It’s the summer holidays, and we know the long days can seem longer when you run out of ideas to entertain your children. Here are eleven ideas aimed at not only entertaining your children but bringing your family together as you learn about different cultures—and have a whole lot of fun doing so.
1. Make an ice lolly to beat the heat
These lollies are the perfect treat for a hot summer’s day and a great opportunity to learn about flags from around the world. Why not try making an ice lolly in the colours of your country’s national flag.
2. Make a meal from your sponsored child’s country
Gather the children and discover another culture in a hands-on, delicious way, by preparing a meal together! Pick a recipe from the country the child you sponsor lives and you can tell them about your culinary experience in your next letter. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of recipes to choose from. Why not try making one of these iconic traditional meals?
- Peanut Stew—a delicious west African dish often served with maize.
- Mandazi— Rwandan pancakes that are quite similar to doughnuts in texture.
- Pancit noodles—discover how to make Pancit Bihon or Filipino Noodles with this step by step guide by Compassion graduate, Rose.
- Pupusas—the stuffed flatbread is El Salvador’s national dish.
- Nasi Goreng—literally meaning ‘fried rice’, this is a popular dish in Southeast Asia.
- Matooke—boiled and mashed plantains are a staple in Uganda.
- Lugaw—this rice porridge with chicken is a favorite breakfast for Filipino children.
- Empanadas—turnovers stuffed with delicious fillings are common in South and Central America.
3. Make your own football
What can possibly be better than a good game of football? One with your own homemade football! This is a great activity to let your children be creative and gives you a chance to repurpose some of those old plastic bags you might have at home.
All you need is 20 plastic bags, newspapers, string or garden twine, and a pair of scissors.
- Scrunch up some newspapers to form the centre of your football (roughly the size of an orange).
- Place the paper ball in the first bag. Pull the bag around your paper ball and twist a couple of times.
- Wrap the remaining part of the bag over the ball again, twisting to secure. For larger bags, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
- Tie the ends off neatly, trying not to create any lumps.
- Repeat adding more and more bags until you’re happy with the size. Try to space out the tied-off ends, so you keep a circular shape.
- Use a thicker plastic bag for the last layer, as this will make your ball durable.
- Wrap your string or twine around the ball a couple of times and knot to secure. Then turn the ball 90 degrees and repeat. Continue to do this until you’ve worked your way around the ball. For added strength try weaving the string in and out.
- Tie off the string in a final double knot, and you’re ready for a game.
4. Play a game from another country
Call the children over because it’s time for PE class—Philippines style. Tumbang Preso is a popular game played across the country, requiring only an empty can, bottle or milk carton, and flip flops.
These are the rules:
- One player is ‘it’ and guards the can, while the others stay behind a line.
- The objective is for players to knock the can over with their shoe, and for ‘It’ to turn the can upright before trying to tag one of the children.
- If It can tag a child before they retrieve the shoe and make it back to safety behind the line, they become the new It.
- If a player is unable to retrieve their shoe, others can ‘save’ them by hitting the can with their shoe.
5. Take a family photo
Take advantage of everyone in the family being in the same place at once by snapping a few pictures! Not only will grandparents love them, so will the child you sponsor!
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these fascinating family portraits from around the world.
6. Read an inspiring story together
Compassion’s church partners in Brazil asked children what they wanted to experience for the first time—and then made those longed-for dreams a reality for 11 children.
Despite living close to the ocean, poverty meant Ryany’s family could never afford to make the journey. When her dream became reality, it was a day she will never forget.
“I hardly slept, thinking about what it would be like to see the sea for the first time!” she said. “It’s much bigger and more beautiful than I imagined.”
Read the full story here.
7. Pray and worship together
This season is a great opportunity to spend time praying with your family. Together, why not write a list of the things you’re grateful for. Then write anything you’re concerned about. As a family, commit these things to God by praying about them.
You can also find useful prayer resources to help guide you in praying on our prayer pages.
8. Experience God’s creation
Go out in nature to experience the beauty of God’s creation. Did you know that bird song is proven to be soothing?
The thousands of species of birds around the world, just like Tico the parrot pictured here with four-year-old Maisa from Brazil, show God’s creativity and help us reconnect with His beautiful world.
You can make this wonderful pinecone birdfeeder to hang in your garden, then watch, wait and listen. How do you feel after this activity?
9. A photo project for the family
Why not encourage your children to capture moments of happiness? Five intrepid Compassion participant youths in the Philippines did just that. Armed only with a phone or a camera, they set out to capture moments of joy.
They took photographs of children in Compassion’s programme as they enjoyed their breakfast without a care in the world. Their photos certainly brought a smile to our day. A photo project with the family to capture moments of joy may do the same to yours!
10. Indoor family sports
A family that exercises together, gets stronger together! If you are bored with your usual exercise routine, why not try switching things up? Take a look at what children sponsored by Compassion are doing in El Salvador.
They recently participated in a national competition called Sports at Home and sent in pictures of their exercise routine for an opportunity to win an official football.
“It helps their physical health by avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and uplifts family relationships,” says Pablo Siliezar, Compassion El Salvador Sports Specialist.
Are you up for the challenge? It could be fun to find new ways to stay fit as a family.
11. Send a letter from the family
In this digital age of emails and zoom calls, a physical letter we receive in the mail is something truly special. It may not travel very far, or it could cross oceans to bring joy to another.
You can write a letter of encouragement to your friends and extended family. You can even get the family together to write to the child you sponsor.
If you are stuck for inspiration, here are some helpful tips to write that heartfelt letter.