Bulletin Board ideas, Family Fun, Fun with Friends, Summer Activities for Kids, Summer Vacation

SUMMER SURVIVAL GUIDE for parents & kids

DSCN9607Summer’s comin’! Are you ready?  This was another bulletin board I dreamed up for my grandkid’s school.

So many of the parents shared that they loved it and took photos of the board to help them out this summer.  Many shared that they also came up with other ideas to add to each theme.  I recieved so many comments that I thought maybe I was on to something by sharing it here. Maybe it would inspire you as well!

Honestly, I don’t know about you, but when I was a young mom, the month of May was a complete whirlwind, a blur, sooooo crazy busy with end of the school year activities, and after-school clubs and lessons and sports events winding down and gearing up, recitals, and graduations, and a yard that was totally out of control, that I didn’t know if I was coming or going, let alone think about summer.  And then, BAM, here it would be, like a brick wall on the 1604!  Instead of getting to sleep-in though, and be lazy that first wonderful morning, my eyeballs were dredged open and I was jarred out of delicious unconsciousness by a bedroom full of bouncing, wide awake kiddos huddled around my tossled bed, begging for breakfast, and quizzing me on what we were going to do that day.  Whoa!  Time-out kids!  You gotta let mama sit with a cup of coffee for about thirty minutes before you start in on me with the needy kid stuff, c’mon!  Eventually we’d get into a new routine of sleeping in, being lazy, being bored, bickering and squabbling, and spending entirely too much time vegging on the couch in front of a television – a rut that’s hard to break out of.

Soooo… for all our sanity, I’ve come up with a plan, and we’ll see how long it lasts.  I’ve divided the summer into the individual weekdays.  Figuring on about twelve Mondays, and twelve Tuesdays, and twelve Wednesdays…. etc.  I came up with themes for each day (for variety), and then at least twelve activities for each day that we can check off the list.

Monday’s theme is CHORES, with age-appropriate jobs for the kids to do, which I hope will kind of earn the kids the fun being offered the rest of the week.  In fact, you could pay your kids for their chores with play money and then charge them for the activities later on.  Even fine them for whining, if necessary, but I’ll bet they’ll like having chores to do.  I know my grandkids love helping with things.  It makes them feel grown up.


Click here for the Chores Monday FREE PRINTABLE!


Tuesday is a physical and outdoorsy theme, to keep the kids active.

Check out this fun backyard Ninja Warrior Course a dad created for his daughter. There are lots of other plans on the Internet and on Pinterest.

Neighborhood KIDS (Bicycle/Tricycle/HotWheels) “Poker” Run:

1. Get your kids’ friends, and their moms, together for a neighborhood kid’s poker run. Need seven moms, and at least seven kids on bikes, tricycles, or Hot Wheels. Could even do roller blades, scooters, or skateboards.  Each of the seven moms will be in charge of a card station (preferably right outside of their house – provided all the moms live in fairly close proximity to one another), and have beverages and snacks on hand for the kids.  Each of the kids will need to bring a good, nice toy or item that they don’t want any more as their payment to play.  All the toys/items will be collected into a prize basket.

2. Plot a course. Draw a map of your neighborhood, and show the boundary lines for the Poker Run and where the stations are. Pre-arrange for seven stations where the kids will collect cards from.  A mom will be at each station.  You’ll need a deck of cards (Crazy 8s work great), divided into seven portions, and a portion given to each mom for each station, and a scoring sheet for each kid showing what the order of winning hands are.  (Using Crazy 8s cards, the kids can make sets: several cards of the same number, or runs: several cards of the same color.  Of course a run of 4 cards would be worth more than a run of 3 cards, or, in the case of two kids having a run of 4 cards you can add the totals of the cards to see who’s is highest, and a set of 7s would be worth more than a set of 5s, and if you wanted to get even more technical, or break a tie, you could make purple the most valuable, then blue, then green, then red).


The kids will ride their bikes from point A to point B along the route, and draw a card at each station.  The mom at that station will mark what the kid’s card is on their scoring sheet, offer them something to eat or drink, and send them on their way.

Basic Rules for a real Poker Run: Participants meet at a pre-arranged point, and pick up details of their route and the stops they’ll need to make. Each participant is given a score card which will be filled in as they progress along the route. At each designated stop, the participants draw a card at random (or are dealt a card). The card drawn or dealt is recorded on each participant’s score card, and the winner of the event is the participant who makes the best five card poker hand (out of the seven cards they collected) at the end of the run. Normal Poker Run Events usually end with some entertainment at the designated “last stop” of the route, along with the awarding of the prizes.

