Advent Resources for FamiliesI’m writing about how to get started having family devotions over at For the Family today. If you’ve ever wondered about family devotions or just need a little encouragement in the process, click on over — How to START Family Devotions
My Top Recommendation! *wink*
Of course you know my top recommendation for a family devotional as we approach Easter is Clean on the Inside a Family Devotional for Holy Week. I have been so. very. encouraged by the responses I’ve had from the thousands of families who have grown together in Jesus through using this resource. For more information, click here.
Resources for Family Devotions
When choosing what to read or discuss for family devotions, you don’t need to purchase resources. Just gather around the breakfast table or snuggle up at bed time and simply read the Word of God together!
In our family, with three kids 5 and under, we have found that reading from a children’s Bible or a Bible storybook each day generates lots of questions and discussions about who God is and what He’s doing. I also appreciate the ESV Illustrated Family Bible because the text comes directly from the Bible. (Some passages are combined for readability, but this version is not a paraphrase.)
After reading, we talk about the story but our goal is not just that our kids will acquire information but that the Spirit will work transformation in their hearts. Sometimes we will act out the story, other days we’ll color a picture or do a craft, but most days we pray, read the Word, and talk about what we’ve read.
We also try to plan weekly or monthly family nights (see resources below) or will do more involved activities around special occasions, like leading up to Easter.
Around the Table
The following are devotional books that we have enjoyed as a family or that I have and plan to use as my kids get a little older.
Resources for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Big Thoughts for Little People — We are using this book as part of our letter of the week plan for my preschooler, but all three of my kids love this one. The illustrations are kid-friendly and engaging, the text is short enough to hold the kids attention, and the application to apply throughout the day is easy to remember and refer to often. We have also used and enjoyed My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt for our letter-of-the-week devotionals, too.
The Tiny Tots Bible Story Book — I wasn’t too sure about this one when we first started reading it. The stories are very simple, and the illustrations are basic. But I’ve found that the simplicity of both the text and illustrations grabs the interest of my toddler and my preschoolers too. We have had so many great conversations as a result of this simple little book.
100 Read and Sing Devotions — Given as a gift, this was one of the first devotionals we used when my daughter was younger. With a song, short text, takeaway phrase, and prayer of the day, this is a great resource for beginning the habit of family devotions with your kids.
Resources for All Ages
Devotions for the Children’s Hour by Kenneth N. Taylor — We have used this periodically with my 5-year old and it has sparked great conversations. I think it’s a little better suited toward kids who are a year or two older, but I have found it a great resource to have as it answers big questions kids ask, such as:
- Where did God come from?
- How do I know the Bible is true?
- What happens when we ask Jesus to be our Savior?
In addition to each devotional text, the daily reading includes a Bible passage, questions, a prayer, and a hymn to sing.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones & Jago — With the same beauty of The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones has written a book that helps kids begin their own devotional time with God. I really have no words to describe this book. It’s beautiful, heart-stirring, and a wonderful reminder of the fierce, saving love God has for us.
Our 24 Family Ways: A family devotional guide — You know I love just about everything from Clay and Sally Clarkson, and this resource is no exception!
Family Night Resources
Resources for Preschoolers
Wiggles, Giggles, & Popcorn (Family Time Activities for Preschoolers) — We’ve found this to be a great resource for our family to use once a week or once a month. The 25 lessons include a teaching goal, Scripture passages, discussion points, an activity, and how to apply the idea to our lives. Sometimes science experiments, games or crafts are included to help teach the spiritual lesson. There is some preparation and gathering of materials required, which is why I’ve found it easier to plan these once a week or once a month. Bubbles, Balloons, and Chocolate is the second book in the series written specifically for preschoolers.
Resources for All Ages
Family Night Tool Chest — We have an older version of Book 2 in the series, but this is definitely a series we will invest in as our kids get a little bit older. Written by Jim Weidmann and Kurt Bruner, these books contain 12 lessons packed full of ideas for having an effective family night centered around the Bible and spiritual growth. Each lesson includes at least 3 activities to enforce the truths being taught and the authors walk you through questions and discussion points. This is one you’ll definitely want to have on your shelves.
Resources for Teens
Tried and True, another book in the Family Time Activities series by Kirk Weaver, is geared toward teenagers.
Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter)
Advent and Christmas
Question for You:
How do you do family devotions in your home? What are your favorite resources?