summer holiday ideas

20 Ideas to Grow Your Child’s Faith During the Summer Holidays

summer holiday ideas

As the school year comes to a close today, many of us are now thinking about the vast expanse of the six weeks summer holidays.  If you are a geeky organised mum like me, then you might have put together a list of trip and activities you want to do with your kids, or maybe even a calendar planning out your every move!!  Or maybe you’re the opposite and like to just go with the flow.  Whatever your style ,why not try to use this summer holidays to be intentional with your children and grow their faith.  I’m not talking about family church services every morning, but there are lots of fun ways in which we can act out our faith and teach our kids a bit more during this period of extra time with them.

So here are just a few ideas that you might want to try:

  1. Order a Treasure Box to try out and explore a new bible story
  2. Buy a Godventure Sticker Book and work through it together
  3. Learn a new worship song each week and have a praise/dance party in your lounge
  4. Try out “chat and catch” from the Parenting for Faith Course
  5. Visit a Cathedral or Minister and chat about the different areas in it and what they are used for
  6. Find a Messy Church or Holiday Club that your kids can go along to (even if its not run by your normal church)
  7. Buy Bake Through The Bible and explore the bible through food
  8. Spend a day making or baking gifts for your neighbours and go and pass them out door to door.
  9. Have an open garden afternoon and invite children from your street
  10. Pick a charity and fundraise for them over the summer, seeing how much you can raise in total (perhaps pick out 3 or 4 mission related charities for your kids to choose from)
  11. Set up a new child sponsorship account with Compassion and write a letter to them
  12. Visit activities in your local community and make new friends (try your library, children’s centre and local parks for what is already going on and support them)
  13. Recreate your favourite bible story through dress up/puppets/lego/playdough
  14. Make your own flags to wave during worship at church
  15. Make a bible themed assault course in the garden – go through “the den of lions”, across the sea of Galilee, roll the rock away from the Jesus’ tomb, etc!
  16. Commit to pray for their new class teacher and class mates over the summer and make a “we’ve been praying for you” gift to give to the teacher on the first day back
  17. Make parent survival kits for the new reception class parents to hand out in September or welcome to school gifts for the new pupils themselves
  18. Offer to have their friends over for the afternoon to give another mum a break
  19. Make bible bunting and add a triangle everyday with a picture of a bible story you have read
  20. Try out the new Devotional Dippers from 10ofthose.com

Happy Summer Holidays!! 

P.S.  Do share how it goes, and if you have any more ideas on how to grow your child’s faith during the summer holidays then post them in the comments below…

advent happy mail

Advent Happy Mail

advent happy mail

Here’s an exciting advent idea for you!  Every day in advent, send a letter.  In this digital era, lets take this advent to get back to writing and encouraging others through it.  Just download your advent happy mail poster below, and everyday cross off one person from it.  You could even change some of the squares and put your own ideas if you want.

what is happy mail?

Happy mail is something that you receive in an envelope that makes someone else happy!  It is not a bill, statement or junk mail leaflet, but a thoughtful item of mail.  It is something you’ve put a bit of thought into and done to make the recipient smile.  The mail doesn’t have to be a parcel, it can just be a well meaning letter, or lots of other things too.   It could be an extra special Christmas card with an envelope you’ve decorated to make them smile!  There really are no rules or limits.

To give you some ideas and inspiration, here are some useful links:

GET YOUR FREE ADVENT HAPPY MAIL POSTER HERE!!

I will be sharing over on my facebook page and instagram account some of the happy mail items that I am sending out, so do check it out for inspiration. I would love to see what you send too, so share your photos using #adventhappymail

free advent happy mail poster

Share The Joy Linky @ The Family Patch
app for loving your community

Can an app help you love your community?

app for loving your community

can an app help you love your community?

I live in Doncaster, and despite it being crowned the “most chilled and least stressful place to live in the UK”, most people’s reaction to this announcement is “oh that’s a shame!”. You see, Doncaster isn’t the nicest place in the world (although I’m sure it’s not the worst!). It is a typical slightly rundown town surrounded by ex-mining communities.

the problem i face in my community…

Sometimes I walk around my town and feel sad. There is litter, broken things that no-one has fixed, buildings that no-one cares about and general signs of poverty all around. It makes my heart sink and my soul feel heavy. I cry out to the God who created and loves this world – why has it become so unloved by those that live in it?