There are no prizes for speed – it does not matter who is first to complete the course. It is not a race.

The winning hand is determined by standard poker hand rankings. Decide ahead of time if you will use “wild cards” and if players will be allowed to buy extra cards at any point. Some runs, for example, allow a player to replace one card in their hand by “buying” one more card at the final stop for a fixed fee.

The “last stop” can be your house, where you have a movie set up outside for the kids to watch, or it can be a nearby ice cream truck or store, or it can be a swimming pool, or a skateboard park, or bowling alley, or gaming arcade.  Honestly, any place that kids would find fun.  The kid with the winning poker hand will get first choice from all the toys/items paid to the prize basket.  The next highest winning hand will get second choice, and so on until each kid has chosen a toy/item.   You can sweeten the pot by adding some prizes of your own (i.e. a horn for their bike, a new ball cap, or beach towel, or music CD, etc.).

There are lots of ideas for a Nature Scavenger Hunt (do a Google search, and then pick one).  If you want, its kind of fun to make plaster castings of the hoof impressions and animal tracks that you find.  You might also catch a horny toad, frog, turtle, or lizard that you could bring home and place in a terrarium for a few days.

This is how you play Frisbee Golf.

Progressive Lunch Bike Ride (or Hike)  If you know several moms in the neighborhood, or within close proximity to you and each other, ask them if they would like to get the kids together for a progressive lunch bike ride.  Each mom will host a portion of the meal (drink, sandwich, chips, carrot sticks, apple slices, dessert, etc.).  All the kids will meet at the first house for the first item of their lunch.  Then they will ride their bikes (with that mom) to the next house, for the next part of their lunch.  Both moms and the kids will then ride to the next house for the next portion of their lunch.  This continues until all the moms and all the kids have made it to the last house and eaten all their lunch.  The last house can then host an activity for the kids, like a driveway basketball game, or set up a hot wheels track, or play a backyard game of hide-and-go-seek, or play on a slip-and-slide, Croquet, volleyball or badmitten, or just do some trampoline jumping, etc. When everyone is ready to call it a day, the moms and kids can follow the course backwards to each of their houses.

A Sidewalk Chaulk Art Rally is basically just getting all the neighborhood kids together, asking them to bring their own sidewalk chaulk, giving each kid a section of the sidewalk, and putting them to the task of creating a work of art within a time limit, to be judged (or not) by the neighbors, or parents, or whomever you wish.  Provide drinks and snacks for the kids.  Be sure to take a nice photograph of each finished creation, even video the works in progress, and interview each artist.  Your local newspaper may even be interested in doing a story on your event.  You can host the rally in your neighborhood, cul-de-sac, or neighborhood park.


Click here for the Outdoor Tuesday FREE PRINTABLE!


Wednesday features activities to challenge their little noggins, and hopefully keep them learning. Find Summer Bridge Activities workbooks and Brain Quest workbooks at Amazon.  You can find language courses, and teach-yourself musical instrument courses online or at most libraries, or bookstores. And Walmart carries a selection of Smithsonian (science) kits in their crafts isle.

I also wrote a blog about fostering a love or reading in our kids over the summer, with lots and lot of ideas and helpful tips.  Click on this link to check out that post:  Kid’s Summer Reading Program, A Parent’s Primer

And this is just one of many great places to find: Summer Reading Lists For Kids (Grades K-8)



Click here for the BrainQuest Wednesday FREE PRINTABLE!


Thursday is all about the crafts…‘bout the crafts, and being creative and busy with their little hands.


Click here for the Creative Thursday FREE PRINTABLE!


Friday ends the week with lots of ways to give and serve others, because it makes us feel good to do that, and turns our focus on others instead of ourselves.


Click here for the GiftsOservice Friday FREE PRINTABLE!




Click here for the Saturday&Sunday FREE PRINTABLE!




NOTE: I didn’t put anything on the posters about swimming lessons, or VBS or summer church camps, or summer movies at the local theater, or roller skating at the local rink, or bowling, which the schools usually send fliers home about at the end of the year that offer special prices and promotions.  I also stayed away from costly activities like bouncy house places, trampoline parks, amusement places, laser tag, go carts, mini golf, climbing walls, and all that sort of stuff, but you are certainly welcome to add those on to each day as you wish and can afford.   Have a fun and blessed summer y’all!





Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might as unto the Lord and not men.

Ecclesiastes 9:10  &  Colossians 3:23

Advent Calendar, Bulletin Board ideas, Feast on This, Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness

This post started as an idea for a Christmas Bulletin Board for a church or Christian school, but there is no reason to make Random Acts of kindness a seasonal thing. Keep reading past the bulletin board part. There are some wonderful ideas at the end of this post for stretching the practice to our everyday lives all throughout the year!  ((( SEE ALSO: Random Acts 365!!!!!! my latest blog post featuring a set of 365 cards with a daily scripture and a daily random act to carry out.  Please visit that post. ))) And please feel free to share your ideas and experiences in the comments section at the end of this post!



The Advent Calendar and wreath have been my very favorite traditions of Christmas since I was a young, newly saved mom. When my kids were little I usually purchased an Advent Calendar from the Hallmark store, or Wal-Mart as soon as I could find them in November; one for each child. They were made of cardboard, with a nativity scene on the front, had 25 little doors (one for each day) that my girls could pry open, to reveal a scripture verse inside and expose a little treat hidden in the compartments behind the doors.

As they got older I thought it would be fun to have an activity for our family to do every day in addition to the peek-a-boo calendar, which prompted me to create an Advent Calendar with daily activities that I could pull out and use every year. It also helped me to get organized. I laminated my creation so I could write the dates in with a vis-a-vis marker and then wipe them off for the next year.

Advent Calendar

It was this long-standing family tradition that inspired me for the creation of the December bulletin board for my granddaughter’s school.

bulletin board close up

The board, as you can see, was covered in burlap, and framed with evergreen sprigs, pinecones, and large candycanes. And then to display my homemade set of Random Acts cards, I pinned up rope and hung the cards with tiny clothespins into a 7 day, 4 week calendar. As the front of each card was read (one per day) by the students, the cards were then turned over, reavealing the random act challenge for the day. The kids were encouraged to participate and then talk about their random acts with each other at lunch the next day, before they revealed the new challenge.


I first downloaded the scripture cards from Harvest House!!! And once the cards downloaded, I was able to print them whatever size I wanted, from wallet size to 8 x 10. Those became the designs for the front of my cards.

For the backsides I thought it would be a neat idea to make the board interactive, to challenge the students to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22). That lead me to try and come up with some things a kid with little means could give. These thoughts became RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS that basically any kid of any school age could do, and each would foster a spirit of giving in their hearts rather than the usual spirit of receiving that is typical of Santa and Christmas. It would also be a way for our little school to show our love for Christ to our community.

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

I started jotting things down as they came to me, things that anyone could do, and when I ran out of ideas, I googled the topic to help fill out my list. I came up with 25 or 30 random acts of kindness. Some things might cost a little bit of money, but many were totally free, like taking someone’s shopping cart back to the store or cart corral for them after they’ve unloaded their groceries, or helping (an elderly person, or veteran) unload their groceries? Or holding the door open for someone. Helping someone clean up a mess, making a sibling’s bed, or letting the person in line behind them go in front of them.

I found so many wonderful, thoughtful ideas, such as taking a towel to the park and drying off the swings and slides after a rain, or giving stickers out to kids who are waiting in line at the stores, or (and this might be my personal favorite): take a hot beverage to a Salvation Army bell ringer. There were other great ideas too, like picking up trash around the school or a neighborhood, taping dollar bills to the backsides of a few toys at the Dollar Store, taping quarters to the vending machines in hospital waiting areas (with a note that says, “This treat’s on me.”), or giving crayons and coloring books to a children’s hospital, or leaving diapers at diaper changing stations in the stores.

(P.S. If you’ve ever heard of the ChristmasAngel – an alternative, or accompaniment, to Elf on the Shelf, they have a website where folks have shared their 25 messages, things like: Give Hugs, Share Some Toys, Go Caroling, etc. In their blog they have created six pre-made lists that could easily be cut apart and glued to the back of the scripture cards. Check them out for a ton of loving, caring, giving things kids can do any time of year, but especially during the holidays).

(*Click HERE for the FREE PRINTABLES I created for my Random Acts cards. Each sheet will fit on an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper, and then you can cut them apart and have them laminated).

Random Acts Cards1

I took my set of cards to my local print shop and had them laminated with their good quality lamination for a nice sealed edge all the way around each. That way the cards wouldn’t get ruined by being handled, and could be reused year after year, if the school wanted to keep them, or, if I wanted to use them for my own family year after year. They would also make a nice gift!


