Crystal Bowman Posts

14 New Activities for Your Next Summer Road Trip

Tyndale Kids

van-in-parking-lotThis summer, we asked the Tyndale Kids Team about their favorite summer road-trip activities. These fabulous ideas are sure to result in endless hours of road-tripping fun, this summer and beyond. Enjoy!


From Teri McKinley (Coauthor of Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? and Does God Take Naps?):

  • Pictionary Alphabet Game. While in the car, give each passenger some paper and a pencil. As you travel, draw pictures of things you see that start with each letter of the alphabet. For example, for the letter A, draw an armadillo you see on the side of the road; for B, draw a bumper sticker you see on the back of a car. The first person to draw pictures for all twenty-six letters of the alphabet wins! Consider giving the winner a prize, such as choosing where you will eat or picking a treat at the gas station.coloring-drawing-markers-activities

From Kathryn O’Brien (Author of the “My First Bible Memory” board books):

  • Endless Coloring. Let your kids draw and color to their hearts’ content without ever running out of paper! Here’s how: Check the dollar store for an eight-by-ten-inch picture frame. Cut a piece of white construction paper to size, slip it into the photo slot, and replace the back of the frame. Buy a package of dry-erase markers, bring along an old sock for an eraser, and voila! You have a do-it-yourself mini-whiteboard. The easy wipe-off boards can also be used for games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Pictionary, or Dots and Boxes.

From Sarah Jean Collins (Author of God Made the World ):

  • Person, Place, or Thing. One game we always played as a family while growing up was Person, Place, or Thing. It’s basically the same as Twenty Questions, but without the limit on the number of questions. One person picks something that is either a person, place, or thing, and everyone guesses what it is by asking yes or no questions. When we play this game with our four-year-old daughter, we let her be on a team with either me or her dad. It’s a simple game, but it can get competitive; and our daughter’s contributions are always entertaining.

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From Linda Howard, Associate Publisher for Tyndale Kids:

  • Family Karaoke. When my daughter was young and our family took road trips together, we would create a playlist of favorite songs to listen to while we were on the road. We’d sing together at the top of our lungs and make up silly choreography to go along with the lyrics. My husband, my daughter, and I still talk about the fun we had while traveling together!
  • Scattergories for Little People. Another game that my grandkids love to play on long road trips resembles the game of Scattergories. Someone in the car picks a letter of the alphabet, and the whole car then works together to come up with as many words as they can that begin with that letter. You’d be amazed at the hours of entertainment this simple game provides for little ones!

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From Jesse Doogan, Tyndale Kids Acquisitions Editor:

  • Can’t Talk until You See. I was in my midtwenties before I realized that not everyone plays Can’t Talk until You See. It’s basically I Spy, but it has the added benefit of competitive quietness. The person who is “it” chooses an object, such as a red mailbox, and everyone else has to find that object. While the players are searching, no one is allowed to talk—not even the person who is “it.” (This rule was added as soon as we kids were old enough to figure out loopholes! Around that same time, we also learned that mom is always allowed to talk and cannot lose the game.) When one of the searchers finds the item, they yell “there it is!” That person becomes “it” and chooses the next object.

From Tim Wolf, Tyndale Kids Buyer:

  • The Name Game. This road-trip game is perfect for your slightly older travelers. To start the game, decide on a theme for the first round, such as “Movie Titles.” The first player comes up with a word or phrase that fits that theme. The second player must use the last letter of the first player’s word or phrase as the starting letter in their own response. Keep the list going until a player is stumped by a specific letter.

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From Emily Bonga, Publishing and Marketing Coordinator:

  • The State License Plate Game. Work together as a family to find as many different state license plates as possible throughout your trip. Each time you find a new one, brainstorm the different things you know about that state. For example, identify the state’s major cities, popular sports teams, climate, etc. If anyone in the car has visited the state, invite that person to share favorite memories from their trip.

From Kristi Gravemann, Tyndale Kids Marketing Manager:

  • The Shared Story Game. One person in the car starts by telling a story. It can be something as simple as a sentence or two, just to get the story going. Then, another passenger pipes in, providing an additional sentence or so to continue the narrative. Keep alternating, with each person adding a bit to the story when it’s their turn. This game is a fun way to practice teamwork and to use imagination at the same time!
  • The Imagination Game. My daughters love to look around at our fellow travelers and imagine where they are going. These can be people in an overhead airplane or driving in the next lane on the highway. Give each traveler a backstory, answering questions such as, Where are they coming from? and Where are they headed? This game is a fun way to spark creativity in your kids during a long drive.

