I spend a lot of time planning learning activities, but I recently realized that I want to be just as intentional teaching my kids about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit through our Bible times. So I made it a summer goal to do more with our family devotional times. I realized that Tot Camp might also be a fun time to extend our learning in this area. So, this summer, we’ll learn all about the fruit of the spirit. I’ll plan a few things to do with my kids throughout the week and hope to do at least one story/activity on Tot Camp days.
Freeman always likes to sing this silly song, so I figured we have to start there. It’s just a fun way to learn this Bible verse, which lists the fruit of the spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
I’m going to take some ideas from this blog and this blog, and then I’ll also supplement/change as necessary. (I’m taking some things verbatim from these two blogs, so I want to make sure to give them credit. I’m going to link back in places where I take things verbatim, so please make sure you visit their sites at least once if you like what you see! Also, the second blog listed is super helpful because it even has a little devotional thought for us moms as we prepare our hearts to teach these truths.)
I’ll list the things that I’m going to do for Tot Camp, with Fairley, and as a family, so this would give you three different set of activities to use or choose from for each fruit of the spirit if you decide to join us in our devotions this summer. I’m also planning to have the girls make a book about the fruit of the spirit, so one of our activities each week will be something to place in our book.
Week One: Love
Intro: We are going to study the fruit of the spirit this summer together. Just like Jesus and God are the same, the Holy Spirit and God are also the same. A fruit is something that grows. These are called the “fruit of the spirit” because just as fruit grows from a healthy tree that is planted in good soil and watered regularly, these nine traits grow in our hearts when we are connected to Jesus through the Spirit.
Verse: “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Discussion: Who loves you? How do you know they love you? How do we know that God loves us?
Activity: Remind the girls about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Paint a cross and put it in our book. (And write/trace the word “love.”)
Additional Activity: Bake and decorate heart-shaped cookies to give to people we love.
Discussion: Why should we pray for the people we love?
Activity: Trace hands, decorate, and write the names of people we love in the fingers. Then pray for those people.
Discussion: Should we love people we don’t know? Should we love people who don’t love us? Does God?
Activity: Read the story of Joseph. Decorate a picture of a coat (and place it in the book).
1. Jesus loves us, and that helps us love others.
2. We can even love people who don’t love us.
3. We should love those in need.
“Lord, thank you for loving us with a never-ending, unconditional, incredible love. We want to share your love with those around us. Help us to love others like you love us. Help us to love even those who are hard to love. Help us to love those that are in need. Please lead us and guide us to share this good fruit with others. We love you. Amen.”
Week Two: Joy
Intro: We are continuing to study the fruit of the spirit together as a family. This week we are going to focus on the fruit of JOY. Do you know the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is often based on our circumstances. . .a feeling we get when something good happens. It’s fun to be happy when we get a gift or see someone we love or get to do something fun. But God wants us to have JOY that lives deep within our hearts and stays there no matter what. True joy comes from God and stays in our heart no matter what is going on around us. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel sad when hard things happen. But when we have true joy, our sadness will go away after a while and we can return to being joyful because of our relationship with Jesus.
Verse: You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Discussion: What is joy? What makes you happy? Why can we have joy even when things make us sad? What can we remember about God that makes us joyful? (That he LOVES us! He’ll never leave us! He’s given us everything we need through Jesus!)
Activity: Learn the song, “I’ve Got Joy Down in My Heart!”
Additional Activity: Joy in our heart watercolor painting – Print this heart page. Using a white crayon, write the word joy inside the heart (either one time in a large handwriting or a few times in a smaller handwriting). Then have your child paint the heart with watercolors, and discover the word “joy” inside! (And then place in your book.)
Discussion: When we fill our hearts with joy, it will “spill out” onto everyone we come in contact with. God wants us to share his joy with others. He wants us to be so happy that others can’t help but notice and join in our joy. When we see someone who is sad or hurting, we can use the joy in our own heart to cheer them up.
Activity: Think of one thing we can do to bring joy to someone today. (Make a card, buy a coffee, bring a treat, etc.)
Discussion: Read John 15 together. This passage talks about a life that is connected to Jesus. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. What a great picture of the fruit of the spirit! A life that is connected to Jesus bears good fruit. In order for yummy fruit to grow, it must be connected to a branch or vine. In the same way, we will have good fruit in our lives when we stay connected to Jesus through learning about him, prayer and worship. The more time we spend with him, growing with him, the more fruit we will have. John 15, verse 11 says that Jesus tells us this story about the vine and branches so that our joy may be complete. The more we are connected to him, the more joy we will have.
Activity: Have a dance party together as a family. If you don’t enjoy dancing, think of another fun activity you can do to bring laughter and joy into your home.
1. True joy comes from Jesus and our relationship with him.
2. God wants us to be filled with joy and to praise him out of that joy.
3. We should share our joy with those around us.
“God, thank you for true joy that comes from you. Thank you for laughter and fun, for blessings and activities that make us happy. Thank you that we can have joy through good days and bad days. Help us to stay connected to Jesus so we can continue having joy in our lives. Help us to share joy with everyone we see, everyday. We love you. Amen.”
So there ya go – plans for our first two weeks of family summer devotionals and Tot Camp! I’ll post more as I continue to plan for the rest of the fruit of the spirit!