Marshmallow Madness

Cheap and Easy Family Fun!

Spend 20 minutes each week passing on your faith and values to your children. I know we all –myself included– have the best intentions, but get washed away in the flood of “to-do’s”, don’t we?! No longer!
I have the solution: just buy a few bags of marshmallows, and each week I’ll provide the fun and good lesson to tie it all in. All you have to do is smile, have fun with your kids, and talk to them as you do it. Sounds do-able, doesn’t it?

Stop at the store on your way home today and pick up some marshmallows and toothpicks.  This time you’ll need the big ones. You will need enough marshmallows for either pairs or individuals to each have about 25 of them, so get the big bag! Two packs of toothpicks will be plenty.

marchmallow tower

You’re going to set a timer for 5 minutes and build towers using big marshmallows and toothpicks. Yup, that’s it. The first time everybody can try building the tallest towers. It doesn’t have to be the prettiest or even stay up very long, but it does need to stand when the timer goes off.

Now take it all apart and do it again, but this time the goal is to have the sturdiest tower. After another 5 minutes, Congratulate the builder of the least wobbly tower. They probably aren’t as tall this time. I bet the winner focused on having a well built structure, paying closer attention to the base then its height.

Discuss Proverbs 13:16, TLB. “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t and even brags about it!”

Ask your kids why it might be good to think ahead? Did they think ahead when they planned their towers? If not, did they fall down quickly?  If they did think ahead, did it pay off? If the discussion is going well, you might talk about some times when you did or didn’t plan ahead and the results that ensued.If your kids are starting to get that glazed look in their eyes, wrap it up as quickly as possible. There will be another time-next week, in fact!

Now have some fun with your kids!  And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back!
Check back next week for another great idea to parent on purpose with marshmallows!
 

This week: Be Silent!

We think even a foolish person is wise if he keeps silent. We think he understands what is right if he controls his tongue.  -Proverbs 17:28

I like the way Mark Twain (or Abraham Lincoln, the attribution is debatable) is credited for describing Proverbs 17:28 this way: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

There is so much wisdom in keeping silent. Do you ever re-think a conversation, wishing you could claw back that thoughtless comment. It takes work to control our tongue. It is a serious flaw: The more we speak, our chance of pronouncing damaging remarks greatly increases. The more we speak, the more trouble and drama we’ll heap on ourselves. Fact.

The words of our mouth can trap us – Proverbs 6:2

When we speak too much, sin abounds – Proverbs 10:19 

Harsh words are like swords – Proverbs 12:18

So in conclusion, the more we keep quiet, the smarter we’ll appear!
To help us remember to keep our mouths closed, we’ll play Chubby Bunny. The trick to this game is to see how many marshmallows we can ft in our mouth and still close it enough to properly say “Chubby Bunny”. Obviously, use caution when asking young children to stuff their mouths to overflowing 🙂  Maybe use small marshmallows for young children, but middle school on up to adult can play using large marshmallows.Count on using at least four large marshmallows for each player. The rules are: no swallowing, no spitting, no chewing, no drooling. The toughest part is actually the drool, in my humble opinion. Keep going around and having each player add one more marshmallow and clearly speaking “Chubby Bunny”. When all players but one have been disqualified, you’ll have your Chubby Bunny Champion!
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this family night work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: 3 Legged Race

“Don’t be proud at all. Be completely gentle. Be patient. Put up with one another in love. The Holy Spirit makes you one in every way. So try your best to remain as one. Let peace keep you together.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIRV)

Create your own 3 legged race, tying one leg of two people together. You can use pantyhose, rope, rip an old towel into lengths,even a long sock.  Have a bucket at one end of determined “track” (if weather is decent, outside is better) and teams must carry one marshmallow at a time and drop it in the bucket before turning around to go back for another.  When they have placed 4 marshmallows in the bucket they must run back and cross the finish line. Declare a winner or celebrate everyone’s achievements, whichever works best in your family.
Stay tied as “one”, and debrief by asking how it felt to be connected to another person you couldn’t control. As an example, have one person try to be first ahead of their partner to show how it slows us down. Model how difficult it is to move forward when somebody is pulling you in a different direction. It’s tough for the other person to move ahead when you’re stalling. Alternatively, lock arms with your partner and notice how much easier it becomes to be successful when we’re united.
three-legged race
Look up Ephesians 4:2-3 together and really tie in the wording to the lesson: be gentle, be patient, put up with another.  The Holy Spirit helps us “lock arms” and have unity, so we will move together in the same direction.
We need to choose to work together with those God has put in our lives. That means our brothers and sister, parents, classmates, coaches and friends. Let peace keep us together this week!

