faith express timeless truths.

The One Year Book of Hymns shares them in a brand new way! Each day’s devotional includes the text of a classic hymn or song, the inside story about the author or origin of the song, and a related Scripture passage.

You’ll be refreshed by the mighty words that have uplifted God’s people through the ages.

Click on the image below to download these beautiful songs:

There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood by William Cowper (1731–1800)

Am I a Soldier of the Cross? by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Wonderful Grace of Jesus by Haldor Lillenas (1885–1959)

I Will Sing of My Redeemer by Philip Paul Bliss (1838–1876)

I Know That My Redeemer Lives by Samuel Medley (1738–1799)

Redeemed by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820–1915)

My Faith Looks Up to Thee by Ray Palmer (1808–1887)

Depth of Mercy! by Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Learn more about The One Year Book of Hymns and other One Year devotionals on Tyndale.com.

Make the Ordinary Extraordinary

The following post is from A Day at the Beach Devotional by Jedd and Todd Hafer. Save 20% when you order the devotional in April 2017!

You’ve folded that last T-shirt, paid all of your bills, and (finally) replaced the lifeless light bulb.

Caught up on e-mail? Check.

Urgent call returned? Affirmative.

Then, instead of crossing a few more tasks off your to-do list, you smile.

Breathe deeply.

You feel satisfied, centered—like you’ve just finished final exams and summer vacation lies ahead.

Being faithful in even the small things?

Such devotion elicits a reward . . . a hard-earned break.

Somewhere, there is a beach with your name on it.

True, you haven’t cured a disease or solved world hunger, but you’ve done something well.

Your home, your life—brand it as more organized and efficient. Better.

For this, it’s good to thank God.

In the common tasks of every day we can find ourselves at our most focused, disciplined, and poised as we work to move our lives forward.

Keeping the shore in view and not drifting out to sea.

This is about bringing skill and dedication and, yes, love to the mundane.

This is transforming the mundane into the meaningful.

Do you love every one of your daily tasks? Probably not.

Most of them are no day at the beach.

But can you do every task with love—love for a spouse, a child, and life itself? Yes.

Can you do it with love for God, who makes it all possible?

Yes. Most definitely, yes.

When we are present in the everyday moments, we find that God is present with us.

And where God is, the flicker of a holy flame can help us see the commonplace in a whole new light.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21



Download the entire first chapter of A Day at the Beach HERE. Learn more about the devotional and the Hafer brothers on Tyndale.com. Browse all devotionals HERE.


Teach Your Toddler to Show Love with Where Does Love Hide?

TyndaleKidsChildren can understand love at a very young age. They know that their parents love them, and they know that they are taken care of and protected. The key is teaching children how to take what they’ve learned about love and express that love to their friends and family.

In Where Does Love Hide by Mary Manz Simon, she teaches children that they can do more than just receive love, they can give love, too! Simon writes about practical, age-appropriate ways that toddlers can show love. Each activity is hidden behind a charming lift-the-flap, and includes a short memory verse that your toddler can understand.

You can teach your toddler even more about showing love with this fun activity!

Finding Kindness Game

You will need…

  • Our downloadable kindness clues (Download them here!)
  • A dozen plastic Easter eggs
  • Scissors
  • Candies or small treats (optional)


  1. Cut out the kindness clues and tuck them inside the plastic Easter eggs. You can write your own prompts in the blanks, or hide treats in the other half dozen eggs.
  2. Hide the eggs around a room. Remember to think like a toddler! Hide the eggs where they can easily reach them.
  3. Help your toddler find the eggs. As they find the eggs, read the prompts and complete the activity. Talk to your toddler about how they can show love through their actions. Explain to them that we love each other because Jesus loved us first (1 John 4:19).


PackagingIn Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God’s love! Learn more at Tyndale.com.