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Thanksgiving Activity Guide

No matter what’s going on in your life and the world around you, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and point our hearts in the direction of thankFULLness. We’ve put together a great resource for families full of inspiring stories, conversation starters, and activities to calibrate our hearts to a biblical attitude of gratitude.

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Enjoy this great FREE activity guide that helps us focus on what we DO have instead of what we don’t.

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Download your Thanksgiving activity guide here!

Related:

HELP KIDS GO FROM COMPLAINING TO CONTENT IN 60 SECONDS
6 WAYS TO ACTIVELY SHOW THANKFULNESS
HOW TO HAVE A DAY OF REST WITH YOUR KIDS

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Honor Your Child’s Positive Character Traits

Parents, what are you doing to honor the positive character traits you see in your child/ren?

Whether they are brave enough to voice it aloud, or if it’s the question that runs silently through their minds, every grade-school boy and girl wonders: “Am I good enough?” … “Am I good enough for my parents? For my teacher and friends?”

The way they answer this question will shape their confidence for years to come. Child development by definition is the process of growth. And as parents, we have the main responsibility in guiding and informing that process.

Proverbs 31 begins with

“The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1)

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, held dearly in his heart and into his old age the words his mother had spoken to him throughout his life.

If we would see the power our words have over our children, and if we answered their silent cry with a, “yes, you are more than good enough!” there is no limit to the good that would fill their young souls!

The challenge at times is the need for genuine words. Children of this era desire truth and can see right through hypocrisy. I realized this when in praising my “special” eight-year-old son he replied, “Thanks mom. But aren’t we all special?” Stunned at his wisdom I began to describe what about him was special and was forced (in a good way) to articulate his uniqueness and positive qualities. I saw relief in his eyes. He understood I truly meant it when I called him special. I, too, was relieved and was enjoying a “proud mommy moment,” until my younger daughter who was listening asked, “And what about me?”

What makes Proverbs 31 a commonly cited passage of Scripture is the specifics it provides. It describes the character of a noble wife in every unique area – family, work and spirituality. It doesn’t just call her “noble,” it articulates the how, when and where and paints a clear picture about her.

This is what our children long to know – the specifics and uniqueness about them that we as parents have the front row seat in discovering and identifying. And when we voice it to them with authority and love, we shape a healthy esteem and sense of purpose.

The Bible commands us to “…encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). God’s Word is specific. Its vocabulary is ample in describing a Christ-follower who is full of the Spirit in the way he or she thinks and acts.

To help you in this journey, we’ve created two sets of downloadable certificates to guide you in recognizing and building up the unique character traits in your children. Highlighting their positive qualities, and seeing their value through God’s Word will not only answer their question of “Am I good enough?” it will change the course of their destiny!

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

Download positive character trait award certificates:
  Perseverance, Obedience, Courage, Peacemaker, Forgiveness, Good Attitude, Honesty, Fairness, and Good Choice

 

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

 

Download the Fruits of the Spirit award certificates:
Goodness, Faithfulness, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Self Control, Love, and Gentleness


Related:

Owning the Spiritual Growth of Your Child
4 Drucker Principles For Better Parenting
Your Child’sName in Bible Verses

4 Ways to Get Your Kids Thinking About Outreach

Outreach is important! It’s the first step to evangelism. Kids can be involved in outreach. Kids should be involved in outreach.

Tell your kids that they can reach out to the people in their spheres of influence and share the love of Jesus with them! Get them thinking about their spheres of influence. Where do they spend their time?

There are 3 big areas for kids – home, school, and community. Get your kids thinking about how they can reach out to people in their families, to friends at school, and to people in the community, and then give them a tangible reminder that they can reach out to people and share the love of Jesus with them.

 Home

Outreach happens in your home with your family. Be on the lookout for ways to share the love of Jesus with your immediate family and your extended family. Start with people you know. Maybe your Grandma needs some help with yard work or your aunt needs your help with babysitting.

