Lately, my mom friends and I have been trying to brainstorm ways to include our children in service opportunities.
We made homeless care packs together and we introduced it by teaching a little lesson on The Good Samaritan. It was special to pray with the kids and ask God to give us eyes for those in need, and to feel prepared if we see someone in need.
As I started to try to brainstorm more ways we could serve. I thought about my friend Deb who started a little group called “Superheroes of Kindness.” They have served in our community in so many ways. As Deb plans the outings, she keeps it age-appropriate and makes it a priority to be servant-minded. So, I asked her to fill me in on more details and here is what Deb shared with me:
“WOW!! This is my first blog post ever and I am thrilled about the subject Super Heroes of Kindness. I am the Children’s Coordinator at University Baptist Church, and missions for children is my pet. There are so many opportunities out there, but many parents stop and think I am not sure if my child is ready for that. It is definitely important that we find developmentally appropriate opportunities and provide them early so we keep their attention.
I wish I could say Super Heroes of kIndness was by brain child. We were already involved in service opportunities at the church, but they were sporadic and under the umbrella of the church missions programs. So, I wanted to create something that was child-centered and a regular part of young children’s spiritual growth. One day while flipping through Facebook posts, an old college friend posted a picture of her daughter with her classmates. They were on an outing to do good and were wearing super hero capes with little hearts on them… BAM! The light came on and I stole the idea, others had stolen it too.
We now have a Super Heroes of Kindness activity once a month, the 3rd Saturdays during the school year and varying dates in the summer. The kids love it.
We normally gather at the church in the morning. We have coffee and a light breakfast is served during the gathering time. Kids learn about what we are doing, who we are visiting, and how the issues matter to the day’s activity. A variety of mediums are used including games, story time, art, gardening and music. We then head out on an adventure that gives back or says thanks to members of the community. Assisted Living Centers, Pet Adoption Centers, Fire Stations, Church Service Workdays etc. There are so many opportunities… you just have to be creative and then ideas will POP! into your mind. Parents also provide suggestions. For example, one of our moms suggested each child do a community service activity on their own and then we share that experience at our next meeting. We are eager to hear these stories.
Super Heroes is open to members and non- members of UBC. We welcome families from our MDO program and always encourage the kids to bring a friend or a stranger. For our next event, we will be set up outside a Walmart collecting dry and canned goods for the Baton Rouge Food Bank’s Summer Drive. E-mail jessica (at) themommyteacher (dot) come if you have any questions for Deb or if you live in Baton Rouge and want to register your child. Kids can wear their own capes or one of ours. SHAZAMMMMMM! God Bless,”
Some ideas for those itching to get it going:
1) Bake cookies and deliver them to neighbors.
2) Paint flower pots and hand them out at a local assisted living home.
3) Bring root beers and Rice Krispie treats to a nurses station at a local hospital.
4) Bring children’s books to drop off at a children’s hospital.
5) Collect non-perishables to bring to a food bank.
6) Write thank you notes and drop them off at a police station or fire station.
Please comment if you have other ideas to give us ideas!!!!
Are there any parents out there lost in summer?
Some days I’m lost in the best ways….playing and swimming the day away with my three kids.
Other days, I’m lost in an August daydream when I will have even a few hours to run errands alone.
Even though I might get a little antsy some days for a little reprieve, I really admire (and am inspired by) moms who have not allowed their work load or daily tasks to drown out what really matters as a parent… making time for family.
So, it’s not very often that you get to spotlight a mom who has accomplished so many life goals as an athlete and entrepreneur (read bio at the end of the post!). AND she also shares tips for moms like me, with young kids, to make time as a family (perfect timing in light of summer and the World Cup!).
U.S. soccer legend Kristine Lilly, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Play Ambassador for Let’s Play,an initiative led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide,shares tips below on how she transforms the soccer drills she learned on the field into fun games that keep her kids active all summer long.
