Traditions are a valuable way to strengthen families and create lasting memories. We have over 100 ideas to help you create new memories with your family. Check back regularly to see our new ideas! Share your family's traditions with us at [email protected].  


Celebrating Lent

Millions of Christians worldwide observe the 40-day season of Lent as a way of deepening the meaning of Easter by more fully preparing their heart for Easter Sunday. This year, Lent began on February 14. If you’ve never observed Lent before, our article Celebrate Lent with your kids this Easter will help you explain the observation of Lent to your kids, and includes ideas for family activities such as a family fast, taking a prayer hike, creating a jar of prayers and blessings, and finding ways to serve others. See details here


Fall traditions

Thank your pastor

Keep the theme of thanksgiving going throughout the month of October by doing something kind for your pastor (and their family) to show your appreciation for them. Simple things you can do with your kids include delivering a gift basket, surprising your pastor with a home-made appreciation banner or joining several families in texting your pastor hourly for a day with messages of appreciation. (For more ideas see our free pastor appreciation guide here.)

Roarin' through the leaves

Playing in fallen leaves is one of childhood's simple thrills. Boost the fun factor by arranging leaves to define both sides of a twisting path, or a mini-maze. Add some obstacles, such as a leaf pile to jump over and some cardboard boxes to crawl through, then time each other to see who can complete the course fastest. Add a new challenge by trying to roll a pumpkin through the maze!

Tech-use turnaround

The back-to-school season is a great time to revisit your rules for cellphone use and other technology in your home. What new rules do you want to implement? No tech at the dinner table? Turn in your tech at bedtime? Tech-free nights once per week? Limits on gaming time? It’s important that your kids have some input into the discussion, so make sure they feel heard as you discuss together what’s reasonable, and the consequences for non-compliance.

Trick or treat at home

Need an alternative to letting your kids go trick or treating at Halloween? How about hosting your own costume party, or simply giving the kids $10 each to buy their own treats, then enjoying a family movie together at home?

Halloween alternative

Looking for a Halloween alternative that will truly bless others? How about dressing up your kids in costume and taking them to a retirement home? Let them bless the residents by reading aloud a special poem or story, or singing a song.  

Talk like a pirate day

Avast, me hearties! September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! So treat yer lads, lasses and nippers to some jolly folly and talk like yer pirates as ye eat yer victuals. Yo ho ho!

A back-to-school backpack blessing

Here's an idea for the night before school starts: Have each child organize their backpack, then present it to you. Place a small gift in their backpack to unwrap at school the next day (perhaps school supplies). Pray a blessing over each child, looking forward to all the surprise gifts Jesus has in store for them in the new school year – new friends, a great teacher, new skills etc.

Fall photo shoot

Choose a day to get outdoors in the crisp fall weather and stage a fun photo shoot in a favourite location. You'll have some awesome family snapshots ready to send to relatives with your Thanksgiving or Christmas greetings.

Celebrating heroes of the faith

Just as Catholics celebrate All Saints Day on November 1, many Protestant families also commemorate their Christian heritage on this date. You can celebrate your favourite heroes of the faith any way you choose, but here are some simple ideas: Lead a family devotional focusing on one of the apostles; read and ponder quotes from influential Christian writers (ancient or modern); invite Grandma and Granddad to share their testimony, or talk about your own family's heritage of faith; pray for and craft cards for your family's spiritual mentors, e.g., your pastor and Sunday school teachers.

Back-to-school prayers

Help kids start the new school year with an "others-focused" attitude by beginning to pray regularly for these folk: your child's soon-to-be teacher and Sunday school teacher who are preparing for classes to begin; new teachers teaching a class at your school for the first time; the busy school administrators; the children who are new to the neighbourhood and who won't know anyone at school.

Carving pure hearts

Are you looking forward to carving pumpkins with the kids? Use the activity to remind them about repentance and the work of the Holy Spirit. As you remove the seeds and slime from the pumpkin, explain to your children that just as you are cleaning the inside of the pumpkin and taking out all the “yucky” stuff, Jesus cleans all the sin from our hearts. And just as the candle lights up the pumpkin, we need to let the love of Jesus shine through us to others. For details, see this Kids of Integrity lesson on forgiveness.

Prayer walk

Though you may be in the habit of regular prayer walks, have you ever considered taking one of your children along with you? When the summer holidays are almost over,  this may be a good time to invite your child on a prayer walk around their school to pray about their upcoming school year, or to walk and pray with an older child about new situations they are facing, God's guidance in their plans for the future, and any other issues that may be on their mind.

Back-to-school bash

Celebrate the start of the new school year (and help reinforce the value of education) by taking the kids out for dinner on the first day of school, or prepare a special meal at home. Invite one or two friends from school to join you so the kids can get reacquainted after the summer break.

Make their mouths water for family night!

Need a fun, new tradition to spice up Family Night? Use the chilly fall weather as the perfect excuse to cozy up to some toasty mugs of hot chocolate or coffee. But don’t stop there! Provide an array of delicious drink accompaniments for each person to choose from, like cinnamon sticks, biscotti, flavoured creamers, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chocolate shavings or mint syrup. Grab your special drinks and sit down together for an evening of board games, movies or star gazing on the back porch.

The dinnertime calendar

Fall is an extra-busy time for most families. Try combining quality family time with practical planning by using regular family meals to reconnect. Bring a calendar to the table at least once a week and catch up on everyone’s schedule. And don’t forget to reconnect on a heart-level, too!

Ready for school

Get your kids excited about back-to-school time with a special outing to purchase brand new school supplies and a special outfit or new pair of shoes for their first day. After your shopping trip, treat your kids to a movie, go-carts, amusement park or something else they’ll remember well into the school year.

Under-leaf detectives

Playing in the fall leaves seems to be a tradition most families enjoy during autumn. Here’s a twist you can spring on your kids this fall: Hide goodies in the yard under the leaves, and set your kids out on the hunt. While they scour the ground for hidden treats, have them create piles of leaves as they go. Once they’ve gone through the whole yard, they can enjoy their goodies and jump through the leaf piles as they please!

Take a leap! 

Enlist your children and their neighbourhood friends to rake leaves for elderly residents. Create a huge pile in your front yard and have a leaf-jumping competition.

Enjoy the pick of the season

Take advantage of fall's delicious seasonal produce by taking your family on a trip to your local pumpkin patch, apple orchard or farmer's market. Enlist the whole family in picking the biggest, roundest pumpkins or the sweetest looking apples. Once home, have a pumpkin-carving night or bake your own homemade apple pies.

Move dinnertime outside! 

Welcome in fall by moving dinner outdoors for a festive fall picnic. Bundle up, bring a thermos of hot chocolate and play catch or Frisbee to keep warm.

Kick off the school year together! 

Whether your kids are dreading or eagerly anticipating the beginning of another school year, start off this next season of life with a bang! Throw a Back-to-School party, and have your kids invite their friends. Reflect on the highlights of the summer and the exciting prospects ahead.

Winter traditions

Backwards Day

January 31 is National Backwards Day! Have some fun at home with your kids by wearing your sweaters backwards, eating dessert before dinner, writing notes to each other backwards, walking backwards in the house and pronouncing your names backwards! At dinner, share the punchlines for jokes before trying to guess the original jokes, talk about an era you'd visit if you could go back in time, and say words backwards and let others try to guess what you are saying. Can you please pass the tlas and reppep?

Fun in the snow

Do you kids have favourite games to play in the snow? Here are some ideas for new games that may soon become favourites too: make a maze or a road network by tramping down the snow, then let the kids practice their “driving skills” as they learn the road safety rules; play bean bag toss using holes in the snow; play in the snow as you would in the sand, making snowcastles instead of sandcastles; practice long jump; enjoy a game of soccer; build a snow volcano around a bottle with vinegar and food colouring inside, then add baking soda so your volcano erupts!

Lighting up the new year

Do you review your blessings as part of your New Year’s celebrations? Here’s a lovely idea from Marcy Lytle’s family:

At the end of the year, our family gathers in the living room to recall blessings from the previous 12 months. We turn on exactly 12 lights around the house, and we place 12 unlit tea lights across the mantel. Then we reflect on each month: January, something new we tried; February, a special valentine we gave or received; March, our favourite thing about spring; and so on. It’s interesting and fun to hear each family member share memories. Some memories make us cry, and some make us laugh. After each month’s reflections, we turn off an electric light and light a candle. The kids love that part. By the end, the room is lit only by tiny candles. We pray and give thanks for a great year together, and we look forward to a new year.

12 essential truths for a new year

What are the 12 most important Biblical truths you want your kids to be absolutely certain of, now and always? Why not make a start on teaching them now? Choose your 12 essential Scriptures, and help your kids memorize one a month this year, at mealtimes or at bedtime.  For ideas, see John 3:16-17, Romans 8:38-39, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 139:13-14, Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 22:37-39, Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 5:7, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 John 3:6-7, Matthew 5:14-16 ?

A new year, a new experience

In the first month of the year, celebrate with your own “first” as a family! Take your first Polar Bear Swim, make sushi as a family for the first time ever, or plan to attend your first music festival together later in the year – the possibilities are endless. What will you choose for your “family first”?