When you see kids choosing peace and working together, you can praise their willingness to put up with each other 😉

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done. How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Saver or Spender?

 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets”     ~Proverbs 21:20

This week we’re going to try and discover if our children are natural savers or spenders. Many people succumb to the lure of instant gratification- even when they KNOW they will get less later on. Place one marshmallow on a plate in front of each child with instructions not to eat it yet. Then casually remark to the kids that you need to step away for a few minutes. Briefly explain that they can eat the marshmallow if they want to, but if they wait till you get back you will give them another one.

Hopefully at least one of your children was able to resist temptation and save the marshmallow.  Reward their wisdom by doubling  their investment! Finish off the lesson by discussing Proverbs 21:20 and how we can all grow in self-control.  The wise man saves for the future in many areas- how can we be good stewards of our money, our food, our rewards, our time and our talents? Plenty of food for thought!

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: The Good Shepherd

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Sheep008
This weeks family devotion is easy and fun! 

Look up John 10:11-15 You’ll need large marshmallows, small marshmallows (or nibble some big ones) and pretzel sticks for legs if ya got ’em. While making sheep together, ask your children the following questions:
What is a shepherd?
How does a good shepherd lay down his life for his sheep?
What would happen to a flock of sheep if there was no shepherd?
Are we like the sheep or the shepherd?
Do we have a good shepherd? Who is he? JESUS!
Send me a picture of your sheep before you eat them, please. And you might want to make a family of sheep- the salty pretzels and sweet marshmallows are delicious!
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

This week: Juicy Fruit

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ”     ~Galatians 5:22-23

How many fruit of the spirit can your children remember?

I found it helpful teaching our kids that there are 3 fruit with 1 syllable, 3 fruit with 2 syllables, and 3 fruit with 3 syllables.
This week we’ll be asking our kids to help us grow in our fruit.
Take out a marshmallow or two and put it on a plate in the microwave. In less than a minute it should double in size. Being careful not to let little fingers touch, place the plate with gigantic marshmallow on the table for the kids to see. It is helpful to place a regular marshmallow beside to prove it has grown. Which marshmallow looks juicy and plump? It looks more delicious.See how quickly it grew!
(Most kids find it pretty amazing, and I haven’t heard a single complaint about a marshmallow exploding in the microwave)
If you have a green banana or other “not ready” fruit, place it on the table along with a fruit that is edible.   Which fruit looks sweeter?
How does fruit develop- get bigger and sweeter? It starts as seeds, but with water, good earth, and time, wonderful fruit grow. 
The Holy Spirit gave us 9 wonderful fruit, but we need to properly develop them so they can be big in our lives.
So how do our Holy Spirit fruit grow? What do we need to do to help our good fruit get bigger?

Ask the kids if they know what the 9 fruit mean and look them up if necessary. Then- here’s the real challenge mom and dad, ask the children to point out your biggest fruit, and your smallest fruit. Ask them to help you grow bigger fruit and brainstorm ways you can make better choices. The next time you notice somebody acting with kindness praise them for developing sweet, juicy fruit!

 

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Win the Race!

 “In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

So I do not run like someone who doesn’t run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.”     ~1 Corinthians 9:24-27 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

 runner

This week we are going to run a race of sorts. We are going to push a marshmallow across the room- with our noses! Decide in advance how long the race track will be and create a start and finish line with masking tape or a piece of string perhaps on the floor. If space allows I would recommend having different lengths of tracks or even different routes altogether for each child, based on their age and skill level.  TRUST ME: Use the larger marshmallows, because I can tell you from experience that if you are competitive like me you will hit your nose on the floor if you use a mini-marshmallow. And that really hurts. Don’t let the kids think about their route or practice their nose-pushing techniques beforehand, just throw them into the race. Time them each separately, and then have your children try it again. Their race should have been faster the second time.

The point we want to reinforce is this:  God has a special job for each of us. We all have our own race to run. Don’t give up! Let’s not worry about what others are doing, but focus on getting better and better at the race God has set before each of us.  We want to win our own race. What special job or race does God have for your children? They may already have an idea. Ask each person in the family what they can do now to start training.

