Summers with kids can be challenging. Whether you’re working and feel like you don’t have enough time with your kids or you’re at home with them and feel like you have too much time with your kids, it can be hard to know how to use what time you do have together. Here’s some ideas of rhythms you can pick up this summer to build meaningful family time into your lives and make the most of your summer.

Eat Together

For many of us, the idea of the whole family sitting down around a healthy, home-cooked meal every night feels like a thing of the past. We’re just too busy. But something powerful happens when we eat together. When we sit across from each other and eat a meal, it bonds us in unique ways. Jesus knew this, and we find that he was constantly sitting down with people to share a meal (Luke 5:29-32, 7:36-50, 9:10-17, 10:38-42, 11:37-53, 14:1-24, 19:1-10, 22:14-38, 24:28-32, 24:36-43).

If we want to be able to eat together as a whole family, we might have to change our picture of what that looks like. Maybe you’re always eating dinner on the go so you keep a picnic blanket in your car so you can sit down and face each other while you eat. Maybe dinner time is too hard, so you choose to make breakfast or even a snack your time to eat together. Maybe you’re too busy to do it often, so you block off one night a week to be intentional about it.

And while you sit down to eat, be intentional about limiting distractions and talking with each other. Talk about what’s going on in your lives and be active listeners. You could even look up dinner conversation starters for families to find silly and serious questions to prompt great conversations. Don’t miss this opportunity to build memories and get to know your family better!

Play Together

Especially when life is busy, it can be really easy to get distracted and forget to stop and have fun with your kids. But fun is such an important part of how kids connect and learn, so we need to be intentional about building fun into our family time. This could look like pausing to get down on your kid’s level and join them in what they are doing, or it could look like planning family play time. Find a board game or card game. Go outside and pick a sport. Use your imagination and play pretend. Build a blanket fort. Let them teach you how to play their favorite video game. Play one on one with your kids and play all together as a family. However it looks for you, find a way to have fun together.

Playing with your kids also gives you an amazing opportunity to model important life skills for them. You can model winning and losing graciously. You can model not taking life too seriously and being able to laugh at yourself. You can model being an encourager. You can model being willing to make a mess and learning how to clean it up. Kids learn through play, so teach them in a way that speaks to them.

Learn Together

Another great way to make the most of the time you have with your kids is to find something to learn together. Maybe you pick a skill you want to learn, like baking or crafting or gardening or building Lego machines or magic tricks. Or maybe you find a topic to learn about, like dinosaurs or history or space or animals. Try to find something you don’t know either so you can learn together.

Then, work together to research. Go to the library and find books about it. Search for videos to teach you. Find out what tools you need. Show your kids how to go about learning new things. And as you learn, you’ll fail or hit roadblocks and be tempted to give up or take shortcuts. But what a great opportunity to teach perseverance and to learn from our mistakes! Life is full of failure and roadblocks and our kids will need to learn how to face them and keep going. What better place to learn than right by your side?

Serve Together

It’s good for all of us to have opportunities to look outside of ourselves and look for the needs of others. Teaching this to kids at a young age is going to help them develop compassion and learn to be active in their love for others. This doesn’t have to be big, it can be as much as making cards together for someone going through a hard time or pulling weeds to help out a neighbor. It could be something ongoing like weekly visits to a lonely older family member. Or you could find an organization to serve with as a family (check out this list of Parkview’s trusted local partners for ideas.)

However you choose to do it, your family will have the opportunity to practice seeing the needs of others and doing something about it. Your family will learn to humble themselves and love with action, just like Jesus did. Your family will learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus and be a part of sharing God’s love with the world.

Pray Together

Most of us know, theoretically, that we should pray and talk about God as a family. But whether it’s because we don’t know how or because we just get so busy we forget, this is something that often gets forgotten. But Deuteronomy 6:6-7 gives us ideas of how to do this: “The commandments I give you today must be in your hearts. Make sure your children learn them. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up.” These are things we can do woven into other parts of our lives.

In the car, say “God, thank you for…” and let each member of the family list something they’re thankful for. At bedtime, read a story out of a children’s Bible like the Jesus Storybook Bible. At mealtime, practice the memory verse they’re learning in church. Go for a walk and point out all the things God made. Read a short devotion at breakfast like Jesus Calling for Kids. Don’t stress about doing the right thing and just do something. What’s more important than what you actually do is that your kids are seeing you prioritize your family’s faith and connect with God regularly. Your imperfect example has a much bigger impact than even the best devotion you could find.


When summer hits and all your routines are up in the air, don’t miss the opportunity to be intentional with your time and create joyful memories and meaningful connections with your kids. Experiment with what works for your family and do your best to make it fun. How will you eat, play, learn, serve, and pray together with your family this summer?