Practically I try to look after my little corner of the world – my house, my garden, my estate. But try as I might, I can never clean up everything. Even when I go out with the community action team at church and litter pick the streets for a couple of hours it isn’t going to change everything. And yet the impact of just simple litter can be HUGE. Health, crime, anti-social behaviour, loss of business are all things that stem from and can be worsened by the presence of litter in a neighbourhood. Once that pride in a community is lost, it is difficult for it to be rebuilt.

a new strategy…

So I decided a new strategy was called for. I could not be a one woman army who tackles the whole of Doncaster’s litter and other problems (there would be little time for looking after my kids if I did that!!).  But I could flag up every problem I saw that made me sad to live here so that someone else could deal with it.

Who might that someone else be? Well they came in the form of an app on my phone, that goes by the name of My Doncaster Council. (Yes the council).

Our local councils are there to help do tasks that no-one would normally do if it was left to us. They provide public goods and services. We pay them through our lovely council taxes to look after our local environments so that we don’t have to. But lately councils have had to cut back on a lot of things, and so they won’t be out patrolling and checking the local area as much. We can be their eyes and ears on the ground. The app I have means that I can report litter, fly tipping, graffiti and a whole host of other things right there and then. I can post photos and videos so that the council can see exactly what the issue is. I am doing their investigating for them.

will my community feel the love?

Why is this loving I hear you ask? Because I want my community to feel good when they step out the door. I want them to have pride in where they live, to be healthy and happy.  We joke that it’s a British pastime to moan.  Well I want to try to report everything that would be the cause of that  moaning (although I can’t change the weather so we’ll always have that to moan about!). I don’t want to just keep walking past the litter and the broken things and expect someone else to do something about it.  I am loving my neighbours by using this app to get them fixed and cleaned up.

Why don’t you see if your local council has an app too…..

school sign

Being a Christian Mum at the School Gate

school sign

For the last few weeks I have been wondering how best to use the opportunity of being a mum at the school gate to share the love of Jesus.  I don’t want to be a weird mum who stands in the playground and preaches, but I also don’t want people to be completely unaware of my faith either.  It is a very difficult balance, but I am determined not to let this opportunity pass me by.

I asked the lovely Captivated mums their advice and ideas on how to do this, as I know many of them have school age children and have walked this road before me.  The collective advice was to be normal, make friends and let things grow from there.  As you would in any other situation, just being there for people, showing you care and taking an interest in their lives can make a huge difference, and it is how true friendships are formed and trust developed.

This was great advice, and I have already been praying for opportunities and boldness to get to know the other mums and dads a bit better.  This is easy with some and harder with others, but I will persevere!

As well as doing this I am planning to do some other things along the way to show love and demonstrate my faith to the parents and staff at the school.  Here are some of my ideas, and I hope you will share yours with me too!

  • Commit to praying for your child’s teacher and their class and let them know.  It is an amazing blessing to pray for someone, and even those who don’t share your faith will be complemented that you have taken the time to think of them.  As my son goes to a Catholic Primary School this wasn’t such a shock when I emailed his two class teachers to let them know I would be praying for them and the class.  I also asked them to send any prayer points over the year, whether personal or for the class in general, and one of them did!  I might follow this up with a card at each half term to remind them I have been praying.
  • Setting up a parents prayer group.  Someone on Captivated mentioned doing this and I think its a great idea!  Not only can you then reach out and forge relationships with other Christian parents, but you can cover the whole school in prayer.  I have heard of these groups blessing teachers on parents evening with meals and loving on the staff too, so I have enquired about whether there is one or if I can be involved in setting one up.  Again, this is probably a bigger mission opportunity in a non-faith based school.
  • End of Half Term Party. My son has already been inviting every member of his class round to his house for tea, and with us living a bit further from the school than I would like this makes it difficult.  But I came up with the idea of maybe hosting an end of half term party, where he can invite a few friends for tea on the last day of half term.  That way, he gets to play with his new school friends and I get to properly meet some of the mums and dads.
  • Suggest a class whats app group. Some parents in Captivated mentioned that they have a class whats app group where they can share reminders and invitations with other parents.  I am not sure whether to suggest this yet, but it is definitely an option to build community amongst the parents.