 School

Outreach happens at school with your friends and even with kids at school who are not your friends but could use your support and encouragement. Look for ways to share the love of Jesus with kids at school. This may mean sitting with the kid at lunch who is all alone or telling your best friend about Jesus and how a relationship with Him could change their life.
Abacus School

 Community

Outreach happens in your community with your neighbors. Take some time to check out your neighborhood. Look for ways to share the love of Jesus in your community. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who could use help shoveling snow from their driveway or raking the leaves on the lawn.

Spend some time brainstorming with your kids about ways they can reach out at home, school, and in their community. Encourage them to be specific.

 Tangible Reminder

After you have gotten your kids thinking about outreach, give them something tangible to help them remember that they can reach out with the love of Jesus. Some ideas could be a Wordless bracelet. Make the bracelets together. Use beads that are the color of the wordless book – gold/yellow, black, red, white, green. Teach the kids what each color means and encourage them to wear the bracelet as a reminder to share the good news of the gospel in their spheres of influence. Another idea for a tangible reminder would be a zipper pull with John 3:16 written on it. Again, this is a tangible reminder for kids that they can be involved in reaching out to those who need to hear about the love of Jesus!

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JanelleJanelle grew up as a pastor’s kid on the prairies. She attended Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Religious Education majoring in Christian Ed. She has served in Children’s Ministry for 17 years in large churches and small and is passionate about Jesus and kids!

 

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How to use Bible App for Kids

We’ve made it easy to help children best know how to use the Bible App for Kids using this simple guide!

  1. Download the app.

It’s free, educational and honorable.

BAK-09Search “Bible for Kids” and look for the Jesus icon in your app store.

 

  1. Encourage your child to play it OFTEN

It takes repeating information 5-7 times before it is memorized. This app is designed so players must read each story at least 3 times to receive 3 stars. In-story collectibles keep inviting players to return and experience each story multiple times.

How to BAK-05

 

  1. Read the story from the Bible. Before you play the story, you can read the actual Scripture the story comes from! Just tap the Scripture highlighted above the read button.

How to BAK-06

The Bible App automatically guides you to the Scripture referenced in the story.

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  1. Talk about the story. Questions you can ask to discuss any of the stories in the Bible App for Kids are:
  •  Who is this story about?How to BAK-04
  • Did the person in the story need or want something?
  • Did anyone in the story change?
  • What is something you learned about Jesus?
  • What were the good and bad things that happened in the story?
  • What is the meaning of this story?
  • Why is this story important?
  • How can you connect this story to your own life?

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Free family Easter resources

Being married to a children’s ministry pastor turned curriculum developer, I’ve heard, “It’s time to start thinking about Easter” almost every summer. And no, that’s not a typo!

Why so early? Churches start planning for Easter as soon as the nativity set is packed away. Christmas begins the countdown to the most important story of the Christian faith.

Curriculum developers know that Easter is not the easiest story to share with kids because the main character dies! Death is often upsetting to children, especially those who have experienced losing a loved one.

No church wants all of their kids to go home scared that they, too, are going to have to die on a cross. Nor do they want to have to call parents out of the service because their child is sobbing inconsolably when their hero, Jesus, is laid in the tomb.

It’s taken me longer than I’d like to admit, but I’m starting to realizing that as a parent, it’s not the church’s duty to handle the hard topics, present the Easter story and the Gospel to my children. Personally, I’m also learning that it’s not the responsibility of my (much more qualified, seminary-degreed) husband, either!

It’s every believing parent’s duty (Deuteronomy 11:19) to help their children know what the Bible says. God has given us tools and the Holy Spirit to help us tackle the tough questions and to help them navigate the hard truths about sin and death while presenting the Gospel to them no matter where we are and what we are doing.

Side note: it’s also helpful if your kids know “what’s coming” at church or Sunday School before they attend. Easter is right around the corner…are you and your kids ready?

It’s our of responsibility to set the tone for how our family celebrates Easter. And it IS a celebration, because the main character doesn’t stay dead…up from the grave He arose! Hosanna…He is risen! (He is risen, indeed!)

