Summer is well underway, and many families are busy with camps, swim lessons, and other summer activities. If a family vacation isn’t in the cards this year and you want to be sure to take time to enjoy the last weeks of summer being together. You’ve got four weeks left before schools start up again.
Taking even a few hours off on a weekday or planning an entire weekend without chores or other obligations can bring many rewards to your family, providing both bonding and entertainment. If you like the idea of a little break time with the family but are unsure where to start, here are ideas for a few local activities that will bring you closer together and closer to God.
7 activities you can do as a family to enjoy the rest of summer
Time is moving fast. Summer will be over before you know it, and school will dominate the family schedule. Take a look at these seven activities for how you can easily transform an evening, day, or weekend into pure enjoyment for the whole family. Most take just a little bit of preparation, and you’ll enjoy the last weeks of summer.
1) Fishing – is one of the great pastimes in life, an excellent survival skill, and even a way to provide for your family. Fishing provided the livelihood for those who lived on Biblical bodies of water: The Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Nile River, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, among others. Fishermen and women know that fishing can be an enjoyable sport and a great way to feed a family.
While you fish, you can find abundant opportunities to talk about God. You can even focus your discussion on fishermen in the Bible who became Disciples of Jesus: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John. They lived by what God provided when they fished. Consider sharing a message about what it means to “fish for people,” as Jesus says in Mark 1:17.
2) Boating – is another way to enjoy the water. When you are out on a boat, you can fish or take things up a notch with water sports like waterskiing, tubing, and wakeboarding. Of course, you can always choose to cruise and enjoy the sights and sounds of the lake or river.
If you don’t own a boat, many areas offer boat rentals and the fishing or sporting equipment you need. Boating was a necessity for many in the Bible, especially fishermen, but also for travel. It took many days of walking to reach destinations by land or travel between Italy and Israel or Turkey and Egypt.
When you’re boating with your family, consider talking about the Ark that Noah built. Explain about the wood and tar necessary for such a feat. Consider what it must have been like to be on such a massive boat along with all animals. Genesis 6:9 starts the story of Noah and his family. Noah was a Jew who wholeheartedly believed in God, and God used him for an extraordinary task. Noah made a commitment to his faith and God by building an ark in the desert. People scoffed and ridiculed him, but he stayed strong. At times we are attacked and ridiculed for our beliefs; talk to your family about the courage of Noah.
3) Hiking/walking – is a natural – and very available – way to explore local wooded areas and trails and simply get everyone out to enjoy the fresh air. Even if hills or rocky areas are too ambitious for your family, many parks offer cleared or paved trails for easy walking, conversation, and exercise. While walking was the primary mode of transportation for many people in ancient times, todayU.S. we often view walking and hiking as exercise and not a necessity.
The longest trek in the Bible took 40 years! It’s unclear how many miles the Israelites walked, but Exodus 13:17 tells us that God led them toward the Red Sea when the Pharaoh let the Israelites free go from their slave labor.
We don’t see water being parted and a new path formed very often in the seas and rivers today. Still, Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Red Sea, following the cloud provided by God. God opened the sea so the Israelites could pass safely but closed it on the Egyptians, so they could not recapture the Israelites. Even though they were saved, they began to doubt God and all of His Promises. Due to their lack of faith, God led them to walk in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
Your walk or hike doesn’t need to be 40 years long to thank God for all He has done for you. Practice gratitude as you walk and enjoy the last weeks of summer.
4) Camping – has been happening since God created Adam and Eve. Many people in the Bible used tents as their homes as they lived a nomadic life. When we camp today, we use tents (or RVs or trailers) as a temporary shelter while we’re out exploring different parks, lakes, rivers, and forests. Camping is a way to spend time in nature without sleeping outdoors at the mercy of the elements. While camping, you have nothing but time – to make a fire, talk, take a walk or swim, and of course, chat.
When you bring your family camping, you open up time to start all kinds of conversations. You can share a Bible story about the Apostle Paul, who was a tentmaker. During Paul’s ministry to share the truth about Jesus with non-believers, he traveled from Athens to Corinth. In Corinth, he met Priscilla and Aquilla. They were tentmakers, and Paul lived and worked with them. In return, he taught them all he knew about Jesus. You can read more about Paul’s adventures as an Apostle in Corinth in Acts 18.
5) Swimming – is an unbeatable pastime on the hot days of summer. Enjoy the last weeks of summer splashing and swimming in local lakes – and of course, your local public pool. Swimming on a hot day is refreshing and an automatic mood-enhancer. As you lay on your towel drying off in the sun, you can reminisce about other ways to rest and refresh your soul.
One of those ways is through prayer. You can pray anytime, anywhere. You could share a prayer of gratitude for the time spent together with family or a prayer of intercession to ask for healing for others. There are many types of prayer, but the best ones are prayers you share with your family. After all, the Bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” As you spend time swimming with your family, consider encouraging them to refresh their soul through prayer.
6) A picnic – is a great way to share food and fellowship. In the Bible, many festivals and holy days revolved around rest and food. One of the most important is the Sabbath. In Exodus 20: 8, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. This was God’s command for the Jewish people: To work hard for six days a week and take one day dedicated to God, to rest and worship Him.”
When we slow down and commune with family and God, we are renewed for another week of work. God renews our strength and helps us to connect with others around us. A picnic is a great way to take a Sabbath. You can even discuss how your Sabbath is like the Sabbath feast prepared by the Jewish people.
7) Local tourism – can be an excellent way to learn about your community, city, or county. Take a drive to a neighborhood you’ve never explored. Walk down the downtown street of your town and think about how it might have changed since you were young or the last time you were there. Many counties have state parks or state historical sites you can visit to understand more about local culture and history. Being a tourist in your town is a great way to see new things not far from home.
As believers, our greatest joy is the promise that we will go to our eternal home when we leave this life. While we live here on Earth, many of us often feel like something is not right. People can be mean; they can lie, cheat, steal or be violent to others. This is not the world God intended when He created Adam and Eve. At that time, He saw all that He created, and it was very good. (Paraphrased from Genesis 1:31) Sin came into the world, and Jesus was the necessary remedy to save a fallen world. Jesus is our savior. Through Him, we have adopted sonship in Heaven, making Heaven the eternal home for believers. This is a wonderful gift!
As you travel your local community, you may see many wrong things. It brings up a great time to talk about all the is right and good through Jesus. He saved us and brought us back into righteousness with God. We can live as a saved people and make our local neighborhood a great place to live, work, and play. Because we know we are saved, we can help others be saved too through Jesus. The Good News of Jesus can set us all free to live a life of Joy and Peace.
As you make a point to enjoy the last weeks of summer, think about how you can add a little God time into your family activities. You never know who needs to hear more about God’s Redeeming Grace.
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