Aglow in the snow

Celebrate a big winter snowfall, or liven up a "nothing special" January day with this fun after-dark activity: Hide some glow sticks under the snow in your backyard, then let the kids outdoors to go find them. Repeat your treasure hunt if interest holds, or build glowing snowmen and a village of glowing igloos.

Celebrate Groundhog Day (February 2)

When the weather outside is still frightful, add a little merriment to early February by celebrating Groundhog Day! Paint kids' faces or make groundhog masks; toss beanbag "groundhogs" into "burrows" (a.k.a. bins); learn how to make animal shadow puppets with your hands; make a paper groundhog on a stick that "pops" out of a paper cup; decorate cupcakes like cute groundhog faces or make a thumbprint groundhog. For more ideas see

Hello chickadee!

Make it a family tradition to take the kids outside for a post-holiday trek through the woods. Often, even easy hiking trails won’t be groomed in winter, so make sure the kids have snow pants and big boots to blaze through the snow. The best part of wintertime hikes is often seeing the birds that have stayed for winter. Bring some birdseed along, and see if you can find any audacious chickadees willing to perch on your hand for a snack. Kids will love getting up close with nature and romping through snow-covered trails.

Cool lanterns

Ice lanterns are easy to make, even for youngsters. Try making a few with your kids to add a beautiful touch to your front pathway or outdoor décor over the Christmas season. Preparing each ice lantern is a two-step process. First, fill an ice cream bucket with water to a depth of about 6 cm. Add a decorative touch, if you wish, by sprinkling berries and sprigs of evergreens over the water. If you have sub-zero temperatures in your region, leave the bucket outside. Alternatively, place the bucket in your freezer. When the ice is solid, fill a plastic cup with gravel to give it some weight, then place the cup upright in the centre of the bucket, resting on the frozen ice. Carefully fill the bucket with water to just below the rim of the cup, then return the bucket outdoors, or replace it in the freezer. When all the water has frozen solid, place the entire bucket in a tub of warm water until you can release your ice lantern from the bucket. Similarly, fill the cup with warm water to thaw the surrounding ice just enough to allow you to remove the cup. Place a candle in the hollow left by the cup and find a suitable spot outdoors to display your creation. If you prefer clear, see-through ice lanterns, use distilled water that has been boiled for several minutes, then allowed to cool.

Supper in the snow

Create lasting memories in your own backyard by surprising the family with a mid-winter supper in the snow! Put your patio set to work in the off season, or build your own table by resting a solid length of wood on a pedestal built of snow. To create a wonderful ambiance, place a few candles on the table and string Christmas lights from a patio umbrella or from shrubs around your yard. Serve a hot meal and hot apple cider, and your family will soon be giggling at each other through a fog of steam rising from your table. Why the laughter? Well, it starts with trying to use a knife and fork while wearing thick wool mittens . . . 

Begin a family time capsule

With the new year just beginning, now is a great time to start a new tradition – building a time capsule together! A simple cardboard tube or any suitable container will do, but kids will especially enjoy something they can decorate themselves. Fill the container with photographs or other reminders of special events that occurred during the year, a list of significant prayer requests that God answered, and a record of each family member’s goals and dreams for the next one to five years. For a special personal touch, include a note from every member of the family to each parent and sibling, expressing love and appreciation for that individual. After a few years, you’ll accumulate your unique collection of time capsules; choose one to open each New Year’s Day as a special memento of God’s provision and faithfulness. 

Celebrate the snow!

Boil some maple syrup until it crackles when dropped into cold water. Then, have your kids each scoop a bowlful of fresh snow. Drizzle their names in toffee across their snow, soon to be set to crunchy perfection.

Spring traditions

April is National Poetry Month

Make poetry a fun addition to your family time during National Poetry Month! Share with your kids some poetry you remember from childhood – whether silly or serious; find some poetry collections for kids at your local library and take turns sharing a favourite; look for meaningful Christian poetry online; surprise the kids with a set of magnetic words for your fridge, or clip words from magazines and challenge your kids to create a poem from the word set.

Family Day escape room

Here’s a fun idea for Family Day, February 20: build your own escape room! You don’t have to trap your kids in a room – your ultimate goal might be to simply crack the code that unlocks a special prize box. You’ll find lots of ideas online for making simple puzzles. Split up the task and let each child make up one puzzle (in secret from the others). Or bypass the crafting and purchase a “printable” online escape room idea that you can download and start playing right away.

Brother's Day, May 24

May 24 is Brother’s Day! Help kids celebrate their special sibling bond by playing cooperative games like three-legged races, Penguin Treasure Hunt, carrying a ball hands-free between their hips (by linking arms side-by-side), or carrying a balloon with a pool noodle each. To play Penguin Treasure Hunt, one sibling hides the treasure, but can only act like a penguin when giving directions to find it: by nodding or shaking their head and making excited penguin peeps, but no pointing; arms must stay straight down on either side of the body!

Celebrate spring with floral art

Enjoy the beauty of spring by getting outside to gather fresh leaves and flower petals, then turn them into art! Create a sun-catcher collage by arranging petals and leaves on the sticky side of clear contact paper, then covering it all with a second sheet of contact paper. Paint whole daisy heads and use them to “stamp” designs on paper. Sketch “fashion model” silhouettes on paper, then “clothe” them by laying down petals in different designs.

Look-alike day

Plan some quirky fun for your kids on April 20th – that’s National Look-alike Day! Let them dress up as their favourite TV character or real-life celebrity, or drop them off at school with their best friend, both wearing matching hairstyles or outfits! And don’t forget Start Wars Day too, coming May 4th

May Day baskets of blessing

Make May 1 tons of fun for your kids with this ancient May Day spring tradition. Craft small paper cones or paper baskets, fill them with flowers or candy, then stealthily hang them on friends' and neighbours' front doors without being seen!

National Pig Day, March 1

Go hog wild on March 1, National Pig Day! Wear your hair in pigtails, eat pigs in a blanket or eat spaghetti without utensils – or even without your hands – watch Miss Piggy in a Muppet movie, or the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. Make a piggy snout, choose someone to be the piggy, then host your own pig chase!

Celebrate Leap Year

February 29 only comes around every four years, so don't forget to celebrate! Whether your celebration’s large or small, throw in a “time capsule” element. Look back at family photos from four years ago, and have your kids write letters to their “future self” explaining what their life is like right now.

Spring equinox

The first day of spring is truly something to celebrate. Surprise your kids with an early dinner outside! This goofy first-day-of-spring picnic tradition is loved by many families, even if they have to head for a covered picnic table in the park to stay out of the rain. Pack a thermos or camp stove and some hot chocolate, and bring a soccer ball or another physical game to keep everyone moving and warm.

Bring on the bling - for boots!

Celebrate spring each year with this fun craft: Buy a pair of rubber boots in a plain colour for each child in your family. Pierce one or more small holes near the top of each boot using slender scissors or a large needle. Let your child help you personalize their pair of boots by affixing pompoms, a section of a feather boa, bells, decorative chain, ribbons or other fun items.

Everything-is-new dinner party

To welcome the beginning of spring, throw an everything-is-new family dinner party! Prepare new dishes or foods no one in the family has tried (such as foods from another country), wear at least one new item and have everybody come prepared with a new joke or story they’ve heard. You can even invite new friends, play a new game or watch a new movie together. To follow the theme of the party, go around the table sharing something new you want to learn or something no one knows about you.

Little horticulturalists

Gardening is an easy activity to make kid-friendly. For easy and inexpensive gardening wear, use old winter mitts as gardening gloves and visit your local thrift store for overalls your kids can get dirty. Pull on their rubber boots and give them a big plastic bag they can collect leaves with. Make a tradition of seeing who can fill their bag with leaves the fastest, awarding the winner the first wheelbarrow ride around the lawn. And just when the season’s right, you can teach your kids how to take care of the garden, and learn plant names and defining characteristics. To help them learn, have your kids write the common plant name on blank plant tags with a permanent marker. With smaller kids, keep the tags that come with the seedlings for them to copy from. If your older kids are ambitious, let them try their hand at memorizing and spelling out the Latin plant names.

Say cheese!

Cindy K. from Alberta shared with us her tradition idea: “Every Mother’s Day since my two boys were born, we’ve taken a picture of the three of us in front of the same flowering tree. This shows how much the boys are growing. We can also see how far along the spring is coming by seeing if the tree is blooming yet (we’re farmers, so we like to compare). I also take a picture of them at our favourite summer holiday location. It’s in the same museum we visit every year. Another idea I’ve heard of is people taking a picture of their child in the same oversized shirt. This shows them growing into it. Very cute!”

Grow your own family garden 

Gardening is a great way to bond as a family – whether you have a backyard vegetable patch, a collection of plants and flowers on your balcony or a kitchen-counter herb garden. Each spring or summer, decide as a family what kind of garden you want, and make a trip to your local nursery or plant store. Have each child pick out the seeds or plants they want to grow. Take turns watering and caring for your garden, or assign a section of the garden to each family member.

