October is almost over, Halloween is around the corner, and with the sun dropping quickly in the evenings now, we have a precious 30-60 minutes of darkness before bedtime in which to play with all our glow-in-the-dark toys and slip in a lesson or two on Letting our Light Shine! There is plenty of time to jump into the fun with us. Simply walk into any dollar, toy, party, or Halloween store and pick up a few glow-in-the-dark paraphernalia. Glow bracelets, glow sticks, glow crowns, glow wands, glow stars, you name it! Glow-in-the-dark activities are all over Pinterest and a variety of teaching and family fun blogs. I simply took the ideas that seemed like the most fun and connected some of them to a few Bible lessons for us. For a mere 3-5$ you too will be able to join in the “Let it Shine!” fun.
As with most of our theme weeks or months, I’ve been introducing our Bible application lessons slowly because I want to make sure we have a balance of both FUN and FORMATION.
FUN=playing together for the sake of just playing and enjoying time together to strengthen our family bonds and making memories.
FORMATION= building on those family times through planned and intentional teaching moments.
First off let me describe the three kinds of glow-in-the-dark toys or materials I will be referring to:
1. Light charged glow-in-the-dark toys need to be “charged up” by some light source. These kinds of toys are usually a plastic of some sort and are often used as bedroom decorations such as stars for the ceiling.
2. Glow sticks and other chemical reactive toys. These you simply open the package, crack the sticks and shake to start the chemical reaction and voila! you have a vibrant, relatively long-lasting ( several hours) glow.
3. Flourescent materials that are UV (black) light reactive. These materials do not glow-in-the-dark on their own, but when you turn on a black light….WOW!!!! PLEASE NOTE : These activities REQUIRE a Black Light to work. I bought mine on Amazon. So if you want to include these activities, bump your budget up to about $15-20 from my original $3-5 estimate.
For Fun: Head out into the backyard with some glow in the dark mini frisbies. Imagine the shrieks of delight coming from your kids as you let them run around in their barefeet in the grass throwing glowing pink, yellow, and blue frisbees at each other (and you!)
For Formation: “God is light and we are to walk in the light of God’s presence” from 1 John 1:5-7. Pick up a set of light charged glow-in-the-dark toys such as bedroom ceiling stars. Place the stars under a lamp and let them “charge” for at least 5 minutes. Turn off the lights and watch them glow! Once the glow has faded, turn the lights back on and while you wait for the toys to re-charge, explain how this is a picture of what happens when we spend time with Jesus. Ask your kids. “what made the toys glow?” They soaked up the LIGHT! Help your children make the connection that the toys had to be close to the light in order to shine and show them that the LONGER they are in the light, the brighter the toys shine! So it is with us, the closer we are to Jesus and more time we spend with him, the brighter our light will shine too! For extended fun, affix the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, drag in pillows and have the whole family pile on the floor to look up at the stars glowing. Talk about disciplines that help us be close to Jesus (prayer, Bible reading, worship). How are some ways God wants us to “glow” in this world?
For Fun: Glow sticks in the bath tub! Seriously clean fun. (LOL!)
For Formation : “You are the LIGHT of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. ” from Matthew 5:13-15. Round up any left over plastic eggs you have from Easter and insert flame-less tea light candles or LED tea lights. Hide the eggs in your backyard, a dark room, the garage, or any dark place. Without letting your kids see the room, give your kids baskets and tell you children that you’ve hidden eggs and they’ve got to go find them. It will be so obvious that the eggs will be collected up in seconds flat. If seeing the eggs glow weren’t so fun, it would actually be a pretty anti-climatic activity. I suggest repeating the game, this time letting the kids hide the eggs and you go search for them. Afterwards, help your children make the connection that Jesus says that he has called his followers the LIGHT of the world. His LIGHT in us should not be hidden and we need to let our light shine! If you feel extra adventurous, pile up into the car in your PJs for a pre-bedtime drive around town at night looking at the lights of the city. If you happen to live where there are hills or mountains, drive to a look out spot and point out how a city on a hill just CANNOT be hidden!
These are eggs hidden in the grass, trees and shrubbery of my backyard. Yes, I need to take a photography course!
For Fun : Draw and color pictures using highlighters. Use any neon colored craft supply such as pipe cleaners and pompoms to create any sort of craft. Plug in your Black light and watch them glow! My camera did not do this justice so please check out THEPLAYATHOMEMOM blog where the inspiration came from to see how cool this really looks!
Stay tuned for our next post with more Let it Shine ideas. Hint of what’s to come…GLOW WATER!!!!