10 Summer Serve and Learn Activities

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10 Summer Serve and Learn

Summer is the BEST time of the year, but sometimes it can be a challenge IF:

You are a parent

You are a caregiver

You are the older sibling babysitting younger brothers or sisters

I’m kidding…well kind of….

See, it’s about that time of the summer when ‘what are we going to do’? is heard about every 5 or 10 minutes.

And the ‘screen-time’ arguments have begun, such as: how long they get/want/deserve/need.

Have you gotten to the point yet when you think you will scream, or run far away, when you hear the words “I’m bored” one more time….

Guess what?  I have THE perfect solution!

It’s more than just keeping busy, though that is a good thing.

THIS teaches important life skills in such a fun and engaging way, they won’t even realize that they are learning and doing things that are useful and helpful!

WHAT is the key and answer here?  

It is my 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities!


TELL me more!

My 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn is more than just keeping the kids out of trouble, busy and time fillers.  

These are activities that will teach them:

  • They will Learn and Practice life skills that will last their whole life.
  • How to be kind and compassionate to others.
  • Many of the activities are educational in a very entertaining way, and enjoyed so much, they will not guess at all of the lessons they are learning.
  • They will learn to interact with others, a HUGE skill that is needed today.
  • All of these activities are free or very inexpensive.
  • Provide great lasting memories of a wonderful and unique summer.
  • Help them become better for what they will accomplish as they do any or all of these Serve and Learn Activities.


HOW do you go about implementing this extraordinary much-more-than-a-boredom-buster-list-of-activities? 

1- If your children are young, you could take one activity a week, say on a given night as a planned family time, and do one idea in each of the 10 activities.

2- If your kids are older and you are trying to keep them busy so you can get some things done.  Or another concern of busy and working parents, is to find worthwhile activities that keep the older kids from so much screen time and video games.  This is a fantastic way to accomplish that purpose also.  You could have the kid(s) do everything listed in the 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn.

3- Here is where you have to decide how important this is to you, as a family and for your children/kids/teens.  I personally like a reward system that is modest and small.  We all work for something.  A paycheck, a thank you, something, until we reach the point of real charity.  But the kids are usually still growing into that.  So, may I suggest that either a vote is taken, or you give the value you are willing to pay when the designated number of Serve and Learn Activities are done. 

For example:  If you must leave older kids at home during the day, it could be very useful to consider that each day or every few days, one of the activities would be done.  Again, for example, on Tuesday, they made the Cherrio Bird Feeder together, cleaned it all up and had a good time as a family without arguments; maybe  donuts would be the reward.  

You could tell them that when all 10 Serve and Learn Activities were done, again without contention, having fun and leaving it clean, the reward could be a night of family bowling, swimming at the local pool (watch for coupons) or hiking with a picnic.  

Let us know how you chose to implement these 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities by yourself, or as a family in the comments, in the Instagram feed or FB posts.  Pictures would be awesome!

I created an terrific checklist that you can download for free so you can easily keep track of each 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activity as it’s completed, click HERE



            10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities

1- It all about the BIRDS

Kids Can Serve & Care:


Kids Can Learn: We live in a beautiful and special world.  By keeping it clean we can appreciate miracles all around us even more. By feeding the birds, we can watch them close up and enjoy their amazing colors and how they fly.



2- Invite someone, or a family, over for a game night

  • Try choosing from the old fashioned games like these: 

Old Time Game of Kick The Can

How To Play Old Fashioned Hop Scotch

Make up a batch of THE BEST Homemade Bubbles

This game of 100 is AWESOME for ALL ages


Learn: Playing is important at any age and we need to make sure we take time to have some fun!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw



3- Plant a garden or flowers 

  • With your family, or yourself, plant some vegetables or herbs to use in preparing your own food this summer.  See my post HERE for some ideas on gardening
  • Plant flowers to make your home look more attractive to you and others.  A planter or window box will make a big difference if you are limited in space or resources.

Learn:  It is incredibly empowering and therapeutic to actually plant, raise and harvest your own food and blooms.    The effort and energy put forth to teach your family this skill is some of the most well-spent and important you can do.  Again, see my post HERE




4- Visit or help someone

  • Weed the garden or flower beds, or do other yard work for someone who is unable.
  • If someone has recently had surgery, ask what you can do to help them.
  • Make posters for your local care center or facility to cheer them up. See this post HERE for ideas
  • Someone who might be overwhelmed with family or their life’s situation could use a hand. 
  • One of my amazing readers makes the baby bibs from my post to give to the new moms in her church.  You can see the easy to make tutorial HERE

Learn:  By visiting those who are elderly, have a young family, or unable to get out on their own, we are showing compassion and kindness.  Looking outside of our self to other’s needs and doing something to ease their burden are some of the most important skills we can learn, practice often to become a better person.