Summer traditions

Flower pounding

Flower pounding is a fun summer activity for kids. It works best with flowers that have bold colours, like pansies, dandelions and roses. Set each child up with a base layer of cardboard or wood, then tape watercolour paper onto it. Arrange the flowers face down on the paper and tape them down. Cover each arrangement with a paper towel and let your kids hammer away. Just make sure their work surface can take a beating!

Dad's Report Card

When it's school-report-card season, why not turn the tables and let your kids grade you on your performance as a dad using our free Dad’s Report Card? Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family in the U.S., admits the idea’s a bit daunting, but he found the feedback from his boys was invaluable. Download the free report card here, where you can also read Jim Daly’s explanation of how to use it.

Dab and splatter

Summer’s the perfect time to let kids get messy with paint, because they can take the messy fun outside. Let the kids experiment with all kinds of non-traditional painting tools, such as painting with bubble wrap, crushed aluminum foil, pom poms, cotton swabs, squirt guns or by rolling toy cars through paint. For extra fun for the kids, try setting up a painting pendulum.

Plan ahead for Father's Day

Get a jump on planning for Father's Day so you've got time to prepare a special surprise for Dad from the kids. Need some ideas? Reserve a camping spot now for a surprise Father's Day weekend away, help the kids make a book of dad jokes, assemble a kit of supplies for some amazing experiments or crafts Dad can do with the kids, or check out upcoming community events or festivals in your area.

Sun, fun and sand

Looking for an outdoor family activity that engages all ages and builds teamwork, creativity and great memories? Don’t overlook the simple pleasure of building a sandcastle at the beach, lake or riverside! A few minutes of online research will teach you basic skills, so you can build an epic sandcastle together. Take along toy cars, boats, farm animals etc. to enhance your kids’ playtime in the sand. (A great idea for family reunions too!)

Seek and find

Teach kids respect for God's amazing creation by taking some time on a lovely day to play "seek and find the litter" at a local park or a picnic spot that's a favourite with your family. Make sure the kids wear protective gloves and closed-toed shoes, and teach them that they can pick up paper, cans and bottles, but should let you pick up anything unusual. Talk about caring for creation as you search.

"School's out for the summer" drive

Celebrate the end of the school year by decorating your car windows and filling your vehicle with balloons and streamers as a surprise to greet your kids after school. Or, if your kids are learning from home, make a symbolic gesture by decorating the car together and going for a celebratory drive to the school, then on to your favourite playground or ice cream parlor.

Summer activities for kids

Wondering how to make this a really great summer for your kids when so many events have been cancelled? Check out this broadcast from May 26 with Tara Davis and Krystle Porter and this related PDF from Tara and Krystle  that’s packed with fun ideas.

Ride the Wind Day

August 23 is Ride the Wind Day, a great day to get outside with the fam and enjoy a balmy late-summer breeze! Here are some fun ideas: 1. Decorate the kids’ bikes with colourful streamers and go on a family bike ride. 2. Make some ribbon wands and enjoy them on a windy lakeside. 3. String up some fabric or paper bunting over an outdoor dinner. 4. Create and string up your own family flag. 5. Hike up to a high point and loose some flower petals into the wind along with prayers of thanks for the summer fun you’ve shared.

Berry-picking bliss

Set a date to fill your containers with seasonal berries at a local U-pick farm, or pick blackberries from the wild. Go early with small kids, before it gets too hot and before the kids get nap-time grumpy, and dress them in old clothes so berry stains won’t break your heart. Bring lots of wipes and a wagon or stroller to help lug your haul back from the field.

Summer playhouse

Wish you could afford an outdoor playhouse for the kids, but your budget never seems to stretch that far? Make it a summer tradition to put up a small tent in the backyard instead. Just remember to move it every few days, so the grass underneath can recover.

Chef's assistant

As the summer holidays draw to a close, think carefully about new rituals you can ease kids into now, so they’ve got it down pat by the time the new school year starts. Maybe, for instance, it's time to train some chef's assistants. Set one night a week for each child to be your helper in the kitchen. Over time they’ll progress from table setting to mastering cooking skills. Make it fun by pretending you’re a team on a cooking show with a deadline to meet and judges to please!

Summer social break

Even though the summer holidays may be welcome, siblings can have a hard time adjusting to spending so much time together. Help keep the peace by building some restorative "alone time" into each day where kids do a quiet activity alone in their room. Right after lunch is a natural time for this rest-and-recharge break.

Last day of school surprise

Greet your kids with a special treat when they arrive home on the last day of school: a basket of outdoor fun! Fill your basket with surprises like water balloons, sidewalk chalk, sand toys, inflatable water toys, face paints and new books for summer reading.

All on the same page

As you kick back and relax this summer, try the fun of reading a book aloud as a family. Taking turns reading is a great way to connect through a simple shared experience, and provides lots of fodder for discussion. It’s great for car trips too, provided your readers aren’t prone to getting car sick!

Family campfire songbook 

 Get ready for songs around the campfire this summer – and help everyone know the words! Order a book of Christian songs you can use year after year, or put together your own booklet of family favourites by downloading the sheet music. Alternatively, take along a cordless CD player and some favourite CDs.

Joshua 4 Day

Build family connections and trust in God with this August tradition from Sally Clarkson that’s now an annual reunion for her family (from her book The Lifegiving Home). Before heading out on a special picnic and hike, family members read Joshua 4 together, then share how God has led them through changes, challenges and milestones in the past year, plus mention hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Each item shared is prayed over, and when Sally’s children were younger, they would also gather a “memorial stone” and draw a picture of each blessing to create a lasting record.

Stories under the stars

Add a fun extra dimension to your summer stargazing! Address youngsters’ short attention spans by letting them listen to an audio story as you lie out under the stars. For older kids, challenge them to memorize Psalm 8 ahead of time and recite it while stargazing. For help with identifying stars, planets and constellations, download one of the fun new astronomy apps that are available for cellphones.

Add a holy moment to your hikes

When you go on family walks and hikes this summer, make it a habit to take your Bible with you. Stop at a scenic spot and read aloud a passage speaking about the glory of God expressed through His creation, then spend some quiet time reflecting on His majesty!

Frère Jacques or Tim, or Joel . . .

Immortalize your favourite summer memories by making your family’s very own “occasional song”(a tradition once popular across Europe to mark special occasions). Choose a favourite tune and set your own words to it, making a fun song that’s uniquely yours.

Moon walks

Take advantage of warm summer evenings to go for a walk under a full moon and enjoy the beauty of its silvery light. Point out that the moon is in exactly the right place to fully reflect the sun’s light back to earth, even though the sun is out of sight. Share how we can be like a “moon” to unbelievers, reflecting the light of Christ to people for whom God is hidden and “out of sight” at the moment.

Backyard blockbuster

Make a great summer memory by moving your movie night outdoors! Be as simple or as elaborate as you like: rent a projector and set up a big screen on your back lawn, or simply move your TV or laptop onto your patio. Either way, your kids will love it! Amp up the cute factor for little ones by making each child a "car" out of a cardboard box, then host a "drive-in" movie.

Summer pirate adventure

Create special memories of a favourite vacation spot by hosting an annual treasure hunt for your kids. Make a simple map that’s specific to your location, and hide a series of clues that lead to hidden treasure – a stash of candy or cold drinks for a hot day. Great for teaching kids teamwork and map reading! To spin out the adventure even longer, challenge the kids to dress up as pirates using their imaginations and whatever props they can find.

Plan a themed summer picnic

Create great summer memories by working with your kids to host a special picnic. Choose a theme such as medieval knights and princesses, mermaids, cowboys or a favourite movie. Then enjoy creating colourful backdrops and props together, and choosing food and games. Invite another family to enjoy your picnic with you.

School's out celebration

Even if you're packing up to head out of town for the July 1 long weekend, you can still create a simple last-day-of-school tradition that will build fabulous memories for your kids. Here's an easy idea: Create a "Hooray! School's out!" banner and tape it across your front door. When the kids come home from school, let them run through the banner. (You may need to create a couple of back-up banners if the kids don't all return home at the same time!) Celebrate with a special treat such as pop-and-ice-cream floats, or chocolate-dipped fruit on a kebab stick. (The fruit may be a better choice if you're about to hit the road!)

High-tech treasure hunt

If you haven't tried it yet, set a date to go geocaching this summer. It's Indiana-Jones-style fun for all ages, and one of the world's fastest-growing outdoor adventures. You'll need a GPS unit or smartphone, so if you don't have one, join with another family who does. To get started on your hunt for real hidden "treasure," check out this geocaching website to find out if there's a geocache adventure waiting at any of your summertime destinations.

Backyard sports day

Celebrate summer by inviting one or two favourite families over for a “sports day.” Create your own wild and wacky outdoor game, and ask your guests to bring at least one game idea and related supplies for everyone to share. How about a game of “floating candles”? Each player chooses their own uniquely coloured candle, then sucks water up a straw to “shoot” at their opponents’ candles. The last person whose candle is still burning wins! (Best played wearing a swimsuit! And you’ll want to ensure each player remains standing throughout the game so faces can’t get close to the flames.)