1. Dribble Relay
o Set up some small orange cones or plastic cups in a zig-zag pattern.
o Divide your family into two equal groups and give one person from each team a soccer ball. Have the team members stand on opposite ends of the yard.
o To begin, the team member with the soccer ball has to dribble around each cone to the other side, tag their teammate and pass them the ball.
o Then, the teammate has to dribble the ball back through the cones and race to the other end of the field. The team to complete the obstacle course first, wins!
2. Kick-out Keep-away
o Great for a large group of kids, give all players a soccer ball (or any type of ball they can kick around) except for the person who is “it.”
o Set up four cones or plastic cups on each corner of your “field,” and when the game begins, all players dribble their ball while the person who is “it” tries to kick each ball out of bounds.
o When a player’s ball is kicked out of bounds, he/she is eliminated. The last player with a ball wins!
3. High-Five Goals
o Set up a couple of markers to signify a “goal.”
o Pass the soccer ball to your child, and have them kick it back to you.
o After three kicks back and forth, tell them to run over to you and give you a high-five, and then kick the ball into the goal. This is a great game for little ones!
4. Sideline Sprints
o Put a mark on the lawn or driveway about 15 yards away, or whatever distance works best for your space.
o Run to the line and back five times.
o Next, do five jumping jacks and count them off together out loud.
o Continue the sequence, but this time, run to the line and back four times, and work your way down to one time. It is a great workout game for parents AND kids, and helps little ones learn how to count.
5. Hydration Station
o It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re playing outside in the heat. I like to keep a small cooler filled with cold water or juice in the fridge so I can easily grab it and during outdoor play in the summer.
o Just make sure your kids don’t drench the “coach” after they score a goal!
Kristine Lilly is a mom and an American soccer player who last played professionally for the Boston Breakers women’s professional soccer team. She was a member of the United States women’s national soccer team for 24 years and has appeared in more international matches than any other player in the sport, appearing in her 352nd and final match against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. She is the founder of the Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy and author of an e-book, Girls Soccer: My Story. Lilly lives with her husband and their two daughters outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
If you are looking for an activity to re-use those eggs from the egg hunts… look no further.
I love my artsy friend Allie and all the ways she crafts with her kids. Keep reading because she inspired me to do this with my kids today and that is what The Mommy Teacher is all about:
“My girls, AvaKate (3) and Addie (2), absolutely love doing crafts. They would do them all day long if I let them. So, when we woke up this morning, they asked to paint.
We painted yesterday, so I wanted to do something a little different.
They had an Easter egg hunt at school yesterday and I wanted to reuse those annoying, oh I mean amazing, plastic eggs before I secretly threw them away, I mean put them back in their baskets (any Moms with me??).
I took them apart and let them dip it into finger paint (easier clean up) and it made circles on their paper. Addie is really into shapes so she got really excited to see the shapes on her paper. Very simple, but it was exciting for the girls to incorporate their eggs from their egg hunt.
You can also see in the picture little pieces of string and paper. My oldest, AvaKate is obsessed with decorating and making gifts… So those elements were her specific request.
I put some glue on their plate and gave them a paint brush and they “decorated” their art. They loved it! And I loved it because it was all stuff I had around the house and it kept them occupied while I nursed my six week old!”
I love scrolling through Instagram and seeing what other moms have shared for the day.
A friend of mine posted this video of her little fella and it immediately caught my attention for so many reasons:
Kids learn best and practice the skills they are learning most effectively when they are connecting with their world by seeing ANDdoing.
So if you have a child with lots of energy (can you relate?), jumping while learning or practicing skills that they already know is incredibly helpful for their brain development and you might reap the benefits of a quality nap time or bedtime rest later. 🙂
Here is what Hendrix’ mommy had to say about it when I asked for the details:
“The reality is he came up with this on his own! We were writing each other’s names (you can see his “mommy” on the bottom left of the screen) and he started hopscotching on his! He is into trains and roads now, and before this we were making roads with all the places that we usually go to…mall, coffee shop, grocery, honeys house…and driving to each place with his toy cars. We were learning to take rights and lefts and u-turns. This hopscotch just came out of nowhere. :)”
Thanks Alisha for sharing.
