Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shadow Puppet Theater

My favorite summer activity we do each year is our Shadow Puppet Theater Performance. We invite our family over to watch an original show written and performed by my kids. We've been doing this for 7 YEARS! 

how to make a shadow puppet theater for kids

It's very simple to make your own Shadow Puppet Theater! I bought a sheet for a couple dollars at Goodwill. All they had there at the time was a peach color. I would have preferred white; however the pale pastel color peach works just fine too. You can still see through it perfectly when you shine a light behind it.  

I made sure to sew a small pocket, with each end open, at the top of the sheet so we could slip a PVC pipe through it to hang. We now own a set of Fort Magic which works GREAT to build our theater on. We've been using our Fort Magic set for several years. 

To get the theater look, I used some painters tape around the edges of our sheet, and painted it with house paint I had on hand. I made sure to do several coats so you can't see through it when the light shines behind.

Through the years our transparency puppet collection has grown. Each year we do a different performance, and typically will chose a new character to make. Sometimes I have printed the characters on transparencies, but most of the time I have printed a coloring picture of the character out, and then I transfer it to the transparency by tracing over it with a permanent marker. 

how to make shadow puppet characters

I've tried using super glue to attach the transparencies to small dowel rods, but they often fall apart and break off during the show. Now I simply use a couple pieces of clear tape to get them to stick. If it's good tape, you won't even be able to see it!

We always make a day of summer fun with our theater performance. We write the story ourselves, make the characters, we practice repeatedly until it's perfect. And we invite family to watch the show in the evening. We also like to provide some yummy snacks for everyone. The boys will often take drink orders before the show, and will bring a treat to everyone during the intermission. The kids love this part of serving!

This night is always a favorite for all. It's so fun to watch the kids act out the show through shadow puppets and I love the different voices they do for each character. They always make me laugh. I enjoy it just as much as a night out at an expensive theater.

To make things funny, this year we decided to do our play based on the game Mash. We wanted our main character to be my husband since he wouldn't get to participate in the planning. The kids thought he would make a great main character. All of us chose one suggestion for each category of the Mash game. If our suggestion ended up being chosen, that meant we had to write that part of the story. It was so much fun! This play ended up being a collaboration of all four of us writing different parts to Titus' Grand Life. It was silly and memorable. I know the kids will remember this night for quite a while!

Monday, July 17, 2017

2 Timothy 3:16 Game Cube

One of the fun ways I've found to teach kids a Bible verse is to turn it into a game. You can use the cube shape, and break the verse into six equal parts. I typically use one side of the six for the Bible reference. Have the kids write the verse out onto each side of the cube. Tape or glue the cube together. Once you are finished building the cube you have the makings of a very simple game.

bible verse game with a cube

You can play the game alone, or you can play the game with a friend. Make sure the kids know how the verse is supposed to read from start to finish. 

Each player takes a turn rolling the cube. The goal of the game is to get each part of the verse, in the order it belongs, ending with the Bible reverence. 

Each person rolls the cube one time for their turn, then passes the cube to the next player. Each turn you get one chance to roll the part of the verse you are on.

For this Bible verse you would start by trying to roll the side that reads 
All Scripture is inspired by God.
Once you have rolled that, your next turn you will be trying to roll 
and is useful to teach us what is true
Then your next turn you will be trying for 
and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
And so forth...

You continue to play and roll until you have gone all the way through the verse, including the Bible reference. You will have to remember which part of the Bible verse you are trying to roll next. The first person who makes it through the entire verse is the winner.

You could use this style of game for any verse! The kids love it! If you only have a few minutes with the kids, make the cube ahead of time for quick play. 

2 Timothy 3:16 bible verse game with cube

Card stock works best for making the cube. But I've made them both ways with plain printer paper. Sometimes it's really hard for little fingers to glue the flaps of the cube together. I always offer some tape as well to assemble the cubes.

You cut on the thick black lines, you fold all of the dotted lines.
2 Timothy 3:16 bible verse cube empty coloring sheet

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
2 Timothy 3:16 (New Living Translation)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Flower Coloring Page

A friend of mine is getting married today! I'm so excited for her. I've known her all her life. When my mom found out she was pregnant with my little sister, who is several years younger than I am, her friend also had a new baby girl. To practice for my new sister that would soon be coming, the other mom told me I could hold her little baby girl, Rachel. So precious! That was 27 years ago...

My daughter designed this card for her bridal shower a few weeks ago. We had a plain brown recycled paper card. I wanted a little decoration on the front, maybe with a couple small flowers. Something to make the card more elegant, since this friend is a fancy girl. My daughter came through for my request. I love the flowers. They looked very beautiful with the contrast of the brown card stock.

flower note card or adult coloring page

Congratulations, Rachel! I can't wait to see what a beautiful bride you make!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Secret Service

I'm always looking for ways to serve other people. Acts of service is my love language, so believe me when I say, I LOVE to help people. This summer I wanted to do our normal summer fun, but I also wanted to go a little further and do some acts of kindness for each other.

draw names and do secret acts of kindness for each other
This summer we have made a pact to do Summer Secret Service. We call ourselves the S.S.S. On the first day of summer vacation we drew names in our family. We also included my mom who spends a lot of time with us.

