This is a reprint from Catholicmom.com.
Jane Korvemaker offers five ideas to include in your summer plans to help foster faith and connection for your family.
As summer rolls out, our familiar routines with school tend to be thrown out the window. As a child, I remember the absolute thrill of having no obligations on my plate, or at least I thought there were no obligations, much to the chagrin of my parents.
When summer activities/camps crop up, vacations with travel, and for many families, parents continually working throughout the months, it can be difficult to help build up family relationships and faith life. Here are five ideas that can be incorporated singly or more numerously into summer plans to help foster faith and connection for your family.
Morning Offering Together
This works if there are young kids and/or early risers; sometime around breakfast offer the day to the Holy Spirit together. It can be as simple as, “Holy Spirit, thank you for this day. We ask that you be with us and guide our actions today for your glory and our true happiness. Amen.”
There are many other formulations that can work for your family’s needs!
Podcasts for the Family
There are a lot of podcasts for kids out there, but which ones won’t grate on the adults also tuning in? Which promote a healthy outlook on life? There are several we’ve discovered and have enjoyed in the van and at home:
Saints Alive present dramatizations of saints’ lives. Since the lives are acted out, they are lengthier than other saint stories we’ve encountered, which gives more depth to know the saints. Though the music can sometimes overpower the dialogue (or increase too much between dialogue), the content is so great that we can handle managing the volume dial more often.
While not quite a podcast, nor freely available, Cat.Chat’s Audio dramatizations are fantastic! My kids adored the stories and songs that punctuated them. They are filled with great storytelling of faith, hope, and love. They have been well worth our investment.
Wow In the World is a very entertaining podcast about science, technology, and innovation. Mindy and Guy explore and discover the world around them in outlandish stories and with their hilarious personalities.
Short and Curly is a great ethics podcast coming out of Australia. With great humor, the hosts tackle questions kids have, such as: should you kill insects?; the ethics of smartphones; and is it fair to punish the whole class? They offer great scenarios and consider the different ethical positions involved in a large number of different topics. They also provide pause points within the podcast to discuss the questions with your kids.
We’ve had the occasional dance party with our kids to just let loose for a few! The kids love it, and it’s usually an aerobic workout for my husband and me (where did our energy go?!). While we are cautious about what may turn into a little torture every time we parents have to listen in, my husband and I have found these groups and artists to pass our “adults can also enjoy” test.
These fun (though non-Christian) artists are a hit in our house: Perry Gripp (Spotify & YouTube), some Weird Al (Spotify), the BNL (Spotify & a few on YouTube), or They Might Be Giants’ kids albums (YouTube; the videos are pretty great).
This prayer is traditionally recited at nine, noon, and six, but can be said on its own when convenient. It is a simple invitatory and response prayer based upon the Hail Mary. Its simplicity does not negate its power. The easy rhythm is quick to pick up for young and older alike.
Summer Movie (or Show) Club
This could be a great way to include their friends! Come up with dates to watch a series of movies and plan for popcorn! Start with a short prayer and press play! There are a great number to choose from, here are a few on my list: The Prince of Egypt, Thérèse, Clare & Francis (subtitled & dubbed), The Way, The Chronicles of Narnia series.
Kendra Tierney has a great list of other movies to watch as a family if you’re looking for more inspiration. As always, be sure to check the movie ratings yourself to find if it is appropriate for your family.
(Editor’s Note: Follow the blog at our sister ministry, Family Theater Productions, for information on family-friendly entertainment. Family Theater Productions also created the YouTube show, Catholic Central, to help older kids and adults learn about the faith in a fun and enlightening format.]
How does your family connect and foster prayer and faith over the summer?