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From Crystal Bowman (Coauthor of Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? and Does God Take Naps?):

  • ABC Bible Characters. For every letter of the alphabet, think of as many names as possible from the Bible. For example, A: Adam, Abel, Aaron, Abigail, Anna. Write the names on a piece of paper and see which letter has the most names. Try to do this without using your Bible, but some letters might be challenging, so if you need a little help, open it up and see what you can find.

Krom Kelsey O’Kelley, Tyndale Kids Production Assistant:

  • Road Trip Trivia. When my family went on road trips, we took along a pack of United States Trivia cards. We left the game board behind and brought only the cards and a pad of paper. The paper was used to keep track of points for correctly answered questions. I highly recommend bringing cards from your favorite trivia game on your next road trip.

From Sarah Rubio, Tyndale Kids Editor:

  • The “I’m Going on a Trip” Alphabet Game. One game that I loved growing up was the “I’m Going on a Trip” alphabet game. The first person says, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m bringing [something that starts with the letter A].” The next person repeats the first person’s item and adds something that starts with the letter B. This continues until the last person is required to repeat the entire alphabet of items.
  • I also love audiobooks for road trips! We’ve listened to some Focus on the Family Radio Theater albums as a family, such as this Ultimate Road Trip Family Vacation Collection, which I definitely recommend.

 


Here’s to an eventful, fun-filled family road trip this summer!
Did you try out any of these road-trip ideas? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below and let us know about your experience.


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The Three Powerful Prayers of Motherhood by Stephanie Rische

Tyndale Kids

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I am far from having a PhD in motherhood; in fact, this is my first Mother’s Day with a child in my arms. But that’s long enough for me to know this: being a mom comes with all the feelings.

There’s something about being a mom that takes any given emotion and injects it with steroids. Sure, I experienced worry before I became a mom. But now if my baby so much as sneezes, I’m convinced that this is the twenty-first-century version of the bubonic plague. I used to feel pain, too, but that was nothing compared to the vicarious pain I felt on his first trip to the ER. I felt delight before, but nothing could have prepared me for the way my heart would swell the first time he smiled at me (even if was just gas).

baby-smiling-with-motherAs I read Scripture, it occurs to me that this phenomenon of maternal emotion is nothing new. In the story of Hannah, we see a woman who experienced the full gamut of mom-feelings—all within the span of two chapters. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in this swirl of emotion. But even more consoling is that God doesn’t just tolerate our spectrum of feelings; he affirms them.

Maybe you’ve bought into the idea that expects a little, well, decorum when we come to him. We figure that approaching him with our requests is like interviewing for a job or applying for a grant: we need to pull ourselves together first, and we certainly shouldn’t have any mascara running down our cheeks in the process. But Hannah’s story is proof that God welcomes us just as we are, with our full range of emotions.

woman-praying-with-bibleAnd believe it or not, there’s actually a gift that comes with strong emotion: it can drive us to our knees. All the emotion bubbling inside us can drive us to more fervent—and more frequent—prayers than we’d muster up otherwise.

This was certainly the case for Hannah. She prayed three mother-prayers for her child, and all these years later, they are the prayers all of us moms need.


Please.

Hannah’s journey to motherhood was a long and arduous one, having longed for a child for years. At the Tabernacle, she poured out her heart to the Lord, not holding back an ounce of her anguish. She prayed so fervently that the priest assumed she was drunk. “I am a woman who is deeply troubled,” she said. “I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief” (1 Samuel 1:15-16).

expectant-mother-hands-on-stomachGod heard the heartfelt “please” of this mom-to-be and answered the desire of her heart. We, too, can come to the Lord with our requests, both for ourselves and for our children, knowing that he hears and that he cares about the things closest to our hearts.


Thank you.

The Lord graciously answered Hannah’s prayers and gave her a son, Samuel, which means “heard by God.” Every time she said his name, it was a reminder of God’s faithfulness. “She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’” (1 Samuel 1:20).

mother-and-daughter-walking-togetherJust as Hannah brought her full grief to the Lord, she also brought her full gratitude to the Lord. In 1 Samuel 2, we read her song of praise, which opens with these joyful words: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong” (1 Samuel 2:1). After God answers our prayers, it’s so easy to move on to the next problem, the next request. We get stuck in “please” mode and forget to say thank you. But Hannah’s example reminds us to bring both the sorrows and the joys of motherhood to the Lord.