5- Welcome Someone To The Neighborhood, or Take A Treat to Those You Already Know

  • You will find lots of ideas of how to Welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood in THIS post.
  • THIS treat is always popular to take to anyone of any age:)
  • OR take a treat to a neighbor you want to get to know better.  This SWEET Tag HERE is one you might want to use. 


Learn: It’s hard to move to a new place and then meet people sometimes.  When we reach out to others we are making new friends as well as helping them feel comfortable in their new neighborhood.

By taking a treat to those you already know, but haven’t talked to in a while, makes your neighborhood and community stronger, you feel more included surprisingly and the friendships develop.



6- Serve At Home

  • Eat dinner together and have a conversation without technology. You’ll find the post HERE about dinner conversations, how to do them easily and with some FUN! 

Learn: Technology is a great thing, but too often it gets in the way and we don’t take the time to talk to each other, even in our own family.  This is a perfect way to learn new things about each other in a natural and creative approach.



7- Learn About Your Family 

  • I have a post on how how and why to do a Family Tree HERE
  • Get to know a family member better by visiting in person, or skype.

Learn: With your child learn who their family tree members are as they fill out one, or both of the styles of Family Tree’s in THIS POST. Fill one out yourself if you haven’t before and ask living family members in your Family Tree to share an inspiring experience they had, or one they learned a valuable lesson from that you may not have known. 

Knowing our family and their life is so important because it connects us to our past and helps us understand our self also.




8- Love the Animals

  • Shelters are in need of many supplies all the time, and have lots of animals to care for.  Did you know that some shelters have other animals besides just dogs and cats they need items for too?  See my post on Service to our local Animal Shelter HERE

Learn:  Compassion and kindness for all of God’s creatures




9- There Are Those In Need ALL year long

  • Have you ever thought of helping your local MEALS ON WHEELS?  In my area they are in need of general greeting cards all year long.  You can find our more HERE
  • Donate to a local food bank. It’s natural to think of those less fortunate at Christmas and other holidays, but the need is there all year long.  

Learn:  Serving others is how we learn about ourselves. 




10- Say Thank you!

  • We appreciate a ‘thank you’ and should express gratitude often.  But when do we actually sit down and write a note of thanks to someone?  
  • It also teaches our family members volumes we cannot speak as we act by doing.
  • See my post HERE for all the how’s, why’s, when’s and what to write in a thank you card.

Learn:  It only takes a couple of minutes to do this simple task, but the effects on us as the sender, and those who receive it are priceless.



I can’t wait to hear what you and your family are LEARNING, PRACTICING and BECOMING this summer!

Please share in the comments on in this post, on my FaceBook comments and Instagram feed, so we can learn from each other, be encouraged and get awesome ideas. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Are YOU Paddling Your Boat His Way?

Are YOU Paddling in the RIGHT Direction?

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You've Got To Row Together!

If You Don’t Row Together, You Don’t Go Where You Want to Go!

Have you ever wanted things YOUR way more than God’s way?  Do you find it difficult to work with others, or want to do whatever is the easiest; which may not be the BEST for them—or you?

Boy you are NOT alone my friend, I am RIGHT there with YOU!  I’ll tell you about WHY we have to paddle in the RIGHT direction, so our boat, and that of our loved ones, move in the right direction – meaning God’s direct, not ours.  Doing this is foror our benefit, even when we don’t see the end blessings.  Read to the end:)

Ya Gotta Paddle Together In Order to Move

6/2014 – I went to Cub Scout Day Camp with my Webelos Den and had a wonderful time.  Stan (who had business meetings that day and was unable to attend camp) and I currently have 12 Webelos (10 year old boys). and they are all great kids.  I have been in and out of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts quite a few times in the years I’ve been married.  My largest den was 17 boys and they happened to be Webelos also. 

In my church it is a calling, or an assignment if you will; which is why I am in this position and rotating in and out frequently.

Scouting was not my idea of fun in the beginning, and admittedly I resisted it quite a bit.  After much prayer, I softened my heart and became involved with my oldest son, Derek’s den when he was 8 years old.  

Scouting has created memorable experiences and teaching opportunities I would not trade.  

Derek went on to get his Eagle at 13 years old (his brothers were also 13 when they received theirs), all three did the Varsity program; receiving many awards.  Dallin and Delsi earned many of the Venturing Awards and Derek actually became the first in the nation (USA) to earn all the Venturing Awards with the exception of Sea Scout (no boat, nor access to requirements at that time).  I mention this because if I had not listened to what God wanted me to do, instead of what I wanted to do, my kids would have missed out on so many valuable skills and talents, that it would have been a truly missed chance in countless ways.