"Kids' pick" picnic

Prove you are willing to go anywhere and eat anything for your kids! Let the young 'uns in your family choose not just the location for your next picnic, but the food and activities as well. This fun idea is sure to become a popular family tradition . . . if you're adventurous enough to try it!

Cool treats for a hot day

Summer is a popular time for families to enjoy cooling treats, but instead of going out, try mixing things up by making your own milkshakes, smoothies or slushies at home. Have each family member choose their own toppings or ingredients, then take turns sharing your very own creative names for your concoctions. You might even try making homemade ice cream, stirred up with each person’s personal choice of mix-ins! (Drooling yet?)

What’s cookin’ on the campfire?

No summer is complete without at least one hotdog roast over a campfire, followed by toasted marshmallows for dessert. Spice up this traditional menu by threading some rashers of bacon on a second stick to roast alongside with your hotdog. Or replace the hotdogs completely with a make-it-yourself kebab: allow kids to choose from a selection of quick-cooking veggies and small cubes of marinated meat. Unload cooked kebabs onto pita bread or taco shells. If bannock bread on a stick conjures up images of doughy lumps smeared across tiny fingers, through hair and inside sleeping bags, refrigerated breadsticks could be the next best thing since . . .  well, since sliced bread. For dessert, try “hot banana splits.” Slice each banana down the middle and stuff with small marshmallows and chocolate chips. Then, wrap each banana in tinfoil and leave them in the embers until heated through.

Lights after “lights out”

Make it a summertime tradition to take your family on a camping trip, away from the glow of bright city lights. Then, take in the glory of a cloudless, starry night sky! Spend the night sleeping on air mattresses or sleeping bags out in an open area where you have a sweeping view of the sky. Sky-watching around August 12 is an optimal time to see shooting stars. Since best viewing occurs between 11 p.m. and sunrise, this activity is more appropriate for older children. However, to make younger children feel included, purchase a few packages of birthday “sparklers” ahead of time, then light them up after dark for a spectacular display. Your “shooting stars” will blaze their own trail as you swirl them through the darkness.

Using disposable cameras, create a new tradition this summer! 

Buy your children their own disposable cameras and ask them to capture their favourite moments on film. Once you’ve printed the pictures, spend an evening as a family creating a “Best of Summer 2007” scrapbook or photo album.

Traditions for any time of year

Make a Newfoundland ugly stick

Borrow a Newfoundland tradition and make your own ugly stick. It’s a home-made musical instrument that will let your kids enjoy some floor-thumping good times!

To make an ugly stick, take a mop handle, drop it into a gumboot, then nail the boot to the mop handle to form the base or "foot" of your ugly stick. Next, nail rows of bottle caps or washers along the mop handle’s length so they rattle as much as possible. Nail a tin can to the top, then decorate the can to serve as a face and head. The quirkier your ugly stick looks, the better!

Find some Celtic jigs or reels and play along by thumping your ugly stick on the floor to the beat of the music while striking the bottle caps and can with a smaller stick.

Movie messages

Do you make a habit of discussing the themes and ideas presented in movies with your kids? Kids need help to untangle the unbiblical messages that are presented in popular media and entertainment so they won’t just passively accept those harmful ideas. Download our free Parent's Guide to Movie Messages: Toy Story so you can play a fun game with your kids that helps them practise identifying false ideas as they watch the movie Toy Story.

Moving mealtimes later

Sharing unhurried mealtimes together as a family is so important for touching base with your kids, passing on your values, and giving kids a sense of belonging to a connected family. But there's no rule that dinner has to be at 6 p.m. If your family’s schedule makes sharing meals together difficult, it may be worth considering having your meals much later than usual on certain days of the week. If you ensure your kids get a sizeable after-school snack, you may be able to push mealtime back to 7:30 p.m. or later.

Privilege and responsibility

Kids love to earn new privileges as they grow up – privileges often granted on a birthday. But kids need to learn responsibility too. So consider gifting each new privilege along with a new responsibility. Depending on your child’s age, a new privilege might be 15 more minutes of screen time, using the microwave, chewing gum, ear piercing or being home alone. Their new responsibility might be setting the table, taking out the garbage, putting away the groceries, unloading the dishwasher or mowing the lawn. 

Gifts for a girl's milestones

We’re accustomed to celebrating birthdays, but there are other important milestones in a girl’s life that deserve a special celebration too. Cindy McMenamin started a lovely tradition of giving her daughter a charm bracelet, then adding a new charm every year on the anniversary of her spiritual birthday to represent a special memory or a blessing that she has in Christ. See this article for details, plus other ideas for meaningful and affirming celebrations to mark other special dates such as a daughter’s coming of age and high school graduation. 

Family journals

Remember autograph books? Focus on the Family parenting expert Danny Huerta discovered big benefits when he introduced a similar idea to his family. His kids have a very tangible way to practice love in action by writing notes of encouragement to other family members, and everyone loves reading what others wrote. Even at the busiest times, the journals help family members feel closely connected and cared for. Learn more

The Same Game

Although much of daily life has changed in 2020, focusing on how much has stayed the same can bring kids a sense of comfort, calm and gratitude. Play the Same Game any time you wish by having your kids suggest things they love that they can still enjoy, even during the pandemic – whether it be fall colours, riding their bike, their favourite soup, or playing with the family pet. – From Laurel Kirchner, author of our Kids on Integrity lesson plans

Liven up video chats

Tired of simply video chatting? Liven up your Zoom, FaceTime or Skype sessions with friends or family by playing some games. Search online to find Bible trivia questions, rebus puzzles or discussion-starter questions, play charades or freeze dance, or teach simple phrases from another language.

A goodnight verse

Last thing at night before you turn out the light, make a habit of speaking the word of God over your kids. Pick a Bible verse that reveals what God says about them and remind them they are chosen by God, loved by God, forgiven by God, created by him for good works and more. Hear Kathy Koch discuss this on a recent broadcast.

Sportsmanship rules

Whether you’re playing board games or baseball, make a habit of repeating simple rhymes like these to teach your kids to be good sports:

  • Respect all three: your teammates, your opponents, your referee.
  • Don’t waste time on blame; get back in the game.
  • If you win, don’t rub it in.
  • Even when you lose, choose a winning attitude.
  • Play to make it fun for everyone.

Prayer after meals

Switch up your usual grace-before-meals routine and try praying as a family for a few minutes after you’ve eaten. Pray briefly for each other based on hopes, fears and joys shared during your meal. It’s a great way to stop older kids bolting from the table and enjoy a few moments building closer bonds.

Leave surprise messages

Bless your kids by leaving little messages in unusual ways. For example, spell “U R Awesome!” in Lego on their bedroom floor for them to find after school. Or spell out “Matthew 5:9” with candies as a reward – or a goal! They'll be excited to look up what their special verse says.

3 blessings

Psychologists are now recommending a practice God’s Word has been speaking about for generations: praise and thanksgiving! Helping your child recall three things they are thankful for as you tuck them into bed can help safeguard them against depression.

Who loves you?

Delight kids with this bedtime routine: Start by asking, Who loves you? Keep asking, Who else? until your munchkin has listed everyone they can think of. When they finally name you, tickle them silly! It’s wonderful for kids to fall asleep reminded of just how many people love them.

Family show-and-tell night

Looking for something new to do on family night? Have everyone spend a few minutes teaching other members of the family a special skill. It can be any skill that's age appropriate to the presenter, from how to politely blow your nose, to how to update privacy settings on social media. Add some extra fun by allowing drama lovers to demonstrate the wrong way first!

Take dinner on the road

Switch up a nothing-special day by taking dinner on the road! Pack your food in keep-warm containers then head out to a park, playground or scenic spot. Enjoy dinner with legs swinging from the tailgate and music playing on the car stereo.

History mystery meal

Help your kids develop a love of history and build reading skills at the same time by hosting a "history mystery meal." Challenge each member of the family to sleuth out some facts on a historical character of their choice (keeping their character’s identity secret). During mealtime, each person pretends to be their mystery character, while others ask questions and try to guess their identity.

Meals that heal

Help kids feel comfortable about discussing their mistakes by asking at the dinner table, “What mistake did you make today?” It’s an opportunity to laugh together over your blunders, and also gives family members a chance to ask forgiveness of each other and erase any hard feelings. – From The Stickyfaith Guide for Your Family, Dr. Kara Powell’s report on tried-and-true strategies for building lasting faith in kids.

Salutations and felicitations

Kids might feign disdain for zany greetings, but deep inside, they love the sense of approval and family identity they bring. Try some fun greetings until you find a few that feel right for your family. For example, pretend your arriving child is a prize by saying, Look what we won! and on leaving try, I’m cheering for ya!

Pick your next best guest

Help your children learn to be hospitable by making hospitality a priority in your home. Make it a tradition, once a month, to invite someone from your congregation to your house for lunch after church. Let your kids be involved in brainstorming whom you might invite over.

Facing worries with faith

Help kids face their worries constructively by creating a "worry jar" to keep in a prominent place. Perhaps decorate it with 1 Peter 5:7. Encourage your kids to write down things that make them anxious, then place their notes in the worry jar. Regularly empty the jar and petition God about those fears, claiming the peace that He promises in Philippians 4:6-7.

Shake it up, Dad!