PS… I wish I had your chalking skills. haha
Today, the start of a new month, we wanted to spotlight a mommy teacher who has made it her discipline to choose to look at life in a positive, truth-filled way…every day. She focuses on one goal, one month at a time. We are hoping that some of her disciplines will rub off on us!
Megan writes “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a guest blogger on the Mommy Teacher! I just entered the blogging world myself a few months ago with Just30Days.org.
I was honestly tired of thinking the grass was greener on the other side. Have you been there? I wished I could cook like her, get up early every day like him, workout like them or encourage my husband like that. I wasn’t even close to doing one of those consistently, let alone all of the things on my list (and I promise you, my list is crazy long!). So instead of wallowing in my discontent, I decided to water my side of the grass! Now every 30 Days I’m taking on a new project to try out and sharing my experience on my blog. Last month I got up early every day. This month I’m praying specific virtues and qualities over my kids. This month I’m finding ways to be thankful. Let me just say, there is power in a focused life!
So, this month as I’ve focused on praying scripture over my kids, I have realized how much my husband and I rely on God’s Word in our parenting. Now, my husband is a pastor; so, some would assume that this comes naturally in our home…think again! We do not sit around having beautiful family devotions (our kids are 5, 3 and 1 so I don’t even know if that’s possible!), we forget to pray at meals way too often, we say mean things that we wish we could take back…we are just normal people. Can’t you just see the love between these two…
We are not even close to having it all together. And I’m finally ok with that because I’ve realized that it’s in those times that I rely on God even more!
Now what does it look like to use scripture in your everyday parenting? I don’t mean running to the bathroom, closing the door and crying out to God, “I know your Word says that even the hairs on my head are numbered by You. But I am pulling them out, one by one in frustration!” Now sometimes that is necessary, but I really mean that we use it in our normal conversation throughout our day with the kids. Here are some of our favorite verses we use daily…
God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Encourage one another daily. (Hebrews 3:13)
Be kind and loving to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
Fear not, I am with you always. (Isaiah 41:10)
Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases The Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Let me give you some examples of how we use them…
When the kids are eating snacks and my daughter grabs one of her crackers and gives it to her brother without him asking, I will say, “God loves…” and she will say, “…a cheerful giver.” It’s that easy!
When the kids are in the back of the car fighting, I will say, “I don’t hear kind words coming out of your mouths to each other. What does God tell us? Be kind…” and they will finish, “…and loving to one another.”
When my youngest begins to throw things in anger, I will say, “In your anger do not sin.” This is a new one that we are starting to use with him. Does he understand that at all as a one year old? No. But he will eventually and I am just speaking truth into his little life.
If I hear one of them saying something mean to the other, I will say, “God’s Word tells us to encourage…” and they finish, “…one another daily.” Then I have them apologize for the discouraging thing they said and then they have to say something encouraging to each other. This is probably one of my favorite things we do with the kids!
We are just taking verses that apply to how we want our children to act, what we want their hearts to believe and what we want their mouths to speak. And do you notice that in none of those examples am I even asking where the verse is in the Bible? At their ages, I am not concerned that they know the exact verse, but instead that they know the truth! And the point is not to beat it into the kids but to encourage them with it. As a parent, you are called to “…guard what has been entrusted to your care.” (1 Timothy 6:20). What better way to do this than with God’s Word. It really is changing your mind frame to use scripture as a parenting tool…it’s the best we’ve found!
So give it a try.
Pick a few short verses that you want your kids to know. Then memorize it yourself first. Write it on the wall in your kitchen or on your kid’s bathroom mirror. Even if they can’t read, you can! It will be a good reminder for you to use it when you see it. And then teach it to your kids…use it for correction, use it for encouragement, use it to remind them of truth. The key is to use it! And then maybe by the end of our hard days of parenting, our kids will look more like this (makes my heart melt!)…
I would love for you to follow me on one of my 30 Day projects! This month, I will begin 30 Days of Being Thankful….a month of finding our everyday blessings. You can read more about it and sign up here!”