What has worked for you at the school gate?

daily acts of kindness devotional

Mum on a Mission Reviews Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

daily acts of kindness devotional

Today an amazing book launches – The Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional.  Now for anyone who has followed my 40 Acts journey over the last few years will know, I love showing kindness to others.  It is something that can really show the love of Jesus and talks louder than words.  The only things limiting me are time, money and inspiration.

If you are in the same boat as me, then why not invest in something that will give you all the inspiration you will need for A WHOLE YEAR!!!  That will mean that everyday you have an idea that you can take out to the streets and put in to action straight away.  No having to think about what to do, no giving lame excuses for not doing it.

And do you want to know the best part?

A lot of the acts of kindness in this book are designed to draw in your family too, to help you instill values of kindness and generosity in your children.  How amazing is that!!

kindness bible verse

The stories of the ladies who wrote it are shared in the devotional sections and linked back to bible passage, bringing a warm approach to this.  They are not judging or forcing you to be kind, but inspiring and nurturing you into it.  They have a real heart to turn from a life looking inward, to our wants and needs, to instead looking outward and meeting the needs of others.  I know that when I have done acts of kindness with my son it has blown me away, so why not give it a try yourself?

The book is available from today so hop over to Amazon to grab your own copy.
monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

July Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

It’s (almost!) the summer holidays!  So to start off this sunny and restful few weeks for you all (ahem, that may be a lie…..) here are some links and lovely things I have found this month:

Easter garden biscuits

40acts 2017 – “It is finished!”

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

Easter Sunday.

The end of lent and the beginning of new life.

Every year I celebrate Easter, and for the last few years I have marked lent by taking on the 40 acts challenge.  But this is the first year I have truly gotten my son to take part too.  And it has BLOWN ME AWAY….

His understanding of generosity.  His understanding of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection through the eyes of 40 acts has just increased and increased through the last few weeks.  The way the Holy Spirit has prompted him with names of people to give to, given him boldness to approach people in a way I never could, and brought joy and laughter to others through our facebook live videos has brought a tear to my eye.  This will be a cherished time I look back on between me and Sam.  And I am thankful for being able to share it with him this year.

Here are some final highlights and activities we have done:

  • Given Easter Garden biscuits to neighbours and friends at Grandma’s house
  • Counted up the pennies in our generosity box – a total of £5.46 to go to Teenage Cancer Trust
  • Sam going litter picking around our estate with Grandad and collecting a bag full
  • Going on Premier Radio Inspirational Breakfast to speak about doing 40acts with Sam and sharing our story
  • Going to our local park and Sam spending the entire time picking up all the litter lying around to make it safe for his little brother to play there
  • Sending a care package to a friend online who has broken their arm
  • Actually writing one of the 40 acts devotional emails and having my story told and shared online!
  • Being able to host a competition via my facebook page and give away a Treasure Box to a family who will be able to creatively explore bible stories together.
  • Leaving sweets and toys in our local play park with notes on them for others boys and girls to find – going back the next day to check if they were still there and finding them all gone!
  • Being able to share stories of generosity online with people, including my favourite video of my friend through 40acts, Ruth.
  • Raiding our cupboards to find food for the local foodbank

 

 

Halfway Through our 40acts Adventure!

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

We have now passed the halfway mark in Lent and our 40acts adventure!  And I have to say that I am both loving it and being really challenged along the way.  The last two days have been particularly poignant with the dark events in London, and have brought an even greater focus on why we should be generous and a light in the darkness.

My eldest son, Sam, is also challenging me with his boldness in being generous.  We went out with the last of my box of freddo’s (which I had done miserably at getting rid of on the train to Edinburgh last week) and he wanted to make sure everyone got one.  Even the random passers by got chased after and chocolate thrust into their hands! We went from childrens centre, to library, to post office, to park, to bus shelter.  Everywhere we could think and to everyone we normally interact with during the week to make sure they got a special treat.  We even made sure to save some for our neighbours who Sam had mentioned on the previous day’s facebook live video.