Dad, start a fun tradition that will help your kids feel a special connection with you even through the awkward teen years: make up a fun father/daughter or father/son handshake. A unique and special handshake that just the two of you share underscores the idea that your relationship with your child is unique and special too.

Blessing others

Thanks to Melodie M. of Manitoba for sharing her family's weekly tradition of bringing joy to others: "As a family, every Sunday night at the dinner table, we pick one person/family to bless and we decide how we are going to do it. It becomes a bit of a game with the kids as we often try to do it secretly, without the person knowing who has blessed them!"

Off to a great start

Help kids start the day on a positive note: Have cheery music playing when they stumble into the kitchen in the morning, or wake up the whole household by playing a loud, upbeat tune on your sound system. If you need some ideas, Phil Wickham's The Time Is Now makes a great day starter.

Family craft night

Dad's often miss out on craft time with the kids. Why not make it a family tradition to skip TV one night and spend an evening creating a keepsake together as a family? Your craft can be as simple as a poster, or as elaborate as a paper mache dinosaur head to mount on the wall as a prize trophy!

Mealtime prayers

As your family gives thanks for your meal, hold hands with one another around the dinner table. Right after your prayer ends, squeeze hands three times while saying, I love you! It's a lovely tradition, with the added advantage of helping youngsters to sit still and be appropriately reverent.- Thanks to Greta K. for this idea.

Commerical break workout

Help your kids get a little exercise when they are "vegging out" in front of the TV: start a fun habit of using the commercial breaks for a short workout. Make it a challenge to see how many side steps, jumping jacks, burpees or "paces" they can run on the spot before their TV show resumes. For safety, designate a special "workout zone" for each child that's well away from the TV, and their siblings.

Everyone's a DJ

Nothing good on TV again? Have a "music appreciation night" instead! Invite everyone in the family to bring along their latest favourite song, plus a DJ-style introduction that includes a brief explanation about the musician's background, and/or why this track is a favourite.

You've been quoted!

Every so often a slip of the tongue or a unique turn of phrase can send the whole family into fits of laughter. Don't let the moment pass without capturing the phrase for posterity! Keep a simple notebook on hand to record your "famous family quotes." You may also want to post your most recent quotable quotes on the fridge for visitors to enjoy. Be intentional about using your family's quirky quotes often to help build your family identity.

Bedtime prayers

Put a new spin on a treasured family ritual: Instead of praying at your child’s bedside one night, let your child tuck you into bed and pray over you for a change! Their prayers are sure to be humorous and heartwarming. Of course, you’ll need to check that your child heads for their own bed afterward!

Treasured sound bites

Photos make great visual mementos, but to truly capture the personalities in your family, you can't beat an audio album. Create one by recording your discussions around the dinner table just a few times each year. Your record of "ordinary" days at home with the kids will become precious as you realize how quickly your children grow and change.

Better than before

When you visit your favourite playground or park with your kids, make it a habit to leave it better than before. Tidy up by picking up some garbage, pulling a few weeds, or simply removing leaves or gravel from the path. It's a simple way to help kids learn to respect and appreciate the facilities provided in their community.

Movies and memories

Julie C. of Calgary, AB, recently shared with us her family’s weekly tradition. “Every Friday night for the past year and a half, we’ve had a family movie night. The boys get to pick dinner (usually hot dogs and chips or pizza) and we all sit down to enjoy a family movie. It allows all of us to sit and cuddle on the couch and bond together, and relax after a busy week. Our boys, ages six and four, look forward to it every week. When our two year old is old enough to sit still through a movie, he will be included, too. I imagine they will remember these nights for years to come.”

This time last year . . . 

How good is your memory for special events? Start a habit of noting anniversary dates of special occasions, such as moving into a new home, a graduation or award ceremony, or a family holiday. When your family is gathered together, spring the question, “Guess what we were doing this time last year!” You’ll have fun reminiscing over cherished memories and the blessings you’ve enjoyed together.

Chocolate-chip Fridays

Who doesn’t love the weekend? Start a fun tradition of ushering in the weekend together! On Friday afternoons after the kids come home from school, bake chocolate chip cookies (or whatever special treat your kids love). Pour some tall glasses of cold milk and enjoy your cookies together at the kitchen table. Review the best parts of your week and any exciting plans for the weekend.

Because cousins are fun!

How well do your kids know their cousins? Whether their cousins live nearby or far away, set up a regular routine of helping your children stay in contact with extended family. Relationships between cousins can be very special, and your kids are likely to look forward to family gatherings, knowing they have built-in playmates ready to have fun!

Make their mouths water for family night!

Need a fun, new tradition to spice up Family Night? Use the chilly fall weather as the perfect excuse to cozy up to some toasty mugs of hot chocolate or coffee. But don’t stop there! Provide an array of delicious drink accompaniments for each person to choose from, like cinnamon sticks, biscotti, flavoured creamers, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chocolate shavings or mint syrup. Grab your special drinks and sit down together for an evening of board games, movies or star gazing on the back porch.

Stories to love, again and again

Make it a tradition to read a favourite book or book series to your children once a year. Your kids will most likely associate heart-warming memories with those stories for the rest of their lives.

Family song

Many families have a song they sing at the dinner table in lieu of, or in addition to, a traditional spoken prayer. Choose a song of thanksgiving or praise, and “make a joyful noise” to the Lord!

Love notes from the past

Make it a tradition to write your child a letter each year on their birthday; then tuck the letters away to present to your child on a momentous birthday, like their 18th or 25th. Describe their personality, hobbies, likes and dislikes; list some of their biggest accomplishments; and share the ways you’ve seen them grow that year. They’ll enjoy getting a glimpse of what they were like in the past and knowing what was on your heart for them each year on their special day.

Make a joyful noise

On a lazy afternoon, try having a family music time. Playing music together is a great way for families to bond and to worship together. Have your kids pick out their favourite praise songs or hymns, and gather family members who play an instrument. For children who take formal lessons, this is an excellent way for them to express musicality on their own terms; for those who don’t play anything, or are insecure about their abilities, make sure they’re given the chance to pick their favourite songs and encourage them to sing or clap along.

Letters from the past

Ever want to capture memorable family moments that seem to go by so quickly? Start a tradition where each family member – child and parent alike – writes a yearly letter to him or herself and saves them in a box. Then, when the kids are all grown up, set aside a time together, like over a holiday or family reunion, for everyone to read aloud. Like photographs, these letter mementoes would preserve precious snapshots of each family member over the years. Here are some examples of topics each can write on: hopes and dreams, future or current job, current favourite school subjects, favourite food or song, a heartwarming or funny family story.

Share a love for reading

Going to the library regularly as a family can help foster a love for reading and improve your children’s literacy. It can also generate livelier discussions at home! Share with each other what you’re reading, and discuss what you like or dislike about your book.

Sunday morning breakfast

Begin the Sabbath together! Get up a little earlier than usual and enjoy a hot breakfast together. The extra time will allow your family the opportunity to be relaxed and to pray around the table – a great way to start your day of rest with God.

Staying in touch

When grandparents live far away, make it a tradition to place a weekly family call. Take turns passing the phone around, and make sure to send photos as often as possible. If distance isn’t a factor, invite grandparents over for a weekly or monthly family meal.

Let's hear our cheer!

Celebrate exciting moments together as a family by creating your own unique family cheer. Great opportunities to recite the cheer include pulling out of the driveway to begin a vacation, or when a member of the family perfects a new skill, such as riding their bike without training wheels.

Family excursions everyone will enjoy 

Invest in a season pass to your local aquarium, zoo or museum. Pick a Saturday each month for a fun, informative family adventure.

Dinnertime prayer 

Praying together as a family is a wonderful opportunity to hear what’s on each other’s hearts. Make it a tradition to take turns praying before your meal. Assign each family member a day (or days) of the week to say grace. Or, take turns each night praying for one need at a time, going in a circle until Mom or Dad says “Amen.”

Bond together during after-dinner walks 

Taking a short walk together after your meal can set the tone for the evening. Take the family dog and set out for 15-20 minutes around your neighbourhood. Walk the same route each night or switch it up. If there are horses nearby, take some apple slices or carrot sticks to feed them. If there’s a park, bring along a Frisbee or ball for the dog while your kids play on the swings. Walking helps digestion, reenergizes everyone and can even help kids focus on their homework once they return home. Consider inviting your neighbours to join you!

Start a weekly Family Night 

As kids grow up, it can be hard to find time to spend together as a family. Try starting a Family Night once a week. Order pizza or make dinner together, watch movies and play games. This way, family time is regular – but also creative and fun.

Surprise your loved ones with lunchtime love notes
On the morning of a big test, an audition, a special event – or even during a tough week at school – stuff a note of encouragement into your child’s lunch box or backpack. This idea is great for Mom and Dad, too! Encourage your kids to tuck a love note into your spouse’s pocket, purse or briefcase (or leave your own romantic note for your spouse).

Celebrate your child’s “big moments”

After your child’s big game, recital, play, competition or accomplishment, make it a tradition to treat him or her to a favourite meal, dessert, outing or special treat at home. Whether or not your child was the “winner,” you can celebrate their good attitude and affirm them for helping another child, being respectful, playing fair or listening to their coach or teacher.

