Some of my fondest childhood memories were Sabbaths spent with my Lummi Adventist Church family. Though we were few in number, we always had a fun, interactive Sabbath school and potluck every single week. I can still remember the chili and macaroni and cheese we ate every week! Then, almost every Sabbath, we all spent the day together, either outdoors or in someone’s home, fellowshipping, playing games, singing songs, sometimes having another meal and enjoying devotional time. It was a great way to end the week. I always loved it. Having that kind of Sabbath-keeping as a foundation to my childhood Christian experience really helped solidify my love of God’s Sabbath day. It was always a joy and a day to look forward to.
In this very busy world we are living in, where stress and anxiety abounds, I see the need for Sabbath rest more and more — a day to put away the cares of the world, to spend time with family, church and God and to just enjoy the things that God created.
God knew what He was doing when He rested on the seventh day and told us we should also rest in Him. I want, so badly, for my kids to have the same love of the Sabbath as I do. I have found that my kids love the Sabbath when we do things with others and when we stay busy. So here are 10 ideas our family has done to make Sabbath enjoyable for our kids. What would you add to this list?
10 Ways to Make the Sabbath Enjoyable for Kids
- Outreach – The activities we’ve participated in include feeding the homeless, cleaning up a park, giving out random acts of kindness, singing at assisted living facility and making cards and small gifts for missing members.
- Arts/Crafts – We enjoy watercolor painting, sidewalk chalk art, painting kindness rocks, foam crafts, painted wood projects, paper crafts and much more!
- Games – A new fun idea is scavenger hunts with cell phones, Bible charades, "Would-You-Rather" Bible edition, and Bible Pictionary.
- Walks/Hikes – My kids love walking places with other kids. They never complain when other kids are with us!
- Picnics – Instead of church potluck, my family loves visiting the park with friends and having a picnic.
- Listen to Stories Together – To this day, my kids still love hearing episodes of Your Story Hour and Adventures in Odyssey. You know what? So do I.
- Movies – We’ve recently watched The Star, Nativity and the Chosen, but there are so many other faith-based options. When it’s raining or cold, an indoor movie with popcorn and treats is always a hit with the kids.
- Outdoor Sports – Here in the Pacific Northwest, outdoor sports are popular and we have often enjoyed bike rides, kayaking or stand-up-paddle boarding on a local laken or the Salish Sea.
- Make a Sabbath Bin – When my kids were younger, we had a special Sabbath-only bin. They could only open and play with the toys, games, books on Sabbath. They loved that bin. I still have it and use it for quiet bag items for church.
- Special Food Night – We currently like to make homemade pizza. Our friends like sub sandwiches. Having a special thing you do as a family makes the Sabbath fun and special.
I’ve just listed the things we like to do to make our Sabbath time special for the kids. These are all activities we've done and that our kids love. There are so many things that you can do with your kids. One thing our kids don’t love: staying home all day in bed. If we stay busy and do things together or with others, they are much happier. The Sabbath becomes a delight to them. I really want my kids to look back and remember their Sabbath experience fondly. How about you?