summer 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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!

Getting Ready for Summer by Sherry Kyle

Tyndale Kids

Summer is right around the corner, and for most moms, this can be an overwhelming time. Sign-ups for summer camp and swim lessons are on the budget-conscious mom’s mind and so is the need for family fun! Try these action steps to help everyone transition to a stress-free summer.


1. Calendar. Hang a calendar in a prominent place in the kitchen and have your child make an X at the end of each day. Kids love to see the countdown to summer, and it will help moms mentally prepare too.

2. Family Meeting. Now is a good time to sit down with your kids and discuss summer plans. Family vacation? Once a week beach day? An activity or team they want to join? Kids need something to look forward to, and when everyone is on the same page, it makes for a smoother transition.


3. Stock Up. Make sure your child’s closet is stocked with plenty of shorts and t-shirts. A new swimsuit, if needed, is good to have on hand and so is a beach towel and a pair of flip-flops. Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit, as well as an adequate supply of bug repellent and sunscreen.

4. Friends. The hardest thing about summer for kids is taking a break from their friends, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Make sure to exchange phone numbers with the parents before the school year is out, and plan times to meet over the summer months.

5. Routine. As much as we’d like to think we’re going to keep the same schedule, it’s best to let that one slide. Let’s face it, summer is a whole lot different from the school year, so why try to keep the same pace? Some routine, like meals and sleeping habits, are good to maintain but, otherwise, enjoy the kickback days of

6. Meals. Speaking of meals, summer is a good time to change things up. Get your kids involved with the planning. Pizza and ice cream on Tuesdays? Hamburgers on Thursdays? Why not! Add several picnics at local parks or interesting sights, and you’re sure to have a relaxed summer!

7. Books. Keep your kids’ minds in gear over the summer, and schedule visits to your local library to get a stack of books to read. Have a goal and give rewards, such as a movie or a trip to the local museum. (Remember, audiobooks and comic books count as reading too!) Summer is also a good time to hire a tutor if your child needs help with school.


8. Creativity. There will definitely be times when your kids are bored, so make sure you leave wiggle room in your summer to be creative. These are a few ideas: bake cookies, make an obstacle course in the backyard, go on a nature walk, paint a picture, plant a garden, or keep a journal (like this DIY journal!).


9. Community. Consider doing a few community service projects with your kids this summer, such as organizing a food drive in your neighborhood, hosting a garage sale or lemonade stand then donating the proceeds to your favorite charity, creating care packages for the homeless, picking up litter at your local beach or park, making cards for soldiers, or visiting the elderly.

10. You. With everyone home for the summer, make sure you take time for YOU! A hot bath, a trip to the nail salon, or an afternoon with a friend will rejuvenate you and keep the stress away. Take a few moments every day for some deep breaths and remember to capture every moment. Summer will be over before you know it!

sherry-kyle-authorSherry Kyle has written several books for tween girls, along with women’s fiction. Her award-winning book for tween girls, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style, was awarded the God Mom’s Choice Award. Her second nonfiction book for girls, The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room, was nominated for the Christian Retailers Best Awards. Most recently, Sherry is the author of Love, Lexi, a unique fictional story combined with a devotional and journal to allow readers to learn to seek God first above all else. 



For additional tips on how to maximize summer fun while cutting down on stress, check out these suggestions from Tyndale Kids author Kathryn O’Brien!


9 Ways to Prioritize Summer Reading With Your Kids

Tyndale Kids


As a mom, you see the summer months stretching out before you, offering a quiet calendar and available time for fun family activities. But also looming before you is the pressure of keeping your kids occupied and their brains engaged enough to prevent atrophy over their vacation.

What’s a mother to do?

The beginning weeks of the summer might offer the ultimate diversion for kids, providing needed R & R: pool trips, sleepovers, relaxation. Kids need a break from hectic schedules and from hitting the books, just like adults do on occasion.

But eventually both of you will want to reintroduce books to challenge the mind and make reading a priority. Here are a few family-friendly suggestions to give books a place in your summer schedule.


Make library visits a regular part of your summer routine—maybe early in the morning before other activities take over their time. Stock up on books for the week.

Teach your children that libraries are fun places to be. Take advantage of the numerous activities they offer, like author visits and readings, activity times and story times.

Visit bookstores and teach kids that these places are as fun to visit as the library! Many independent stores also offer activities and readings, while offering cozy and fun places for kids to browse books.


Read books together as a family. Maybe build a bonfire out back and sit around with a great read-aloud, passing the book to each other, taking turns sharing an adventure. If you camp as a family, definitely read together around the fire or in the tent at night!

Create a reading chart for kids, rewarding them when they complete their chart with a trip to the ice cream store or something else.

Choose books that provide follow-up activities: books by local authors; books with stories that can be acted out or recipes to be cooked; or books that offer potential for delving deeper
into a topic, like a trip to an aquarium or museum to further the learning.For books made into movies, read the book first and then check out the movie and discuss the differences. For a real challenge for tweens or teens, read The Lord of the Rings while working through Walking With Frodo at the same time.walking-with-frodo-sarah-arthur-coverThis devotional by Tyndale author Sarah Arthur will help your teens dig deeper into Tolkien’s work, looking for the great themes. Reward them with the movie version when you finish.