Whether or not you have a seminary degree, there are many tools out there to help you spiritually parent your child/ren. The attached guide was created to help you and your family walk and talk through the story of Easter using God’s Word to bridge that monumental gap from “It is Finished” to “A HAPPY Sunday”!

Click to download your FREE family Easter guide!

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Jenna Scott

Jenna has been in love with words all her life—especially God’s Word that helped her realize her need for a Savior in the first grade. Triple-majoring in English, Secondary Education and Professional/Technical Writing with a Bible minor in her undergrad and pursuing a Master’s in Management, she has since managed to be a high school English teacher, Human Resources generalist, SAHM, pastor’s wife, PPD and adoption advocate, contract writer/editor, VP PTA Communications, and is currently helping elevate the message of OneHope around the world. She serves as a 2nd grade small group leader at Browns Bridge Church, is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 7, 8, 9 & 11.

Thanksgiving activity guide

Whether they’re in diapers or dorm rooms, you can take advantage of Thanksgiving to point kids’ hearts in the direction of thankFULLness. We’ve compiled powerful stories, great parenting advice, and even activities to do together that inspire a biblical attitude of gratitude.

Use Thanksgiving and this great FREE resource to help young people focus on what they DO have instead of what they don’t.

Download your Thanksgiving activity guide here!

Give Thanks-04

Other great resources:

 

29 genius ideas for really USING the Bible verse your child brings home from church

You see it coming every Sunday…the memory verse paper. You have high hopes of being intentional with it, but by Wednesday it somehow always ends up in the recycle bin. And you end up feeling guilty. We’ve created a list of great ways that will have you looking forward to getting that memory verse paper. AND actually USING it!

  1. Make it into a table topper so your entire family can get their “daily bread” while eating their daily bread at breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  2. Tape it to dresser drawers so kids can review while they’re getting dressed.
  3. Record your child reading the verse, then play it on repeat to help them practice learning it while picking up toys.
  4. Clip it to the mirror in the bathroom—kids can read the verse in their head while brushing teeth, styling hair, or washing hands.
  5. Put it in a baggie and hang it in the shower—clean inside and out!
  6. Where do your kids go often? Tape it to the Band-Aid or Goldfish box—God’s Word will beKids-32 there every time they head for a snack or get a boo boo.
  7. Not for the faint of heart—use dry-erase markers to copy the verse onto a window or mirror. If your kids are old enough not to write on the upholstery, this can be done inside your vehicle!
  8. Use chalk paint to make a beautiful board and let the creativity flow to word art the verse. Place it where everyone will see and read it often!
  9. Do some math—divide up the number of words in the verse and segment them according to the number of stairs in your home. Attach each word/phrase to the backdrop of a stair and you’ll be able to practice every time you climb.
  10. Get a binder ring and hole punch each verse. Attach to the ring and keep in your car, purse, bedroom or anywhere you or your kids can easily flip through it.
  11. Write super tiny and put this week/month’s verse into a little girl’s locket or glue to something small a little guy can carry in his pocket. Then it is with them wherever they go!
  12. Put it in a note in your child’s lunchbox.
  13. Use it as a bookmark in a book you’re reading together as a family.
  14. Put it in an envelope and mail it to your child while you are out and about–who doesn’t love getting mail!
  15. Stick it under their pillow and see how long before they realize it’s there! Read it before bedtime every night.
  16. Tape it to the bottom of someone’s plate or chair at the dinner table. Every night move it to another location. Whoever is “it” reads the verse aloud to the family.
  17. Play a game where you hide it in each other’s room. Every time you find it, read it through, and then go hide it in someone else’s room.Kids-31
  18. Glue it into a spiral “I’m not scared” notebook that your child can keep near their bedside or anywhere they experience fear. God’s Word will be at their fingertips where they can easily read through all the affirmations.
  19. Hang it on the fridge. There. I had to say it. I know you were thinking it.
  20. Cut it into a puzzle and try to reassemble. Store each set of pieces in a baggie and grow your collection!
  21. Snap a pic and post to social media with a shout out to your church—they’ll appreciate knowing that you enjoy what they are doing, as well as knowing parents are using their resources at home.
  22. Cut and paste onto a piece of paper or greeting card and write a letter to the person who came to mind when reading this Scripture. Helps you and your child learn to encourage others!
  23. Pair with Christmas cards you receive at the holidays and pray a verse for each family’s Christmas card/photo you receive.
  24. Bury it in the cereal box and see who discovers the hidden “treasure” first.
  25. Tape it to a screen—kids may use that device once they’ve memorized and recited that verse to you.
  26. Build up a stash, then let your kids unleash their creativity to make a wind sock or mobile.
  27. Cut out the words and tape to building blocks. Scramble the blocks, then build them in the order the words should go.
  28. Save them up and when you have a bunch, make them into a paper chain. Use the chain as a countdown to an exciting activity—trip, vacation, birthday, holiday etc.
  29. Hang a string or wire across your mantel with clothespins. Clip each new verse on and decorate your home with meaningful Scriptures.