(FYI I was a Girl Scout Leader to my girls so they had that experience too.)

NOW Back to my day with this Webelos den.  Camp KieselDelsi came as one of the adult leaders as she is currently the Cub Master to this camp.

 The boys were able to pass off many requirements, and loved the BB GUN range and the Archery; we had a little fun with it also.Camp Kiesel 1

That evening, the camp staff retired a flag.  It was one of the most reverent, spiritual experiences some of my cubs had experienced in their young years.  I think being out in nature and away from technology opens us up for inspiration.  Camp Kiesel 2From the picture on the top, you can see Delsi’s boat was being swamped by the camp staff.  She worked at this camp for three summers as a young teen which is why they were teasing her.

Dallin, my youngest son, also worked there for a summer.

We had the opportunity to go out in the boats a second time, in the afternoon.  I had half the boys in my boat and Delsi had the other half in hers.  We kept trying to get the boys to paddle together to move in the direction we needed to go. 

Instead, some boys paddled faster, with others becoming distracted with anything and everything around them. 

In order to turn the boat, some boys needed to drag their paddle, or take it in the opposite direction in the water, while others were to paddle forward.  It was hilarious, though a bit of a predicament. Camp Kiesel 3


Delsi and I were laughing about it later, when she brought up the point that to go forward in life we have to paddle together in a manner that helps the other, which in actuality it moves us forward in the process. 

I couldn’t agree more and thought what a fitting analogy for all of us. 

As we build, lift, comfort, nurture and serve one an other, whether convenient or not; our own life is enhanced and improved beyond anything we could ever do for our self.  By extending oneself to buoy up another, we are improved in our talents, skills, abilities and influence. 

Possibly we could make a concerted effort, to say a little prayer to avoid unnecessary distractions in our life, express gratitude as we Recognize a blessing(s) received, and to whom He would have us be a blessing. 

See, sometimes we have to do hard things, even when it’s not easy for the better good.  

We have to find out what God’s will is for us and our loved ones so our boat and theirs moves in the RIGHT direction, then paddle with all our might.

Frustrating for sure at times, but as long as we are paddling, working and striving to only do HIS work, His will and be in His ways, our boat will always be guided by Him.  And what else matters?!

This is how we add value and pure joy to the life we have been so graciously given; as well as bring blessings to our life and those we love so dear.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Fleece Scarf

How to make a Fleece Scarf

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Fleece Scarf

Easy No Sew Fleece Scarves

Making a fleece scarf is incredibly easy, whether for a gift, yourself or as a service project. Even older children can help, or make them alone.  These economical and useful scarves are easily adapted for men, women, boys and girls, simply by the pattern or color of the fleece, using beads, how the ends are tied or left straight – the sky is the limit. Personalize this gift by matching the personality of who is going to wear this; making it a desired and much appreciated gift.

Supplies for Fleece Scarf:

At least ¼ yard fleece of desired thickness and pattern. (Good quality and thicker fleece is the best for this project)


Ruler or measuring tape

Marking pencil or chalk

Masking tape

Small crochet hook or pair of tweezers

Pony beads, optional    

Men’s Fleece Scarf:

Cut fleece 9” in width and 54” to 60” length Trim endsFleece Scarf 1Leave ends plain and as they are


Mark 3 inches from edge of fleece and place masking tape across to help gauge how far to cut and to keep each section even.

Cut at 1 inch intervals from the edge to the masking tape.Fleece Scarf 2Leave with cuts OR In the center of the top edge next to the masking tape, cut a small hole with the very tip of sharp scissors or use a seam ripper to make a small hole.Fleece Scarf 3Put the end into the hole   Fleece Scarf 4

And pull throughFleece Scarf 5 Continue across both ends of the width of the scarfFleece Scarf 6This is what it looks like on both sides of the scarfFleece Scarf 7

Childs scarf

Fleece Scarf 9

Cut fleece 7 inches in width and 54” to 60” in lengthFleece Scarf 8Trim off edgesFleece Scarf 9Mark 5 inches from the edge of the fleece and place masking tape across to help gauge how far to cut and to keep each section even.

Cut at 1 inch intervals from the edge to the masking tape.Fleece Scarf 10

Leave as is with cuts OR Using a small crochet hook (I used a 6/1.80mm, a size smaller would work well also), or the blunt end of tweezers, Fleece Scarf 11Push the fleece into the pony bead (a medium to large size bead would work best) and slide towards the top of the cut.Fleece Scarf 12Tie a knot, leaving about a ½” tail.Fleece Scarf 13Continue putting pony beads on the fringe on both ends of the scarf.Fleece Scarf 14Copyright Carrie Groneman,  A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.