Here are my highlights since my last update:

  • Trying to give away a full box of freddo’s on chocolate tuesday and mostly failing!!
  • Giving away two bunches of flowers to two lovely ladies who have been bowled over by Sam’ thoughtfulness
  • Writing chalk messages on the car park of our estate for everyone to enjoy
  • People giving Sam lots of pennies for his generosity box whenever they visit
  • Doing my first prayer walk with Sam on the way home from nursery
  • Giving Sam’s swimming teacher (who he torments in his lessons!) a chocolate and leaving even more chocolates in the lockers
  • Sending my boss a thank you card for all she does for me and her letting me know how much that meant
  • Leaving trolley coins in a trolley
  • Sam handing out “compliments” from the take a compliments poster to all the mums in our stay and play session
Closing thought

With still a long way to go before we reach Easter, it might be easy to start getting tired of being generous.  But I know that the impact it makes is worth it.  In my Mummy Meditations group, we have been looking at the following verse, and for me I like to think that everyone I come into contact with might just be an angel and I don’t know it…..

Be ready with a meal or a bed when its needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!” Hebrews 13:2

 

Mum on a Mission takes on 40acts – Day 8 Update

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

We are eight days into the 2017 40acts generosity challenge for lent, and I thought it was about time I wrote an update on how we are all doing in Team Ridler!  If you haven’t the caught our facebook live updates with Mummy and Sam then you are definitely missing out – watch them here!

This year has been so exciting for me as a mum, as Sam has really grown up since last year.  He now understands the challenges, can remember them and is starting to make his own decisions to be generous. Every day there is a little story to be told of what we have been up to, and here are some of my highlights:

  • finding an unopened chocolate bar on the ground and wanting to put it in his generosity kit rather than eat it!
  • looking for pennies on the floor everywhere we go so that we can put them in his generosity box
  • Sellotaping chocolate bars for the postlady and postman (and getting a note to say thank you)
  • leaving chocolate hearts in the lockers at our local swimming pool and a man giving Sam his pound coin from the locker
  • Sam making people laugh every day with his facebook live appearances!
  • putting up a “take a compliment” poster at our local childrens centre and giving on of the dedicated workers there a special present.
  • Giving books away via twitter for world book day
Summary of our time

Only eight days in and we’ve already had so much fun and learnt lots, but I am mostly overwhelmed by how much I am loving sharing this experience with Sam and being able to show him a bit of the Father’s heart.  I read this verse this morning, and it sums it up for me:

“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives towards us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our father is kind, you be kind” Luke 6:35

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

Mum on a Mission Takes on 40 acts and NEEDS YOU…

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

By now you have probably realised that I have signed up to take part in 40acts during Lent again this year.  This will be my fourth year taking part and my third year blogging about it (and possibly vlogging this year…)!  If you haven’t heard of 40 acts, it is a generosity challenge that runs throughout lent.  Everyday you are emailed a challenge to do that day and a thought about why we should so that we can cultivate generosity in our own lives, our family’s lives and the community around us.

Why should you take part?

40 acts is an amazing experience – it really does open your eyes to see the opportunities we have to be generous every day.  Since discovering it 4 years ago, I have tried to spot the things that I can do to bring joy to people more, I have tried to reach out to my community more and I have hopefully shown the love of God more because of this.  Here is a post I wrote at the beginning of last year’s challenge and one from the end.  I hope these will inspire you to take part!

win a godventure generosity kit!

win godventure 40 acts generosity kit

Another amazing change that happened last year was that Godventure, an amazing company that creates resources to help families connect with the bible together, created a sticker book and family version of the 40 acts challenge. This meant I was able to take part with Sam and teach him all about being generous! He loved this!!  This year Godventure have released a generosity kit, which includes the sticker book and everything you need to get straight into the family challenge (with nil preparation!!).  I won one for Sam, and then Godventure gave me a second kit to giveaway to my lovely blog readers.  So hop over to my facebook page to enter before 8pm on Monday 20th Feb!

I need you!

I have challenged myself to get 40 people to sign up to take part in 40 acts before the challenge starts.  That would be 1600 extra generous acts going out into the world this lent.  Will you be one of them?  If so then head over to www.40acts.org.uk and click “get started”.  Then comment below to let me know you are on the team!  I will be sharing my highlights and failure on here so do join me on this generous journey.