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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.

 

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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.

What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

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What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

Do you ever feel empty? 

Do you long for true joy and happiness?

Do you feel like you are sitting on a shelf and not as ‘full’ as you could be?

Do you want to know how to love and appreciate others more deeply?

Then come read about my Grandma’s jars and the difference they made.


 

FILLING The Empty Jars

My wonderful Grandma collected little jars, small bottles, glass containers and cute bowls that sauces, jellies, condiments and the like they came in.  She was very frugal and did not want to waste them, so they were washed, dried and put in the basement on a shelf – to sit, and wait.

After she and grandpa passed away, as a family we were getting the house ready to sell.  I saw the rows of bottles, containers and bowls, and asked if I may have them.  My mom and aunt were very generous and let me take all I wanted.

Now on my shelf they sat. However, they seemed to call out, almost shouting to be filled, to be used, to be a part of something larger than them-self, useful and beneficial.

So what could I do? It was then I decided to give away the precious and long kept pieces. 

I would pray every day to receive inspiration of who needed needed a little pick-me-up, treat or gift, whether I knew them well or not.  Sometimes a name came quickly, other times I had to listen very intently and the name would come later in the day, or days later, of who needed the very special present from me, and Grandma.  I would then fill one of the jars, bowls or bottles with a homemade treat, or something purchased and leave it on the doorstep along a little note that I was thinking of them.  It took over a  year to pass out all those containers .



Some might ask: what was the point of all that extra work and the resources to leave something for someone who might not even care, or appreciate the gesture?  I cannot give hard facts, or even life-changing experiences stemming from the  filled jars to support why it was worthwhile.

Nor can I produce evidence of why it was better than throwing them away, giving them to a charity or even leaving them on the shelf ‘for someday’.  Yet I can attest to what it did to me.

Every time I prayed to know who needed something; whether a treat, a call, a note, I looked beyond myself. Blessing ONE

Something extraordinary happened inside of me as I passed out the jars, bottles and dishes:  The containers were all unique, none the same, each exceptional in its own way; whether ornamental or simple in design, the beauty was undeniable in every single piece.  It became quite evident and obvious, that when choosing the piece to give, as I looked to appreciate the exquisiteness the containers, I also saw in each person I was looking to serve a bit of glory. I was able to see the magnificence that is in every person, as we are a child of God – distinctive, remarkable and magnificent. I could see a sign of Him, of unparalleled greatness not even found in the most glorious beauty of nature. I could love people that I knew, and those I did not more fully just because of who they were, a part of heaven! Blessing TWO

We are all so very busy, with heavy demands and pressures from so many angles coming at us.  So for me to sincerely want to know who I could reach out to and serve by giving of my time, takes the focus off of myself and my own family for a bit, and is a way for me to be more like Christ.  He always looked to do what His Father wanted, and was consequently perfect. I will never be completely ‘perfect’, but I can try my very best to be better. I will certainly fall short, but can keep trying, and that’s what counts. Blessing THREE

When we put our self ‘on a shelf’, though attractive, we are empty. There is nothing of worth or value to offer out of an empty container. Conversely, when we search, ask and quickly respond to an impression, a thought, to do good to help someone else even when it is awkward or tiresome, we are filled.  These acts of selfless service and generosity, combine to make us much more valuable to our family, others and God.  Blessing FOUR



Serving is never, ever convenient or easy.  It does not need to be something spectacular such as traveling to a foreign country to give aid – though that is very commendable, but not available to most of us.  However, a note, a smile, a kindness is always doable and works miracles in our own life. 

  • Interestingly, as we serve, we become filled with goodness and true joy which cannot be bought, nor obtained in any other way. 
  • As we relieve another persons burdens, our own trials and cares are eased. 
  • As we reach out, our level of happiness is deepened and our souls are much more content. 
  • Pain, suffering and loss we often feel, are lessened, making way for an exhilaration for living, regardless of our circumstances. 

I know from personal experience, this is factual, and will be true for you also.

As we are looking to the Thanksgiving holiday, and the miracles and blessings surrounding the events that give us cause to celebrate, let us look for ways to reach out; which in actually demonstrates our gratitude to God for all we have.

  • Do you have ‘jars’ to fill? They may not be actual jars, but a note to send, a smile to share, an apology to give, anything to relieve anothers burdens
  • Could your attitude and outlook benefit from a surge of gladness and appreciation for what you have? 

I challenge you to reach out and serve someone who is not expecting it.  When you hear the quiet whispering of who needs you, do not ignore it.  As you act on this feeling or thought, your life will be even more blessed than the person you are serving – this I know.  Blessings imagined and IMMEASURABLE

Recognize a blessing and Be a Blessing today 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, revised 2015

More Posts On This Topic

Gratitude Tree

DSC_2003 - gratitude tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Journal

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A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman

AMS Cover Small




Get ready for Grandparents Day

GRANDPARENTS DAY   

While researching Grandparents Day, it became apparent that it is a day set aside for grandparents to bond with grand and great-grandchildren as well as the reverse.  According to the National Grandparents Day website, the aim of National Grandparents Day is: 

  •   To honor grandparents
  •   To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children
  •   To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.

I also read that 4 million children in 3 million households are being raised by grandparents. It also said that more than 5 million children live in a house where a grandparent is also living there, or has the children the greater part of the day. Obviously that indicates that more grandparents are very involved in the responsibility of raising their grandchildren.

To ALL grandparents, we at A Mother’s Shadow, salute you and appreciate your contribution to help this next important generation be their best. As grandparents, we are in a tremendous position to influence for good. If we are involved in our grand children’s life; they will listen to and respect us, as they feel our love and appreciation for their individual personality and interests.

First up: Grandparents. If you happen to live too away far to be physically involved, then have someone come set up Skype for you, if you don’t know how. Learn to Facebook and text. It can seem a foreign language, but it is the way this generation communicates and they desperately need the wisdom and friendship of grandparents – even if they don’t realize it yet.  There may be missed critical opportunities if we don’t learn to use the social media to contact and maintain relationships with our posterity.

So how can we connect? A few ideas include a puzzle I posted about on August 16, 2013. Or, if you live close, take each grandchild, or (if you are up to it multiple grandchildren out for ice cream or to go to a movie. If the distance or your health precludes physical activities, then call, write a letter, text, anything to let EVERY single one of your posterity that you care. The key here is to just make it personal and full of love.

Now for the grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their parents. I have seen time and again, when kindness and devotion are regularly demonstrated, note demonstrated and spoken towards the elderly, particularly members in the family, that same attention and respect comes back to those parents in their later years when they are then the grand or great-grand parents.

The example is set. When the kids are young, you can have them write notes, or even color a picture to send to their grandparents. Show them pictures of their grand and great-grand parents often if they live far away. Regularly mention them in positive tones. When your children are older teens, or on their own, possibly you can gently nudge to call, remember birthdays and such.

Life is busy and things like this can be easily forgotten in the bustle of school, work and young families of their own. Have everyone over to dinner when possible, or if the grandparents are in town, if it is not too difficult on them, have the gang over to say “Hi”. I found a great site with many ideas and printables you may want to check out for your family activity to focus on grandparents.        

Click here for the website for gifts for Grandparents: Crafts, Printables and Ideas

To Grand, Great-Grandparents, Parents, Kids of all ages, make a wonderful, influential memory this year!

A young boy gave this account:  “When we want to see our grandma and grandpa we go to the airport and pick them up.  Then when we are done with them, we just take them back to the airport till we are ready to see them again.”

 Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.