Say “I love you” in a new way 

A special object left around the house can be a unique and unexpected way to say “I love you.” As a family, pick out an easily recognizable object (such as an oddly shaped rock, small stuffed animal, painted pinecone or even an old baby shoe). This object will symbolize a message of love and encouragement (don’t forget to use real words, too!). When your child is having a tough day or when you want to remind them that they’re loved, place the object in their shoe, on their pillow, next to their toothbrush or anywhere they’ll be sure to discover it. Take turns leaving the object in unexpected places, and when it’s not being used, make sure you keep it in a place where everyone can find it.

Valentine's Day

Spread the love

Cut out large paper hearts and tape one to each family member's bedroom door. On Valentine's Day, write on the hearts what you love most about each other.

Valentine's Day "chez nous"

Valentine's Day can be a wonderful opportunity for kids to pamper Mom and Dad. Why not ask your kids to host a special Valentine's Day dinner for you at home? This can be a fun opportunity for children to learn about serving others as they perform simple tasks such as preparing an elegant table setting, escorting you to your table and pouring your drink. Young er children can help prepare unique table decorations while older children can design the menu and choose a name for your special "restaurant." [Read more]


Ascension Day, May 18

Exactly 40 days after Easter we celebrate Jesus' ascension into heaven and his promise to send the Holy Spirit. Mark the event by promising your kids a mystery gift, then finally give it on May 28 (Pentecost). As your kids wait, help them think about the anticipation and curiosity the disciples must have felt, wondering when the helper Jesus had promised would come and what he might be like.

Sensory Easter story

Change up your Bible reading of the events of Easter by making it a sensory experience that allows young kids to participate in the story. Introduce soapy bubbles and fresh-baked bread as you read about the Passover meal; have kids make snoring noises (in the garden) and the sound of a rooster crowing; let them handle nails and rough wood; wrap their arms in scented cloth strips (for burial clothing); hide kids under a blanket in the dark “tomb” and jiggle them in an armchair for the “earthquake” as they hear the tearing of  the “temple curtain.” Then end with a triumphant praise song for Jesus’ resurrection!

Easter countdown

At the start of Lent, build anticipation for Easter and help your child learn the Easter story by preparing an Easter countdown tree – a vase of branches decorated with Scriptures telling the story of Easter and God’s promises fulfilled. Number the verses 1 to 40 and let your kids remove and read one a day for the 40 days of Lent. Surprise the kids on Easter Sunday when they find the bare branches decorated with flowers!

Easter bunnies

Who doesn’t love bunnies! Why not use this traditional symbol of Easter to talk with young children about faith in Jesus? See this article here for a cute idea that encourages Christlike character by looking at the quiet and gentle characteristics of a rabbit. 

Proof of forgiveness

Talk to your kids about why Easter matters, with help from Tony Evans. See this article for a simple object lesson – a receipt from a purchase at the store – to help you talk about how Jesus’ resurrection was proof of our forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice.

Happier Easter egg hunts

Little kids can be at a disadvantage in an Easter egg hunt, ending up with a much smaller haul of eggs than older kids. Here are some ideas for a happier hunt: (1) have all kids pool the eggs they find, then divide them up evenly; (2) assign each child a colour before the hunt, and have them retrieve only the eggs that match their colour; (3) host hunts at two different times: one for smaller kids, one for older kids.

Easter lights out

Add some symbolism and anticipation to your Easter: On Good Friday evening, read your kids an account of Jesus’ death. When you reach the part about darkness covering the land, turn off all the lights and use only candlelight until Easter Sunday morning. Let the return of the light symbolize the joy of Jesus’ resurrection.

Easter ideas from Kids of Integrity 

If you’re looking for ideas for Easter, don’t miss our Kids of Integrity Easter lesson for kids ages five to 10. It’s full of fun ideas to help you cover the events of Easter! Check it out at

Easter fun from Focus on the Family magazine

Bring the Easter story to life with a week of activities for your kids! Enjoy a scavenger hunt, puzzles, a Seder meal and more. Download our Walking Through Holy Week PDF at

Good Friday reminder

Mark Good Friday for your kids by marking it on your kids in a very personal and meaningful way. First, talk about how Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be crucified, because of His love for each of us and His desire to save us. Then mark each child’s palm with a small red cross. Above or below it write, He loves you so. (For youngsters, perhaps omit the connection with Jesus’ nail-pierced hands.)

Easter time secret snowdrop letters

Enrich your Easter with this delightful Danish tradition: Write a note of encouragement to a family member or an encouraging verse of Scripture, but don't sign your name. The recipient has until Easter Sunday to correctly guess who sent the note. If they can't guess, they owe you a chocolate egg. But if they do guess, you owe them an egg! See special details.

Setting the mood for Easter

Everyone has their favourite Easter traditions, but have you thought about creating a special ambiance in your home at Easter time? Perhaps build your own special music collection for the season featuring praise music that focuses on Christ’s sacrifice. At bedtime, choose stories for the kids that focus on the passion of Christ.

A special Easter basket

Help kids focus on the most important theme of Easter by creating a unique Easter basket. First, read the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection together as a family. Then, have a treasure hunt through your house for trinkets to serve as reminders of the Easter story. Place your items in a basket and let it serve as a centrepiece throughout Easter. Here are some trinket ideas to get you started: bread and grape juice as a reminder of the Last Supper, silver coins, a rooster, a cross, brambles shaped into a crown of thorns and cloth bandages.

Easter crown of thorns

Help your children focus on Jesus’ sacrifice in the days leading up to Easter by braiding a small “crown” for each child from three strips of modelling clay. Place each crown on a paper plate, then let the kids decorate their crowns with toothpicks for thorns. The goal, however, is to have no “thorns” left by Easter: Each time your child does a sacrificial or kind act for someone, they can remove a thorn. On Easter Sunday, remove any remaining thorns and have fun decorating the crowns with jewels, candy or cake sprinkles in honour of our risen King. (This idea is based on the Catholic tradition of making a crown of thorns from salt dough at the start of Lent.)

Looking ahead to Easter

Easter means so much more than bunnies, baby chickens and chocolate eggs. But those are the images kids see everywhere at this time of year. Here’s a simple cross you can make as a family, then set on your table to help kids focus their thoughts on Christ’s loving sacrifice: Take two flat lengths of wood – or dowelling – and paint them with craft paint. (Stir sticks from a paint store work well, but one will need to be cut shorter than the other.) Glue the sticks together to form a cross, or bind them firmly with string. Wedge the base of the cross into a large “brick” of florist’s foam, to keep the cross standing upright. Hide the brick by loosely draping burlap or decorative fabric over the brick. Next, cut a length of gauze bandage and drape it over the cross. Finally, craft a pretend crown of thorns by cutting a length of blackberry bramble and bending it into a circle. Secure the ends together by binding them with florist’s wire. For younger children, you may prefer to craft the crown from pipe cleaners. Read age-appropriate accounts of Christ’s death and resurrection, and explain how Jesus’ resurrection transformed a symbol of death and fear into a symbol of life and hope.

The advent of Easter

Help your family prepare for Easter by starting an “Easter Advent” tradition. Twelve days before, have your kids decorate an egg carton as your advent calendar. Then, divide the Easter story into twelve parts, and put one in each egg-carton cup with symbolic items that relate to its verse. Now you have an Easter advent calendar to help centre your family’s devotional time around an element of Christ’s life, death and resurrection!

Easter morning breakfast

Celebrate Easter morning by enjoying a special breakfast of hot cross buns or other family breakfast favourites. Read the Resurrection story from the Bible and reflect on the true significance of Jesus' life and death.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day gift ideas

Get busy now so you can bless Mom with homemade gifts that build into a treasured collection year by year: 

  1. Plan an annual family Mother’s Day photo shoot; 
  2. Make a family comic strip, each square depicting a funny or special memory from recent events; 
  3. Sew Mom a reusable shopping bag from a lightweight garment you’ve grown out of; 
  4. Craft a paper "Happy Mother's Day" pennant banner and write something you love about Mom on the back of each pennant.

Mother's Day room service

Show your appreciation for Mom on Mother’s Day with surprise messages! Have the kids write heartfelt notes of thanks to Mom and hide them where she’ll come across them as she works around the house: in the laundry, in the pantry, attached to the vacuum cleaner etc.

Mother's Day notes

What many moms want most for Mother’s Day is some much-deserved downtime! So on Mother’s Day, pretend Mom’s in a luxury hotel! Bring her “room service” by providing breakfast in bed, and the gift of a book or CD to enjoy for a couple of hours, followed by the luxury of a long bath – all undisturbed.

Mother's Day picnic

Celebrate Mom with a picnic basket packed and ready to go! Toss in her favourite treats, a camera, blanket and utensils - and whisk her off to a secret destination.

5 cheery postcards to bless a mom

This Mother's Day, honour all the moms in your life! Here are five "Bless a Mom" postcards for you to share, tweet, pin and print for your friend, church secretary, kid's teacher, random mom you see in the grocery store – or your own mother! They're fun, attractive and free.