Download Free Resource

29 Ways to use Scripture-01


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Family Devotions – Forgiveness

Here’s the fifth in our new series of 5-step plans for doing Scripture-rich, interactive devotionals with your family!

Forgiveness

Step 1: Read

 Acts 9:1-19, I Timothy 1:13-15, Philippians 3:12-13

Play “From Enemy to Friend” in the Bible App for Kids

Forgiveness2-01

Key Verse:

“… I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” Philippians 3:13

Step 2: Explain

Forgiveness: choosing to love someone even if they have wronged you. 

Saul left home to study Jewish Law—the list of 600+ things that were “right” and “wrong”. He loved these laws so much that he went after anyone who didn’t live by them like he did—getting them in trouble, even having them thrown in prison or put to death!

He especially didn’t like people who believed in Jesus, and was on his way to Damascus to search for, arrest, and even kill as many as he could find there.

On the way, God stopped Saul’s attack. He spoke to Saul, told him that he could be forgiven for his past mistakes and start a new life following Christ.

Not only did God forgive Saul, but he even changed Saul’s name to Paul. Paul became a mighty man of God, despite all the bad things that he had done to God’s people before he was saved. If God can forgive Saul’s sins, He can forgive any of us.

Step 3: Pray

 Dear God, thank you for loving me, even when I make poor choices, and for Jesus’ death on the cross so I don’t have to constantly try and make up for my mistakes. Help me to remember that because of Jesus, I am forgiven. Help me to offer that same compassion to others who do wrong to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Step 4: Talk about it!

Kids ask your parents:

 Tell about a time when someone showed you/you showed someone forgiveness even though you didn’t think you/they deserved it.

Parents ask your kids:

Have you ever wondered if you could do something so bad that we or God could not forgive you for it?

Extra questions:

  1. Why was Paul on the way to Damascus? (to find and persecute Christians)
  2. Who stopped Paul? (God)
  3. What horrible things had Paul done that God forgave? (persecute and kill Christians)
  4. What was Paul’s new mission from God? (to share the Gospel)
  5. What did Paul say we are supposed to do about our past sins? (Forget the past, look forward to what lies ahead (Phil 3:13b)

 Step 5: Practice it!

Choose one or more of the following activities to help your child/ren put the concepts they just learned into action.  Download a printable here.

  1. As you color, think about things you need to ask God to forgive you for, or things you can ask others to forgive you for.
  2. Write down things you have done today that were not wise choices. Pray to God, asking Him to forgive you, then use a dark marker to cover over those words to symbolize that you’ve been forgiven.
  3. Find a dry erase board, some sand, or another creative and erasable place you can write or draw something mean someone else has done to you. Erase it once you have thought, prayed, and chosen to forgive that person.
  4. Forgiveness2-02Look up and write down I John 1:9. Now put it where you go when you are upset. Let it be a reminder to you of the power of forgiveness.

 

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3 simple steps to share the Good News

The best story we will ever tell our kids is God’s story of salvation. Yet, this important conversation can often get lost in the busyness of our lives. We may think it’s been covered at church, or that they just “get it” because we do. Or maybe you can’t even remember back to when you had your earliest encounter with Jesus and how it all went down.