For more discussion:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 40:31  But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in prayers. Be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! There are many wonderful devotions available, but these are for those of us ~myself included~ who have the best intentions but just can’t seem to get it together. We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith onto your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Wise Words

applesnewYou’ll need mini-marshmallows, an apple and something sweet and sticky like honey, jam or peanut butter.. For younger children, slice the apples yourself just before the snack, and provide each child with their own “lips”, some marshmallows and whatever sticky ingredient you’ve decided on. Not only are these mouths fun to make, they taste delicious. Personally, I recommend peanut or almond butter.

It’s a good idea to look up the Bible verse BEFORE the assemblling of the snack, or else have cloths available to wash up sticky fingers. If you look up the verses together before hand, it’s handy to be able to discuss them during snack assembly.

Study the scriptures below with the kids. Have a contest to see who can find the verses fastest. Younger kids can be paired up with older siblings or parents. Ask them why these verses go with the snack. You might be surprised at the insights your children have on the subject of kind words. What are sweet words? How can words be healthy for our bodies?

Psalm 119:103 (NIV)   How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)  Kind words are like honey—  sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

For older kids, challenge them with an extra twist:  In addition to the tasty treats, create one apple snack but instead of spreading the apple with a sweet sauce, use hot sauce instead. If you have a child in love with hot sauce you could use vinegar, baking soda, or worchestershire perhaps? Challenge them to have a bite. What’s the principle here? A little bit of harshness ruined all the sweetness. We can’t mix good and bad words, praise and cursing.

James 3:10 (NIV) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Here are some more scriptures for discussion, if time allows:

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP) Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

Colossians 3:8 (ESV) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Let’s use our mouths to bring sweetness and life to others!

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives, let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in your prayers. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! There are many wonderful devotions available, but these are for those of us ~myself included~ who have the best intentions but just can’t seem to get it together.

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith onto your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week:  GUESS HOW MANY 

Depending on the age(s) of your kids, pour marshmallows into 1 container. Younger kids should have a smaller container, older children should have a larger one, or even just leave them in the bag.

Have children guess how many marshmallows are in the container, just like the carnival “Guess how many” game. You could have children whisper their guess to you, or just write down their guesses on a piece of paper. If you want to be a little extra silly, you can have children receive a ballot each time they sing a song or make a rhyme.  For older kids, you can have them find a verse in the Bible, or recite a scripture, or even answer Bible trivia questions to earn a voting ballots.

Then comes the counting: now you know why I suggested younger kids have less marshmallows! Add them up and declare a winner!  (decide if and how to reward the winner)

Then look up Luke 12:6-7 together. Isn’t God amazing?!  He knows everything about us. He even knows how many hairs are on our head. He knows what we worry about, and nothing surprises Him.

I like the way the Message puts it:

6-7 “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! … You’re worth more than a million canaries.

Encourage your children to give their worries to Him. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in your prayers. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what God has done!

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Marshmallow Madness

Cheap and Easy Family Fun!

Spend 20 minutes each week passing on your faith and values to your children. I know we all –myself included– have the best intentions, but get washed away in the flood of “to-do’s”, don’t we?! No longer!
I have the solution: just buy a few bags of marshmallows, and each week I’ll provide the fun and good lesson to tie it all in. All you have to do is smile, have fun with your kids, and talk to them as you do it. Sounds do-able, doesn’t it?

Stop at the store on your way home today and pick up some marshmallows and toothpicks.  This time you’ll need the big ones. You will need enough marshmallows for either pairs or individuals to each have about 25 of them, so get the big bag! Two packs of toothpicks will be plenty.

marchmallow tower

You’re going to set a timer for 5 minutes and build towers using big marshmallows and toothpicks. Yup, that’s it. The first time everybody can try building the tallest towers. It doesn’t have to be the prettiest or even stay up very long, but it does need to stand when the timer goes off.

Now take it all apart and do it again, but this time the goal is to have the sturdiest tower. After another 5 minutes, Congratulate the builder of the least wobbly tower. They probably aren’t as tall this time. I bet the winner focused on having a well built structure, paying closer attention to the base then its height.

Discuss Proverbs 13:16, TLB. “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t and even brags about it!”

Ask your kids why it might be good to think ahead? Did they think ahead when they planned their towers? If not, did they fall down quickly?  If they did think ahead, did it pay off? If the discussion is going well, you might talk about some times when you did or didn’t plan ahead and the results that ensued.If your kids are starting to get that glazed look in their eyes, wrap it up as quickly as possible. There will be another time-next week, in fact!

Now have some fun with your kids!  And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back!
Check back next week for another great idea to parent on purpose with marshmallows!