Schedule a reading time in the late afternoons or evenings when kids are tired and bored. Turn off all electronics and encourage everyone to grab a comfy seat and the story of their choice.

Model reading to them. Allow your kids to see you finding enjoyment in books. Be sure to tell them what you are reading and why.

At Tyndale, we love to provide good reading materials for families and kids. If you have horse lovers in your family, Dandi Daley Mackall’s Winnie the Horse Gentler and Starlight Animal Rescue series will hook young minds. For mysteries, consider reading the Red Rock Mysteries series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry. The Wormling series (Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry) and Robot Wars (Sigmund Brouwer) provide great stories for science fiction and fantasy lovers.

For more information and other titles, visit

Wishing you all the best as you unplug, recharge, and read over the summer!

Becky Brandvik is the Senior Acquisitions & Development Director at Tyndale House Publishers.

Tyndale Fiction- What’s Happening Wednesday? Summer Reading Edition

Afternoon, readers! With summer upon us, we thought it might be fun to share a little of our summer reading plans in this month’s edition of “What’s Happening Wednesday?”
Share what you’re reading in the comments. We’re always looking for book suggestions!


At the moment, I’m reading through proposals. We receive a lot of proposals through agents and writers’ conferences. It’s easy to get behind and let them pile up in your in-box. While reading through them, I’m always hoping to find that gem—that story with a unique hook. I’m hoping to be surprised, moved, and left wanting more.

What Jan’s reading . . .
I saw The Great Gatsby over the holiday weekend, and now I want to go back and read the book again. I’d also highly recommend Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge. It’s a play on Stephen King’s novel Misery.


Late winter, early summer, and late summer are common times for contracted manuscripts to be due, and right now I have three that I’m reading and writing reviews for. I have two scheduled to arrive in the next month, so I need to stay on task! I’m also reviewing proposals, looking for potential gems.

What Stephanie’s reading . . .
I have a pretty eclectic list of books I’d like to read this summer: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Defending Jacob by William Landay are just a few. Though I get to read many of Tyndale’s novels in manuscript stage, I don’t get to read them all—and I don’t get to read nonfiction—so these are a few Tyndale titles on my to-read list: Frame 232, In Broken Places, All for a Song, Sparkly Green Earrings, and Follow Me.

Do you read multiple books at once, or do you have to finish one before you start another? Also, do you read only fiction, only nonfiction, or a mix of the two?


Right now, I’m focusing on putting together interesting content for the blog, including fun features with authors, giveaways, behind the scenes with the fiction team, and much more. In addition, I’m planning and getting ready for a few conferences I will be attending this summer, including Write to Publish, ICRS, and ACFW.

What Shaina’s reading . . .
As far as a good summer read goes, I’m quite excited to start reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. Besides the great buzz in the media, every time I come across the cover I always pause. There’s something very inviting and intriguing there.

What would you like to see discussed on the blog this summer? Do you have any fun summer plans? Attending any camps, conferences, events?


These are not the lazy days of summer for me, as this is the time for summer reading and some great titles to release. I am working on several seasons at once, launching several books, and finalizing ad design for summer titles like Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer, Frame 232 by Wil Mara, and Implosion by Joel Rosenberg, as well as finalizing marketing and ad plans for books releasing this fall, including The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate, Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry, So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition by Beth Moore, The One Year Devos for Teen Girls by Dannah Gresh, and Popular by Tindell Baldwin. And as if that weren’t enough, I am developing marketing plans for some of our spring 2014 titles, including new novels by Joel Rosenberg and Randy Singer as well as a new kids’ book by Dandi Daley Mackall.

What Cheryl’s reading . . .
What am I going to read this summer, you ask? I am looking forward to reading the early manuscripts for the novels by Joel and Randy—the concepts are amazing, and I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Introducing our newest team member . . .


I will start by sharing that my most recent work experience is with an online publishing company that published inspirational gift books. Discussing promotional ideas with authors for their titles as well as creating promotional copy for consumer and affiliate marketing was a fun part of my job. It is exciting to work in publishing and be a part of the process from the beginning manuscript to the finished title. I have been an avid reader since I learned to read. Fiction and historical fiction have always been favorites of mine since they provide a bit of real life mixed with imagination.

Each day I meet more of the superb Tyndale team and am enjoying being a part of the collaborative fiction team. I am currently working on author videos, book-signing events, promotions, and reviewing book covers for the spring 2014 titles. I am blessed to be part of the wonderful Tyndale team!

What Julie’s reading . . .
Tyndale offers a treasure chest of wonderful reads! Some of the titles on my to read list are ~ Frame 232, Tangled Ashes and Grace’s Pictures. I am currently reading Sister Wendy on Prayer.

Summer is such a busy season; it’s always nice to sit back and get some sunshine with an enjoyable read.

Looking for reading recommendations? Check out Tyndale House Publishers’ Summer Reading Program. There are many great fiction and nonfiction books to choose from, including titles from favorite authors such as Maureen Lang, Joel Rosenberg, Candace Calvert, Susan May Warren, and many more. Spend the summer reading and win some great rewards and prizes!

Happy reading!