Father's Day

Ideas for Father's Day

1. Have the kids make a book of jokes for Dad. 2. Let the kids create and present a play about Dad. 3. Ask Dad to tell stories about his dad and his childhood. 4. Take over Dad’s chores for the day: wash the dog or the car, mow the lawn or tidy the garage. 5. Set up an outdoor movie theatre in the backyard or garage. 6. Rent a vehicle for the weekend – an RV, an ATV, a canoe – or treat Dad to a scenic flight or chopper ride. 7. Have a water gun or water balloon fight. 8. Present Dad with a backpack packed with a special lunch and head out on a hike. 9. Go camping for the weekend.

Father's Day outdoor fun

Still looking for a Father’s Day gift for your hubby? Make it a tradition to give him something that will kick-off some fun family outdoor play. For example, a badminton, bocce or croquet set, a beginner baseball set, a water sprinkler, a backyard slip ’n’ slide, or simply a pack of water balloons.

Father's Day Challenge

Have fun with dad on Father's Day by hosting an annual "Father's Day Challenge" that pits dad against the kids. Make it hilarious by choosing a test that puts dad at a disadvantage. For example, recite a passage of a favourite kids' book from memory, race to crawl under low objects or practice a daughter's dance moves!

5 one-of-a-kind postcards for dad – free!

Do something different for Father's Day and bless dad with one (or all) of these five free printables designed just for him! Some are quirky, some are serious, some are sweet — just like dads.

Father's Day fairy tale

Help your children get involved in the Father's Day fun by creating a special homemade storybook featuring the star of the day - Dad! Your kids can fill the pages with hand-drawn pictures of their favourite memories of their father, funny stories about him and creative depictions of their number one superhero.

A Father's Day surprise for Dad

When Dad fires up the computer on Father's Day, surprise him with a reminder of your love. Simply take a funny or serious photo of yourself and the kids and set it as the background picture on his computer screen. If you have a basic image editing tool, use it to add an amusing caption or a message of appreciation. Here's some help with the technical details: If you are downloading the image from your digital camera, save it as a JPEG file (.jpg) into a file on the computer, or simply save it on the desktop. Then, open the image to view it. Right click on the image, and choose "Set as desktop background."

An afternoon fit for a dad

This Father’s Day, bless Dad with an afternoon of relaxing fun! Send him off with that new book he’s been eyeing, a newspaper and a gift card to his favourite coffee shop. While he’s gone, prepare a special meal, and welcome him home with a big bear hug, a back rub and a card telling him why he’s such a great father. Cap off the evening with a special dessert and Dad’s favourite movie or game.

Do-You-Dare? picnic

Help your kids prepare a “Do-You-Dare?” picnic to spring on their hungry dad. Have them prepare some “trick” food items that sound awful, then let them take turns asking dad if he’s hungry enough to eat the following items. If dad says “Yes,” produce the “item” for him to eat.

Are you hungry enough to eat . . .

  • a giant’s eyeball? Slice a hard-boiled egg in half. Then halve a black olive and place it in the centre of the yolk to create the pupil.
  • a frog? Cut the stem from a green pepper, and slit the pepper down one side. Fold out a section on either side of the cut to form “flaps.” Place the exposed inside edges of the flaps face down on a plate, then cut away portions of the flaps to shape front and hind legs. Insert whole cloves or sunflower seeds into the head section of the rounded body to form “eyes.”
  • an entire sheep? Serve Dad a floweret of broccoli or cauliflower. Leave the stem attached to create the “legs” of the sheep. With a toothpick, affix a “head” formed from an olive, and push whole cloves into either side of the olive to form eyes.
  • a dirty diaper? Spread crunchy peanut butter on a slice of bread cut in the shape of an open diaper.
  • a cow pat? Dad will be relieved to receive a hamburger patty atop a leaf of lettuce!
  • worms and dirt? End with gummy worms and Oreo® cookie crumbs atop instant pudding for dessert.

Have fun creating other ideas for your “Do-You-Dare?” picnic!

Father’s Day treasure hunt

Add some excitement to your Father’s Day hike with this simple treasure hunt that’s easy for mom and the kids to put together: Gift wrap a number of small gifts for dad ahead of time, then attach a small card to each gift that describes a memorable moment with dad, as dictated by one of your kids. Out on your hike, instruct dad to “rest awhile” just before a bend in the trail. Run ahead with the kids and hide the gifts, then guide dad in his search for each one by yelling “hot” or “cold.” Repeat often along the trail, until all the gifts have been found. Here are some gift ideas, too: key chain, water bottle, lunch bag, movie tickets, fishing lures, sunglasses, gift certificates, brain teaser puzzles and some snacks to share on the way back to the car!

Celebrating Dad

Flowers don’t seem quite appropriate on Father’s Day? Put a fun spin on this gift idea by presenting Dad with a “bouquet” of tools, ties, gift cards, fancy pens or other items he’ll enjoy. For that finishing touch, wrap your bouquet in blue ribbon.


Thanksgiving crafts

Our October 2023 issue of Focus on the Family magazine featured three fun Thanksgiving crafts for your family. Find a Thanksgiving wreath and dodecahedron discussion starter you can make with your kids at, and find a fun seasonal placemat for kids to colour at

Thanksgiving fun

Did you know that some families name their Thanksgiving turkey, and even dance with it before prepping it for the oven? Maybe your kids would love to do a turkey dance with your Thanksgiving dinner too! On a more serious note, here’s a simple way to create a keepsake for your Thanksgiving guests: Pass around a card for each guest present (with their name on it) and have everyone write in the card one reason why they are thankful for that person.

Heirlooms at Thanksgiving

When your family gets together at Thanksgiving, either in person or online, catch up on a little family history by inviting someone in the family to talk about a treasured heirloom. There’s sure to be someone present who hasn’t heard the full story behind the item of interest, and it's a simple way to celebrate your thankfulness for the Lord’s faithfulness to your family through multiple generations!

Thanksgiving placemats

Let your kids help set the table for Thanksgiving! Print out multiple copies of this Thanksgiving placemat for your kids to colour:  Download Thanksgiving placemat

A thankful heart

Encourage kids to show their appreciation and spur on more “love and good deeds” in your household by creating your own “thankful heart.” Inscribe “Thank you!" on a wood or paper heart and attach a loop at the top. Keep it in a central location and let your kids spontaneously hang it on the bedroom door of a family member who has done something kind for them – a visible sign of their gratitude that remains in place for the day.

Thanksgiving awards

Make your Thanksgiving dinner a little more fun by handing out surprise "Thank you" awards that celebrate important family events, such as "Thank you for your piano recital," "Thank you for babysitting your siblings for the first time," "Thank you, Dad, for building a tree house."

Build a thankfulness tree

At mealtimes, have ready a stack of leaf shapes cut from paper. Have everyone write on a "leaf" one thing they are thankful to God for. Hang your leaves with string from some bare branches, or glue them on a poster, and you'll have a full, leafy thankfulness three by Thanksgiving.

Backyard parade

To celebrate the theme of thanksgiving, hold a “thankfulness parade” in the backyard. Start by inviting your child’s friends and their parents, and have each family create a float representing what they’re thankful for this season. But before they come, ask each family to bring a sled or wagon to form the base of their display. Just provide the decorations. For ideas, try cardboard boxes, tape, paint, markers, feathers or anything that can help your float-makers express thankfulness. For some added fun, ask each “team” to create a family cheer or song while building their float. Then, when everyone is finished, have each family pull their floats around the backyard in a parade, singing their song or proclaiming their cheer.

Expressing true thanks on Thanksgiving

At this year’s Thanksgiving meal, set a place at the table for Jesus – plate, cup, silverware and all! Have each family member write down on scraps of paper the things they are most thankful for. Heap your notes of thanks on Jesus’ plate and express your praise to Him in prayer.

More ideas for Thanksgiving

Check out our article entitled Looking forward to Thanksgiving: Six ideas for family fun. And also take a look at our Kids of Integrity lesson on Thanksgiving.


Kodachrome comedy

Snap some hilarious photos on Christmas morning that will become family classics! Recreate a family photo from the past where everyone adopts the same positions, poses and facial expressions from yesteryear. Or take a snap of everybody trying to wear and hold every one of their Christmas gifts! 

Advent calendar jigsaw puzzle

The chocolates hidden in an Advent calendar are gone in a flash. Let the fun last a little longer by creating a jigsaw puzzle “Advent calendar” for your kids instead! Purchase a Nativity-themed puzzle and divide the pieces into 24 gift bags or festive envelopes, each one marked for the calendar days 1-24. It's best to use a 500-piece puzzle or larger,  and you’ll need to make the puzzle yourself first so you can ensure that each day's puzzle pieces will complete a unified section of the overall puzzle for your kids. Or perhaps a kind aunty or grandparent will be happy to prepare it all for you! 

Christmas lights drive

Inject a little extra fun into your nighttime drive to look at Christmas lights by adding some make-believe: Pretend you are explorers tasked with making a map of the best Christmas lights. After you’ve covered the “must-see” light displays in your neighbourhood, turn the navigation over to your kids, letting them decide whether to turn left or right, and see where you end up. Finally, pretend that the car has switched to “auto pilot” and that you are now on a mystery adventure. Perhaps the car will decide “all on its own” to take you to a store for a treat or to a friend’s house for hot chocolate!