This is how the bulletin board looked when my daughter and I finished putting it up. Please feel free to replicate it for your church lobby, youth group bulletin board, or Christian school.

FOR THE HOME: You are welcome also to print this set of cards and place them in a basket at your dining tables. Each morning at breakfast we can have a family member draw one card, and share the scripture out loud, then flip the card over to reveal that day’s personal challenge. Every family member can then be challenged to carry out that day’s random act in their own special way. We can talk about them at the end of the day around the supper table, or later that night at bedtime, and also say a prayer for the people touched by God’s love through our random acts.   

((( IT’S HERERandom Acts 365!!!!!  Click on this link for a FREE PRINTABLE set of cards for every day of the year, featuring a scripture and a random act for every day. )))


Random Acts3


The Bible is filled with scriptures about doing things for others (100+). Let’s not be hearers of God’s word only. I encourage you to make our own set of scripture cards (click on this link for a 365 piece card set that I created), with scriptures on one side and “random acts” on the other that can find a permanent dwelling place on our kitchen tables, and in our daily practice? And also discuss with our families ways we can carry out the Lord’s commands. And please, won’t you share your awesome ideas and experiences with all of us in the comments below?


Be generous with praise. Thank others often. Pitch in and help when a cowworker is overwhelmed (sometimes because of the death of a loved one, or recovery from an illness or accident, etc., or just learning the job). Leave a small gift (book, music CD, pretty pen, Starbucks giftcard, etc.) in a mailbox, just because. Surprise someone with flowers or balloons who never receives such things.

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4



Ofter to clean an elderly member’s home. Take an elderly member to a doctor appointment. Take a casserole dinner to a new mom and help her fold clothes. Offer babysitting to a young couple for a date night. Rake leaves or shovel snow for a shut-in or someone recovering from surgery. Buy groceries for the pastor/wife. Pick up a friend and take them to church with you. Take a new member to breakfast or lunch.

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 ESV



Here is an awesome and really fun sounding idea () to do with our small groups (cell groups) that a friend posted on Facebook:

“Oh my goodness! What fun and what a blessing. My church has a number of small groups that meet once a week for more intimate fellowship, Bible study and service to our community. We are doing a weekly service in our town called “Acts of Random Kindness.” We arrive with a list of acts of kindness we will do, in an hour, as we break up in smaller teams and compete with each other to accomplish the acts and make it back to our host house ahead of other teams. We ran off and paid for people’s grocery’s, went to gas stations and paid for gas for people and cleaned their windshields, gave flowers to unsuspecting random recipients, gave tips to waitresses without receiving their service, filled washers and dryers with quarters for people at public laundry mats, sang to fast food counter servers, dropped gift baskets at random houses and for retail sales persons, read an encouraging poem to a person we came across and many other acts that let people know they are special and that we care. The way people responded to us was so touching. I didn’t want the giving to stop. I told our leader that it reminded me of when I was a teen and we would do Chinese fire drills. Our adrenaline ran wild. As teams, we ran to each service, all participated, and then we ran back to the car laughing and feeling great about the lives we touched. I could do this every day! I received more than I gave. I think that was the lesson to each of us participating. It is such a joy to give. And…to give randomly to whoever we see in front of us at the time. I encourage everyone to open your eyes to people you can show kindness to whether you think they deserve it or not.”

“He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13



Leave a little note of encouragement in children’s lunchbox or backpack. Leave a sweet note on the mirror for spouse. Send a love text or prayer of encouragement to spouse during the day. Warm up and scrape the ice off of spouse’s vehicle before they go to work. Surprise spouse with a little gift left in their car or on their side of the bed or sitting next to their favorite chair in the living room (new book, new pair of pajamas, new socks, new gloves, movie tickets, new tool, lotion, candybar, etc.) just because.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8



Send a card. Invite to lunch. Leave a small gift (potted plant, bottle of wine, bag of groceries, magazine/newspaper/book, pretty wreath for their door, etc.) on the doorstep. Invite to a pedicure. Make a mammogram appointment together and go pick her up. Invite to go shopping (clothes, antiques, farmer’s market, etc.). Invite to a play or movie.

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17-18



Shovel their sidewalks while they are at work. Leave a potted plant on their doorstep. Invite them for supper. Visit with them over the fence. Help them wash their car, work on their car, repair a fence, etc. if you see them out doing that. Mow their yard while they are at work. Make a pretty wreath for their door.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27



“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

James 2:14-17