But thanks to our ever-present smartphones and innovative tools like the Bible App for Kids, our kids have the chance to interact with the Gospel story more than ever before. And what better opportunity to engage them in the most important conversation of their life than as they naturally ask questions about the stories they are learning.

Here’s a simple way to share the gospel using the “God’s Good News” story on the Bible App for Kids. After you read the story in your app, you can personalize the experience with your child using these parent prompts, additional activities and questions.

1. Help them KNOW God’s love for them. 

God'sGoodNews-01Read:

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: God made everything, and He made it perfect. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their sin brought death into our world. Sin broke our relationship with God and broke His perfect world. But God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: What is sin? What does it do? Sin is when we disobey God. It’s the wrong things we do, say, or think that go against God. Sin breaks our relationship with God.

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God'sGoodNews-02

Explain: Everyone sins, and the result of sin is death. But sin couldn’t stop God from loving us! He had a plan.

How did God show His love for us? He sent His son Jesus. Sin broke our relationship with God, but Jesus came to fix it. 

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God'sGoodNews-02Explain: Jesus helped many people and taught them about God’s perfect love. His perfect life shows us what love looks like.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: What did Jesus do for us because He loves us? He died on a cross for our sins. He carried out God’s plan to fix our relationship with Him. He rose from the dead three days later breaking the power of sin and death. He returned to Heaven. Now Jesus lives forever!

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: God loves you. He created you one-of-a-kind! Trusting and following Jesus fixes our broken relationship with God. Are you ready to be a part of God’s story and accept His love for you?

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: Would you like to pray a simple prayer with me and tell God you are ready to be part of His story?

Dear God, I’m sorry for all the things I’ve done wrong. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. I want to be a part of Your Story and live with You forever in heaven. Please help me know You better. Amen.

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: One day, when Jesus returns, God will make everything perfect again. He will make a new Heaven and a new Earth. Everyone who trusts in Jesus will live with Him forever! Jesus will help you grow to be more like Him.

2. Encourage them to GROW.

God'sGoodNews-01Read: John 14:16-18, Galatians 5:22-23 (link to verses)

God helps us grow as we trust Him. Jesus didn’t leave us alone. He sent His Holy Spirit to live inside us and help us be more like Jesus. He helps us show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are called the fruits of the Spirit.

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God'sGoodNews-03

Ask: How can we grow and become more like Jesus?

 

God'sGoodNews-02

Explain: One way is by reading our Bibles. The more we read our Bibles, the more we know about God and how He wants us to live. The Holy Spirit will help us remember what we’ve read and help us live in a way that shows others who God is.

We also grow when we talk to God. We can talk to God any time through prayer. You can talk to God out loud, or you can just think the words in your head. He is always listening and ready to help you.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: How can others help us grow?

 

 God'sGoodNews-02Explain: We grow when we spend time with other people who love Jesus. This is why we go to church. Other people can help us make good decisions and encourage us to live every day in a way that shows God we love Him.

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3. Teach them to SHOW Jesus to others.

God'sGoodNews-01Read: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 2:8

 

God'sGoodNews-03

Ask: How will others know you love God?

 

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: Our friends will know we love Jesus because of the things we do and say. As we grow, our life will start to look different. We will be more loving, kinder, and more joyful. When people ask what is different about us, we can share God’s story and the good news of Jesus with them too.

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Ask: What if they never ask me about God?

 

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Explain: You can also share God’s love with them even if they don’t ask. Good news is supposed to be shared! You can tell your friends how you heard God’s story and realized He loved you. You can tell them how important He is to you and how He helps you every day.

You can always talk to God and ask Him to help you share His love and the good news of Jesus with your friends. He will give you the words to say.

The more you talk about and practice KNOWING, GROWING, and SHOWING, the more confident you and your child will become in sharing this great news with others!
*Next, how you can use the Bible App for Kids to help prepare your child to share this good news with their friends!