Holy stocking stuffers

Your kids might enjoy this Christmas tradition shared by mom Karen Whiting. As her kids draw surprises from their Christmas stockings, they think for a moment, then suggest how each gift reminds them of God’s love and care. A gift of a watch, for example, reminds that God loves us all the time. A toy car might remind that God goes with us everywhere, wherever we may drive. See details and more Christmas traditions here.

Grab & go gift bags

Help your kids be others-focused this Christmas season by preparing ahead for those you see panhandling as you go about your Christmas errands. Let your kids decorate some small paper bags with Christmas images and kind messages, and pop inside some Christmas candy and a gift card for a fast-food restaurant. Keep the gift bags in your car, ready to hand out as you encounter those in need.

Surprise shepherd

What if you put on a Nativity play? That's how the Vernot family surprised their children one Christmas. Dad secretly slipped outside, then rang the doorbell. When his kids opened the door, they found their dad dressed as a shepherd, and he told them the Christmas story from a shepherd’s perspective. It was such a hit that mom dressed up as Mary the next Christmas! See more Christmas ideas for young kids

Gift opening day

Does your Christmas Day always seem rushed? Halee Wood’s family has “Gift Opening Day” with her kids the day before Christmas Day. That way her children have time to enjoy their gifts and are more relaxed and gracious about visiting relatives on Christmas Day.
See more ideas for a meaningful Christmas celebration

Thankful feedback

Did your kids enjoy their Christmas gifts from relatives? Help your kids learn gratitude by having them show their appreciation to each gift giver. Have your kids show how far they’re into their new book or what they’ve created from their new supplies, or send a photo wearing their new clothes.

Silly challenges

Liven up your Christmas mealtime by writing down a unique challenge for each person at your table and slipping it under their placemat. Invite everyone to read their challenge and keep it a secret. At the end of your meal, see if you can guess what each person’s silly challenge was. Here are a few challenge ideas to get you started:

  • Change an item of clothing every 30 minutes
  • Sneeze every time someone says “thanks” or “thank you”
  • When you laugh, laugh like a baby with squeals and giggles
  • Hug or kiss the cook at least once as you pass by.

Fleecy blessings

Here’s a fun way to teach kids to show compassion to others this Christmas! Just as families often gift their kids new pajamas to wake up in on Christmas Day, help your kids join in sharing that blessing with others. Whether you shop online or in a store, let your kids choose a cute new pair of pjs to gift to a child in need.

Kindness Advent

For several days in a row during Advent, hide a figure from your Nativity set and let your kids find it. Then ask 3 questions: What role did that figure play in Jesus' birth? How did they show kindness to Jesus' family? How will you show someone kindness today? On the final day hide the baby Jesus and ask, How did Jesus show us the kindness of God?

(Hint: The donkey carried Mary; the sheep and cattle shared their stable, hay, warmth; the angels told the shepherds the good news about Jesus birth so the shepherds could go and worship, celebrate with Mary and Joseph, and encourage them; the wise men brought gifts etc.)

Book a sleep in on Christmas morning

Tired of the kids waking you up way too early on Christmas morning? Start this family tradition to gain you more snooze time: Buy each child a new book, wrap it, and leave it under their pillow on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, they must stay in bed quietly reading their book (or enjoying the pictures) until you call them to get up.

Christmas Eve surprise box

Thrill your kids with a day-before-Christmas box holding a surprise that will keep them busy, such as a new game, a book each or puzzles. This tradition will be a treat for you too, allowing you relative quiet to take care of last-minute tasks!  

Stockings stocked with love

Don’t let your kids’ Christmas stockings hang empty until Christmas Day. Use them like mailboxes, and drop notes of love and appreciation into each stocking to surprise and bless your kids!

Family chronicles

In the lead up to Christmas, write a simple record noting the year’s significant events for each member of the family. Bless your family by reading your record aloud when you are all together on Christmas Eve or on New Year’s Eve. Pray and thank the Lord for all your blessings over the past year – and the challenges too. File each year’s record in a special keepsake notebook.

Build an Advent library

Enjoy some relaxing moments amid a busy season by counting down to Christmas with books! First, gift wrap a selection of picture books that celebrate the Christmas season. Then have your children unwrap one book each day and read it together. Build your collection year by year, or boost your collection quickly and cheaply (to cover every day of Advent) by borrowing from your local library or searching thrift stores.

More blessed to give

Enter into the joy of the Christmas season by spending an evening together as a family making gift tags. As you chat, head off the "gimmies" by encouraging your kids to think about gift ideas for someone else. Choose Bible verses for the back of the tags that tell about God's love and His gifts to us.

Make an Advent blessings tree

Thanksgiving may be past, but gratitude can be practiced year round! To encourage gratefulness instead of greed during the Christmas season, plan to make an Advent blessings tree. Purchase 25 clear, plastic, fill-able ornaments online or from a craft store. Each day in December, fill an ornament with a visual reminder of something that you are thankful for. For example, if you are thankful for snow, fill a ball with shredded coconut to represent snowflakes. Other “stuffers” could be photos, drawings, non-perishable food items, small toys, fabric, yarn, buttons or beads. As you fill the ornaments, take time to thank God for the blessings He has placed in your lives. Here are a few verses to add to the ornaments, or to read aloud to encourage thankfulness: 1 Chronicles 16:8; Psalm 34:8-9; Psalm 100:4; Psalm 107:1,8-9; Psalm 118:28-29; Colossians 3:15; Hebrews 12:28.

Alternative options: Instead of hanging your Advent blessings on a tree, display them in a festive basket or bowl, or hang them from ribbon over a window or along a fireplace mantel. – From Laurel Kirchner, creator of Kids ofIntegrity.

Letters to Jesus

Whether or not your family plays along with the idea of Santa at Christmastime, have your kids write letters to Jesus. If your kids are already familiar with writing a letter to Santa, explain to them the difference between writing to Santa for what you want, and writing to Jesus to thank Him for all his blessings He’s given. Young children may need your help to think of God’s blessings they’ve received over the past year, and to jot them down. Then hand out pieces of blank paper so they can compose their letter to Jesus and decorate it as they choose. Encouraging your kids to pray their letter and to display it near your Christmas tree or mantle will help them remember – apart from getting gifts – who they have to thank for all their blessings.

Cool lanterns

Ice lanterns are easy to make, even for youngsters. Try making a few with your kids to add a beautiful touch to your front pathway or outdoor décor over the Christmas season. Preparing each ice lantern is a two-step process. First, fill an ice cream bucket with water to a depth of about 6 cm. Add a decorative touch, if you wish, by sprinkling berries and sprigs of evergreens over the water. If you have sub-zero temperatures in your region, leave the bucket outside. Alternatively, place the bucket in your freezer. When the ice is solid, fill a plastic cup with gravel to give it some weight, then place the cup upright in the centre of the bucket, resting on the frozen ice. Carefully fill the bucket with water to just below the rim of the cup, then return the bucket outdoors, or replace it in the freezer. When all the water has frozen solid, place the entire bucket in a tub of warm water until you can release your ice lantern from the bucket. Similarly, fill the cup with warm water to thaw the surrounding ice just enough to allow you to remove the cup. Place a candle in the hollow left by the cup and find a suitable spot outdoors to display your creation. If you prefer clear, see-through ice lanterns, use distilled water that has been boiled for several minutes, then allowed to cool.

Works of art in gingerbread

Looking for a new take on the familiar Christmas tradition of building gingerbread houses? If you have an appropriate selection of cookie cutters, try your hand at creating a gingerbread nativity scene. Or whip up some icing in various colours and create your own “stained glass window” on a single slab of gingerbread. For inspiration, search the Internet for simple nativity patterns. Use strips of black liquorice to separate the colours in your delectable work of art.

Christmas around the table and around the world

Whether you create your own Christmas crackers, or prefer the store-bought variety, here’s an idea that will stimulate dinner-time conversation and help kids remember that the joy of Christ’s birth is celebrated around the world. After conducting a little online research, write “Merry Christmas” on the outside of each cracker in a foreign language. Your family and guests will have fun pronouncing the greetings on different crackers and guessing their country of origin. For an extra surprise, slip a piece of paper inside each cracker that identifies the country and outlines a Christmas tradition unique to that region. Add a recipe for a seasonal treat that’s unique to that country, too, if you wish. With more than 190 countries and over 5,000 languages to choose from, this is a tradition you can enjoy for years to come.

Take a drive! 

Pile into the car with a Thermos of hot chocolate and drive through town, searching for the home with the best Christmas lights.

Start something new

Christmas is a popular time for families to honour age-old traditions. This holiday season, make a point to create some new traditions for your family. Assign each family member the task of thinking up a new holiday tradition they’d like to incorporate into your festivities. To spark some ideas, browse through Christmas-themed books, magazines or websites, or try asking around about other people’s traditions.

Find more Christmas traditions in the following articles

Would you like to share your family's traditions with us? Email us at [email protected].  

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