It's a SECRET who has who. So far, the kids have done pretty good at keeping it a secret. It's not so important to keep who has who a secret, as it is to keep the act itself a secret. It's fun to walk into your room and see that someone made your bed for you. Or it's REALLY neat to think you have to do the dinner dishes and find out someone secretly did it while you were busy elsewhere.

To make it extra special, my son designed a logo for us. I have such talented kids! I love what he came up with. It perfectly captures the love behind the acts of kindness. We printed our logo on labels that we can use for the things we make, and I ordered some business cards from Vistaprint. For example, if you clean the room for someone, you can slip a business card onto the bed or desk to show that the S.S.S. has been there.

do random acts of kindness for others S.S.S.


We also plan on doing some acts of kindness for people outside of our family. This will be a great chance to use our business card. We can let them know they have been visited by the S.S.S.

Summer Secret Service S.S.S.

I received this very sweet note from my S.S.S. I have spent several days helping a friend through a very trying time in her life. In fact, as I was writing this blog post a couple days ago, I received an important phone call from her. I put everything in my life on hold. I tried to be practical in the love I showed her. I went with her to the hospital. I helped clean her house, and packed some boxes for an upcoming move. I was emotionally exhausted and physically spent. It was a great source of encouragement to find this note waiting for me in my own home. Daisies are a source of comfort for me. To me they are a happy flower. This simple note made me tear up. It was a reminder that God is proud of me. That's enough to keep me going.  

Summer secret service note

Everyone needs to feel a little extra love and care. This is a chance we have this summer to give a little, and even get a little. It adds the perfect special touch to our summer fun. I look forward to many more special acts of kindness this summer! The gears in my head have been turning in ways that I can give to my own S.S.S. It's exciting to be a part of something like this.
Luke 6:35-36 Our father is kind; you be kind.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fish Coloring Page

Lately I've become obsessed with editing my daughter's drawings in Illustrator. There is something calming and soothing about smoothing out the lines. I've been searching through all her old drawings looking for things I can edit and play around with.

I'm certain after awhile, the newness will wear off and I'll be looking for a new way to pass my free time. But for now, it's coloring pages. I love all the adult coloring books out there. I've been a fan of coloring my entire life, long before this coloring phase became popular, in fact. So for a little while, I'm certain my blog will be bursting with new pictures to color. Feel free to share and enjoy!

Ariel has become a bit of a celebrity in my class at church. The kid's can't believe she has made the drawings herself. It makes me smile when the kids approach her after church to give her their love and support.

coloring page of fish and flowers with caption peace Philippians 4:7

"Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Friday, June 9, 2017

Do Not Worry...

Yesterday my daughter came across a bird nest in a bush we were cutting down. It killed her to destroy the birds home, so she left it completely intact, and didn't touch the nest at all. She did however cut around it. I believe the rest of the bush was protecting this nest, and sadly this morning the egg was missing. I'm certain a predator must have come and removed the egg. This broke my daughter's heart. We had no idea the cleaning up of our yard would hurt the life of an innocent baby bird.

Do not worry about everyday life... you count far more to Him than birds. Matthew 6:25-26

Just like our hearts broke for this new life that didn't get a chance, God's heart breaks when we go through trouble. He cares so much for all His creation, even the smallest baby bird, or the biggest adult woman. 

I needed this reminder today. God says I count far more to Him than the birds.

We are having car trouble. For the past two years we have been casually shopping for a new car. One of our cars is rusting out on the bottom, and a new car will soon be necessary. However, today that car is not the issue. Our family car, we noticed was leaking oil. It doesn't spill onto the ground, but it's going somewhere. 

After a day at the mechanic, they couldn't pinpoint the problem unless we allow them to do further diagnostic work. This would be another $100, and they believe it might be a head gasket issue which would result in another $1800 bill. Not the best news in the world. It looks like we will need to be replacing two cars instead of one. YIKES! Big money there!

I'm not going to stress myself out over it. God has promised to provide for all my needs, including my car needs. He cares for me even more than He cares for the small baby birds. I have nothing to fear. I'm not going to worry about my everyday life... I'm going to place it in God's hands. He's got this, so I can rest easy in His promise.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Trust the Lord Coloring Page

Ariel loves to doodle. She is constantly making little drawings in notebooks, or on scraps of paper. I love to find her drawings around the house. They are so beautiful! On Sunday, she shared with me this beautiful doodle drawing in her notebook from church. Doodling helps her focus and listen to the speaker. I LOVE it and fully support her doodling habit! I couldn't resist scanning this drawing in, and turning it into a coloring page. 

I think we make a great team. She draws, and I smooth out the lines in Illustrator to make it a digital picture. One of my dreams for the future is to write a coloring book devotional with my daughter. I would do the writing, she would do the drawing. I would add Bible verses or quotes to each of her coloring sheets.  It's probably not something that will happen for quite a few years, but I can always dream about it for now.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart bible verse coloring page

doodle drawing with Proverbs 3:5-6 on adult coloring page
flower doodle design adult coloring page
coloring page filled in with Trust in the Lord Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust the Lord with all your heart
and do not rely on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
 and he will make your paths smooth."
Proverbs 3:5-6

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