They’re yours.

This is perhaps the most difficult prayer for a mother to utter. We’re wired to protect and nurture our children, which is a good, God-given instinct. However, we sometimes forget that these children aren’t really ours. God has entrusted them to us, but ultimately, they belong to him.

willow-tree-mother-and-sonAfter all those years of waiting, it would have been easy for Hannah to cling tightly to her son. He was her miracle-child, after all! But she never forgot that Samuel was first and foremost God’s child, and when he was just a few years old, she brought him to the Tabernacle so he could serve the Lord for the rest of his life. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).


Whatever emotions you are experiencing this Mother’s Day, I invite you to bring them to our gracious God, who welcomes our tears and our joy—and everything in between. Let those feelings be transformed into prayers in his presence.

Please. Thank you. They’re yours.


Stephanie Rische is a senior editor and team leader at Tyndale House Publishers, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman, Christian Marriage Today, and Significant Living magazine. You can follow Stephanie’s blog at www.StephanieRische.com.


Don’t miss these books about motherhood from Tyndale Kids!

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Incorporating Education into Story Time by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

Tyndale Kids

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From Crystal:

As a grandmother, I remember the days of raising three young children. We spent a lot of time at home, playing and learning. My kids were full of questions: “Why do ducks quack?” “Do worms yawn?” “Can Jesus fly?” “What’s that noise?” I loved being the one to teach my children about the world around them, but to be honest, those never-ending questions occasionally wore me out. I always looked forward to bedtime reading when I could dispense knowledge to my eager children, but my tired brain wasn’t always up to it. That’s why I especially loved reading children’s books that offered questions and answers. It opened conversations in a way that was enjoyable for all of us.

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From Teri:

As a mother of a toddler, I already feel the urge to prepare my son for school. Because of the Technological Age we live in, our kids are expected to know a lot before they even begin kindergarten. While I want to equip my son for school, I also want him to enjoy learning and embrace the freedom of being a child. I am hungry for resources that can cater to all of these needs. There is something about reading a book with my son in my lap that is beautifully simplistic. It takes the focus off of achievement and places it on connection. And through these special snuggle times, it’s amazing to see the knowledge he gains.

Our Shared Vision:

Our latest picture books launch a new series called “I’ve Got Questions.” Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? and Does God Take Naps? are picture books created for inquisitive children ages three to seven. The question-and-answer rhyming text is whimsical and delightful to read, yet the books have an educational component that makes learning fun for the child. The questions in each book will stimulate a child’s thought process, while the answers are a “gift” to the adult reader. What’s especially unique about these books is the way they introduce children to basic STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts that are pivotal to education.

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Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? is all about animals that kids love—from monkeys and elephants to skunks and bears and ladybugs. As young children begin to explore the world outside of their home, they naturally engage with animals and nature. They notice birds in trees, bugs on flowers, and worms crawling across the sidewalk. They mimic animal sounds and animal movements. This is the beginning of their experience with the natural sciences. In this book, children will dig deeper into educational aspects of the natural world, such as why cows moo and why ducks quack. Do you know how to tell a boy ladybug from a girl ladybug? You will—after reading this book!

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Does God Take Naps? builds a bridge between science and faith, helping children understand the character of God in relation to the natural world. They can learn who God is and what he does. Scientific minds will learn that God created the stars and put them in outer space. They will learn that God rules the universe and keeps everything in place. Mathematical minds may try to calculate how old God is, and the answer given in the book keeps the adult from having to say, “I don’t know.” Inquisitive minds might wonder if God eats vegetables or takes naps. Pet lovers will wonder if God has pets. The answers are fun to discover together as you turn the pages. Children will also learn that God is loving and kind: “God cares about your problems. And sees each of your tears. . . . And nothing in the whole wide world is greater than his love.”

As experienced parents and caretakers, we hope you cherish the heart behind the “I’ve Got Questions” series. Our desire is for you to connect with the children in your life while teaching them important truths about God and the world around them. With the holidays around the corner it’s a great time to sit down for a good story, a moment of learning, and some one-on-one snuggle time. We hope these books will be a gift that can be enjoyed over and over again!


