Most Christians parents know that they should spend time talking with their kids about God. But when you have small children sometimes just getting through the day without pulling your hair out is an accomplishment. So here are a couple of ideas that you can add to your next trip to the playground to help open up a spiritual conversation between you and your children.
Use your time playing on the playground (or your backyard swing set) as a time for prayer.
Before you start
Tell your children that as you play today you are going to come up with new ways to pray. This would be a good time to explain that prayer doesn’t always mean that we have to bow our heads. It is important for children to learn that God is always with them and they can pray wherever they are.
How it Works
- As you get on the swings ask your child about what happens when they swing. Keep asking different questions until they say that the swings help them to get high up in the air. Point out that God lifts us up high sort of like a swing does. Say that as you swing you are going to come up with ways in your life that God has helped you or lifted you up.
- Give your child a push and tell him/her to say something that he/she is thankful for each time that you push him/her. After your child runs out of things that they are thankful for add a few of your own to the list.
- When you finish swinging pause for a short moment, bow your head, and pray. Thank God for all of the things that you listed while swinging.
- Say: Just like you slide down this slide some times in life there are things that drag us down. But even when things are going rough God is always with us waiting to catch us before we fall.
- Stand at the end of the slide. As your child sits on the top ask him if he has anything that he would like for you to pray about. Let your child slide down then and catch him at the bottom. Hug him close and whisper in his ear. “God loves you and will always be there to catch you”. Repeat the processes for as long as you want to play.
- Your child will quickly run out of things to pray about, but you probably have a list a mile long. Each time your child slides pray silently for one of the needs on your list.
- Ask your child what would happen if one of the rungs were missing. She may still be able to get across, but it would be more difficult. Then ask what would happen if more than one were missing. Eventually she would not be able to cross.
- Point out that in our church there are many people doing many different jobs, and if any one of them left it would effect her. So as she crosses the bars encourage her to pray for her church and the leaders in it. Let one rug be the pastor, another her age group specific pastor and another to be her Sunday school teacher. Then ask her to think of other people in the church who have an impact on her. (You may be surprised at the answers).
- As she crosses encourage her to pray for each person. While she is praying you can pray for her leaders too.