This Christmas season, teach your children the story of Jesus’ birth with M is for Manger  by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley! Beautifully illustrated and written, this rhyming storybook will be a classic for parents to read to their children every Christmas.

Available in both hardcover and board book format. 


Crystal Bowman is a former preschool teacher, award-winning author, national speaker, and Mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). She has written more than 100 books for children, three books for women, numerous magazine articles, and Bible study materials. She also writes stories for Clubhouse Jr. magazine and lyrics for children’s piano music.

She has written books for many popular children’s series, such as Little Blessings, BOZ the Bear, and I Can Read! She has co-authored Our Daily Bread for KidsMy Mama and Me, and M is for Manger with her daughter, Teri McKinley. She and her husband live in Florida.

To learn more about Crystal, head to her website, or find her on Facebook.

Teri McKinley grew up in the world of publishing, attending book signings and book conventions with her mother, Crystal Bowman. She began writing stories in elementary school and her love for writing grew in college. In addition to co-authoring several award-winning books with her mother, Teri has written greeting cards for Discovery House. Teri and her husband live in Texas and serve in several ministries at their church. Above all, Teri’s favorite job is being a mom to their son.

To learn more about Teri, find her on Facebook or Pinterest.


8 Educational Books to Read with Your Preschooler

Tyndale Kids

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Children who are preschool-age are curious and tend to ask a lot of questions. Help your preschooler learn and grow this fall with these eight educational books that cover a variety of topics from questions about God to manners—and everything in between!


For your future scientist . . .

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Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? addresses common children’s questions about all things nature. Children learn about starfish, elephants, bears, stars, earthworms, eagles, trees, and heaven, while absorbing the underlying themes of God’s love and grace and a parent’s love for a child. Corresponding to the “Science” portion of STEM curriculum standards, this book is one you won’t want to miss for your inquisitive preschooler!


For learning memory verses together . . .

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Be Still, Give Thanks, and I Can by Kathryn O’Brien

These adorable books by author Kathryn O’Brian turn Bible memorization from a duty to a delight! These books will help your child memorize, understand, and absorb passages as the author presents each powerful verse one word at a time. Be Still, Give Thanks, and I Can build a meaningful connection between God’s Word and a child’s life experiences, laying a foundation for a love and comprehension of Scripture.


For your little theologian . . .

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Does God Take Naps? by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

This book offers satisfying answers to many questions about God that your preschooler may have—such as “How can I talk to God?” or “How old is God?” —while also showing parents how they can respond to their child’s questions with patience and love. For your little one with many theology-based questions, this book will not disappoint!


For your explorer . . .

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Where Does Love Hide? by Mary Manz Simon

In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action. In addition to the fun, lift-a-flap feature, each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way your child can share God’s love. This book is a great place for your preschooler to start exploring what love looks like!


For developing manners and character . . .

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I Can Be Kind by Amie Carlson

Scripture teaches us to love our neighbors by treating them with kindness and respect. I Can Be Kind is a fun, creative way to teach your child polite behavior in a society where rudeness is often the status quo. With lift-the-flap interaction on every page, I Can Be Kind is a great resource for developing kindness and manners in your child!

 

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The Character Builder’s Bible by Agnes de Bezenac and Salem de Bezenac

The Character Builder’s Bible highlights core character traits that the Bible teaches, and it suggests fun, practical ways to live out these truths so that little minds can understand. Featuring sixty Bible stories with colorful illustrations, definitions, and memory verses, The Character Builder’s Bible will show your little ones that God’s Word is relevant to their lives and will help you instill biblical character in their hearts.


Find these titles and more on Tyndale.com!


Tyndale Kids New Release Giveaway!

Tyndale Kids

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Enter below for your chance to win 5 great books on…

 

Sharing the Gospel with young children:

Wow! The Good News in Four Words by Dandi Daley Mackall

 

Learning great communication skills: 

Girl Talk Guy Talk by Jesse Florea & Karen Whiting

Just Sayin’ by Dandi Daley Mackall

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Answering kids’ questions about God and how the world works:  

Does God Take Naps? by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

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These recent releases & more products from Tyndale Kids are available in bookstores and online! Head to tyndale.com/youth to learn more.


Tyndale Kids New Release Giveaway